Articles | Volume 11, issue 2
Research article
20 Apr 2017
Research article |  | 20 Apr 2017

Mapping and inventorying active rock glaciers in the northern Tien Shan of China using satellite SAR interferometry

Xiaowen Wang, Lin Liu, Lin Zhao, Tonghua Wu, Zhongqin Li, and Guoxiang Liu

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Cited articles

Aizen, V. B., Aizen, E. M., and Melack, J. M.: Climate, snow cover, glaciers, and runoff in the Tien Shan, central Asia, J. Am. Water Resour. As., 31, 1113–1129, 1995.
Angillieri, M. Y. E.: A preliminary inventory of rock glaciers at 30° S latitude, Cordillera Frontal of San Juan, Argentina, Quaternary Int., 195, 151–157,, 2009.
Avian, M., Kellerer-Pirklbauer, A., and Bauer, A.: LiDAR for monitoring mass movements in permafrost environments at the cirque Hinteres Langtal, Austria, between 2000 and 2008, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 9, 1087–1094,, 2009.
Barboux, C., Strozzi, T., Delaloye, R., Wegmüller, U., and Collet, C.: Mapping slope movements in alpine environments using TerraSAR-X interferometric methods, ISPRS J. Photogramm., 109, 178–192,, 2015.
Barsch, D.: Rock Glaciers: Indicators for the Present and Former Geoecology in High Mountain Environments, Berlin, Springer, 1996.
Short summary
Rock glaciers are abundant in high mountains in western China but have been ignored for 20 years. We used a new remote-sensing-based method to map active rock glaciers in the Chinese part of the Tien Shan and compiled an inventory of 261 active rock glaciers and included quantitative information about their locations, geomorphic parameters, and downslope velocities. Our dataset suggests that the lower limit of permafrost there is 2500–2800 m.