Dr. Norikazu MATSUOKA

Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences
University of Tsukuba
Ibaraki 305-8572, JAPAN

Contents of this page: Research interests | Professional experience | Membership list | Research projects | Selected publications

Research interests

My main interests are in periglacial geomorphology: rock weathering, rockfalls, frost heaving, solifluction, permafrost creep and related landforms; and the effects of climatic change on alpine slope instability.

Professional experience

  • March 1985
  • D.Sc. Institute of Geoscience, University of Tsukuba.
  • July 1985
  • Research Associate, National Institute of Polar Research, Tokyo.
  • August 1987
  • Research Associate, Environmental Research Center, University of Tsukuba.
  • August 1988
  • Assistant professor, Institute of Geoscience, University of Tsukuba.
  • June 1997
  • Academic guest, Department of Geography, University of Zurich.
  • April 1998
  • Associate professor, Institute of Geoscience, University of Tsukuba.
  • March 2003
  • Guest lecturer, University Center of Svalbard.
  • November 2003
  • Professor, Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba.

Membership list

  • Co-chairs of the Working Group "Periglacial Landforms, Processes and Climate" in the International Permafrost Association
  • Editorial Board Member of the Journal "Permafrost and Periglacial Processes"
  • Editorial Board Member of the Journal "Journal of Geography (Chigaku Zasshi)"

Research projects

A global network for monitoring periglacial processes

A new project of the IPA working group ‘Periglacial Landforms, Processes and Climate’ aims to standardize techniques and establish a monitoring network for surface processes and associated environmental parameters. To promote this activity effectively, we are constructing model experimental sites in Adventdalen, Svalbard, in cooperation with University Centre in Svalbard (H.H. Christiansen & A. Prick) and University of Oslo (O. Humlum). The target periglacial processes involve bedrock fracturing, permafrost creep, frost heave, solifluction, frost sorting and ice-wedge cracking. Monitoring also highlights controls on these processes, including air and ground temperatures, precipitation, snow depth and ground moisture. Standardized techniques require: (1) Inclusion of all necessary parameters; (2) High resolution data acquisition detecting instantaneous or low magnitude processes; (3) Solid devices ensuring long-term monitoring under harsh climates; (4) Least maintenance; (5) Reasonable price; and (6) Handy and portable equipment.

Periglacial slope processes in the Swiss Alps

In the summer of 1994, a synthetic monitoring system for periglacial slope processes was established in the Upper Engadin. Monitoring variables include rock joint opening, rock temperature, frost heaving, soil movement, permafrost creep, snow depth, soil temperature and moisture. These variables are automatically recorded in data loggers. Data provide an insight into the roles of diurnal, annual and long-term freeze-thaw action in controlling weathering, mass movements and resulting alpine landforms including patterned ground, solifluction lobes, alluvial cones and rock glaciers.

Mountain permafrost and rock glaciers on Japanese high mountains

This is the central project of the Mountain Permafrost Research Group in the Association of Japanese Geographers. Permafrost is estimated to be present on some high mountains in Japan and must have been widespread during the past cold periods. Nevertheless, rock glaciers have been rarely identified and may have been misinterpreted as glacial or other landforms. This project aims to standardize the techniques for identifying active, inactive and relict rock glaciers in comparison with recent rock glacier studies in the Swiss Alps. Geophysical soundings, monitoring of movement and ground temperature are also undertaken.

Thermal and hydrological conditions of permafrost in the source area of Yellow River, China

The project started in 2002 as a part of the joint project eModeling changes in water resources in the Yellow River basin' with the Geological Survey of Japan and ETH Zurich. Degradation of permafrost affects groundwater flow in the Tibetan Plateau, which may further change hydrological conditions in the downstream area of Yellow River. This problem is approached by (1) remote sensing techniques, (2) on-site monitoring of thermal and hydrological conditions in the ground and (3) geophysical sounding of permafrost and groundwater conditions.

Laboratory simulations of periglacial processes

Full-scale models constructed in climatic cabinets simulate processes involved in frost sorting (differential frost heave), cryoturbation (involutions) and frost weathering. These simulations permit understanding of the controls on the rate (or threshold) of soil movements or rock damage.

Selected publications

Li, A., Matsuoka, N., Niu, F. (2018):
Frost sorting on slopes by needle ice: A laboratory simulation on the effect of slope gradient.
Earth Surface Processen and Landforms 43, 685–694.

Matsuoka, N., Waragai, T., Wakasa, S. (2017):
Physical rock weathering: Linking laboratory experiments, field observations, and natural features.
Journal of Geography 126, 369–405 (in Japanese).

Watanabe, T., Matsuoka, N., Christiansen, H.H., Cable, S. (2017):
Soil physical and environmental conditions controlling patterned ground variability at a continuous permafrost site, Svalbard.
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 28, 433–445.

Matsuoka, N. (2016):
Permafrost and periglacial processes on the Martian surface.
Journal of Geography, 125, 63–90 (in Japanese).

