Geocryology: Characteristics and Use of Frozen Ground and Permafrost Landforms (Hardback)
  • Geocryology: Characteristics and Use of Frozen Ground and Permafrost Landforms (Hardback)

Geocryology: Characteristics and Use of Frozen Ground and Permafrost Landforms (Hardback)

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Hardback 766 Pages / Published: 28/09/2017
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This book provides a general survey of Geocryology, which is the study of frozen ground called permafrost. Frozen ground is the product of cold climates as well as a variety of environmental factors. Its major characteristic is the accumulation of large quantities of ice which may exceed 90% by volume. Soil water changing to ice results in ground heaving, while thawing of this ice produces ground subsidence often accompanied by soil flowage. Permafrost is very susceptible to changes in weather and climate as well as to changes in the microenvironment. Cold weather produces contraction of the ground, resulting in cracking of the soil as well as breakup of concrete, rock, etc. Thus permafrost regions have unique landforms and processes not found in warmer lands.

The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 provides an introduction to the characteristics of permafrost. Four chapters deal with its definition and characteristics, the unique processes operating there, the factors affecting it, and its general distribution. Part 2 consists of seven chapters describing the characteristic landforms unique to these areas and the processes involved in their formation. Part 3 discusses the special problems encountered by engineers in construction projects including settlements, roads and railways, the oil and gas industry, mining, and the agricultural and forest industries.

The three authors represent three countries and three language groups, and together have over 120 years of experience of working in permafrost areas throughout the world. The book contains over 300 illustrations and photographs, and includes an extensive bibliography in order to introduce the interested reader to the large current literature.

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
ISBN: 9781138054165
Number of pages: 766
Weight: 1724 g
Dimensions: 248 x 171 mm


"[This book] should be of interest to a wide range of scientists concerned with the Earth, environmental and ecological sciences, including those specialising in the Holocene.

Stuart Harris and his co-authors provide a[...] comprehensive survey of the closely related field of geocryology. This is defined as the study of frozen ground, especially permafrost. Their book also includes the characteristics, processes, landforms and environmental factors affecting frozen ground, to which they add a wide variety of practical problems encountered by engineers and others who attempt to occupy and use permafrost terrain.

Part III of Geocryology is a superb demonstration, in the context of geocryology, of the intimate, reciprocal relationship that can exist between pure and applied science. Much of the detailed information and theoretical knowledge that underpins present understanding of frozen ground was developed hand in hand with relatively recent attempts to live in and exploit the resources available in permafrost areas."

John A Matthews, Swansea University,UK. In: The Holocene Vol. 28(4) (2018).

"With three co-authors who come from different countries to share their research experience and expertise, this book makes available geocryological information not published originally in the English language. As expected, the book is well endowed with case studies and illustrative examples taken mostly from northern Canada, Alaska, Siberia, and Tibet in China. These are a major attraction of this publication.


Overall, it is comprehensive and places geomorphology and geotechnical engineering under a single cover. As cold regions in general, and circumpolar areas in particular, are highly sensitive to changes due to natural and human-related causes, this book offers materials valuable to understanding and confronting present and future environmental changes. Without rendering quantitative treatment on many topics (except Chapter 12 on soil mechanics), the descriptive approach makes the book easily accessible to a general readership, and it will appeal to undergraduate students who are not mathematically inclined. Those who wish to pursue specific topics at greater depth can consult relevant articles listed in the very extensive bibliography, which covers 119 pages."

Ming-ko Woo, Professor Emeritus at the School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, Canada. Published in: Arctic, Vol. 71(2) (2018).

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