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.

Rock glacier inventory
Hautes Alpes Calcaires (Switzerland)


Marcia Phillips
Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research
Flüelastrasse 11
CH-7260 Davos Dorf

Emmanuel Reynard
Laurent Wenker
University of Lausanne, Institute of Geography
CH - 1015 Lausanne

Geographic extent

Study site:

Hautes Alpes Calcaires, Helvetic Alps, Switzerland

Northwestern latitude 46 25' N
Northwestern longitude 7 02' E
Southeastern latitude 46 08' N
Southeastern longitude 7 36' E

Period of investigation

1992, 1997


The Hautes Alpes Calcaires is a limestone range in the northern part of the Rhone Valley (Switzerland). It is caracterized by a transitional climate between the wet Prealpes (precipitation = 1500 mm per year at 1000 m a.s.l.) and the central part of Valais (750 mm per year at 1000 m a.s.l.) and a contrasted morphology, with high limestone cliffs alternating with schists. For each rock glacier a file exists with different characteristics such as orientation, width, length, elevation of the spring and the front, type of form, type of material, activity, lithology, etc. Measurements of spring temperatures and BTS (Bottom temperature under snow cover) exist for some rock glaciers, especially for the Cabane des Diablerets Rock Glacier, on which several temperature measurements (under the snow cover (BTS) and in the soil (mini-loggers)) and snow profiles have been carried out. The inventory is not complete.

Current storage of data

The inventory is stored on electronic file (Filemaker Pro 2.0 for Macintosh) and on paper. The data are not at risk of being lost.

University of Lausanne, Institute of Geography
CH - 1015 Lausanne


PHILLIPS M., REYNARD E. 1996. Regional influence of climate and geomorphology on the permafrost distribution. The example of the Hautes Alpes Calcaires, Rapports de recherche UKPIK, 8, 197-206, (in French).

WENKER L., REYNARD E. 1997. Permafrost mapping in two regions of the western Swiss Alps : Les Diablerets and Verbier, Proceedings of the Workshop "Mountain Permafrost and Slope Stability in the Periglacial Belt of the Alps," Bormio, 27. 8.97, pp 52-54.


  1. Helvetic Alps, Switzerland
  2. Rock glaciers
  3. BTS measurements
  4. Inventory of rock glaciers

Please cite these data as follows:

Phillips, M., Reynard, E., and Wenker, L. 1998. Rock glacier inventory, Haute Alpes Calcaires, 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.