Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky


  • Piotr MigońEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_328


Gelifluction; Soil flow


Solifluction, literally “soil flow,” is a category of shallow mass movement, which affects saturated unconsolidated deposits and results from reduction of internal friction and cohesion due to excess water.


Precise definition of solifluction has not been agreed upon, and three views can be found in the literature: (1) solifluction is a laminar flow of soil in any environment, soil saturation being an essential prerequisite; (2) solifluction is a specific cold-climate phenomenon and involves soil flow of water-saturated active layer above the permafrost table. Others call this type of movement “gelifluction” and consider it a variant of solifluction; (3) solifluction is again a cold-climate phenomenon and involves two mechanisms: gelifluction (understood as in (2) above) and slow soil creep due to volume changes imposed by alternating freezing and thawing. In addition, sliding of soil on a frozen substrate is included in...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and Regional DevelopmentUniversity of WrocławWrocławPoland