The principal results of the Geoscientific Spitsbergen Expedition 1990-92 have now been published, mainly in Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie,N.F., Suppl.-Bd. 97, 1994. Several papers are of special interest to the permafrost community: patterned ground in the inner Woodfjord area (D. Thannheiser et al.), chemical weathering in high-arctic soils (W.D. Blümel et al.), recent fluvial sediment budgets in glacial and periglacial environments (D. Barsch et al.), the Late Quaternary glaciation history and landscape development (W.D. Blümel et al.), the glacial history (G. Furrer), glaciology and glacial gemorphology (L. King et al.), and evolution and age of shorelines along Woodfjord (H. Brückner et al.). Further work by this large group of polar geographers is focused on syntheses of the chronological results and studies on actual geomorphological processes in the permafrost environment of a catchment area at Liefdefiord, NW Spitsbergen. The development of a geoecological model for this catchment is planned. In addition, permafrost research is done by several geographical working groups, especially at the universities of Giessen, Heidelberg and Regensburg.
The Giessen group has done permafrost prospecting and mapping as well as investigation of mountain permafrost processes in the Zermatt area of Switzerland. This applied research is also focused on the formation and decay of permafrost connected with high mountain construction sites such as railways, cable car stations and buildings (cf. L. King, in Z. Geomorphologie, N.F., Suppl.-Bd. 104, 1996).
The Heidelberg group has published the results of a research project concerning the geomorphology and hydrology of the rock glaciers of the Andes of San Juan, Argentina (e.g. L. Schrott, Z. Geomorphologie, N.F., Suppl.-Bd. 104, 1996). The research group of R. Dikau and L. Schrott has
moved to Bonn and will continue its studies there. Induced by three field campaigns in Spitsbergen (SPE 90-92), a special focus is the study of snowmelt processes and initiation conditions of slush streams (slushflows and slush torrents). A joint group led by D. Scherer (Dept. of Geography, Basel) and D. Barsch and M. Gude worked on this topic in a campaign in spring 1995 in Grkevagge, Abisko Alps, Swedish Lapland (Modelling of Snowmelt and Its Consequences). The release of a high magnitude slush torrent was monitored with different measurement techniques. Snow cover temperatures were analyzed with a thermal imaging camera, energy fluxes at the snow surface were measured continuously at two sites, and meltwater movements in the snow cover were studied by dye tracer experiments. Accumulation of meltwater in the snow cover in the initiation area of the slush torrent was measured using pressure transducers. The slush torrent was documented on video and in photographs. The results of the studies on Spitsbergen and in Erkevagge indicate that slush streams are released by a hydrostatic gradient in the saturated snow cover ofvalley floors. The initiation zone typically has a low gradient. Consequently, slush streams have to be carefully distinguished from avalanches. Further work will be focused on the modeling of meltwater production, movement, and accumulation, which condition the release of slush streams.
At the University of Regensburg, the working group on Periglacid Slope Deposits was established several years ago. The distribution, composition and formation of periglacial slope deposits, which occur throughout the formerly periglacial landscape of the Bavarian Forest, are studied. Major aims of the studies are 1) to unravel the layering of the periglacial slope deposits and their material composition by means of pedochemical and mineralogical characteristics, and 2) to identify the aeolian Sdiment component. A synthesis of the subdivision and the origin of the periglacial slope deposits in the Bavarian Forest is published in Annals of Geomorphology (Völkel, 1995). Currently, slope sediments, soils and peats in the Bavarian Forest as evidence of climatically induced changes of the landscape during the transition from the Late Glacial to the Holocene are studied. The project is part of the DFG key program on the Change of the Geobiosphere During the Last 15000 Years: Continental Sediments as Witnesses of a Changing Environment and thereby incorporated in the core project Past Global Changes (PAGES) of the International GeosphereBiosphere Program (IGBP). The aim of the project is to reconstruct the processes and the environmental conditions during the Late Glacial in an upland area in Germany from information preserved in slope sediments, soils and peats, and to outline the significance of the Late Glacial morphodynamics for the development of the post-glacial landscape. A more precise geostratigraphy concerning the morphodynamics of the Late Glacial by means of interstratifications (interbeddings) of slope deposits with peats and by means of absolutely dating the sediments by OSL (Optically Stimulated Luminescence) is planned. In the summers of 1994 and 1995 studies in northwestern Canada to examine the processes and forms in recently frozen ground allow conclusions concerning periglacial slope processes during the Pleistocene in Germany.
In 1995, German-Russian cooperation on the project Late Quaternary Environmental History of the Taimyr/Severnaya-Zemlya Region continued. Its multidisciplinary program aims to provide information concerning the processes in the "permafrost-soil-hydrosphere-biosphere" system, and thus to understand the peculiarities and changes of these processes in the Late Quaternary. The results will also provide understanding of sedimentary and permafrost processes with respect to global change. Several German and Russian institutes are involved, namely the Alfied Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdarn; the Institute of Polar Ecology, Kiel; the Institute for Soil Science, Hamburg; the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute and the Komarov Botanical Institute, St. Petersburg; and the Department of Geocryology, Moscow State University. From April to November 1995, a total of 30 Russian and German scientists carried out field work on the Taimyr Peninsula. In addition, a short expedition was undertaken to Severnaya Zemlya in order to plan field work in this area for 1996.
The objectives were as follows: 1) Paleoclimate reconstruction using bottom lake sediments: four ice-covered lakes were cored on the Taimyr Peninsula, with a maximum depth of recovered sediment of 23 meters (April to May). 2) Hydrological studies in the active layer, lakes and rivers: field work was carried out in the Levinson-Lessing catchment from snowmelt to the beginning of freeze-back (June to October). 3) Paleogeographical-geocryological investigations of permafrost sequences, mapping of permafrost landscapes, and studies of cryosols, including the decomposition of organic matter and microbiological processes in the eastern part of the Taimyr Lowland at Labaz Lake (July to August). A detailed summary of this German-Russian project will be published in Reports of Polar Research (contact H.-W. Hubberten, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Telegrafenberg A43, 14473 Potsdarn, Germany; E-mail: email@example.com).
Submitted by Lorenz King