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Snow Action on Mount Twynam, Snowy Mountains, Australia

  • A. B. Costin (a1), J. N. Jennings (a2), H. P. Black (a3) and B. G. Thom (a4)

Abstract

A commonly accepted distinction between snow-patches and glaciers is the slow mass movement of the latter with consequent abrasion of stones and rock surfaces. However, the observations of some workers do not support this distinction. The present study, in a snow-patch area on Mount Twynam in the Snowy Mountains (Australia), presents positive evidence of slow mass sliding of snow, causing transport, abrasion and detachment of stones and abrasion of the bedrock surface. Consequently, no sharp separation is possible between the erosional effects of snow-patches and small cirque glaciers. In areas such as the Snowy Mountains the relative importance of glacial and nivational processes becomes more difficult to evaluate.

Résumé

Une distinction d’usage courant entre les plaques de neige et les glaciers tient dans le mouvement d’ensemble lent de ces derniers et dans l’abrasion des pierres et des surfaces rocheuses qui en résulte. Cependant, les observations de quelques travailleurs n’admettent pas cette différentiation.

L’étude actuelle d’une plaque de neige sur le Mont Twynam dans les Snowy Mountains (Australie) offre l’évidence absolue d’un glissement lent de la neige dans la masse, qui est responsable du transport, de l’abrasion et de l’arrachement des pierres, ainsi que de l’abrasion des surfaces rocheuses. Par conséquent, on ne peut différencier nettement les effets de l’érosion due aux plaques de neige de ceux de l’érosion produite par les petits glaciers de cirque. Dans les régions telles que les Snowy Mountains, l’importance relative des processus glaciaires et nivaux devient plus diflicile à évaluer.

Zusammenfassung

Nach allgemeiner Annahme gilt, dass sich Gletscher von Firnflecken durch ihre langsame Massenbewegung unterscheiden, welche die Abrasion von Steinen und Felsoberflächen zur Folge hat. Diese Unterscheidung wurde jedoch durch die Beobachtungen einiger Forscher in Frage gestellt.

Die vorliegende Untersuchung, die an Firnflecken im Gebiet des Mount Twynam in den Snowy Mountains (Australien) durchgeführt wurde, ergab klare Anzeichen von langsamem Gleiten der Schneemassen, das Verlagerung, Abrasion und Loslösung von Steiner sowie Abrasion des Felsuntergrundes bewirkte. Eine scharfe Trennung der Erosionswirkungen von Firnilecken und kleinen Kargletschern ist daher unmöglich. Die relative Bedeutung glazialer und nivaler Vorgänge lässt sich in Gebieten wie den Snowy Mountains nur schwer ermitteln.

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Copyright

References

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