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Geographisches Institut

Rockglaciers of the Engadine are one of 100 IUGS Geological Heritage Sites

100 geological sites from around the world are recognized as a reference for their impact in understanding the Earth and its history. One of these are the Engadine rockglaciers. The Department of Geography has a long tradition of research there.

rockglacier Val da l’Acqua

The rockglacier Val da l’Acqua is one of the first rockglaciers described and investigated systematically (view from drone, A. Cicoira, autumn 2019).

The Engadine is one of the rockglacier hotspots in the European Alps. This is due to continental climate conditions, high elevation and high weathering rates. Engadine rockglaciers have been investigated for nearly one century. The findings improved knowledge on high-mountain permafrost, in particular on permafrost distribution, rockglacier internal structure and kinematics, and sediment transfer.

The Department of Geography has a long tradition of research in this area and is part of Permafrost Monitoring Network Switzerland PERMOS. “The Engadine rockglaciers are our outdoor labs for research in geomorphology”, says Isabelle Gärtner-Roer. “We are therefore very pleased that this is now being recognized!”. She presents the rockglaciers of the Engadine at an event celebrating the 60th anniversary on October 27 at Zumaia, Basque Coast UNESCO Global Geopark.

IUGS Geological Heritage Sites: Rockglaciers of the Engadine
IUGS 60th Anniversary Event, 25-28 October 2022, Zumaia, Basque Coast UGGp, Spain
Programme of the event

  • The Muragl rockglacier (photo: I. Gärtner-Roer, August 2020)

  • Schematic sketch of a rockglacier showing it’s main characteristics.

An IUGS Geological Heritage Site is a key place with geological elements and/or processes of scientific international relevance, used as a reference, and/or with a substantial contribution to the development of geological sciences through history.
List of the First 100 IUGS Geological Heritage Sites

Weiterführende Informationen

Isabelle Gärtner

Ehre für die Engadiner Blockgletscher – und für die Permafrostforschung

Die Engadiner Blockgletscher sind neu geologisches Welterbe und damit eine von 100 erd­wissen­schaftlich besonders bedeutsamen Stätten. «Das ist eine Aus­zeich­nung für alle, die an Block­gletschern arbeiten», sagte Isabelle Gärtner-Roer in der SRF Tages­schau.


Die Engadiner Blockgletscher gehören zu den 100 geologischen Welterbestätten

Engadine rock glacier in top 100 list

Engadine rock glacier in top 100 list



Dr. Isabelle Gärtner-Roer

Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics
World Glacier Monitoring Service

Department of Geography, UZH

Tel. +41 44 63 55139