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Rock glaciers, Austria

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Entry ID



The Austrian Alps are part of the Eastern Alps which consist of three main mountain ranges. The Northern Alps as well as the Southern Alps are predominantly built of limestone and have poor glaciation in spite of high amounts of precipitation (2000-3000 mm/a) due to the fact that they reach elevations of not more than 3000 m. In contrast the Central Alps consist of metamorphic rocks and receive less precipitation, but are glaciated on large areas (highest mountain of Austria: Groglockner, 3797 m). Recent permafrost and rock glaciers are best developed in the Central Alps, where discontinuous mountain permafrost occurs above a mean altitude of 2500 m.

Rock glaciers were mapped from aerial photographs (different years, most of them 1980-1990) completely covering the area described above. The inventory comprises 1451 rock glaciers with data on their horizontal and vertical position, activity, and morphometric characteristics of each rock glacier. The distinction between active and inactive rock glaciers within the activity class 'intact' was not possible due to the quality of the photographs. Only 19 % of the rock glaciers were classified as intact, while 81 % are relict ones and in most cases of Late Glacial age (a great part of the investigated is situated below present day lower limit of permafrost). In detail the inventory contains information of the following parameters: 1: River basin 2: Number of rock glacier according to river basins 3: Topographic name out of the official map 1:50.000 4: Mountain group 5: Number of official map 1:50.000 6: Number of official aerial photograph map 7: Exposure (8 classes) 8: Lower limit of rock glacier (m above sea level) 9: Maximum length (m, in estimated flow direction) 10: Maximum width (m) 11: Activity (2 classes: intact, relict=fossil) 12: Highest point of the catchment area of the rock glacier (m above sea level) 13: Difference between 12 and 8 (m)

Geographic coordinates of coverage as listed in the GGD inventory are approximate. These data are presented on the CAPS Version 1.0 CD-ROM, June 1998. The inventory does not include measurements on dynamics of rock glacier permafrost.

Geographic Coverage


Spatial Coordinates:
N: 49°     S: 47°     E: 17°     W: 12°    

Data Set Citation

Dataset Creator: Lieb, G.K
Dataset Title: Rock glaciers, Austria
Dataset Release Date: 1998-01-01
Dataset Release Place: Boulder, Colorado USA
Dataset Publisher: NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data Center
Online Resource:

Temporal Coverage

Start Date: 1980-01-01
Stop Date: 1990-12-31

Location Keywords


Science Keywords

  • Cryosphere Frozen Ground Rock Glaciers
  • Land Surface Frozen Ground Rock Glaciers

Ancillary Keywords

  • GIS
  • Mapping
  • Remote Sensing
  • Rock Glaciers

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 Media: FTP
Distribution Format: GIF

Distribution Media: FTP
Distribution Format: ASCII Text (.txt)


Gerhard K. Lieb
Contact Address:

  • Karl Franzens Universitaet Graz
  • Institute of Geography
  • Heinrichstrasse 36

City: Graz
Postal Code: A-8010
Country: Austria


Lieb, G.K. (1991). The horizontal and vertical distribution of rock glaciers in the Hohe Tauern Range (Austria). - Z. Geomorph. N.F. 35/3, 345-365 (in German). Lieb, G.K. (1996). Permafrost and rock glaciers in the Eastern Austrian Alps. - In: Contributions to permafrost research in Austria. Arbeiten aus dem Institut fuer Geographie der Universitaet Graz 33, 9-125 (in German).

Metadata Name and Version

Metadata Name: CEOS IDN DIF
Metadata Version: 9.7

Creation and Review Dates

DIF Creation Date: 1998-01-01
Last DIF Revision Date: 2012-08-29

Metadata Views

DIF Text-Only

Directory Interchange Format (DIF) in plain text


Directory Interchange Format (DIF) in Extensible Markup Language (XML)


U.S. Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM)


International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 19115:2003 Geographic Information Metadata

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