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Two Decades of Responses (1986-2006) to Climate by the Laurichard Rock Glacier, French Alps

Abstract : The Laurichard active rock glacier is the permafrost-related landform with the longest record of monitoring in France, including an annual geodetic survey, repeated geoelectrical campaigns from 1979 onwards and continuous recording of ground temperature since 2003. These data were used to examine changes in creep rates and internal structure from 1986 to 2006. The control that climatic variables exert on rock glacier kinematics was investigated over three time scales. Between the 1980s and the early 2000s, the main observed changes were a general increase in surface velocity and a decrease in internal resistivity. At a multi-year scale, the high correlation between surface movement and snow thickness in the preceding December appears to confirm the importance of snow cover conditions in early winter through their influence on the ground thermal regime. A comparison of surface velocities, regional climatic datasets and ground sub-surface temperatures over six years suggests a strong relation between rock glacier deformation and ground temperature, as well as a role for liquid water due to melt of thick snow cover. Finally, unusual surface lowering that accompanied peak velocities in 2004 may be due to a general thaw of the top of the permafrost, probably caused both by two successive snowy winters and by high energy inputs during the warm summer of 2003.
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Submitted on : Friday, May 15, 2020 - 4:09:13 PM
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X. Bodin, Emmanuel Thibert, D. Fabre, A. Ribolini, Philippe Schoeneich, et al.. Two Decades of Responses (1986-2006) to Climate by the Laurichard Rock Glacier, French Alps. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, Wiley, 2009, 20 (4), pp.331-334. ⟨10.1002/ppp.665⟩. ⟨hal-02592365⟩



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