Report from June 1994

In October 1993, Professor and Mrs. Troy L. Péwé visited members of the International Permafrost Association in Italy. Professor Péwé presented invitational lectures on the origin and distribution of permafrost as well as of the history and status of the IPA at universities in Naples, Rome, and Camerino. Students of Professor Francesco Dramis are actively studying rock glaciers in the Alps and periglacial mass movement in the central Apennines, especially at Campo Imporatore. Recent work indicates modern permafrost may be present in the central Apennines.

Submitted by T.L. Péwé

Report from December 1994

The Italian Adhering Body of the International Permafrost Association, which is composed of some 40 researchers belonging to several universities and research centers, is presently working on several research projects.

Most of the efforts are devoted to high mountain permafrost, which is present throughout the Alps. There, research in progress mostly deals with characterization of rock glaciers and other permafrost-related features, such as landslides affecting partially frozen slopes (a huge one recently affected the Valtellina).

In the Apennines, both fossil (i.e. stratified slopewaste deposits and rock glaciers) and "active" phenomena have been studied. Regarding the latter, the BTS measurements have confirmed the presence of permafrost in a valley located close to the top of Malella Mountain in the Abruzzi region of central Italy. Fresh-looking rock glaciers have been identified, thus fixing a new southern limit of sporadic permafrost for the whole Northern Hemisphere.

In addition to these studies on mountain permafrost, an investigation of periglacial phenomena in the Terra Victoria (Antarctica) has been initiated. Research was planned to begin by late October, while preliminary studies (photo interpretation, etc.) were already underway.

A pre-conference excursion is being planned within the framework of the Fourth International Conference on Geomorphology, to be held in Bologna during summer 1997. This event, organized together with W. Haeberli and the IPA Working Group on Mountain Permafrost, will deal with mountain permafrost and slope stability in the periglacial belt of the Alps, and will include a scientific meeting as well. A postconference field trip in central Italy has been scheduled which will illustrate fossil periglacial (i.e., stratified slope-waste deposits and, subordinately, rock glaciers) and glacial phenomena, including the only active glacier in the Apennines.

Submitted by F. Dramis