The Lanzhou lnstitute of Glaciology and Geocryology (LIGG) celebrated its 30th anniversary and hosted the Fourth Conference on Glaciology and Geocryology from October 5-9, 1988, in Lanzhou.

A total of 142 scientists from seven nations participated.The conference was broken into concurrent sessions on glaciology and permafrost. The topics discussed under glaciology included snowfall, glaciology, geomorphology, surging glaciers and
hydrology (particularly related to the glaciers of western China). The permafrost sessions dealt with periglacial landforms and processes, recharge of groundwater in permafrost regions, hydroengineering construction and the ecological environment in permafrost regions. Most papers dealt with studies in the Soviet Union and Canada, as well as glaciological studies in the Alps, also were presented.

Several key questions were discussed. One dealt with evidence for and against extensive glaciation of the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibetian) Plateau during the last glacial stage. The current estimates range from a 10% increase in ice cover to complete coverage of the plateau by an extensive ice sheet. Prof. Li Jijun from the Department of Geography of the Lanzhou University argued, based on geomorphic information, that the ice cover during the last glacial stage was about 10% greater than present. Another key issue is whether the plateau was cold and dry or cold and wet during the last glacial stage. The latter condition would allow for greater growth of glaciers. The clear message from these discussions is the need for more research with better time control.

Based on a report by L. Thompson, Ohio State University, USA