A Permafrost Potential Post (aka PPP) In 2012, Romanian geomorphological activities associated on the periglacial and permafrost domain,  generally, continued activities of the previous year.
West University of Timisoara team (Petru Urdea, Alexandru Onaca, Florina Ardelean, Cristian Ardelean, David Serban, Flavius Sârbu, Patrick Chiroiu, Roxana Putan, Mircea Ardelean) focused its work on following aspects:


1. Rock glaciers: BTS measurements in Retezat and Parâng Mountains, ground temperatures monitoring in Retezat, Parâng, Iezer and Tarcu Mountains,  Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) investigations in Detunata Mountain (Apuseni Mountains), Fagaras and Parâng Mountains and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) investigations  in Fagaras and Parâng Mountains;
2. Rock Wall Temperature monitoring in the alpine area of  Fagaras, Retezat (Fig. 1) and Piatra Craiului Mountains;

 


Fig. 1. Instalation of the thermistors for rock wall temperature monitoring in Retezat Mts.  (Photo, C. Ardelean).

3. Dynamic rates of  solifluction lobes (Fagaras, Sureanu (Fig. 2) and ParângMountains), block streams (Fagaras,Retezat, Parâng and Tarcu Mountains), ploughing blocks (Muntele Mic and Parâng Mountains), earth hummocks (Muntele Mic), scree slope (Fagaras Mountains) and talus cones Parâng Mountains);

Fig. 2. Measurements on the solifluxion lobe in Sureanu Mts.  (Photo, F. Ardelean).

4. Geophysical investigations (ERT, GPR, self potential, magnetic susceptibility, thermal conductivity  and temperatures) of internal structure of periglacial landforms (earth hummocks, solifluction lobes, block streams);
5. Weathering effects on the granitic tor (Muntele Mic);
6. Investigations on  dynamic and ages of slope processes by dendrogeomorphological techniques (Detunata Mountain – Fig. 3 - and Fagaras Mountains).


Fig. 3. Dendrogeomorphological investigations in Detunata Mountain (Photo A. Onaca).

Also, P Urdea made investigations on the glacial and periglacial forms in some area of Southerrn Carpathians, like Gugu Mountains (Godeanu Mountains) (Fig. 4) and Latoritei Mountains, and on the Pleistocene periglacial forms in Vladeasa Mountains (1836 m; Apuseni Mountains) (Fig. 5).


Fig. 4 a & b. Embrionic rockglaciers (a) and solifluction terracetes in Godeanu Mts (b). (Photo P. Urdea).

Fig. 5. Block streams in Vladeasa Mts. (Photo, P. Urdea).

At the University of Bucharest, permafrost and periglacial research successfully continued in 2012 even though no dedicated research project exists yet.
Thermal investigations in rock glaciers and talus slopes (ground surface temperature, bottom temperature of winter snow cover and summer spring temperature) continued and were extended in the Iezer Massif besides the Retezat, Parang and Fagaras. The number of rock glaciers where GST data exist increased to 25 and on four rock glaciers four years of continuous thermal data are already available.
Measurements of permafrost creep were extended to Judele rock glacier from Retezat Mountains, which has a high probability to be active (Fig. 6). 


Fig. 6. Geodetic survey for the identification of permafrost creep on Judele rock glacier from Retezat Massif, august 2012 (Photo,  A. Vespremeanu -Stroe).

The quantification of rock glaciers porosity was initiated by measuring the clasts size and shape on a 16 m2 surface in different places considered representative for two opposed rock glaciers from Parang and Fagaras Massifs.
The investigations at the low altitude permafrost site of Detunata Goala (around 1050 m) from Apuseni Mountains also continued in order to explain the permafrost existence here. In March we performed BTS investigations which were allowed by the unusual thick snow cover, mapping of snow funnels distribution and hourly temperature measurements in snow funnels to reveal the air circulation pattern.
The group involved in periglacial research continued and extended the monitoring of rockwall weathering by periglacial processes in the Southern Carpathians. The thermistors network has been increased to 40 locations where rockwall thermal oscillations are measured on an altitudinal range of 1200 meters, covering the major expositions. Four extensometers are also on the set. Except for analyzing frost propagation and behaviour by depth, exposure and declivity of the rock faces, the challenge is to quantify the intensity of frost weathering on the northern and southern slopes, using our data, and related to the denudation patterns on these exposures. Also, the effect of thermal shock on rock faces during hot summer days in alpine environments is a new topic that we are investigating, using in situ measurements of rock surface temperature, air temperature and humidity, solar radiation. The purpose is to determine the frequency of thermal shock conditions in the months with high thermal values in correspondence with day-time rainfalls and the importance they may have in overall rock weathering in mountain environments (i.e. comparing to freeze-thaw effects). This analysis could also be applied during diurnal frost intervals.
Also, a new attempt is to start a study on the contemporary dynamics of debris flows and rockfalls in the Southern Carpathians, integrating distribution, activity for the first and frequency, susceptibility for the second.
Aurel Persoiu from ,,Stefan cel Mare’’ University of Suceava remained still interested on the specfic problems of perrenial ice caves Scarisoara, Focul Viu and Bortigu (Apuseni Mountains), like cave ice: a new proxy for palaeoprecipitation reconstructions, natural to anthropogenic effect in the last 2000 years, disentangling between karstic and glaciologic processes in caves, Monitoring climatic parameters and stable isotopic composition of water and ice.
At the Annual Symposium on Geomorphology (14-17 June 2012, Baru,  Hunedoara County) , organized by the Dept. of Geography of the West University of Timisoara, a special field trip was dedicated to the glacial and periglacial landform of the Jiul de Vest basin (Western South Carpathians), with special attention to the palsa forms of Soarbele Valley (Godeanu Mountains) (Fig. 7).

Fig. 7.Participant on the ,,palsa’’ field trip, Soarbele Valley (Godeanu Mts.).

Petru Urdea (urdea@cbg.uvt.ro)