Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research

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Vol. 17, No. 2, 1985

pp. 205-210

Geomorphic Effects of Ground Squirrels in the Mount Rae Area, Canadian Rocky Mountains

Daniel J. Smith, James S. Gardner

The geomorphic effects of ground squirrels (Spermophilus columbianus c.) are described for two study plots in the Front Ranges of the Canadian Rocky Mountains over the period 1977 to 1980. At the two plots, the average rates of sediment transport to the ground surface were 1.36 and 1.12 t ha−1 yr−1. These values are considerably less than has been noted in previous studies of burrowing mammals. The geomorphic work conducted by ground squirrels at the study site amounts to 6.587 × 104 J yr−1 km−2 which is several orders of magnitude less than the work done by rockfalls, snow avalanches, solution, streams, and solifluction and soil creep. The indirect geomorphic effects of burrowing (e.g., subsequent transport of sediment raised to the surface) are not examined.

Citation Note: This article was published when our journal had an earlier shorter name: "Arctic and Alpine Research."