Abstract

This paper reviews our current knowledge on periglacial landforms and processes on Disko Island, central West Greenland. Disko Island is located on the southern limit of the continuous permafrost zone, and permafrost and periglacial processes are therefore sensitive to future climate warming. The landscape of Disko Island contains a wide variety of periglacial landforms such as rock glaciers, pingos, palsas, patterned ground and active layer phenomena. Also, weathering processes and fluvial and coastal landforms and processes related to cold-climate environments are widespread.

Until now, most research has concerned the incidence, morphology and palaeoclimatic significance of rock glaciers. Although this research has improved our understanding of the late-Holocene history, there are limited studies on other process-landform interrelations, making holistic geomorphological reconstructions of the landscape evolution difficult.

Disko Island contains 247 glaciers larger than 1 km2, and 75 of these are classified as surge-type glaciers. The recession after surge events leaves proglacial areas prone to formation of periglacial landforms, providing good conditions for field studies on landform evolution on decadal and centennial timescales.

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