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Title: Rock Glacier Movement and Debris Transport Over Annual to Multi‐Millennial Timescales

Rock glaciers are common in alpine landscapes, but their evolution over time and their significance as agents of debris transport are not well‐understood. Here, we assess the movement of an ice‐cemented rock glacier over a range of timescales using GPS surveying, satellite‐based radar, and cosmogenic10Be surface‐exposure dating. GPS and InSAR measurements indicate that the rock glacier moved at an average rate of ∼10 cm yr−1in recent years. Sampled boulders on the rock glacier have cosmogenic surface‐exposure ages from 1.2 to 10 ka, indicating that they have been exposed since the beginning of the Holocene. Exposure ages increase linearly with distance downslope, suggesting a slower long‐term mean surface velocity of 3 ± 0.3 cm yr−1. Our findings suggest that the behavior of this rock glacier may be dominated by episodes of dormancy punctuated by intervals of relatively rapid movement over both short and long timescales. Our findings also show that the volume of the rock glacier corresponds to ∼10 m of material stripped from the headwall during the Holocene. These are the first cosmogenic surface‐exposure ages to constrain movement of a North American rock glacier, and together with the GPS and satellite radar measurements, they reveal that rock glaciers are effective geomorphic agents with dynamic multi‐millennial histories.

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Award ID(s):
2300560 1735676 1935200
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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