Geometrical Aspects of Sorted Patterned Ground in Recurrently Frozen Soil

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Science  11 Apr 1986:
Vol. 232, Issue 4747, pp. 216-220
DOI: 10.1126/science.232.4747.216


A model for sorted patterned ground shows that some types arise from density-driven Rayleigh free convection that occurs during thawing of water-saturated recurrently frozen soils. The regularly spaced convection cells result in an uneven melting of the underlying ice front. Frost action causes stones to be upthrusted and to form in a pattern on the ground surface that mirrors the corrugation in the underlying ice front. The implications of the water circulation direction in the cells on the sorting process are considered.