In the Austrian Alps permafrost research takes place at selected sites of the Hohe Tauern Range and the Tyrolean Alps. Special emphasis is placed on annual measurements of the following parameters on active rock glaciers: temperature measurements on the surface and within the active layer of permafrost areas, hydrological investigations (temperature, water storage and discharge, hydrochemical characteristics), and geodetic and photogrammetric monitoring of surface velocity and vertical changes of active rock glaciers.

 

Especially Karl Krainer (University of Innsbruck) and Viktor Kaufmann (Graz University of Technology) are involved in these activities which have recently been documented by several publications and on the homepages of their institutions (www. uibk. ac. at /projects/rockglacier and www. cis. TUGraz.at/ photo/viktor.kaufmann/publications). In addition, the permafrost relevant data collected in the last years (temperature data logging) will be available for downloading at www. kfunigraz. ac. at/geowww in early 2001.

Hanns Kerschner (University of Innsbruck) and his co-workers investigated relict rock glaciers and moraines in the Western Austrian Alps for reconstructing palaeoclimatic conditions. The main results are that the climate within the Younger Dryas changed from cold and wet to cold and was significantly drier in this region. Several stades of rock glacier formation can be distinguished; the last of which may be contemporaneous with the Preboreal oscillation.

Some further activities are going on within the framework of diploma and Ph.D. theses. Among these are several local studies dealing with permafrost mapping in the field, permafrost modelling using remote sensing and GIS techniques, and the evaluation of the continuous measurements mentioned above. Recently the Geological Survey of Austria has also started geophysical soundings in a permafrost area of the Hohe Tauern range. Finally, some investigations are carried out outside Austria partly dealing with permafrost, e.g. glacier research in Iceland (University of Innsbruck) and geoecological activities in the Russian Arctic (University of Vienna).

Gerhard Karl Lieb (gerhard.lieb@kfunigraz.ac.at)