Thermokarst and thermal erosion

Authored by: Stuart A. Harris , Anatoli Brouchkov , Cheng Guodong


Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138054165
eBook ISBN: 9781315166988
Adobe ISBN:


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Initially, the term thermokarst was introduced by M. M. Ermolaev (1932) to describe disturbed terrain formed by melting and destruction of ground ice along the coastal lowlands of northern Siberia (Figure 11.1). Ice-rich permafrost is widely distributed throughout the permafrost realm, and the use of the term thermokarst has now expanded to cover any modification of the ground surface by all the processes involving melting of all the kinds of ground ice (Soloviev, 1973b). As such, it can be produced by any alteration of the microenvironment that results in thawing of ice in the ground. These disturbances may be natural or man-made. Jones et al. (2013) provide an annotated bibliography emphasizing its effects on habitat and wildlife.

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