1992

The International Geological Correlation Programme Project No. 297, "Geocryology of the Americas," will have its fourth  meeting together with the Sixth International Conference on Permafrost in Beijing. It will be joined by the IPA Working Group on Periglacial Environments. Those interested in presenting papers for these meetings should send them to Cui Zhijiu, Department of Geography, Peking University, Beijing, China, before April 30, 1993. Plans are to present these papers to the journal Permafrost and Periglacial Processes for publication. More information on the IGCP meeting can be obtained from Arturo Corte or Jean-Pierre Lautridou.

Over the past year or more, a number of international scientists have visited field sites and laboratories in Argentina, including:

A. Gorbornov from Alma Ata, who visited several rock glacier sites.

Tatjuna Kademtzova from Moscow, who is studying the the relationship of snow depth to permafrost distribution in the Andes.

Xie Zichu from Lanzhou, who discussed student exchanges, and Wei Yaoshi, a student, who is now conducting field field studies on pre-Cordilleran glaciation and geocryology.

Thea Vogt from Strasbourg, who conducted field research on calcium carbonate precipitation under cryogenic conditions.

Lothar Schrott, a student from Heidelberg University, spent two years in the IANIGLA conducting field studies on the relationship of incoming radiation and rock glaciers.

Report by Arturo E. Corte

Report from June 1992

Permafrost research in Canada is undertaken within various agencies and organizations. Most work is carried out, however, in universities, consulting engineering companies and government laboratories (see Frozen Ground No. 10 for a review of permafrost research at the Geological Survey of Canada). This report comprises a short note about research on pipelines in permafrost being undertaken at Carleton University, Ottawa, and a review of permafrost engineering work done at one of Canada's major consulting engineering companies, EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd., of Edmonton.

Chilled Pipelines and Frozen Soils:

The Geotechnical Science Laboratories of Carleton University, Ottawa, cooperate with the French institutions, Laboratoire Central des Ponts et Chausses and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, in operating a large controlled-environment laboratory in Caen, France. The experiments study the effects of natural gas pipelines in northern terrain. The passage of a buried chilled gas pipeline across the boundary between permafrost and unfrozen, frost-susceptible ground is simulated. Frost heave of the ground surface, stresses in the ground and soil displacement are being monitored. Data from the first phase of the experiment are presently being analyzed. High stresses develop within the frozen soil and the deformation of the pipe is characterized by a sharp inflection at the interface between the permafrost body and the adjacent soil. Sophisticated instrumentation has given much information on the thermodynamics of freezing soil. For further information contact Peter Williams or Michael Smith, Geotechnical Science Laboratory, Carleton University, Ottawa.

Report from June 1992

The new Director of the Lanzhou Institute of Glaciology and Geocryology (LIGG) is Cheng Guodong.

The Fourth Council (1992-1995) of the Chinese Society of Glaciology and Geocryology (CSGG) has been established. The new officers of the CSGG are:

Honorary President--Shi Yafeng (LIGG);President--Cheng Guodong (LIGG);Vice Presidents-Cui Zhijiu (Beijing University), Huang Maohuan (LIGG), Xio Yinqi (Heilongjiang Provincial Research Institute of Water Conservancy), Ding Jingkang (Northwest Institute of Chinese Railway Aacademy of Sciences).

The new Editorial Board of the Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology has been approved by the CSGG Council: Consulting Editor--Shi Yafeng (LIGG); Editor in Chief--Huang Maohuan (LIGG); Deputy Chief Editors--He Xing (Standing) (LIGG) and Xu Xiaozu (LIGG).

The Groupe de Recherches Arctiques (GDR 0490) of CNRS was created about 12 years ago to encourage collaboration among specialists from different disciplines. Presently, 12 laboratories are represented by about 20 research workers. The responsible person is Th. Brassard, Laboratoire de Geographie Physique du CNRS, UFR des Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Universite de Franche Compte, 30 rue Megevand, F-25030 Besançon.

The GDR scientific activities arise from the geographical interest in Arctic regions and because the GDR has management responsibility for the French Spitsbergen Station. Researchers in early times came to the GDR to receive technical and logistic help to study aspects of the Arctic. Later, teams of research workers and students, acting every year around this station, found common themes of research. Presently there are two principal directions:

  • Evaluation of Arctic geosystems evolution
  • Aboriginal point of view of nature and culture

The whole problem and the motivation of these studies is environmental protection.

