Report from June 1995

A summary of the highly successful meeting of the Scientific Council on Earth Cryology is reported elsewhere (p. 3-4). N.A. Grave has also provided a very useful summary of the monitoring session held during the council meetings. Copies are available by direct mail or E-mail from the Secretary General's ofice. In addition to many national and international activities, Russian geocryologists and cryopedologists are actively involved in the development of the Global Geocryological Database. The results of some of those activities are provided in the reports of the Data and Information and Cryosols Working Groups (p. 5 and 8). These include a compilation of over 370 published permafrost maps, a list of Russian organizations and institutions with potential permafrost data holdings, results of a pilot project to extract soil temperature data from existing meteorological station records, and borehole data from units within the IPA permafrost maps. The initial steps to prepare an international soils legend and map of regions underlain by permafrost have been taken.

Report from June 1995

The Council of the Southern African Permafrost Group (SAPG) has changed again, with Stefan Grab (University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg) now taking over as president from Margaret Marker (University of Cape Town). Wilson Rooy (University of Pretoria) and Ian Meiklejohn (University of Pretoria) remain as secretaryltreasurer and IPA representative respectively.
Some members attended and presented papers at a special Periglacial Session of the SASQUA (Southern African Society for Quaternary Research) Biennial Conference, held in Cape Town from 30 April to 6 May 1995. Papers presented included:

  • Interpretation of relict periglacial landforms in the High Drakensberg: Pleistocene or Holocene? (S. Grab)
  • Evidcnce for perennial snowbeds and Quaternary glaciation in the eastern Cape Drakensberg (C. Lewis)
  • Cenozoic sequences from Lesotho (M. Marker)
  • Valley asymmetry in the High Drakensberg: What are the palaeoclimatic implications? (I. Meiklejohn)
  • Debris deposits at Bannermans Pass, KwaZulu/Natal Drakensberg: Some palaeoclimatic implications (P. Stunner, I. Meiklejohn and S. Currie)

Within the framework of a Dutch-Russian treaty for scientific cooperation, the Willem Barentz field station has been opened at the eastern valley side of the lower Yenisei River, Russia, near its mouth in the North Polar Sea at Dickson (west Taimyr, c. 73°N). This field station has been set up by biologists, but will also be open for other scientists. There are places for 10-20 persons. The station is accessible by sea and air (by plane to Dickson and then 10 minutes by helicopter). At present, there is a "managing committee." The contact person for The Netherlands is B. Ebbinge, Afdeling Aquatische Ecologie, Institut voor Bosen Natuuronderzoek (IBM-DLO), P.B. 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands. Tel: 31 3434 55204.

Submitted by Jef Vandenberghe

European members of the International Permafrost Association have recently submitted a three-year research proposal to the European Union under its Fourth Framework Environment and Climate Program. The project is entitled High Mountain Slope Instability Associated with Permafrost Degradation Due to Climate Change: Monitoring, Modeling and Hazard Assessment. As the title implies, we propose to monitor mountain permafrost temperatures and slope instability associated with permafrost degradation, and undertake numerical and physical modelling in order to provide a new process-based approach to mountain slope hazard assessment in the context of dimate change.

Report from June 1995

Several U.S. membership and prokssional organizations continue their activities related to both seasonally and perennially frozen ground. These include the American Geophysical Union (AGU), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Association of American Geographers (AAG), and several boards and committees of the National Research Council. Permafrost research projects and monitoring are also active under several governmental programs. Brief reports follow.