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Antarctic peat: Erosion & Ice retreat

5. Erosion of moss peat banks

Although the vertical edges are not erosion features, erosion can sometimes be observed.

Picture 1: A collapsed vertical edge: perhaps the underlying permafrost which holds the whole bank together, has thawed. Signy Island.

Picture 2: The active layer (unfrozen moss & peat) has slid down over the permafrost (permanently frozen peat). Moe Island.

Pictures 3-7: Erosion of the surface of the peat bank, possibly caused by exposure to wind as the peat has become deeper. Pictures 3-5 Signy Is, 6-7 Moe Island.

Picture 8: Wind has here blown away a section of Polytrichum turf.

These pictures all taken in 1975.

6. Ice retreat

These pictures show peat (black) which has been exposed as permanent ice has retreated. This indicates that the climate has varied over the years. All photos taken 1975.

Pictures 1-2: Signy Island, S.Orkneys

Picture 4-5: Galindez Island, Argentine Is.

See the paper: Fenton, J. 1982. Vegetation re-exposed after burial by ice and its relationship to changing climate in the South Orkney Islands. British Antarctic Survey Bulletin Vol. 51.