Sorted circles, polygons, and stripes are reported from Alaska, Greenland, Baffin Island, Antarctica, and New Hampshire. From these studies and key references, all cases are found to have: (1) a mixed parent material, commonly till, composed of a wide range of clast sizes unsorted below frost table, (2) gutter depressions containing the largest stones and carrying summer drainage, and (3) tabular stones on edge in the gutters showing expansion-squeezing from the sides. The size of the unit cells, gutter to gutter, is a function of mean maximum clast size: smallest chips making forms 10 cm diameter across and largest forms 20 m across. The slope determines the shape: polygons, and nets form on slopes up to 2 or 4° depending upon amount of water and fines. Ellipses form on 3 to 6° slopes, and stripes form on 4 to 11° slopes. Clearly shape is an effect of solifluction. Lastly, time involves seasons of sporadic sorting until there is a stable end form with lichen-covered stone gutters and tundra-covered soil centers. The up-and-out mechanism, described by Corté, is the best known for the primary sorting. Larger sorted forms (2–20 m in diameter) are reported almost exclusively where nearly continuous permafrost exists. They form where the mean annual temperature is below − 4°C. Former permafrost is indicated where lichen and turf are dense and not overturned and where measured motion is nil. Small forms (under 1 m in diameter) are generated in a year or two where there is only deep annual freezing (0.1–2 m), but no permafrost.