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Open AccessArticle

The Occurrence of Permafrost within the Glacial Domain

Institute of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Natural Science, University of Silesia in Katowice, ul. Będzińska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland
Geosciences 2020, 10(5), 193;
Received: 6 April 2020 / Revised: 13 May 2020 / Accepted: 15 May 2020 / Published: 20 May 2020
The occurrence of permafrost within glacial environments has never been comprehensively defined based on scientific evidence, despite its importance in determining how all the components of the cryosphere associate and interact. Here, the relation between glaciers and permafrost is discussed based on what scientific field they have been traditionally associated with. As the most accepted definition of permafrost is not exclusively linked to the presence of a geological medium, this can also be ice of any origin, including snow and glacial ice. Thus, active glaciers can act as permafrost medium. Indeed, all thermal types of glaciers meet the definition of permafrost as they remain at or below 0 °C for certainly more than two consecutive years. Active rock glaciers, regardless of the origin of the ice within, also meet the definition of permafrost. The presence of an active layer is not a prerequisite for the existence of permafrost either. Therefore, a comprehensive definition of permafrost occurrence across the cryosphere is essential to appropriately understand the phenomenon as a whole, not only as seen from our planet but also as it occurs for example on the icy moons of the Solar System and other frozen rocky bodies. View Full-Text
Keywords: permafrost; glaciers; glacier–permafrost interaction permafrost; glaciers; glacier–permafrost interaction
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Dobiński, W. The Occurrence of Permafrost within the Glacial Domain. Geosciences 2020, 10, 193.

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