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Earth hummocks in north-east Okstindan, northern Norway: morphology, distribution and environmental constraints

Gurney, S. D. and Hayward, S. (2015) Earth hummocks in north-east Okstindan, northern Norway: morphology, distribution and environmental constraints. Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift, 69 (5). pp. 299-309. ISSN 0029-1951

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/00291951.2015.1084530

Abstract/Summary

Earth hummocks (also termed pounus or thúfur) are a common form of periglacial non-sorted patterned ground. The study objectives were to determine the morphology, distribution and development on slopes of earth hummocks in north-east Okstindan, Norway, an area with many hummocks but few documented accounts. The methodology involved detailed geomorphological mapping and precise measurement with a profileometer. The internal structure of the hummocks was investigated through excavations and sediment sample analyses. Fourteen sites with well-developed earth hummocks (accounting for over 650 individual hummock forms) were investigated. The sites have an average altitude of 750 m and occur on slopes with an average gradient of 7°. The hummock heights are in the range 0.11–0.52 m and their diameters 0.7–1.5 m, although coalescent forms are up to 5 m in length. The hummock morphology is characterised by a variable plan form, asymmetry with respect to upslope and downslope forms, downslope elongation, coalescence, and superimposed microtopography. The hummocks’ distribution appeared to have been controlled by the existence of a frost-susceptible ‘host’ sediment, but moisture availability and topographic position played a role. The authors conclude that differential frost heave and vegetation cover stability are critical for the hummocks’ longevity in the studied landscape.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Earth Systems Science
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:45864
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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