Blockfield (Periglacial)

  • Henrik HargitaiEmail author
Living reference work entry


A surficial layer of angular shattered rocks, formed typically under cold climates or high elevations where frost wedging occurs (Harris et al. 1988*; Whittow 2000; Ballantyne 2010).




Note: The term “blockfield” has also been used more broadly (especially within planetary literature, e.g., Garvin 1985) as a nongenetic term to describe surfaces covered by angular fragment with a wide size range. Such fields can be produced by a range of genetic (e.g., impact) and modification processes. This entry focuses on blockfields formed through periglacial processes.


  1. (1)

    Autochthonous blockfields (i.e., formed in situ, in its present position) on broad, flat areas (Boelhouwers 2004).

  2. (2)

    Slope blockfields (termed block slopes or block streams) formed on slopes (Ritter et al. 2002, p. 391) (Fig. 1) are elongate bodies of rocks extending farther downslope than across slope; occurring on mountain sides or in the heads...


Pattern Ground Rock Glacier Jointed Bedrock Wide Size Range Colluvial Deposit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Ballantyne CK (2010) A general model of autochthonous blockfield evolution. Permafr Periglac Process 21(4):289–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boelhouwers J (2004) New perspectives on autochthonous blockfield development. Polar Geogr 28(2):133–146. doi:10.1080/789610122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Garvin JB (1985) Blockfields on planetary surfaces. Lunar Planet Sci Conf XVI:260–261, HoustonGoogle Scholar
  4. Harris SA, French HM, Heginbottom JA, Johnston GH, Ladanyi B, Sego DC, van Everdingen RO (eds) (1988) Glossary of permafrost and related ground-ice terms. Permafrost Subcommittee, National Research Council of Canada. Technical memorandum No 142Google Scholar
  5. Lookingbill SM, Cleaveland MK, Guccione MJ (1987) Botanical evidence for holocene movement of rock streams in Arkansas. Proc Ark Acad Sci 41:63–68Google Scholar
  6. Ritter DF, Kochel RC, Miller JR (eds) (2002) Process geomorphology. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. White SE (1976) Rock glaciers and block fields, review and new data. Quat Res 6:77–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. White E (1981) Alpine mass movement forms (noncatastrophic): classification, description, and significance. Arctic Alp Res 13:127–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Whittow JB (2000) The penguin dictionary of physical geography, 2nd edn. Penguin, LondonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Planetary Science Research GroupEötvös Loránd University, Institute of Geography and Earth SciencesBudapestHungary