Evolution of rock glaciers in northern Tien Shan, Central Asia, 1971 – 2016 (Extended Abstract)

Tobias Bolch, Alexandra Strel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Rock glaciers are abundant in Tien Shan. However, only few studies investigate their reaction to climate more in detail. We used 1971 Corona, 2012 GeoEye and 2016 Pléiades data to map and investigate the velocity and surface elevation changes of the rock glaciers in central-northern Tien Shan in Kazakhstan. We identified ~50 active rock glaciers covering an area of ~18km², which is more than 40% of the glacier cover. The average surface velocity was 0.44±0.30 ma-1 with rates of up to 2ma-1. On average the rock glaciers showed only a slight surface lowering of 0.04ma-1 for 1971-2012 and of 0.06 ma-1 for 2012-2016. Most of the rock glaciers showed similar patters: A surface elevation gain at their fronts indicating an advance, a significant lowering in the upper probably glacier affected parts and areas of elevation gain and lowering in between caused by flow patterns and loss of subsurface ice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication5th European Conference on Permafrost, Book of Abstract
EditorsPhilipe Deline, Xavier Bodin, Ludovic Ravanel, Chloé Barboux, Reynald Delaloye, Christophe Lambiel, Florence Magnin, Paolo Pogliotti, Philippe Schoeneich
PublisherLaboratoire EDYTEM
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2019
Event5th European Conference on Permafrost (EUCOP 2018) - Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France
Duration: 23 Jun 20181 Jul 2018
Conference number: 5


Conference5th European Conference on Permafrost (EUCOP 2018)
Abbreviated titleEUCOP 2018
Internet address


  • Rock glacier
  • Digital elevation model
  • Elevation change
  • Velocity
  • Central Asia
  • Tien Shan


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