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Data Set ID:
GGD285

Rock glaciers in the Pyrenees, Spain and France, Version 1

This study and inventory of active rock glaciers was carried out by means of the usual techniques used in the study of alpine permafrost. First, the rock glaciers were located by means of aerial photography and field work. Second, a detailed geomorphological map was prepared, to detect the active processes in each rock glacier. This includes geotransect and surface analysis (clast roundness, clast forms, particle orientation and lichenometric measurements). Third, complementary measurements (water temperature and BTS [bottom temperature of snow] measurements) were carried out. These three studies allowed us to determine the activity or inactivity of previously detailed landforms, and to classify them as active, inactive, or relict rock glaciers. The external landforms, frontal slope, vertical organization, flow forms, absence of lichens and the descriptive parameters of rock glaciers allowed us to classify them as relict or active ones. On the Besiberri, Gemelos, and Argualas rock glaciers we have carried out photogrammetric studies, and on the Argualas rock glacier we carried out a topographic survey from 1991 and also geoelectric soundings (San Jose et al. 1992; Serrano et al. 1995; Fabre et al. 1995). These data are presented on the CAPS Version 1.0 CD-ROM, June
1998.

Geographic Coverage

Parameter(s):
  • Frozen Ground > Periglacial Processes
  • Frozen Ground > Rock Glaciers
  • Snow/Ice > Snow/Ice Temperature
Spatial Coverage:
  • N: 42.833, S: 42.333, E: 0.917, W: -0.333

Spatial Resolution: Not Specified
Temporal Coverage:
  • 1 January 1990 to 31 December 1997
Temporal Resolution: Not specified
Data Format(s):
  • ASCII Text
Platform(s) Not specified
Sensor(s): Not specified
Version: V1
Data Contributor(s): Eduardo Martinez de Pison, Jeronimo Lopez-Martinez, Miguel Arenillas, Isidro Cantarino, Francisco Garcia, Ramior Martinez, Jose Navarro, Alfonso Pedrero
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.

Martinez de Pison, E., J. Lopez-Martinez, and J. Duran. 1998. Rock glaciers in the Pyrenees, Spain and France, Version 1. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data Center. [Date Accessed].

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Notice: 

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

Detailed Data Description

Coverage of Data set

Study location:

Pyrenees (Spain, France)

Geographic extent:

Northwestern latitude: 42° 50' N
Northwestern longitude: 0° 20' W
Southeastern latitude: 42° 20' N
Southeastern longitude: 0° 55' E

Period of investigation:

Inventory of rock glaciers: 1990-1997

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Summary description

Pyrenees is the northernmost range of the Iberian Peninsula, separating the Spanish and French states. The high Pyrenees occupy 365 km2 and spread from the upper timberline at 2400 m to the 3404 m Aneto summit, the highest peak. Today the high mountain is deglaciated; it is a rocky high mountain with glacial shapes and cryonival landforms and processes. According to World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), there are forty-one glaciers occupying 8.1 km2. The ELA (Equilibrium Line Altitude) is located around 3100 m in northern orientations. The study and inventory of active rock glaciers were carried out by means of the usual techniques used in the study of alpine permafrost. First, the rock glaciers were located by means of aerial photography and field work. Second, a detailed geomorphological map was prepared, to detect the active processes in each rock glacier. This includes geotransect and surface analysis (clast roundness, clast forms, particle orientation and lichenometric measurements). Third, complementary measurements (water temperature and BTS - bottom temperature of snow - measurements) were carried out. These three studies allowed us to determinate the activity or inactivity of previously detailed landforms, and to classify them as active, inactive or relict rock glaciers. The external landforms, frontal slope, vertical organization, flow forms, absence of lichens and the descriptive parameters of rock glaciers allowed us to classify them as relict or active ones. On the Besiberri, Gemelos and Argualas rock glaciers we have carried out photogrammetric studies, and on the Argualas rock glacier we carried out a topographic survey from 1991 and also geoelectric soundings (San Jose et al. 1992; Serrano et al. 1995; Fabre et al. 1995).

In the Pyrenees have been detected thirteen active rock glaciers, together with embrionary [emerging?] rock glaciers and active periglacial landforms. The study of rock glaciers allows us to place the discontinuous permafrost limit at 2650-2700 m a.s.l. The active rock glaciers are located in the deglaciated high mountain of the central Pyrenees, and are linked to the recent deglaciation of the high mountain They remain in a very dynamic periglacial environment associated with its characteristics landforms (snow patches, solifluction, protalus ramparts, debris flow, debris lobes and debris slopes). The rock glaciers are situated in the most massive and highest massifs (Argualas-Infierno, 3171 m, Posets, 3200 m, Besiberri, 3014 m, Aneto 3404 m), in cirques and slopes over 2600 m, and below summits higher than 2950 m. The orientations are north and northwest (93%) and the substratum is diverse. Rock glaciers presence implies a morphogenetic sequence conditioned by the ELA ascent and the enlargement of cryogenic domain, both characteristic processes of the recently deglaciated high mountain. The rock glaciers of the Pyrenees occupy a surface of 1 km2 and represent 1.3% of ice reserves in the Pyrenees. Actually the active rock glaciers are located in environments not favorable to rock glaciers. The genesis of rock glaciers in the Pyrenees high mountain is related to the transition between a residual glacial environment of altitude and the periglacial environment in the cryonival belt. The activity of the Pyrenees active rock glaciers is, primarily, a heritage of past environmental conditions and the result of a slow response to recent environmental changes.

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Current storage of data
CD-ROM
Paper                  X
Spreadsheet
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Database
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Datacenter

Dpto. Geografia, Urbanismo y O.T.
Universidad de Cantabria
Av. De Los Castros s/n
39005 SANTANDER
SPAIN
Fax.- 34-1-201783
Email.- Serranoe@ccaix3.unican.es

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Software and Tools

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Data Acquisition and Processing

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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments

Details of principal investigator:

Eduardo Martinez de Pison
Enrique Serrano
Carlos Agudo
Miguel Arenillas
Isidro Cantarino
Francisco Garcia
Ramiro Martinez
Jose Navarro
Alfonso Pedrero

Organization:

ERHIN PROGRAM
D.G.O.H.
Environment National Ministry.

Dpto. Geografia.
Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
Cantoblanco
28049 Madrid
Spain
tel.- 34-1-3974513
E.mail.- Emartinez@uam.es

Dpto. Geografia, Urbanismo y O.T.
Universidad de Cantabria
Av. de Los castros s/n.
39012 Santander
Spain
Phone: 34-42-20.17.76
Fax. 34-1-20.17.83
E mail.- Serranoe@ccaix3.unican.es

Document Information

Please cite these data as follows:

Martinez de Pison, E.; Serrano, E.; Agudo, C.; Arenillas, M.; Cantarino, I.; Garcia, F.; Martinez, R.; Navarro, J.; and Pedrero, A. 1998. Rock glaciers in the Pyrenees, Spain and France. 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, nsidc@kryos.colorado.edu. Boulder, Colorado: NSIDC, University of Colorado at Boulder.

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