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Profile photograph of a Gelisol  

The central concept of Gelisols is that of soils that have permafrost within 100 cm of the soil surface and/or have gelic materials within 100 cm of the soil surface and have permafrost within 200 cm.

Gelic materials are mineral or organic soil materials that have evidence of cryoturbation (frost churning) and/or ice segeration in the active layer (seasonal thaw layer) and/or the upper part of the permafrost.