Data Set ID:

Rock glaciers from Norway and Svalbard, Version 1

A complete inventory of rock glaciers on mainland Norway and Svalbard has only been carried out in connection with coarse geomorphological mapping. The data presented here are therefore averaged on a regional scale. Some detailed geomorpholgical maps exist, however, where more detailed information can be extracted. The data listed are therefore not a complete database of Norwegian rock glaciers. Recently detailed studies have been carried out on rockglaciers in the Ny Alesund and the Longyearbyen areas on Svalbard. From these studies, detailed data are available.

On mainland Norway, there are at least 150 rock glaciers (Sollid and Sorbel 1992) . These may be grouped as follows:
1. Probably active rock glaciers in high mountain areas in southern and northern Norway. Most of these are situated in the Rondane mountain area of southern Norway.
2. Relict rock glaciers in low-lying areas near the coast of northern Norway. These rock glaciers have a position marginal to the Weichselian ice sheet and were formed during permafrost conditions before or during deglaciation.
3. Relict rock glaciers in higher inland areas of northern Norway. These rock glaciers are believed to have formed under permafrost conditions during deglaciation possibly because of rock falls caused by tectonic activity during isostatic uplift. On Svalbard, there are at least 500 rock glaciers (Kristiansen and Sollid 1986). Most of these are situated on the central and western part of Spitsbergen. They are most common in coastal areas, often below the steep escarpment which delimits the inner part of the strandflat. As Svalbard has continuous permafrost, most of these are probably active. Some may however be inactive, as for instance the rock glaciers at Stuphallet near Ny Alesund (Sollid and Sorbel 1992). In those cases, the rock glaciers have moved out of its source area and onto the strandflat.

Partly in cooperation with ETH-Zurich, detailed investigations have been started in the Ny Alesund area, Western Spitsbergen. These investigations have been enlarged also to the Longyearbyen area, central Spitsbergen. Principal methods have been velocity measurements, using theodolite/EDM, GPS and photogrammetry; geophysical methods (DC resistivity soundings, seismic refraction soundings, gravimetry and georadar); and morphometrical analysis using a Digital Elevation Model and a grid-based GIS. Typical velocities are between 5 and 10 cm/year, both for lobate and tongue-shaped rock glaciers. These data are presented on the CAPS Version 1.0 CD-ROM, June 1998.

Get Data

Geographic Coverage

Data Set Tabs

Temporal Coverage:
  • 1985-01-01 to 1997-12-31
Temporal Resolution:
Not specified
Not specified
Sensor(s): Not specified
Spatial Coverage:
  • N: 81, S: 58, E: 31, W: 10

Spatial Resolution:
Not Specified
  • Frozen Ground > Permafrost
  • Frozen Ground > Rock Glaciers
Data Format(s):
  • ASCII Text (.txt)
Data Contributor(s): Ivar Berthling, Johan Ludvig Sollid, Leif Soerbel, Bernd Etzelmuller

We kindly request that you cite the use of this data set in a publication using the following citation. For more information, see Use and Copyright.

Sollid, J.L., B. Etzelmuller, and L. Soerbel 1998. Rock glaciers from Norway and Svalbard, Version 1. [indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Questions? Please contact:

NSIDC User Services
Phone: 1 303 492-6199
Fax: 1 303 492-2468
Contact Address:
National Snow and Ice Data Center
University of Colorado
City: Boulder
Province or State: CO
Postal Code: 80309-0449
Country: USA