Emergent patterns on Stiðjafjall

Emergent patterns on Stiðjafjall

Emergent patterns on Stiðjafjall

Looking across Fólkaskarð at Tungulíðfjall in the background.

The flat tops of the grooves look like they have been shoveled. But there has not been any heavy machinery up there. My guess is that tiny grooves in a generally smooth surface have been filled with wet snow, while the storms blew the sleet off the ridges. Then the grooves were slightly expanded when the water in the sleet froze. Repeat.

The grooves run downhill, fitting the theories of Self-Organization of Sorted
Patterned Ground by Kessler and Werner (SCIENCE VOL 299 17 JANUARY 2003) This being on a mountain top, the grooves can’t have been made by running water. Anyway – grooves made by water tend to unite as they run downhill, while these stay parallel.

An amazing amount of naked soil for a summit. I guess it have been protected by grass until quite recently, and will soon be washed away. (Maybe I just get paranoid by reading Collapse by Jared Diamond.)