Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers

2011 Edition
| Editors: Vijay P. Singh, Pratap Singh, Umesh K. Haritashya

Active Ice Wedge

  • Pratima PandeyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2642-2_7


An ice wedgeis defined as a crack in the frozen ground. It may have an opening at the ground surface of the order of few meters which reduces with depth. Ice-wedge is abundantly found along the Arctic coast and in many permafrost areas of the world. The formation and growing of ice wedges have been backed by the thermal contraction theory. In general, the melting of snow and its refreezing in thermal contraction cracks are accepted as the main reason for recent ice wedge formation. Due to thermal contraction, cracks open in winter and filled in with water in summer and form ice veins. The wedges which are still evolving and growing because of repeated but not necessarily annual winter cracking are defined as active ice wedges. Permafrost is the region where most ice wedges remain active. Ice wedge cracking is sensitive to climatic factors, particularly the winter snowfall. The long-term monitoring of ice wedge cracks can play an important role in climatic change–related...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre of Studies in Resources EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology, BombayMumbaiIndia