Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi


  • Ákos Kereszturi
  • Henrik Hargitai
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_91

Related Terms

Cryokarst desiccation pit; Dissected terrain; Pitted terrain


“Cryokarst” structures (sensu stricto) are erosional features (pits and depressions) interpreted as formed by sublimation-driven removal of subsurface ice and surface collapse afterward (Kreslavsky et al. 2008).


In terrestrial studies, the terms thermokarst and cryokarst are sometimes used as synonyms. According to UNESCO (1972), the term “cryokarst” is more common in Europe, while the term “thermokarst” is used in America. This note is commonly copied in subsequent glossaries (e.g., Field 2002). Harris et al. (1988) do not recommend the use of cryokarst. Several authors (e.g., French 2007) define thermokarst as a landform that evolves in response to the loss of thermal equilibrium by means of thaw or sublimation in ice-rich permafrost and thus include cryokarst in  thermokarst landforms. Some authors (e.g., Tyc 2007) specifically use “cryokarst” as a synonym of glacial karst “for the whole...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Konkoly Thege Miklos Astronomical InstituteResearch Centre for Astronomy and Earth SciencesBudapestHungary
  2. 2.NASA Ames Research Center/NPPMoffett FieldUSA