The Institute of Geodesy of Graz, University of Technology has carried out in close cooperation with the Institute of Image Processing (Joanneum Research) several studies on detection and quantification of rock glacier movement using various measuring techniques, i.e., geodesy, digital photogrammetry, terrestrial laser scanning, and SAR interferometry.

Results of these investigations were reported at 8th ICOP. Currently the observational network consists of four different rock glaciers in the Austrian Alps. Special emphasis has been placed on the development of a photogrammetric software package for the automatic measurement of 3-D surface dis-placement vectors in time-series of multi-year digital aerial photographs. The Graz group has also contributed to the final report of the IPA/ICSI Task Force on Permafrost creep and rock glacier dynamics.

Other activities on permafrost research in the Austrian Alps comprise hydrological and geophysical measurements (seismic, gravity, and radar) on several rock glaciers as well as monitoring of ground temperatures. Furthermore mapping of relict and active rock glaciers has recently become part of standard geological surveys. Of special interest is the establishment of a new organisation involved in research on natural hazards in alpine environments; the “alps-Zentrum für Naturgefahren” in Innsbruck (www.alps-gmbh.com). Its goal is to develop sustainable strategies, technologies and systems to assess and deal with hazards in a comprehensive way. Without doubt, permafrost will play an important role in these activities.

Gerhard K. Lieb (gerhard.lieb@uni-graz.at)