Report from June 1995

The Council of the Southern African Permafrost Group (SAPG) has changed again, with Stefan Grab (University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg) now taking over as president from Margaret Marker (University of Cape Town). Wilson Rooy (University of Pretoria) and Ian Meiklejohn (University of Pretoria) remain as secretaryltreasurer and IPA representative respectively.
Some members attended and presented papers at a special Periglacial Session of the SASQUA (Southern African Society for Quaternary Research) Biennial Conference, held in Cape Town from 30 April to 6 May 1995. Papers presented included:

  • Interpretation of relict periglacial landforms in the High Drakensberg: Pleistocene or Holocene? (S. Grab)
  • Evidcnce for perennial snowbeds and Quaternary glaciation in the eastern Cape Drakensberg (C. Lewis)
  • Cenozoic sequences from Lesotho (M. Marker)
  • Valley asymmetry in the High Drakensberg: What are the palaeoclimatic implications? (I. Meiklejohn)
  • Debris deposits at Bannermans Pass, KwaZulu/Natal Drakensberg: Some palaeoclimatic implications (P. Stunner, I. Meiklejohn and S. Currie)

The debates at the SASQUA conference again highlighted the considerable differences in opinion regarding the interpretation of Quaternary periglacial/glacial landforms in southern Africa. The stimulating and sometimes heated discussion is seen as healthy for the discipline, particularly as there are so few periglacial researchers in southern Africa. This bodes well for a more rigorous scientific approach and an improvement in the periglacial/glacial research component
of southern African Quaternary studies. In future, SAPG sessions and field meetings will be closely associated with the
Southern African Association of Geomorphologists and SASQUA biennial meetings, which are held during alternate years, so that we will all be able to meet on an annual basis.
Given the small academic community in southern Africa, it is indeed gratifying to note how many researchers are currently
involved in periglacial research. Stefan Grab, Paul Sumner and Ian Meiklejohn are continuing investigations in the KwaZulu/Natal regions of the Drakensberg and adjacent areas of Lesotho, where research is focused on debris deposits,
slope deposits and patterned ground. Colin Lewis is working on similar periglacial features in the Eastern-Cape Drakensberg as well as evidence for Quaternary glaciation, while Jan Boelhouwers and Wilson Rooy continue their work on
periglacial features and other slope deposits in the Western Cape Mountains. It can be seen that much of the research
conducted concerns the Quaternary, primarily as a result of the debate highlighted above and due to the marginal nature of contemporary periglacial activity.

Submitted by Ian Meiklejohn

Report from December 1995

Stefan Grab examined active and relict periglacial features on Mt. Kenya during July 1995 and is ascertaining the implications of such landforms on equatorial climatic change. In September 1995, he visited Mt. Inyangani (the highest summit in Zimbabwe) to determine the occurrence of relict periglacial landforms near the summit area. Stefan is continuing with his detailed analysis on the high Drakensberg periglacial environment. Colin Lewis presented a paper at the INQUA meeting in Berlin on evidence for Quaternary glaciation in the Eastern Cape Drakensberg mountains; his research in the area is ongoing.
Circulars for the IVth Southern African Association of Geomorphologists (SAAG) Biennial Conference, to be hosted by the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa, from 8 to 10 July 1996, have been circulated. The Southern African Permafrost Group (SAPG) is an affiliate member of SAAG and there will be a "SAPG session" at the conference.
The conference will be followed by a two-day technical workshop titled: Design and Instrumentation for Soil and Water Loss Estimations on Plot, Slope and Catchment Scales. Contact: Theo Scheepers at The Department of Earth Sciences, University of the Western Cape, PIBag X17,7535 Belville, South Africa. Tel: +27-21-959 299512223, Fax: +27-2 1-959

Submitted by Ian Meiklejohn