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Periglacial Environments

  • By: Hugh M. French
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Periglacial environments are characterized by intense frost, often combined with the presence of perennially frozen ground, or permafrost. Periglacial environments are restricted to areas that experience cold, but essentially nonglacial, climates. They include (a) the polar deserts and semideserts of the High Arctic and the icefree areas of Antarctica; (b) the extensive tundra zones of high latitudes; (c) the northern parts of the boreal forests of North America and Eurasia; (d) the alpine zones that lie above the timberline and below the snowline in mid- and low-latitude mountains; (e) the high-elevation montane environments of Central Asia, the largest of which is the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Plateau of China; and (f) small oceanic islands in the high latitudes of both the polar regions.

In climatic terms, periglacial ...

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