The Spanish researchers continue working on permafrost and periglacial environments during the last year although the economical circumstances are not favorable because the decrease of research budgets. The different groups working on Antarctic and periglacial environments in the Iberian Peninsula, Andes or Arctic since more than 20 years ago continue working and collaborating with national and foreign research groups and the biannual meeting joint to the Portuguese group of IPA have been celebrated.

The IV Iberian Conference of the International Permafrost Association, organized by the University of Barcelona research group took place from 25 to 27 of June 2013 in Vall de Núria, in the Eastern Pyrenees (http://paisatge.wix.com/servei_ub/ipa-2013#!ipa-2013). The event was organized in four session, 1, Periglacial landscape, shaped and active and ancient processes; 2, Rock glacier study. State of art; 3, Instruments and techniques to the soil thermal survey; 4, Instruments and techniques to periglacial processes surveys. During the conference around 30 oral presentations and tens of posters were presented related to permafrost topics on polar and mountain environments as well as planetary science. The last day was mostly dedicated to a great field trip to the Puigmal massif (2913 m), the second highest peak in the Eastern Pyrenees.

 

The Permafrost Young Researchers Network organized the Award for best oral and best poster presentations, evaluating 5 oral presentations and 7 poster presentations. For the best oral presentation the winner was Lourenço Bandeira from the Institute for Technical Studies from the Lisbon (Portugal) who presented the communication entitled “Ultra-high resolution image acquisition with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for detailed mapping in Barton Peninsula (King George Island, Antarctica)”. The best Poster presentation was Manuel Gómez Lende from the University of Valladolid (Spain) with the presentation on “Orthothermograms in the study of ice caves. The Peña Castil ice cave (Picos de Europa)”.
The president of PYRN, Alexandre Nieuwendam, made a short presentation about PYRN and the plans for the ongoing organization of two workshops during EGU and EUCOP in 2014.
The research group led from the University of Barcelona keeps working in Sierra Nevada (37ºN 3ºW) and Eastern Pyrenees (42ºN 2º) under the coordination of Prof. Antonio Gómez Ortiz, Marc Oliva and Ferran Salvador-Franch. The field campaign in 2013 in Sierra Nevada was focused on the thermal monitoring of the active layer in the Veleta cirque (3150 m) where fossil ice and permafrost are distributed. The team has also maintained the monitoring activities in other sites from the high lands of the massif (Machos plateau, 3350 m, and Rio Seco cirque, 3000 m). All these data will provide a thorough understanding of the soil temperature dynamics in the National Park of Sierra Nevada, where the highest mountains in the Iberia Peninsula are located. Also have been conducted other research activities in this massif, such as the application of the Schmidt hammer in rocks from different moraine complexes. In the Eastern Pyrenees the research group continued monitoring the soil temperatures at different sites. Indeed, samples from rock glaciers for cosmogenic dating in Nuria valley (Coma de l´Embut, 2650 m) have been also collected. The results will allow to compare them with those existing for the Cerdanya area in order to better identify the palaeoenvironmental dynamics during the Late Glacial in the Eastern Pyrenees.

The University of Valladolid research group continues working in Cantabrian Mountain and Pyrenees under the coordination of Enrique Serrano and José Juan Sanjosé. The fieldwork of Pyrenees in 2013 was focused on the rock glacier monitoring in Posets and Maladeta massifs. In Picos de Europa monitoring activities on ice cave have been maintained, finishing during December 2013 the works on thermography and TLS. Geomatic surveys on debris, slide and erosional periglacial features have been made in the Áliva area in the summer fieldwork, collaborating in the research tasks on ice caves and geomorphological processes the Prof. Megan Balks (University of Waikato, New Zealand). In November María González-García submitted his Doctoral Thesis in the University of Málaga. The research, titled “The periglacial high mountain in the Central Spanish Pyrenees: processes, landforms and environments” signify a remarkable advance in the research line of the group.
In Antarctica two active groups are working on permafrost and periglacial processes, develop fieldworks during 2013.
The UAM research group leaded by Jerónimo López-Martínez worked during the austral summer in different areas of South Shetland Island and Antarctic Peninsula, four researchers in Fildes Peninsula (King George Island), Half Moon Island, Livingston Island, Deception Island and Cierva Point (Antarctic Peninsula), and two in Hope Bay (Antarctic Peninsula). During the fieldwork sampling and measurements on periglacial, soils water and permafrost was made. Works was dedicated to accurate positioning and sampling in outcrop surfaces to the Radarsat-2 satellite images identification. The research group collaborates during the fieldwork, analysis and interpretation of results with researchers of the University of Waikato (New Zealand) and the Instituto Antartico Argentino (Argentine).
The permafrost team of the Alcalá University goes on its research in the Antarctic Peninsula with the participation in the Spanish Antarctic expedition with the collaboration of the University of Lisbon, focus in the study of the thermal behavior of the permafrost by mean of the CALM-S sites and the boreholes drilled on the study area. Also the group, coordinate by Miguel Ramos and Miguel Ángel de Pablo is participating in the Mars Sciences Laboratory NASA mission (MSL) by mean of its join in the experience; Rover Environmental Monitoring Station  (REMS) that is lead by the Centro de Astrobiología (CAB-INTA). Mars Science Laboratory is a rover that will assess whether Mars ever was, or is still today, an environment able to support microbial life, basically on the permafrost system. In other words, its mission is to determine the planet's "habitability."

 

SPAIN_Fig1

Figure 1.Assistants to the IV Iberian IPA Meeting in Nuria (Spain) in June 2013.

 

Report prepared by Enrique Serrano (enrique.lidia@ono.com).