Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi

Retrogressive Thaw Slump

  • Colman Gallagher
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_317


A slope failure diagnostic of thawing  permafrost.


Bimodal flow;  Mud slump; Retrogressive thaw flow slide; Thermo-abrasion cirque ground-ice slump;  Thermo-erosion cirque


An open, cirque-shaped alcove bounded by a steep arcuate headwall overlooking slumped active layer material, mudflows, and debris flows and incised by thaw-water gullies.


  1. (1)

    Thermo-erosion retrogressive thaw slump

  2. (2)

    Thermo-abrasion retrogressive thaw slump



Terrestrial RTS occurs only in thawing permafrost (McRoberts and Morgenstern 1974; French 1996; Lantuit and Pollard 2005; Figs. 4 and 5). The scarp is created by thaw of ice-rich permafrost, the sloping debris lobe consisting of thaw-fluid falls, slumps, slides, and flows. As permafrost is exposed in this way, further thaw is enhanced, and the RTS expands headward by retrogressive thermo-erosion (Czudek and Demek 1970). RTS can form also as active layer detachments caused by deep seasonal thaw (Lewkowicz 1987...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UCD School of Geography, Planning and Environmental PolicyUniversity CollegeBelfield, DublinIreland