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Rock-Ice Feature Inventory for the Sierra Nevada, California, USA

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Entry ID

GGD652

Summary

The Sierra Nevada is a tectonic uplift mountain range with a gradual gain in elevation on the west side and a steep escarpment on the east. Most of the mapped locations are east of the Sierran crest. The climate in the region is Mediterranean, with most of the precipitation in the winter months coming as snow at high elevations, but with some monsoonal precipitation in the summer, particularly in the southern end of the range. There is a very steep gradient in decreasing precipitation eastward from the Sierran crest as a result of rain-shadow orographic effects from the predominately eastward-moving Pacific frontal storms. PRISM-estimated (Daly et al. 1994) annual precipitation for the RIF locations ranged from 580 to 1880 mm; July precipitation from 5 to 33 mm. Mean annual maximum temperatures ranged from 1.8 to 15.2 oC, January from -5.7 to 6.2 oC, and July from 11 to 26.3 oC. Mean annual minima ranged from -8.1 to -0.4 oC, January from -15 to -7 oC, and July from 1.2 to 8.9 oC. The highest temperatures and lowest precipitation were largely at relict Pleistocene rock glaciers, which tended to be farthest east of the Sierran crest and lower in elevation. We mapped over 430 RIFs, based on field surveys and grouped them into six classes based on morphology and location. These categories constitute a greater range of frozen-ground features than are commonly described in rock-glacier surveys. Although granitic substrates dominate the Sierra Nevada, they do not in the eastern escarpment, so substrates in the RIF database are about equally divided between granitic and metamorphic. Ages of rock glaciers ranged from current (active) to relict (late Pleistocene). We interpreted the presence of outlet springs, basal lakes, suspended silt in outlet streams, and fringing phreatophytic vegetation, in addition to morphologic indications of current rock movement, as evidence for interstitial ice, either persistent or seasonal.


One comma-delimited ASCII file containing information for 430 rock-ice features is available.

Geographic Coverage

 

Spatial Coordinates:
N: 38.8°     S: 34.5°     E: -118.2°     W: -119.9°     Min Altitude: 2225 meters     Max Altitude: 3932 meters    

Data Set Citation

Dataset Creator: Millar C. and R. Westfall
Dataset Title: Rock-Ice Feature Inventory for the Sierra Nevada, California, USA
Dataset Release Date: 2009-02-06
Dataset Release Place: Boulder, Colorado USA
Dataset Publisher: NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data Center
Online Resource: http://nsidc.org/data/ggd652.html

Location Keywords

  • CONTINENT NORTH AMERICA UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CALIFORNIA SIERRA NEVADA

Science Keywords

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

Data Set Progress

complete

Originating Center

FGDC

Data Center

National Snow and Ice Data Center
Data Center URL: http://nsidc.org

Data Center Personnel

Name: NSIDC User Services
Phone: 1 303 492-6199
Fax: 1 303 492-2468
Email: nsidc@nsidc.org
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: http://nsidc.org/fgdc/

Data Center Personnel

Name: FGDC User Services
Phone: 1 303 492-6199 x
Fax: 1 303 492-2468 x
Email: nsidc@nsidc.org
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

Distribution Media: FTP
Distribution Size: 36 KB
Distribution Format: ASCII Text (.txt)

Personnel

Constance Millar
Role: INVESTIGATOR
Phone: 1 510 559 6435
Fax: 1 510 559 6440
Email: cmillar@fs.fed.us
Contact Address:

  • USDA Forest Service
  • Pacific Southwest Research Station
  • P.O. Box 245

City: Berkeley
Province or State: CA
Postal Code: 94701
Country: USA

Robert Westfall
Role: INVESTIGATOR
Contact Address:

  • USDA Forest Service
  • Pacific Southwest Research Station
  • P.O. Box 245

City: Berkeley
Province or State: CA
Postal Code: 94701

Reference

Daly, C., Neilson, R.P., Phillips, D.L. 1994. A statistical-topographic model for mapping climatological precipitation over mountainous terrain. Journal of Applied Meteorology 33:140–158.

Millar, C. I., and R. D. Westfall. 2008. Rock glaciers and related periglacial landforms in the Sierra Nevada, CA, USA; inventory, distribution and climatic relationships. Quaternary International 188:90-104.

Metadata Name and Version

Metadata Name: CEOS IDN DIF
Metadata Version: 9.7

Creation and Review Dates

DIF Creation Date: 2009-02-06
Last DIF Revision Date: 2012-08-28

Metadata Views

DIF Text-Only

Directory Interchange Format (DIF) in plain text

DIF XML

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

FGDC HTML

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

ISO HTML

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

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