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ROCK-SURFACE TEMPERATURES OF BASALT IN THE DRAKENSBERG ALPINE ENVIRONMENT, LESOTHO

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT.

Rock temperature data are presented for a variety of topographic localities at a high Drakensberg site. The objective is to investigate the spatiotemporal variations of surface rock temperatures in high Drakensberg basalt. The temperature results are then used to discuss possible implications for thermal stress fatigue and frost-induced weathering. Tinytalk™ data loggers and probes were used for rock-surface temperature recording. Long-term measurements were recorded over 12 months from May 2002 to April 2003, at a 1-hour logging interval and rock depth of 1 cm for a highaltitude (3300 m a.s.l.) interfluve and fracture site. Whilst the north-facing rock surface experiences negligible hours below −3°C, the south-facing rock surface and interfluve sites are subjected to considerable periods below −3°C, which falls within the ‘frost cracking window’. It is concluded that the substantial contrasts of recorded rock thermal parameters over small spatial scales between various topographic settings, highlight that site-specific measurements across the broader scale are required for an adequate evaluation of regional weathering and its associated landform development.

Keywords: High Drakensberg; cryogenic thresholds; rock temperatures; topographic settings

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0459.2007.00317.x

Affiliations: School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Publication date: September 1, 2007

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