As part of the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences project «Modelling pre-failure shear strain (solifluction) in freezing and thawing soil slopes» at Cardiff University, Charles Harris and Martina Luetschg have undertaken two series of scaled centrifuge modelling experiments designed to provide high-resolution calibration data for developing numerical modelling of solifluction processes.

 

Full-scale modelling is also in progress at the cold laboratories of UMR CNRS 6143 M2C, Caen, France, in a collaborative project between Charles Harris, Marianne Ertlen-Font, Julian Murton and Michael Davies, funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council. Two 5-m-long slope models have been constructed, one with one-sided freezing to simulate deep seasonal frost, the second with two-sided freezing to simulate the active layer above permafrost. Equivalent field monitoring stations have been established at Steinhøi, Dovrefjell (Norway) and Endalen (Svalbard). Both stations are providing continuous records of soil and air temperatures, soil pore water pressures and soil surface displacements due to frost heave, thaw settlement and solifluction.

Steve Gurney (Univ. of Reading) is continuing to monitor periglacial processes in the Okstindan region of northern Norway. Research foci include the role of perennial snowpacks in the landscape and the environmental controls on earth hummock formation. This latter work is being led by Sally Hayward (Univ. of Southampton). The Okstindan area is also being used by Steve to introduce undergraduate students to periglacial geomorphology through a 10-day final-year fieldclass. A cold room for experiments on permafrost processes has just been constructed at the University of Sussex, funded by the university. The cold room will permit twosided freezing of large samples of rock, soil and concrete at different inclinations, to simulate permafrost developing within lowlands, mountains or building foundations.

Julian Murton (j.b.murton@sussex.ac.uk)