Self-Organization of Sorted Patterned Ground

  title={Self-Organization of Sorted Patterned Ground},
  author={Mark A. Kessler and Bradley T. Werner},
  pages={380 - 383}
Striking circular, labyrinthine, polygonal, and striped patterns of stones and soil self-organize in many polar and high alpine environments. These forms emerge because freeze-thaw cycles drive an interplay between two feedback mechanisms. First, formation of ice lenses in freezing soil sorts stones and soil by displacing soil toward soil-rich domains and stones toward stone-rich domains. Second, stones are transported along the axis of elongate stone domains, which are squeezed and confined as… 

Ice needles weave patterns of stones in freezing landscapes

It is shown that stone transport is strongly dependent on local stone concentration and the height of ice needles, leading effectively to pattern formation driven by needle ice activity, and it is demonstrated that the nonlinear amplification of long wavelength instabilities leads to self-similar dynamics that resemble phase separation patterns in binary alloys.

Stone circles: form and soil kinematics

  • B. Hallet
  • Geology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
  • 2013
The interplay of frost-related physical processes that produce distinct surface patterns spontaneously and unique data documenting subsurface soil rotational motion and surface displacement spanning 20 years in well-developed circles of soil outlined by gravel ridges are outlined.

On Patterned Ground

Intricate patterns of stones and mud are often found to decorate the ground in alpine and polar landscapes. In his Perspective, [Mann][1] highlights the explanation for these patterns offered by

Sorted Patterned Ground

(1) Sorted circles appear as a circular border of clasts surrounding a center of fines. The stony borders show size segregation with the largest clasts at the surface of the border with decreasing

8.19 Patterned Ground and Polygons

Salt Polygons are Caused by Convection

From fairy circles to patterned ground and columnar joints, natural patterns spontaneously appear in many complex geophysical settings. Here, we consider the origins of polygons in the crusts of salt



Numerical simulation of selforganized stone stripes

GEOMETRICALLY regular stripes of stones are found on many unvegetated alpine and polar hillslopes; known as ‘sorted stripes’ because of the characteristic textural sorting between surface stones and

Self-organization in freezing soils: from microscopic ice lenses to patterned ground

Freezing in moist fine-grained soils is a highly nonhomogeneous process. It involves transport of water to freezing sites and growth of distinct ice bodies separated by soil domains free of ice. On a

A model for sorted circles as self-organized patterns

Sorted circles emerge as self-organized patterns from a laterally uniform active layer that becomes laterally sorted as frost heave deforms the interface between a stone layer and an underlying soil

Frost Sorted Patterned Ground: A Review

A Model for Sorted Patterned-Ground Regularity

Abstract Sorted patterned ground refers to polygons, nets, or stripes defined by rocky borders which are the result of sorting in soil subjected to frost action. This paper presents a model in which

Geometrical Aspects of Sorted Patterned Ground in Recurrently Frozen Soil

A model for sorted patterned ground shows that some types arise from density-driven Rayleigh free convection that occurs during thawing of water-saturated recurrently frozen soils. The regularly

Beach Cusps as Self-Organized Patterns

It is concluded that currently available observational data are insufficient for discrimination between the two models and the self-organization mechanism in the model is incompatible with an accepted model in which standing alongshore waves drive the regular pattern of erosion and deposition that gives rise to beach cusps.


Patterned ground, which occurs principally in polar, subpolar, and alpine regions, is broadly classified into sorted and nonsorted varieties of circles, nets, polygons, steps, and stripes. This


A modified system of patterned-ground field description was developed following observations in eastern England, northwest Alaska, and north Norway. Four major criteria were used: pattern surface

A cellular model of braided rivers

A BROAD sheet of water flowing over non-cohesive sediment typically breaks up into a network of interconnected channels called a braided stream (Fig. 1). The dynamics of such networks are complex;