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Describe the characteristics of periglacial environments and how they affect human activity.

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Introduction

Describe the characteristics of periglacial environments and how they affect human activity. A periglacial environment is an area that is on the edge of an ice sheet; it is an area where frost and snow have a major impact upon the environment. The area is characterised by a layer of permafrost; there are three types, continuous, discontinuous and sporadic. Continuous permafrost may be up to 396m deep and is basically an expanse of frozen ground. This continuous permafrost is typically found from 65�N to 75�N, due to the lack of land in the southern hemisphere at these latitudes, permafrost is hardly ever seen. Discontinuous is basically patchy permafrost where the area covered by permafrost is greater than the area of thawed ground. Typically it is only 45m deep, and is found at latitudes 61�N to 65�N. Sporadic permafrost is found at latitudes less than 61�N, and is an area where the thawed ground is more frequent than the permafrost, this layer only reaches 12m in depth. ...read more.

Middle

The thermal conductivity of the stones is greater than that of the soil. So ice crystals form under the surface, which in turn push rocks upward, the rocks break the surface and due to gravity, roll down the mounds. As hexagons are the most efficient shape present in nature, due to their tessellation hexagons are formed, created out of many stones. If the ground that the hexagons are formed upon is at an angle greater than 6� then elongated hexagons are formed. Patterned ground can be found on Dartmoor, Exmoor, in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. Farming is poor in areas which have continued formation of stone polygons as every year more will be formed which will damage ploughs and other farm equipment. This also added to the fact that patterned ground will occur in areas, which have permafrost three quarters of the year, and the other quarter the land has a marsh like appearance due to the large quantity of melt water around. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Lulworth cove area near Southampton also has a few dry valleys. Screes are another example of periglacial landforms Wind blown deposits called loess are commonplace in periglacial environments they occur on gravel river terraces. The Thames valley is a good place to see them, on either side of the Thames estuary. The deposits are also found in Norfolk in the Breckland. The loess deposits are desiccated sand particles, which can either be good farmland, if it is mixed in with clays or silts; this is the case in France and Germany. Or poor farmland if it is just on its own, this is illustrated by the Breckland which is the largest pine forest in the U.K it has not been cut down as the land is so poor agriculturally, deposits of loess in the U.K are known as brick earth. The Yangtze Chiang River in China is called the yellow river due to its sediment, which it carries. This sediment is loess. In this part of China the loess may be up to 300m deep. ...read more.

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