Geographia Polonica (2016) vol. 89, iss. 1

The morphodynamics of slopes within the snow avalanche starting zones in the Tatras

Zofia Rączkowska, Elżbieta Rojan, Michał Długosz

Geographia Polonica (2016) vol. 89, iss. 1, pp. 17-29 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/GPol.0043

Abstract

The upper sections of avalanche paths (avalanche starting zones) in the Tatras are being transformed by morphogenetic processes, both secular and rapid mass movements, which include avalanches. The erosion niches and scars occurring within the avalanche starting zones are most exposed to these processes. A three-year monitoring of the impacts of these processes leads to the conclusion that, in the absence of dirty avalanches, the efficiency of secular geomorphological processes is low (max. a few cm/year). Such avalanches can clearly transform the relief as is demonstrated by the results of analyses of erosion niches and scars on orthophotomaps. Furthermore, it was found that the direction of relief changes (accumulation or erosion) in the Tatras is spatially and temporally varied, as well as varying within individual avalanche starting zones, and sometimes within individual erosion niches or scars.

Keywords: morphodynamic, slopes, avalanche, starting zones, Tatra Mountains

Zofia Rączkowska [raczk@zg.pan.krakow.pl], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, 31-018 Krakow, Sw. Jana 22, Poland
Michał Długosz [dlugosz@zg.pan.krakow.pl], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, 31-018 Krakow, Sw. Jana 22, Poland