Note: This data set was first published on the 1998 CAPS CD.
The text for this document was taken unchanged from that CD.

See also Description of Data Files.

IPA Global Geocryological Database: GGD288

Name of data set: Rock Glaciers, Upper Engadin, Switzerland

Details of Principal Investigators:

Martin Hoelzle


Martin Hoelzle

Section of Physical Geography
Department of Geography
University of Zurich
Winterthurerstrasse 190
CH-8057 Zurich
Tel. ++41 1 635 51 39
Fax. ++41 1 635 68 48
  Section of Glaciology
Laboratory of Hydraulics Hydrology and Glaciology
Federal Institut of Technology
Gloriastrasse 37/39
CH-8092 Zurich
Tel. ++41 1 632 40 94
Fax. ++41 1 632 11 92

Coverage of data set:

Study location:

Upper Engadin, Eastern Swiss Alps

Geographic extent - Describe the corners of the box representing data coverage:

latitude: 46 22' N and 46 33'
longtitude: 9 44' E and 9 58'

Period of investigation - Years covered

Inventory of rock glaciers: 07.09.1988

Summary Description - Brief details of site type, data collection techniques, parameters

The investigated region is called Upper Engadin and is situated in the Eastern part of the Swiss Alps. The area is characterized by a high situated valley floor with an average altitude of 1700 m a.s.l. This valley has a very smooth slope in the direction from SW to NE and is characterized by the river Inn and some larger lakes (Lake Sils, Lake Silvaplana, Lake Champfer and Lake St. Moritz). At uppermost part the valley breaks sharply down to the valley of the Maira river in the Bergell mountains. Three categories of rock glaciers were mapped: a) 97 active rock glaciers, b) 47 inactive rock glaciers and c) 26 fossil or relictic rock glaciers. The mapping was performed with Infrared aerial photographs taken by the Swiss Federal Office of Cadastral Surveys (Vermessungsdirektion). The scale of the photographs is around 1:52000. The data are described in Hoelzle (1989, unpublished). Data included on the CAPS CD-ROM Version 1.0 include type, elevation, length/width, exposition, and position.

The following parameters of each rock glacier were measured:

Front elevation [m a.s.l.],
source elevation [m a.s.l.],
length [m],
width [m],
front exposition,
source exposition,
coordinates [Swiss national system]

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Hoelzle, M. 1989. Untersuchungen zur Permafrostverbreitung im Oberengadin. Diploma thesis at the ETH-Zurich. 79 p. Unpublished.


  1. Upper Engadin Eastern Swiss Alps Switzerland
  2. Rock Glaciers
  3. Infrared aerial Photographs
  4. Rock glacier activity
  5. Inventory of rock glaciers

Please cite these data as follows:

Hoelzle, M. 1998. Rock Glaciers,Upper Engadin, Switzerland. In: International Permafrost Association, Data and Information Working Group, comp. Circumpolar Active-Layer Permafrost System (CAPS), version 1.0. CD-ROM available from National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, Colorado: NSIDC, University of Colorado at Boulder.