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Rock glaciers, Austria, Version 1

The Austrian Alps are part of the Eastern Alps which consist of three main mountain ranges. The Northern Alps as well as the Southern Alps are predominantly built of limestone and have poor glaciation in spite of high amounts of precipitation (2000-3000 mm/a) due to the fact that they reach elevations of not more than 3000 m. In contrast the Central Alps consist of metamorphic rocks and receive less precipitation, but are glaciated on large areas (highest mountain of Austria: Groglockner, 3797 m). Recent permafrost and rock glaciers are best developed in the Central Alps, where discontinuous mountain permafrost occurs above a mean altitude of 2500 m.

Rock glaciers were mapped from aerial photographs (different years, most of them 1980-1990) completely covering the area described above. The inventory comprises 1451 rock glaciers with data on their horizontal and vertical position, activity, and morphometric characteristics of each rock glacier. The distinction between active and inactive rock glaciers within the activity class 'intact' was not possible due to the quality of the photographs. Only 19 % of the rock glaciers were classified as intact, while 81 % are relict ones and in most cases of Late Glacial age (a great part of the investigated is situated below present day lower limit of permafrost). In detail the inventory contains information of the following parameters:
1: River basin
2: Number of rock glacier according to river basins
3: Topographic name out of the official map 1:50.000
4: Mountain group
5: Number of official map 1:50.000
6: Number of official aerial photograph map
7: Exposure (8 classes)
8: Lower limit of rock glacier (m above sea level)
9: Maximum length (m, in estimated flow direction)
10: Maximum width (m)
11: Activity (2 classes: intact, relict=fossil)
12: Highest point of the catchment area of the rock glacier
(m above sea level)
13: Difference between 12 and 8 (m)

Geographic coordinates of coverage as listed in the GGD inventory are approximate. These data are presented on the CAPS Version 1.0 CD-ROM, June 1998. The inventory does not include measurements on dynamics of rock glacier permafrost.

Geographic Coverage

Spatial Coverage:
  • N: 49, S: 47, E: 17, W: 12

Spatial Resolution: Not Specified
Temporal Coverage:
  • 1 January 1980 to 31 December 1990
Temporal Resolution: Not specified
  • Frozen Ground > Rock Glaciers
Platform(s) Not specified
Sensor(s): Not specified
Data Format(s):
  • GIF
  • ASCII Text (.txt)
Version: V1
Data Contributor(s): Gerhard K. Lieb

Data Citation

As a condition of using these data, you must cite the use of this data set using the following citation. For more information, see our Use and Copyright Web page.

Lieb, G.K 1998. Rock glaciers, Austria, Version 1. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data Center. [Date Accessed].
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