Paraglacial means unstable conditions caused by a significant relaxation time in processes and geomorphic patterns following glacial climates. Rates of landscape change and sediment output from the system are typically elevated during paraglacial landscape response.
When a large mass of ice melts, the newly exposed landscape is free of vegetation and is generally unstable. Often, the retreating glacier is providing the area with high stream discharge, further increasing erosion. The combination of a lack of vegetation, high discharge, and a changing climate (the cause of deglaciation) forces ecological communities, sediment deposition patterns and surface morphology to adjust to the new conditions over time.
Periglacial processes—those that directly involve ice—may be prominent in the early stages of paraglacial landscape response, but the two terms are not synonymous. Many geomorphic processes that don't require freezing conditions—for example fluvial erosion, transport and deposition—are typically involved in paraglacial change.
|This glaciology article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|
|This article about geography terminology is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|