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

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Combining tree-ring dating and geomorphological analyses in the reconstruction of spatial patterns of the runout zone of snow avalanches, Rybi Potok Valley, Tatra Mountains (Poland)

Michał Lempa, Ryszard J. Kaczka, Zofia Rączkowska, Karolina Janecka

Geographia Polonica (2016) vol. 89, iss. 1, pp. 31-45
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0044

Abstract

The snow avalanche is one of the major processes that shapes the landscape of high mountains. A significant manifestation of its activity is changing the course of the timberline, whose course and growth disturbances constitute a good source of information about the history of avalanche activity. The aim of this study was to: i) detail the temporal and spatial reconstruction of snow avalanche events within the three surveyed couloirs in the Rybi Potok Valley, in the High Tatras, ii) analyse of the relationship between the relief of the runout zoneand the course of the avalanches. Dendrogeomorphological, geomorphological and cartographic methods were employed here. Detailed geomorphological maps comprising the runout zone were prepared and use to divide the runout zone into subzones of similar relief. The dendrogeomorphological reconstructions of avalanche events were carried out on two scales, i.e. for the entire runout zone and for the determined subzones. The courses of major avalanche events in the studied couloirs over the past 100 years were reconstructed. A detailed dendrogeomorphological analysis in the subzones allowed the identification of additional local avalanche events whose extent had not covered the entire avalanche path.

Keywords: snow avalanche, relief, dendrogeomorphology, tree-rings, Tatra Mountains

Michał Lempa, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Ryszard J. Kaczka [ryszard.kaczka@us.edu.pl], Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41 -200 Sosnowiec: Poland
Zofia Rączkowska [raczk@zg.pan.krakow.pl], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, 31-018 Krakow, Sw. Jana 22, Poland
Karolina Janecka, Faculty of Earth Sciences University of Silesia in Katowice Będzińska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec: Poland