Frost Heaving in the Alpine Ecotone: Observations from Two Mountain Environments

Authors: Carol Sawyer*, University of South Alabama
Topics: Mountain Environments, Geomorphology, Biogeography
Keywords: alpine, mountain, geomorphology, biogeography
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Frost heaving in the alpine ecotone can impede the establishment of tree seedlings. However, future rates of vertical and lateral displacement of the ground, in response to freeze-thawing, may change in response to warming temperatures in alpine environments, creating an opportunity from treeline advancement. Climate models for Olympic National Park (ONP), Washington, and Glacier National Park (GNP), Montana, separately predict the average annual temperatures could increase by approximately 2ÂșC in the 2020s within each park. Rates of frost heaving were measured annually for three years in GNP and three years after placement in ONP. In GNP, 76 cm long wooden dowels and 10d nails (76 cm) were placed in exfoliated depressions at one site and in the treads of turf-banked terraces at another site. In ONP, the dowels were placed in sorted stripes. All sites were located in the alpine ecotone. In GNP, the nails showed annual lower rates of heaving versus the dowels. After three years, over 90% of the wooden dowels at both ONP and GNP had been pushed completely out of the ground whereas a majority of the nails at GNP, which had been lifted upward, were still in the ground.

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