Christiansen, H.H., Matsuoka, N., Watanabe, T. (2016):
Progress in understanding the dynamics, internal structure, and palaeoenvironmental potential of ice wedges and sand wedges.
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 27, 365–376.

Yamagishi, C., Matsuoka, N. (2015):
Laboratory frost sorting by needle ice: a pilot experiment on the effects of stone size and extent of surface stone cover.
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 40, 502-521.

Matsuoka, N. (2014):
Combining time-lapse photography and multisensor monitoring to understand frost creep dynamics in the Japanese Alps.
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 25, 94-106.

Matsuoka, N. (2013):
Cold region geomorphology in Japan.
Geographical Review of Japan 86B, 22-32.

Matsuoka, N., Imaizumi, F., Nishii, R. (2013):
Geomorphic dynamics and sediment budget in the Southern Japanese Alps: Recent studies and prospects.
Journal of Geography 122, 591-614 (in Japanese).

Nishii, R., Matsuoka, N., Daimaru, H., Yasuda, M. (2013):
Precursors and triggers of an alpine rockslide in Japan: the 2004 partial collapse during a snow-melting period.
Landslides 10, 75-82.

Watanabe, T., Matsuoka, N., Christiansen, H.H. (2013):
Ice- and soil-wedge dynamics in the Kapp Linné area, Svalbard, investigated by two and three dimensional ground-penetrating radar and ground thermal and acceleration regimes.
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 24, 39-55.

Watanabe, T., Matsuoka, N., Christiansen, H.H. (2012):
Mudboil and ice-wedge dynamics investigated by electrical resistivity tomography, ground temperatures and surface movements in Svalbard.
Geografiska Annaler 94, 445-457.

Nishii, R., Matsuoka, N. (2012):
Kinematics of an alpine retrogressive rockslide in the Japanese Alps.
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 37, 1641-1650.

Matsuoka, N. and Ikeda, A. (2012):
Research frontier in periglacial processes.
Journal of Geography, 121, 269-305. (in Japanese)

Matsuoka, N. and Ikeda, A. (2011):
Periglacial environment and landscape dynamics of the Swiss Alps: A summary of 15 years of observations and their implications.
Journal of Geography, 120, 502-535. (in Japanese)

Matsuoka, N. (2011):
Climate and material controls on periglacial processes: Toward improving periglacial climate indicators.
Quaternary Research, 75, 356-365.

Matsuoka, N. (2010):
Solifluction and mudflow on a limestone periglacial slope in the Swiss Alps: 14 years of monitoring.
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 21, 219-240.

Matsuoka, N., Ikeda, A., Sueyoshi, T. and Ishii, T. (2009):
Permafrost and hydrology in the source area of the Yellow River.
Bulletin of the Geological Survey of Japan, 60, 39–57.

Harris, C., Matsuoka, N. and 20 authous (2009):
Permafrost and climate in Europe: Monitoring and modelling thermal, geomorphological and geotechnical responses.
Earth-Science Reviews, 92, 117-171.

Matsuoka, N. and Murton, J. (2008):
Frost weathering: Recent advances and future directions.
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 19, 195-210.

Matsuoka, N. (2008):
Frost weathering and rockwall erosion in the eastern Swiss Alps: Long-term (1994-2006) observations.
Geomorphology, 99, 353-368.

Matsuoka, N. and Christiansen, H.H. (2008):
Ice-wedge polygon dynamics in Svalbard: High resolution monitoring by multiple techniques.
In: Kane, D.L. and Hinkel, K.M. (eds.), Proceedings of Ninth International Conference on Permafrost, 2, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1149-1154.

Ogino, Y. and Matsuoka, N. (2007):
Involutions resulting from annual freeze-thaw cycles: a laboratory simulation based on observations in northeastern Japan.
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 18, 323-335.

Haeberli, W., Matsuoka, N. and 9 authors (2006):
Permafrost creep and rock glacier dynamics.
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 17, 189-214.

Matsuoka, N., Thomachot C.E., Oguchi, C.T., Hatta, T., Abe, M. and Matsuzaki, H. (2006):
Quaternary bedrock erosion and landscape evolution in the Sør Rondane Mountains, East Antarctica: Reevaluating rates and processes.
Geomorphology, 81, 408-420.

Matsuoka, N., and Hirakawa, K. (2006):
High-centered polygons in the Sør Rondane Mountains, East Antarctica: Possible effect of ice wedge sublimation.
Polar Geoscience, 19, 189-201.

Matsuoka, N. (2006):
Monitoring periglacial processes: Towards construction of a global network.
Geomorphology, 80, 20-31.

Matsuoka, N., Ikeda, A. and Date, T. (2005):
Morphometric analysis of solifluction lobes and rock glaciers in the Swiss Alps.
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 16, 99-113.

Matsuoka, N. (2005):
Temporal and spatial variations in periglacial soil movements on alpine crest slopes.
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 30, 41-58.

Matsuoka, N., Sawaguchi, S. and Yoshikawa, K. (2004):
Present day periglacial environments in central Spitsbergen, Svalbard.
Geographical Review of Japan, 77, 276-300.

