frozen ground or permafrost

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a suction developed in freezing or partially frozen fine-grained materials as a result of temperature-dependent differences in unfrozen water content.


the textural characteristics of frozen, fine-grained organic and mineral earth materials cemented together with ice.

cryotic ground

soil or rock at temperatures of 0 degrees Celsius or lower.


a body of earth material moved or disturbed by frost action.


(1) (singular) a collective term used to describe all soil movements due to frost action (2) (plural) irregular structures formed in earth materials by deep frost penetration and frost action processes, and characterized by folded, broken and dislocated beds and lenses of unconsolidated deposits, included organic horizons and even bedrock.

debris flow

a sudden and destructive variety of landslide, in which loose material on a slope, with more than 50% of particles larger than sand size, is mobilized by saturation and flows down a channel or canyon.


the ability of a material to change its shape or size under the influence of an external or internal agency, such as stress, temperature, or pore pressure.

degree of saturation

(1) the total degree of saturation of frozen soil is the ratio of the volume of ice and unfrozen water in the soil pores to the volume of the pores (2) the degree of saturation of frozen soil by ice is the ratio of the volume of ice in the soil pores to the volume of the pores.

degree-day (C or F)

a derived unit of measurement used to express the departure of the mean temperature for a day from a given reference (or base) temperature.

delayed strength

the failure strength of a material at a given strain rate or after a given period under deviatoric stress.