Geological controls over rock glacier formation in the mountains of the Balkan Peninsula

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Rock glaciers are among the most distinct features in periglacial morphology. Throughout the Balkan Peninsula these patterned accumulations of debris, which have been formed due to the presence of buried ice, are wide-spread in some of the high mountain ranges, mainly at altitudes above 2000-2200 m a. s. l. Rock glaciers are produced in specific climatic conditions, in the zone above the lower limits of permafrost and below the climatic snow line (Haeberli, 1985). Having in mind the present high mountain climate on the Balkans, most rock glaciers are considered relict, however the presence of sporadic permafrost was suggested for some of them, which have highest altitudes (Onaca et al., 2020).

Although the formation of rock glaciers is climatically determined, it is also strongly dependent on geological conditions: lithology and tectonics. The study here presented is focused on the particular role of geology for the presence of rock glaciers in the mountains of the Balkan Peninsula and for their morphometric and morphological diversity.

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