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Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms


Cryokarst desiccation pit; Dissected terrain; Pitted terrain


“Cryokarst” structures (sensu stricto) are erosional features (pits and depressions) interpreted as formed by sublimation-driven removal of subsurface ice and surface collapse afterward (Kreslavsky et al. 2008).


In terrestrial studies, the terms thermokarst and cryokarst are sometimes used as synonyms. According to UNESCO (1972), the term “cryokarst” is more common in Europe, while the term “thermokarst” is used in America. This note is commonly copied in subsequent glossaries (e.g., Field 2002). Harris et al. (1988) do not recommend the use of cryokarst. Several authors (e.g., French 2007) define thermokarst as a landform that evolves in response to the loss of thermal equilibrium by means of thaw or sublimation in ice-rich permafrost and thus include cryokarst in “Thermokarst Landforms.” Some authors (e.g., Tyc 2007) specifically use “cryokarst” as a synonym of glacial karst “for the whole forms...

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Correspondence to Ákos Kereszturi .

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Kereszturi, Á., Hargitai, H. (2014). “Cryokarst”. In: Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms. Springer, New York, NY.

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