Report from April 1989

The U.S. National Research Council has announced the new membership of the Committee on Permafrost. Members are Chairman Ted Vinson, Oregon State University; David Carter and Erk Reimnitz, U.S. Geological Survey; Chris Heuer , EXXON Production Research; Duane Miller, Miller Associates, Anchorage; Tom Osterkamp, University of Alaska; Don Hayley, EBA Engineering Consultants, Edmonton. The membership of the U . S . Committee/IPA remains the same: Brown (Chairman), Lovell (Vice-chairman), Gryc, Hopkins, Lunardini, and Tart. The Committee on Permafrost cosponsored with the American Society of Civil Engineers a workshop on Permafrost and Climate Change, February 6, 1989, in St. Paul, Minnesota, as part of the ASCE Fifth International Cold Regions Specialty Conference.

The Committee on Frost Action of the Transportation Research Board, U . S . National Research Council, held its annual meeting in Washington, D . C ., January 23, 1989. David Esch, Alaska Department of Transportation, chaired the meeting which discussed the CRREL Frost's Effect Laboratory, frost heave test sites in Colorado, pavement damage during thawing, and research needs on soil stiffness, icing on paving materials, and frost heave models. The incoming chairman is Tom Kinney, University of Alaska.

The Working Group to form the International Arctic Science Committee met several times in late 1988 to prepare draft founding principles for the proposed Committee. The principles are under review in each of the eight founding countries. It is anticipated that the Committee will be formally organized in mid 1989. Other multi-national Arctic activities included the International Arctic Science Conference convened by the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Leningrad, December 12-15, 1988. Permafrost specialists met informally with P . I. Melnikov and V . P . Melnikov .

Report by J. Brown

Report from October 1989

Both the US Committee for IPA (USC/IPA) and the Committee on Permafrost within the National Research Council represent the permafrost interests of scientists and engineers throughout the United States (see IPA Newsletter Number 5 for memberships). Professional membership organizations and other committees perform numerous activities related to  permafrost and seasonal frost. Following are reports of some of those activities.

The Committee on Permafrost cosponsored with the American Society of Civil Engineers a workshop on Permafrost and Climate Change, February 6, 1989, in St. Paul, Minnesota, as part of the ASCE Fifth International Cold Regions Specialty Conference. A special volume will be published by the ASCE.

The ASTM Committee D18 (Soil and Rock) formed a new Subcommittee, D18.19, Frozen Soil and Rock. The Subcommittee prepared draft standards on

  1. axial load tests on piles in permafrost
  2. laboratory frost susceptibility testing of soils; and
  3. laboratory creep testing of frozen soils.

The Subcommittee is also responsible for updating an existing standard on the Visual/Manual Classification of Frozen Soils.
Subcommittee chairman is C.W. "Bill" Lovell, School of Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 47907, USA.

The Technical Council for Cold Regions Engineering of the American Society of Civil Engineers has been in existence for over a decade and has a membership of over 4000. TCCRE has an Executive Committee, four Administrative Committees  (Awards, Programs, Publications, and Research), and three Technical Committees (Education, Design and Construction, and Control and Prevention of Frost Action). The Council sponsors International Conferences on Cold Regions at two to three year intervals. The Fifth Conference was held in St. Paul, Minnesota, in February, 1989; the Sixth will be held in Hanover, New Hampshire, February 26-28,1991. The Council also sponsors the preparation of monographs on various civil engineering activities in the cold regions. These publications are prepared by tasks groups of experienced engineering specialists.  Present TCCRE chairman is Howard P. Thomas, Harding Lawson Associates, 601 East 57th Place, Anchorage, Alaska, 99518,

Following discussions at Trondheim (August 1988) and Leningrad (December 1988), the U.S. Geological Survey organized a small workshop in Menlo Park, California, to discuss climate and permafrost measurements. In addition to U.S. participants lead by Arthur Lachenbruch, A. Judge (Canada) and V. Melnikov (USSR) attended. Comparison of circumarctic permafrost
temperatures require uniform techniques. These discussions were continued in Yamburg (August 1989) by several workshop participants. The U.S. Geological Survey is also leading an U.S. interagency data activity to acquire long-term data sets that can be used in global change research. More information can be obtained from Bruce Molnia or Douglas Posson, U.S.  Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, 22092, USA.

