Dictionary of Geotourism

2020 Edition
| Editors: Anze Chen, Young Ng, Erkuang Zhang, Mingzhong Tian

Periglacial Rock Pillar Landscape

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2538-0_1860

A periglacial rock pillar is also known as a periglacial rock protrusion. It is a columnar or strip-like rock mass projecting from the ground that forms by frost splitting and frost heaving. The pillars generally range in height from dozens of centimetres to 2 m. There are two types. The first is rock pillars connected to the bedrock with vertical joints and cracks, composed of basalt, sandstone, schist and gneiss. This type of periglacial rock pillar is caused by frost splitting in a single cycle, where the pillar has not experienced vertical or horizontal movement. The second type is rock pillars that have separated from the bedrock. They are originally rock strips buried in the permafrost layer that have been uplifted by multiple cycles of frost heaving. This type is only few dozens of centimetres tall, and they are often slanted and unstable. Periglacial rock pillars often exist in permafrost with strong frost splitting effect. They are a significant indicator of climatic...

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