Glaciokarst landforms and processes of the southern Dinaric Alps

Manja Žebre*, Uroš Stepišnik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (SciVal)


Glaciokarst is a landscape which combines karst features and hydrology as well as inherited glacial features. It is a result of glaciation upon a karst geomorphological system. The relationship between glaciers and karst is rather poorly known and inadequately recognized. This research focuses on three distinct karst areas along the Adriatic coast in the southern Dinaric Alps that were affected by the Quaternary glaciations. An insight into specific glaciokarst processes and surface features was provided through the study of the areas of the Lovćen, Orjen and Velež Mountains. A glaciokarst geomorphology is in general well preserved due to the prevailing vertically oriented chemical denudation following de-glaciation and almost the entire absence of other surface processes. Typical glacial erosional features are combined by a variety of depressions which are the result of a karstic drainage of sub-glacial waters. The majority of glacial deposits occur as extensive lateral-terminal moraine complexes, which are often dissected by smaller breach-lobe moraines on the external side of the ridge. Those moraine complexes are likely to be a product of several glacial events, which is supported by complex depositional structures. According to the type of glacial depositional features, the glaciers in the study areas were likely to have characteristics of moraine-dammed glaciers. Due to vertical drainage ice-marginal fluvial processes were unable to evacuate sediment. Fluvial transport between glacial and pro-glacial systems in karst areas is inefficient. Nevertheless, some sediment from the glacier margin is washed away by the pro-glacial streams, filling the karst depressions and forming piedmont-type poljes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1493-1505
Number of pages13
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number11
Early online date03 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2015


  • Dinaric Alps
  • Geomorphology
  • Glaciation
  • Glaciokarst
  • Lateral-terminal moraine complex


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