Active, i.e., presently moving rockglaciers (cf. Figs. 1.1’1.4), form an important and fascinating landform in alpine (high mountain) environments. They indicate alpine or mountain permafrost belts, and, thus, possess a high geodynamic and geoecologic information value. Unfortunately, discussions about rockglaciers are often very confusing. Some students, influenced by semantics, believe that rockglaciers are just debris-covered glaciers (Lliboutry 1965, 1986; Klaer 1974; Whalley 1974a); others accept features of quite different origin as rockglaciers. Often, glacial geomorphologists or glaciologists favor a glacial origin; workers in the field of permafrost believe in a periglacial genesis. Those who subscribe to neither of these groups have proposed that there are some types of rockglaciers which belong to the periglacial, and other types that belong to the glacial realm (White 1971b; Potter 1972). The term “continuum” (Johnson 1974, 1983; Corte 1987a; Giardino and Vitek 1988; Chap. 8) is highly favored in this context.
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Professor Dr. Dietrich Barsch
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg