a term introduced in 1909 by the Polish geographer and soil scientist W. Łoziński to describe a process and associated geological formations typical of a zone that has a severely cold climate and is at the immediate margins of Pleistocene glaciers and ice sheets. Periglacial processes occur because of the repeated freezing and thawing of water in loose and fissured rocks. Recent investigations have shown that the climate of the periglacial zone is not always severe.
Climatic conditions that favor periglacial processes may exist unrelated to glaciation. As a result, these processes—frost cracking and disintegration of rocks, ground heaving, and flow of frozen ground on slopes—are frequently common in areas that have not been subject to continental glaciation, such as Eastern Siberia. Geological formations associated with periglacial processes, such as felsenmeers and altiplanation terraces, are frequently found in these areas as well.