Several major geocryological and cryopedological conference were held in Russia this year. The results of the Cryopedology ‘97: Second International Conference held in Syktyvkar in the Komi Republic are reported in the Cryosol Working Group report (page 26).
The annual permafrost conference in Pushchino was held 21–25 April 1997 under the title International Conference on the Problems of Earth Cryosphere (Basic and Applied Studies). A total of 162 abstracts were submitted by researchers from various regions of Russia, North America, Asia and Europe. Registered participants totaled 140 Russian and 30 foreign. The conference included plenary and sectional sessions, symposia, a roundtable discussion, and the annual meeting of the Consolidated Scientific Council on Earth Cryology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (CSCEC RAS). An abstract volume in Russian and English was available and copies can be obtained from the council.

The plenary session dealt with the main directions of modern geocryology. Topics introduced were elaborated upon in the sections, symposia and roundtable:
Section 1: Periglacial processes on the shelf and land of the arctic sea coasts; Chair N.N. Romanovskii (23 presentations).
Section 2: Reliability of geotechnical systems in the cryolithozone; Chair L.N. Khrustalev (24 presentations).
Symposium: Microbiology of permafrost: Life at negative temperatures; Chairs D.A. Gilichinsky and J.M. Tiedje (13 presentations).
Symposium: Cryogenic processes and phenomena, conditions of their formation, palaeogeographic information; Chair V.I. Solomatin (12 presentations).
Symposium: Physical–chemical mechanics of frozen ground; Chairs S.E. Grechishchev, E.D. Ershov, and Yu.K. Zaretsky (17 presentations).
Roundtable: Geoinformation systems, digital maps and databases in geocryology; Chairs M.A. Minkin and E.S. Melnikov (11 presentations).
The annual meeting of the Consolidated Scientific Council on Earth Cryology, Russian Academy of Sciences, was held on the last day. The topics discussed were Russian participation in the 7th International Conference on Permafrost, policies and plans for the journal Earth Cryosphere, and plans for next year’s conference to be held in late April and devoted to the 90th anniversary of P.I. Melnikov’s birth. Priority would be given to the following topics: permafrost as one of the cryospheric components, the application of remote sensing in permafrost investigation, ground water, gas hydrates, offshore permafrost, engineering in a permafrost environment, and geophysical methods in permafrost investigations.
It should be noted that the National Geocryological Foundation (NGF) was established in Russia two years ago for the purpose of collecting and disseminating permafrost data. Information on several Russian institutions’ data collections is stored in the NGF. Specific regional databases are devised under its aegis. Metadata concerning digital and paper databases on Yakutia, Transbaikal, the Norilsk region, West Siberia, and European North Russia are available. Raw data can be obtained by negotiation with the data owners. Contact the NGF Director, M.A. Minkin.
The new quarterly Russian journal Earth Cryosphere began publication in 1997 under the auspices of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Its goal is to publish scientific contributions on all aspects of the Earth’s cryosphere and to help formulate a unified concept of it. Papers are published in Russian with title and abstracts in English. A decision to translate papers into English will depend on the number of potential non-Russian subscribers. Papers, short communications and reviews in the following fields will be considered for publication:

 

  • New data on the lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere as parts of the Earth cryosphere at global, regional and local scales, including possible changes under natural and anthropogenic conditions.
  • New data on the structure, composition, formation and evolution of natural and artificial cryogenic features, from single crystals of ice to snow and ice covers and the entire cryolithozone.
  • Distribution of cryogenic (periglacial) processes, their development, and possibilities of their prediction and control.
  • Cryogenesis and its role in the evolution of other Earth cryosphere components.
  • Role of cryosphere and cryogenesis in supporting the biosphere and its utilization at various scales.
  • Modeling of the cryosphere, its components and links, cryogenic (periglacial) processes and phenomena, and the interrelations of the cryosphere with other Earth envelopes.
  • Development of methods, techniques, and technological means and instrumentation to study of the cryosphere and their interactions.
    Development of provisions for collection, processing, storage, dissemination and use of cryological information.

Four issues of the journal are planned for 1997. Issue number 1 is available and the other three will contain reports presented at the April 1997 conference in Pushchino (see page 31 for the contents of the four issues and subscription information). Several issues in 1998 are planned to include papers for the Yellowknife conference. Complimentary copies of the first issue are available. Future issues will be priced at US$20.00 each.
The Geocryological Map of the U.S.S.R. (1:2,500,000) with explanatory note (edited by E.D. Ershov) in 16 sheets was published in December 1996 and is available for purchase. The map, displayed in Pushchino, summarizes the results of a 25-year research effort by the Geocryology Department, Faculty of Geology, Moscow State University. Geological formations, Quaternary deposits, genetic complexes, type of freezing, cryogenic structure, macro-inclusions of ice and ice content form one map layer. Other layers are permafrost extent and ground temperature, thickness and structure, altitudinal and latitudinal zonations, cryopegs, relic permafrost, periglacial features and taliks. Supplementary 1:25,000,000 inset maps show geological regions, types of rocks with syngenetic or epigenetic freezing, and hydrogeocryological structures (see page 33 for ordering information).
The following monographs were published recently in Russian: Gavrilova, M.K., Fedorov, A.N., Bosikov, N.P. and others.
1996. Impact of climate changes on development of permafrost environments of Central Yakutia. Yakutsk, Permafrost Institute, 180 p.
Gorbunov, A.P., Seversky, E.V., Titkov, S.N. 1996. Geocryological conditions of Tien-Shan and Pamir. Yakutsk, Permafrost Institute, 184 p.
Kazansky, O.A. Cryostructural method of palaeopermafrost reconstructions. Yakutsk, Permafrost Institute, 98 p.
Konyakhin, M.A., Mikhalev, D.I., Solomatin, V.I. 1996. Oxygen-isotope composition of ground ice: Textbook. Moscow, Moscow University Press, 156 p.
Engineering–geological monitoring of Yamal gas fields, volume 2: Geocryological conditions of Bovanenkovo gas field development. 1996. Novosibirsk, SB Nauka.
Principles of geocryology. 1996. Moscow, Moscow University Press. Pozdnyakov, I.V. 1996. Permafrost of northern Amur valley. Yakutsk, Permafrost Institute.
Salnikov, P.I., 1996. Stability of foundations for construction on permafrost in southern Transbaikal. Yakutsk, Permafrost Institute.
Melnikov, E.S., ed. 1997. Results of basic research of Earth cryosphere in Arctic and Subarctic. Proc. of the International Conference in Pushchino. Novosibirsk, SB Nauka.

Submitted by E. S. Melnikov (emelnikov@glas.apc.org) with contributions from M.O. Leibman  (mleibman@glas.apc.org), I.D. Streletskaya and M.A. Minkin