Frozen ground research at the University of Ghent (I. Heyse and G. Ghysels) mainly focuses on the study of relict periglacial phenomena. During the Pleistocene, Belgium was situated in the ice-free cold-climatic zone surrounding the Fennoscandinavian Ice Sheet.

Evidence for these very cold conditions is provided by relict cryogenic features, including frost-wedge pseudomorphs. Gunther Ghysels is doing a PhD on frost-wedge pseudomorphs in Flanders (Belgium).

Frost-wedge pseudomorphs are widespread and occur at different stratigraphic levels, suggesting widespread and periodical thermal contraction cracking during the Pleistocene. This research aims at better understanding the variety and types of frost-wedge pseudomorphs in Flanders, their spatial distribution, age and chronology, their palaeoenvironmental significance and the relation between phases of wedge formation/degradation and climate/ climatic changes as recorded in ice-core and marine records. OSL-dating is now being applied to the wedge fillings, adjacent and overlying materials to obtain a more precise and accurate absolute chronology for frost-wedge formation and degradation. Completion of this study and presentation of the final results are planned for 2005.

Irenée Heyse (