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Kinematics of Spruce Creek rock glacier, Colorado, USA

  • Eric M. Leonard (a1), Peter Staab (a2) and Stephen G. Weaver (a1)

Abstract

A 14 year kinematic survey of Spruce Creek rock glacier, Colorado, USA, provides information on rates and controls of surface strain. Steel-tape measurements of differential movement yield data of cm-scale accuracy, sufficient to assess strain patterns over small portions of the very slowly deforming rock glacier. Flow rates are typically <10cma–1, and measured strain rates range from 1.0 × 10–5a–1 to 1.5 × 10–3a–1. The primary control on longitudinal strain is changing surface slope, with extending flow occurring in areas of down-valley increase in slope, and compressing flow in areas of down-valley slope decrease. Relatively high strain rates are associated with higher flow velocities and with the impingement of faster-flowing up-valley portions of the rock glacier on the slower-moving lower portion. Overall strain rates decreased through the study period, probably as a result of a slowing of the upper part of the rock glacier. Transverse ridges are associated with longitudinal shortening, caused by either slope changes or impingement of faster-moving sections of the rock glacier on slower-moving sections, but transverse ridges do not occur in every area of strong longitudinal shortening.

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References

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