A workshop on Cold Regions Engineering Research was held on November 30,1988, in Hanover, New Hampshire. Over 40 engineers and scientists identified 14 research programs in 4 broad groups: offshore technology; watersheds, rivers and coastal zones; facilities infrastructure technology; and transportation infrastructure technolgy.

Robert Ettema, University of Iowa, led a group that considered topics on watersheds, rivers, and nearshore coastal processes and engineered structures. The offshore technology group, led by S. Shyan Sunder of MIT, considered programs in ice technology, offshore geotechnology, materials science and pollution control. Virgil Lunardini of CRREL led the group on facilities infrastructure technology, which addressed the special problems in designing buildings, utilities and other public and private facilities in cold regions. The transportation infrastructure technology group, led by Ted Vinson of Oregon State University, considered the problems of transporting goods and personnel in support of resource development activities in cold regions. The group selected as its first priority the impact of global climatic change on the cold regions transportation

The workshop report was published by the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF) in September, 1989, and is available through the School of Engineering at UAF. The editors of the report are Robert F. Carlson and John Zarling of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and Ed Link, Technical Director of CRREL.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities completed a 20-year performance analysis on the Chitina insulated roadway study site. This site is believed to be the first permafrost roadway insulated with foamed polyethylene
insulation. The insulation has survived well, but the roadway continues to be affected by thermal instability due to the warm permafrost (-0.5° C) and the warming effects of the side slopes. In the reconstruction of 30 miles of Glennallen to Tok
Highway, 12.5 miles has been reinforced with 290,000 square yards of high strength geotextile to prevent spreading and cracking of the pavement. Design of the Bethel airport road has taken into account "greenhouse warming". A rate of air temperature warming of 0.6° C per 10 years was used to analyze future thaw-settlement. Extensive use of insulation and a trial installation of thermosyphons will be used to slow permafrost thaw.

The Circum-Pacific Map Project (CPMP) has added an Arctic Sheet, scale 1 :10,000,000, to the ongoing program of compiling and publishing geological and resource information of the Pacific Basin and surrounding land areas. The new Arctic base views the region from the Pacific Basin and covers the entire Arctic Ocean Basin and surrounding land areas. Compilation of thematic maps by an international panel of experts is underway and will include the following individual maps: geographic, geologic, geodynamic, platetectonic, mineral resource, energy resource, and tectonic. The Base Map is available from the
distributor, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, AAPG Bookstore, P.O. Box 979, Tulsa, Oklahoma 741 01, USA. For further information on the CPMP contact George Gryc, U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, MS 952, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA.

A limited number of U.S. published permafrost volumes are still available:

  • Permafrost: A Bibliography 1978-1982 (GD 14)
  • Permafrost Bibliography update 1983-1987 (GD 21)
  • Proceedings: Permafrost Fourth international Conference, Volume 1 only, 1524 pages.

The first two items are available for $5.00 each from the World Data Center for Glaciology, CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA. The last item is available prepaid for $45.00 from Bruce Molnia, U.S. Geological Survey, MS 917,
Reston, VA 22092, USA. All prices quoted are in U.S. currency.

The Cold Regions Science and Technology bibliography is now available both on-line and as a subscription on a CD-ROM. For on-line searches contact ORBIT Search Service, 8000 Westpark Drive, Mclean, Virginia 22102, USA, (703) 442-0900 or (800) 421 -7229. For CD-ROM contact Fred Durr, National Information Services Corporation (NISC), Suite 6, Wyman Towers, 31 00 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA, (301) 243-0797; FAX (301) 454-8061. Subscription $595.00 per year, updated semiannually.

J. Brown, C.W. Lovell and D.C. Esch