After reunification of Germany and the beginning of the reorganization of the governmental and university institutes of the former German Democratic Republic, scientific cooperation has started and efforts are being made for joint projects at many places. Special mention is made of the establishment of a multi-disciplinary polar branch "Kontinentale Polarforschung" at Potsdam by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar Research. The aim is to offer good research opportunities for polar scientists of the former GDR at a central place within East Germany. The research institution includes 40 full-time positions. The library of the former polar research in the GDR has been integrated in this institution and will be supplemented with literature from the western countries. The following topics will be mainly researched in Potsdam:

1. Atmospheric circulation in polar areas (atmospheric aerosols)

2. Periglacial research
a)Quantitative analysis of cryogenic weathering and denudation processes (with physical and geochemical methods)
b)Permafrost, periglacial processes and "global change"

3. Reconstruction of the Holocene glaciation history from sea sediments

4. Continental ice sheets as archives for "global change"

The National German Permafrost Committee is trying to contribute to these national efforts and distributes regularly a "Permafrost Circular" to permafrost scientists in Germany together with the IPA News Bulletin Frozen Ground.

Beginning in summer 1992, Japan and Russia will undertake joint permafrost studies. The program described below had its start in spring 1990 when the cities of Sapporo and Novosibirsk established sister city relations. Both cities agreed to support scientific exchange programs among institutes located in each city. The Siberian Branch of the Academy of Sciences in Novosibirsk asked the Permafrost Institute in Yakutsk to develop a joint scientific exchange program with the Institute of Low Temperature Science (ILTS) in Sapporo. Dr. Kamensky, Director, Permafrost Institute, and Professor Fukuda exchanged proposals. In November 1990, Professors Fukuda and Yoshida visited both the Permafrost Institute and Biological Institute in Yakutsk. Agreement was reached to start preparations for a joint exchange program related to physical and biological aspects of permafrost. In May 1991, Dr. Kamensky and Dr. Balobaev visited Sapporo to complete the proposals for the exchange. During the Sapporo meetings, scientists from the Center for Global Environmental Research of the National Institute of Environmental Research in Tsukuba discussed joint studies on the monitoring of methane emissions from permafrost areas. The following resulted from these discussions and will take place in summer 1992.

Report from June 1992

Several anniversaries were commemorated in Yakutsk on November 1,1991. Fifty years of systematic permafrost research investigations and the 30th anniversary of the Permafrost Institute of the Siberian Division of the Academy of Sciences were celebrated at a special session. Greetings and congratulations were presented by Academician Koptjug of the Siberian Division of the Academy and by representatives of the Yakutian Republic. A research station was first organized in Yakutsk by the Academy in 1941. This followed the discovery in 1940 of a large supply of underground water under the frozen ground of central Yakutia. In 1956, the station became the North-East Department of Moscow's Obruchev Institute. In 1957-58, geocryological and glaciological research were carried under the International Geophysical Year at a special high mountain station considered to be the Cold Pole of the Northern Hemisphere. In 1960-61, the Permafrost Institute was formed and Pavel Ivanovich Melnikov became its permanent director. The research of the Institute dealt with permafrost and its effects on construction, mining, agriculture and other human activities in the North. In 1969 Academician Melnikov organized the first international field excursion to Yakutia, thus making it feasible to host, in Yakutsk, the Second International Conference on Permafrost in 1973.

Report from June 1992

The IPA activities in the United States are supported by several organizations and individuals. Financial contributions for the annual IPA fees are provided directly to the IPA Secretary General. Thus far in 1992, contributors include:

  • Association of American Geographers (AAG)
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • Golder Associates, Bucky Tart, Anchorage, Alaska
  • Streamborn Environment, Bill and Douglas Lovell, Berkeley, California

In addition, several government agencies are providing valuable indirect support of IPA activities, including the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Colorado a grant to provide travel assistance to U.S. authors to attend the Sixth International Conference on Permafrost. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences is hosting the IPA Council meetings in Washington, D.C., in August 1992.