Matsuoka, N. (2004):
In: Goudie, A. S. (ed.), Encycropedia of Geomorphology, 2, Routledge, London, 984-987.

Matsuoka, N. and Humlum, O., editors. (2003):
Monitoring periglacial processes: new methodology and technology.
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 14/4 (special issue).

Matsuoka, N., Ikeda, A., Hirakawa, K. and Watanabe, T. (2003):
Contemporary periglacial processes in the Swiss Alps: seasonal, inter-annual and long-term variations.
In: Phillips. M et al. (eds.), Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Permafrost, 2, Balkema, Lisse, 735-740.

Matsuoka, N., Iwata, S. and Haeberli, W., editors. (2003):
Periglacial geomorphology at the beginning of the 21st century.
Geomorphology, 52/1-2 (special issue).

Matsuoka, N., Abe, M. and Ijiri, M. (2003):
Differential frost heave and sorted patterned ground: field measurements and a laboratory experiment.
Geomorphology, 52, 73-85.

Matsuoka, N. (2003):
Contemporary permafrost and periglaciation in Asian high mountains: an overview.
Zeitschrift fur Geomorphologie, Suppl., 130, 145-166.

Matsuoka, N. (2001):
Microgelivation versus macrogelivation: towards bridging the gap between laboratory and field frost weathering.
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 12, 299-313.

Matsuoka, N. (2001):
Solifluction rates, processes and landforms: a global review.
Earth-Science Reviews, 55, 107-133.

Matsuoka, N. (2001):
Direct observation of frost wedging in alpine bedrock.
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 26, 601-614.

Matsuoka, N. and Hirakawa, K. (2000):
Solifluction resulting from one-sided and two-sided freezing: Field data from Svalbard.
Polar Geoscience, 13, 187-201.

Matsuoka, N. (1999):
Monitoring of thermal contraction cracking at an ice wedge site, central Spitsbergen.
Polar Geoscience, 12, 258-271.

Matsuoka, N. and Sakai, A. (1999):
Rockfall activity from an alpine cliff during thawing periods.
Geomorphology, 28, 309-328.

Matsuoka, N. (1998):
Modelling frost creep rates in an alpine environment.
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 9, 397-409.

Matsuoka, N. (1998):
The relationship between frost heave and downslope soil movement: field measurements in the Japanese Alps.
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 9, 121-133.

Matsuoka, N., Hirakawa, K., Watanabe, T., Haeberli, W. and Keller, F. (1998):
The role of diurnal, annual and millennial freeze-thaw cycles in controlling alpine slope stability.
In: Lewkowicz, A. G. and Allard, M. (eds.), Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Permafrost, Centre d'etudes nordiques, Universite Laval, 711-718.

Matsuoka, N. (1998):
Rock glaciers: glacial or periglacial?
Journal of Geography, 107, 1-24. (in Japanese)

Matsuoka, N., Hirakawa, K., Watanabe, T. and Moriwaki, K. (1997):
Monitoring of periglacial slope processes in the Swiss Alps: the first two years of frost shattering, heave and creep.
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 8, 155-177.

Matsuoka, N. (1996):
Soil moisture variability in relation to diurnal frost heaving on Japanese high mountain slopes.
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 7, 139-151.

Matsuoka, N., Moriwaki, K. and Hirakawa, K. (1996):
Field experiments on physical weathering and wind erosion in an Antarctic cold desert.
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 21, 687-699.

Matsuoka, N. (1995):
Rock weathering processes and landform development in the Sør Rondane Mountains, Antarctica.
Geomorphology, 12, 323-339.

Matsuoka, N. (1994):
Diurnal freeze-thaw depth in rockwalls: field measurements and theoretical considerations.
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 19, 423-435.

Matsuoka, N. (1994):
Continuous recording of frost heave and creep on a Japanese alpine slope.
Arctic and Alpine Research, 26, 245-254.

Matsuoka, N. and Hirakawa, K. (1993):
Critical polygon size for ice-wedge formation in Svalbard and Antarctica.
Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Permafrost, 1, South China University of Technology Press, 449-454.

Matsuoka, N. and Moriwaki, K. (1992):
Frost heave and creep in the Sør Rondane Mountains, Antarctica.
Arctic and Alpine Research, 24, 271-280.

Matsuoka, N. (1992):
Mechanisms of frost action and related periglacial landforms.
Geographical Review of Japan, 65A, 56-74. (in Japanese)

Matsuoka, N. (1991):
A model of the rate of frost shattering: application to field data from Japan, Svalbard and Antarctica.
Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 2, 271-281.

Matsuoka, N. (1990):
The rate of bedrock weathering by frost action: field measurements and a predictive model.
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 15, 73-90.

Matsuoka, N. (1990):
Mechanisms of rock breakdown by frost action: an experimental approach.
Cold Regions Science and Technology, 17, 253-270.

Last update: April, 2018 Copyright © 2018 Tsukuba Geomorphology Laboratory. All rights reserved.