Active layer and borehole temperatures from La Foppa rock glaciers, Val Vallaccia, Central Italian Alps

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The La Foppa site is a glacial cirque located in the upper part of the Val Vallaccia, near Livigno, in the Italian Central Alps. The La Foppa cirque is characterized by five rock glaciers, of which four are active and one is of uncertain activity or is inactive. These rock glaciers, especially the two largest, named La Foppa I and La Foppa II, have been the subject of geophysical investigations (Lozej and Guglielmin, 1992; Guglielmin et al., 1994; Guglielmin 1997) including BTS measurements (bottom temperature of snow; more than 70 measurements between 1990 and 1993) and STG measurements (shallow temperature of ground in summer) (Calderoni et al. 1993; Guglielmin and Tellini 1992, 1994; Guglielmin 1997). The distribution of BTS and STG measurements indicate that above 2800 asl the permafrost is continuous whereas below this elevation it is constrained inside the rock glaciers, where it is not continuous.

Three boreholes have been established. One is in the frontal part of La Foppa I where the BTS values are always lower than -3 degrees C, and where the active layer detected with vertical electrical soundings (V.E.S.) ranges from 0.8 to 2.7 meters. The second borehole is in the central part of La Foppa I, where the BTS values range between -0.5 and -2.1 degrees C, and the V.E.S. indicate an active layer of 3 - 5.5 meters thick. The third borehole is located on the moraine ridge (of Late Glacial age) at 10 meters of the lateral slope of La Foppa I that overlaps the moraine ridge. Here the BTS values and V.E.S. point out the absence of permafrost. Near the third borehole there is a meteorological station that measures air temperature at 4 meters above the ground, snow cover, snow temperature every 20 cm up to 420 cm, precipitation, wind speed and direction, atmospheric pressure, relative humidity, and soil temperature at 2 and 30 cm depth. Borehole data are recorded on data loggers. A sample of the data is presented on the CAPS Version 1.0 CD-ROM. In this data file, data values must be divided by 10 to obtain the correct value.

Geographic Coverage


Spatial Coordinates:
N: 46.5°     S: 46.5°     E: 10°     W: 10°    

Temporal Coverage

Start Date: 1993-01-01

Location Keywords


Science Keywords

  • Cryosphere Frozen Ground Permafrost
  • Cryosphere Frozen Ground Rock Glaciers
  • Cryosphere Frozen Ground Soil Temperature
  • Cryosphere Snow/Ice Snow/Ice Temperature
  • Land Surface Frozen Ground Permafrost
  • Land Surface Frozen Ground Rock Glaciers
  • Land Surface Frozen Ground Soil Temperature

Ancillary Keywords

  • Boreholes
  • BTS Measurements
  • Continuous Permafrost
  • Discontinuous Permafrost
  • Meteorology
  • Rock Glaciers
  • Soil Temperature

Data Center

National Snow and Ice Data Center
Data Center URL:

Data Center Personnel

Name: NSIDC User Services
Phone: 1 303 492-6199
Fax: 1 303 492-2468
Contact Address:

  • National Snow and Ice Data Center
  • CIRES, 449 UCB
  • University of Colorado

City: Boulder
Province or State: CO
Postal Code: 80309-0449
Country: USA

Frozen Ground Data Center
Data Center URL:

Data Center Personnel

Name: FGDC User Services
Phone: 1 303 492-6199 x
Fax: 1 303 492-2468 x
Contact Address:

  • National Snow and Ice Data Center
  • CIRES, 449 UCB
  • University of Colorado

City: Boulder
Province or State: CO
Postal Code: 80309-0449
Country: USA


Distribution Format: Microsoft Excel


Contact Address:

  • Centro Nivometeorologico Regione Lombardia
  • Via Milano

City: Bormio (SO)
Country: Italy

Mauro Guglielmin
Phone: 39 2 67655152
Contact Address:

  • Insubria University

City: Varese
Postal Code: 21110
Country: Italy


Calderoni, G., Guglielmin, M., Lozej, A., Tellini, C. 1993. Researches on rock glaciers in the Italian Central Alps (Valtellina, Sondrio, Italia). International Conference on Permafrost, VI, Beijing. Proceedings, vol. 1, p. 72-77.

Cannone, N., Guglielmi, M, Smiraglia, C. (1995): Rapporti tra vegetazione e permafrost discontinuo in ambiente alpino. Val Vallaccia (Livigno, Sondrio). Rivista Geografica Italiana, 102, 91-111.

Guglielmin, M. (1997): Periglacial Phenomena, permafrost distribution and glacial evolution in Foscagno area, Livigno (SO), Italy, In IV Intern. Conference on Geomorphology, Italy, 1997 -Guide for the excursion- Mountain permafrostand slope stability in the periglacial belt of the Alps', Suppl. Geogr. Fis. Dinam. Quat. 193, 195-199.

Guglielmin, M. con contributi di A. Notarpietro (1997) Il Permafrost Alpino. Concetti, morfologia e metodi di individuazione (con tre indagini esemplificative in Alta Valtellina). Quaderni di Geodinamica alpina e Quaternaria, CNR, 5, 117 pp.

Guglielmi, M. (1989): I rock glacier del Passo del Foscagno (Alta Valtellina, Sondrio). Natura Bresciana, 26, 35-47.

Guglielmin, M., Lozej, A., Tellini, C. 1994. Permafrost distribution and rock glaciers in the Livigno area (Northern Italy). Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 5, p. 1-12.

Guglielmin, M. and Tellini, C. (1995) Relazioni tra permafrost alpino e copertura nevosa: risultati preliminari (area del Foscagno, Sondrio, Italia). Geogr. Fis. Dinam. Quat. 18, 25-29.

Guglielmin, M., Rossettin G. and Tellini, C. (1997) Perg?lisol alpin et variations climatiques dans les Alpes Centrales (valtellina, Italie), IV Intern. Conf. On Geomorphology, Abstract, Suppl. Geogr. Fis. Din. Quat., III, 1, 192, Submitted to Arctic and Alpine Research.

Guglielmin, M., Smiraglia, C. and Cannone, N. (1997) The rock glaciers of the Lombardy Alps (Italy) as indicators of mountain permafrost, IV Intern. Conf. On Geomorphology, Abstract, Suppl. Geogr. Fis. Din. Quat., III, 1, 193, Submitted to Geomorphology.

Guglielmin, M. and Tellini, C. (1994): Rilevamento del permafrost con il metodo BTS (Bottom Temperature of the Winter Snow Cover) nell'alta Valtellina (Sondrio, ITALIA).- Geogr. Fis. Din. Quat., 17, 47-54.

Guglielmin, M. and Tellini, C. (1993): First example of permafrost mapping with BTS in the Italian Alps (Livigno, Sondrio, Italy). Acta Naturalia, 29, 1/2, 39-46.

Guglielmin, M. and C. Tellini. 1992. Contributo alla conoacenza dei rock glaciers delle Alpi Italiane. I rock glaciers del Livignasco (Alta Valtellina, Sondrio). Riv. Geogr. It., 99, p. 395-414.

Lozej, A. and Guglielmin, M. 1992. Prospezioni geoelettriche sul rock glacier de 'La Foppa', Livigno, Sondrio (Italia). GEAM- Boll. Ass. Min. Subalp., XXIV, 4, dicembre, p. 373-382.

Metadata Name and Version

Metadata Name: CEOS IDN DIF
Metadata Version: 9.7

Creation and Review Dates

DIF Creation Date: 2003-06-18
Last DIF Revision Date: 2012-09-18

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