On 14 March 1994 Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt gave the oath of office to Dr. Gordon Eaton, who will serve as the 12th Director of the US Geological Survey. Dr. Eaton, an earth scientist, was most recently the Director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and previously an employee of the USGS, President of Iowa State University, and Provost and Vice President at Texas A&M University. Dr. Eaton succeeds Dr. Dallas Peck, who has returned to his research in the Geological Survey. The USGS has the federal government's largest civilian mapping program and the largest water resources scientific and data program, is responsible for the national assessment of energy and minerals resources, and conducts basic and applied research on a wide range of earth science and earth hazard programs. The agency has 10,000 employees working in nearly 200 field offices and headquarters. In addition to its long history of permafrost research, the USGS is supporting the IPA map project and is providing expert assistance and experience for the development of the IPA Geocryological Database project.
Troy Péwé reports that in August 1993, 25 scientists interested in evidence of periglacial and glacial features on Mars attended a workshop and field trip in Fairbanks, Alaska, sponsored by the NASA Lunar and Planetary Institute. The meeting was most notable for its field setting and the fact that it brought together researchers from the planetary and earth science communities who have special interests in cold-climate processes and landforms. Many of these planetary scientists had never before observed periglacial (permafrost) and glacial ice in the field. Three of the four days of field trips were headed by T.L. Péwé and R.D. Reger using Guidebook No. 1 of the Fourth International Conference on Permafrost. A second printing was issued in 1993. Other field leaders were J. Begét and D.M. Hopkins. Field trip leaders presented invitational papers at the workshop.
Troy Péwé also reports on the field trip following the Sixth ICOP, 10-15 July 1993. Nine US participants attended the post-conference excursion to southern China. The first stop was the outstanding archeological display of life-sized terra cotta figures of soldiers from the time of Emperor Qin (221-206 B.C.). Large, new exposures of loess were seen in road cuts leading to the bridge across the Wei River at Xian.
The highlight of the trip was the visit to the spectacular and unique, limestone tower-karst topography at Guilin in the Guongxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of southeast China. The first day was spent inspecting several of the more than 3000 caves in Devonian limestone. One day was spent floating down the Li River on a flat riverboat, through the world-famous karst "forest" of stone peaks eroded in tilted Devonian limestone. This mystic landscape has been reproduced on silkscreens, paintings, and ceramics for more than 1000 years. After Guilin, a day was spent in the large ancient city of Gangzhou (Canton) on the Pearl River.
Eric G. Johnson,Executive Committee Secretary, Technical Council on Cold Regions Engineering (TCCRE), reports on the success of the 7th International Cold Regions Engineering Specialty Conference held 6-9 March 1994 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The conference was sponsored by the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, the Canadian Geotechnical Society, and the American Society of Civil Engineers. One hundred-eighty engineers and scientists from many countries attended, including Russia and China. Besides presentation of papers, the conference included forums on research and education from which summarizing documents will be prepared. Planning is underway for the 8th International Cold Regions Engineering Specialty Conference with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks for August 1996. The next meeting of TCCRE will be during the National ASCE Convention in Atlanta, 7-9 October 1994. The following committees will meet: Executive Committee, Programs, Frozen Ground, Publications, Awards, Research, Education, and Design and Construction. Work continues on the monographs on Arctic Foundations, Roadways and Airfields, and Materials, and on updating the Cold Climate Utilities Manual.
During the 7th Specialty Conference, TCCRE's Education Committee participated in sessions to identify cold regions subjects that might be included in a standard undergraduate civil engineering curriculum. Results will be reported in a paper for the Journal of Cold Regions Engineering. For information contact Education Committee, Chair Larry Bennett (tel. 907-474-6121).
Frozen The Committee on Frost Action of the Transportation Research Board held its annual meeting on 10 January 1994 in Washington, D.C. Presentations included: Update on the MNROADS project (Melrae Succio), New "n" factor computations (Richard Berg), Cold weather impacts on bridges (Leroy Hulsey), CRREL FERF load cart (Robert Eaton), Underground bridging (Billy Connor), New airfield test section (Vincent Janoo), and Geofoams (John Howath), among other presentations and discussions of research needs.
David Esch, of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, reports two active studies related to permafrost. The benefits (K-factors) of ground tire rubber as insulation for permafrost or frost heave are being studied by John Zarling (University of Alaska-Fairbanks) using thermal conductivity measurements. Development of a string of soil saturation sensors to measure perched water on top of frozen soil layers is underway with Gerald Christenson, MPC, Gig Harbor, Washington.
K.R. Everett, Ohio State University, F.E. Nelson, Rutgers University, Y. Shur, University of Alaska, and Jerry Brown report on a joint US-Russian active layer project which has several Russian sites on Yamal Peninsula (M. Liebman), Gydan Penisula at Parisento (A. Pavlov and N. Moskalenko) and Anadyr (A. Kotov) and in Alaska. The main sites are located at
Barrow, Prudhoe Bay and several places along the pipeline road. Late summer active layer thicknesses have been probed on 1- x 1-km grids, 100- x 100-m grids or transects for 1992 and 1993. Barrow thaw is the least (22 and 30 cm), Anadyr is intermediate (59 and 51 cm), and Yamal(86 and 93) and Parisento (81 and 93 cm) have the deepest thaw. Observations will continue in 1994 with additional sites added in both Siberia and Alaska. Measurements will be incorporated into the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX).
Virgil Lunardini reports that CRREL had two holes drilled in permafrost in central and northern Alaska in winter 1993-94. A small amount of undisturbed core was recovered, with sampling obtained throughout. Further coring is planned. Temperature measurements will begin in July 1994, in 3-inch-diameter PVC pipe, filled with silicone fluid.
Bob Eaton reports that a new traffic loading machine is being procured for the CRREL Frost Effects Research Facility (FERF). The machine will make it possible to apply the equivalent of 20 years of truck traffic in six months. The effect of moisture upon subgrade support will soon be evaluated in the FERF, testing four soil types representative of the United States. This work is part of a cooperative international effort being sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration. Vincent Janoo, CRREL, reports that the Federal Aviation Administration has contracted with the Corps of Engineers for a five-year study to evaluate airfield pavement design methods. An instrumented section on the main runway of the new Denver Airport will have the following parameters measured: dynamic strain, thermal-induced strains, layer deflections, and temperature and moisture with depth. The structural capacity of the pavements will be periodically characterized
with a Heavy Weight Deflectometer. Data will be collected remotely via modem and downloaded into a database. Results will be used to develop a design procedure which will account for the seasonal temperature and moisture changes.
Nancy Liston reports that the CRREL Technical Library has relocated to its new home in the new four story Technical Information Analysis Center. The library collection includes over 20,000 books, 160,000 micrographics, 760 journal titles, in some cases dating from the mid-1950s, and a technical report collection of more than 100,000 documents. A room has been dedicated to the micrographic and paper collection of the 48-volume COLD Bibliography. The new facility was dedicated in June 1994.
Compiled by Jerry Brown