Profile of a gelisol

Gelisols (from the Latin gelare – to freeze) are soils that are permanently frozen (contain “permafrost”) or contain evidence of permafrost near the soil surface.

Gelisols are found in the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as at extremely high elevations.

Permafrost influences land use through its effect on the downward movement of water and freeze-thaw activity (cryoturbation) such as frost heaves. Permafrost can also restrict the rooting depth of plants.

Gelisols make up about 9% of the world’s glacier-free land surface.