Combining geomorphological approach and thermal monitoring for permafrost research in Rodna Mountains, Northern Romanian Carpathians
Abstract: This paper aim to investigate the possibility of permafrost occurrence in the alpine area of Rodna Mountains by describing the rock glaciers distribution and characteristics and by monitoring the ground surface temperature and spring water temperature during late summer. Rock glaciers have a rather scarce distribution between 1670 and 1960 m a.s.l., their morphology is completely relict even at the highest altitudes which indicate they are inherited landforms. Thermal regime indicates improbable permafrost at Bila talus slope (1844 m a.s.l.) and an ambiguous outcome at Curmătura Buhăescului talus slope (1980 m a.s.l.) where average temperature during the BTS period was warmer than the -2°C threshold only in one year of the two monitored. Alpine spring water temperatures are above 3°C indicating absence of permafrost and they are moderately correlated with altitude. Iezeru Pietrosu cirque headwall is affected only by seasonal frost at 2100 m a.s.l. for almost 9 months. It seems that in Rodna Mountains the past and present climate conditions were and are milder in comparison to Southern Carpathians as the latitude increase does not compensate the lower altitudes.