Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi

Solifluction Landforms

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_534


Landforms resulting from the slow downslope flow of saturated unfrozen earth materials (van Everdingen et al. 1998/2005). The term is commonly applied to processes operating in both seasonal frost and permafrost areas.


Mud-debris tongue (not recommended)

Description of Subtypes

Subtypes as defined on Earth:
  1. (1)
    Solifluction lobe: an isolated, tongue-shaped feature on Earth up to 25 m wide and >150 m long. It commonly has a steep (15–60°) front (riser) and a relatively smooth upper surface (thread) (van Everdingen et al. 1998/2005) (Fig. 2).
    1. (1.1)

      Turf-banked lobes are vegetated lobes. They are non-sorted, displaying arcuate bands of tongue-like shaped fronts (Benedict 1970).

    2. (1.2)

      Stone-banked lobes are sorted solifluction lobes (Benedict 1970) ( sorted patterned ground: sorted step). Stone-banked lobes are “lobate mass of rocky debris underlain by relatively stone-free fine-textured, moving soil” (Ridefelt 2004).

  2. (2)
    Solifluction terrace: a low step, or...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Andersson JG (1906) Solifluction, a component of subaerial denudation. J Geo 14:91–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Benedict J (1970) Downslope soil movement in a Colorado alpine region: rates, processes and climatic significance. Arctic Alpine Res 2(3):165–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benedict JB (1976) Frost creep and gelifluction features: a review. Quat Res 6:55–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Harris C, Davies MCR, Coutard J-P (1997) Rates and processes of periglacial solifluction: an experimental approach. Earth Surf Process Landf 22:849–868CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Harris C, Davies MCR, Rea BR (2003) Gelifluction: viscous flow or plastic creep? Earth Surf Process 28:1289–1301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Johnsson A, Reiss D, Hauber E, Zanetti M, Hiesinger H, Johansson L, Olmvo M (2012) Periglacial mass-wasting landforms on Mars suggestive of transient liquid water in the recent past: insights from solifluction lobes on Svalbard. Icarus 218:489–505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Mackay JR, Mathews WE (1974) Movement of sorted stripes, the Cinder Cone, Garibaldi Park, BC, Canada. Arct Alp Res 6:347–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Matsuoka N (2001) Solifluction rates, processes and landforms: a global review. Earth-Sci Rev 55:107–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ridefelt H (2004) Morphometry and environmental controls of solifluction landforms in the Abisko area, northern Sweden. Thesis, Uppsala UniversityGoogle Scholar
  10. Smith PS (1910) Geology and mineral resources of the Solomon and Casadepaga Quadrangles Seward Peninsula Alaska. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 433. Washington, Govt Printing OfficeGoogle Scholar
  11. van Everdingen R (ed) (1998 revised May 2005) Multi-language glossary of permafrost and related ground-ice terms. National Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology, BoulderGoogle Scholar
  12. Washburn AL (1956) Classification of patterned ground and review of suggested origins. Geol Soc Am Bull 67:823–865CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NASA Ames Research Center/NPPMoffett FieldUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden