The Spanish group of the IPA hosted a conference on present cold frozen processes from 17–20 July 1997, in Andorra. Forty-five Spanish and Portuguese specialists in permafrost and ice-related natural processes participated. The 23 papers that were submitted will be published in a special volume. The papers addressed a variety of aspects, including snow distribution in Spanish mountain ranges; the formation of protalus ramparts in the Gredos, Cantabrian and Pyrenees mountain ranges; periglacial processes associated with the active layer in the Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada; research conducted by Spanish scientists on current permafrost-related processes in the Antarctic and northern Sweden; present activity associated with periglacial processes in Portuguese mountain ranges; and data collection linked to geomorphologic processes related to permafrost. The conference closed with a synthesis of the status of current studies on periglacialism and permafrost in the Iberian Peninsula and the projection of future lines of research. The next meeting of the Spanish group of the IPA will be held in Albarracin (Teruel, Spain) in July 1999.
Gonçalo Vieira from the Centro de Estudos Geograficos, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal, has sent the following report on periglacial geomorphological research in Portugal.
The study of present-day geocryological processes is quite recent and is still emerging. The first reference to periglacial processes was by Andre Guilcher (1949) on the head deposits of the Cabo da Roca. It was not until the 1970s with Suzanne Daveau that research started to develop, expanding in the 1980s, especially after the meeting on the Iberian Quaternary held in Lisbon in 1985. The majority of the studies focus on Quaternary deposits. Present-day processes are still poorly evaluated due to the present climatic conditions (Mediterranean type) and the low altitude of the mountains on the mainland, with a maximum of 1993 m a.s.l. in the Serra da Estrela. However, Pleistocene periglacial deposits are widespread from the mountains to near sea level in north and central Portugal. These are mainly stratified slope deposits (i.e. grèze litée type), screes and head deposits. Antonio de Brum Ferreira (1985) supports a decrease of about 10°C in the mean annual temperature in the last glacial maximum. The lower limit for the periglacial belt in the Serra da Estrela is near 1750 m a.s.l. No permafrost occurs in the Portuguese mountains.
Recent research on periglacial phenomena is centered mostly in mountain areas and is being conducted by researchers from the Centro de Estudos Geograficos (University of Lisbon) in the Serra do Geres (Antonio de Brum Ferreira, Maria Luisa Rodrigues, Jose Luis Zêzere and Gonçalo Vieira), Serra da Estrela (Gonçalo Vieira and Antonio de Brum Ferreira) and Maciço Calcario Estremenho (Maria Luisa Rodrigues); by the Instituto de Estudos Geograficos (University of Coimbra) in the Serras do Caramulo and Freita (Antonio Rochette Cordeiro) and Serras de Condeixa-Sicó-Alvaiázere (Lucio Cunha); and by the Instituto de Geografia (University of Oporto) in the Serra do Marao (Antonio de Sousa Pedrosa). In the Serras da Estrela and Geres the occurrence of a late-Pleistocene glaciation allows the study of the relations between periglacial and glacial deposits and forms.
Submitted by David Palacios (email@example.com)