The Italian Adhering Body of the International Permafrost Association is completing an inventory of rock glaciers both in the Alps and in the north central Apennines. The results of these studies are also an Italian contribution to the IPA permafrost map of the Northern Hemisphere. Large-scale geomorphological mapping is in progress in selected mountain areas (central and western Alps and Apennines) which have proved to be affected by permafrost. Very detailed studies have also been carried out for more than 40 rock glaciers, including 14c datings, BTS measurements, geoelectrical soundings and remote sensing.
Research continued at two stations installed in the Valtellina area (central Alps) some five years ago to monitor creep phenomena in rock glaciers. A new research station has been established on an active rock glacier in the upper Valtellina catchment. In this area, located at about 2700 m a.s.l., meteorological instruments and more than 15 thermistors measuring ground temperature at different depths have been installed.
Research on permafrost and periglacial geomorphology is also in progress for the area surrounding the Italian research station in Antarctica (Terra Victoria). Finally, the ultimate Italian version of the permafrost glossary has been submitted to the IPA Working Group on Terminology for inclusion in the multilingual glossary.
Prepared by Francesco Dramis