Rock polygon stripes

Rock polygon stripes

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Credit: PETER J. RAYMOND/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: These rock polygons stripes were formed by the repeated freezing and thawing of groundwater. The freeze thaw action forces larger stones toward the surface as smaller soils flow and settle underneath larger stones . At the surface, areas that are rich in larger stones contain much less water than highly porous areas of finer grained sediments. These water saturated areas of finer sediments have a much greater ability to expand and contract as freezing and thawing occur, leading to lateral forces which ultimately pile larger stones into clusters and stripes. Through time, repeated freeze-thaw cycles smooth out irregularities and odd-shaped piles to form the common polygons, circular, and stripes of patterned ground. Photographed in the Svalbard

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Keywords: freeze thaw, frost, geological, geology, geometric, geomorphology, ice, lithalsas, norway, pattern, patterned, patterned ground, periglacial, polar, polar environment, ridges, rock, rock circles, rock patterns, rock polygons, rocks, sandstone, stone, stones, stripes, svalbard, weathered, weathering

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