Current Research in the Mattertal
Debris slopes are common phenomena in the periglacial belt of mountain areas. Less visible but however existent is the occurrence of discontinuous permafrost, especially below a coarse debris cover. The aim of the research project is to study quantitatively the effect of the special microclimate on ground temperatures underneath periglacial debris slopes. The reduction of heat input by direct solar radiation mainly in summer, and the cooling effect of circulating and trapped cold air especially in winter favours the formation and conservation of perennially frozen ground. The understanding of the laws responsible for the preservation or degradation of discontinuous permafrost is a necessary base for the assessment of many natural hazards originating from frozen periglacial debris slopes. Therefore, several studies in the Grächen/Seetalhorn and Zermatt/Stockhorn areas investigate the microclimate in debris slopes, its effect on permafrost formation and degradation, and the general laws governing the permafrost distribution and characteristics in the Matter Valley.
Project sponsored by the German Research Foundation
(Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - DFG, project Ki 261/14-1)