Between 1996 and 1997 research focused on the following study areas:
Laguna del Diamante, Cordillera Principal (34°S), Mendoza. At this site different periglacial geomorphological, sedimentological and paleoclimatic studies are carried out. In 1996, and with the support of the geocryology research team and the cooperation of other researchers at the Argentinean Institute of Ice, Snow and Environmental Research (IANIGLA), a report was prepared on the possible harm to the environment and the dangers that could result from construction of a gas pipeline from Argentina to Chile.
Lagunita del Plata, Cordillera Frontal (33°S), Mendoza. Periglacial long-term studies which had been interrupted in 1987 were resumed with geodetic measurements and geocryological investigations. Data on solifluction at a height of 4000–4500 m a.s.l. were updated. Geoelectrical measurings and geodetic calculations were made. Field work at this study site provided support for the General Irrigation Department of the Province of Mendoza and nearby communities. This work was carried out with the cooperation of E. Buk, José Hernández and José Corvalán.
The 50th (Jubilee) Canadian Geotechnical Conference was held in Ottawa in October 1997. The 1997 Roger J.E. Brown Award was presented to Jack Clark, in recognition of his role in the development of permafrost engineering in northern Canada in the 1970s and 1980s. Dr. Clark was formerly president and CEO of the Center for Cold Oceans Research and Engineering in St. John’s, and still has an emeritus appointment there. He is also a former member of the Canadian National Committee for the IPA. At the business meeting of the Cold Regions Division, a new division chair was elected — Alan Hanna, of AGRA Earth & Environmental Limited, Calgary, Alberta. He replaces Elizabeth Hivon on 1 January 1998. The business meeting also considered the problem of competing conferences, and noted that there are at present too many conferences with similar themes in cold regions or northern engineering. Smaller meetings have increasing difficulty competing with larger, aggressively promoted conferences. The 51st Canadian Geotechnical Conference will be held in Edmonton, Alberta, in fall 1998. For more information, contact Don Lewycky (Tel: 403 496 6773; Fax: 403 944 6753; e-mail: email@example.com).
Submitted by J.Alan Heginbottom, Secretary, CNC-IPA (firstname.lastname@example.org)
An active layer monitoring site was established in the Yituli River basin, northeast China, in 1997 based on the ITEX/CALM protocol. Two boreholes for monitoring ground temperatures were drilled at this site to depths of 13 and 40 m .
The Lanzhou Institute of Glaciology and Geocryology (LIGG) is undertaking a program for research and monitoring of the cryosphere of the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau. This includes a model of the response of plateau permafrost to climate change and is supported by a GIS and an engineering–geological database of permafrost along the Qinghai– Tibet highway. The present processes of the active layer in permafrost areas of the plateau are being investigated.
In 1997 LIGG, in cooperation with the Japanese GAME National Subcommittee for GAME/Tibet (GNSGT), set up seven observational sites for investigating the variation of ground temperature and moisture in the active layer along the Qinghai–Tibet highway. A test site for observing methane flux has been established in the permafrost region in the Huashi Valley of Qinghai Province.
The permanent research station in the High Arctic Zackenberg area in northeast Greenland was officially opened in August 1997. Temperature measurements, using TinyTalk miniature dataloggers, in a transect through a nivation hollow with a perennial snowpatch showed that during the 1995–96 season the BTS (bottom of the snow) temperature was about –10°C. The mean annual air temperature was –9.8°C. The BTS temperature was found to be less than 2– 3°C higher than the annual terrain surface temperature outside the snowpatch. As reported previously, two CALM grids were established at Zackenberg in summer 1996, with maximum average active layer thicknesses of 60 and 61 cm, and measurements continued in 1997. Studies of the soil water chemistry, physical and geochemical processes controlling pore water chemistry in the active layer and monitoring of the content of unfrozen water in the layer were started during the 1996 summer in Zackenberg. These studies are part of the long-term monitoring program of physical parameters under the GeoBasis program. Further information on the GeoBasis program and the research projects carried out at Zackenberg is given in Zackenberg Ecological Research Operations, 2nd Annual Report 1996, 80 p., Danish Polar Center, e-mail: email@example.com, or on the Web: http://www.dpc.dk/Sites/Zackenberg/FirstChoise.
A soil map of Greenland, scale 1:7,500,000, has been compiled by B. H. Jakobsen, Institute of Geography, University of Copenhagen. It was presented at the Cryopedology Conference in Russia in August 1997.
During the summers of 1995 and 1996 soil scientists from the Institute of Landscape Ecology in Muenster (G. Broll, G. Mueller) carried out fieldwork on permafrost-affected soils in the Auyuittuq National Park on Baffin Island, N.W.T., Canada. This DFG-sponsored project is accomplished in cooperation with Canadian soil scientists from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Branch and Parks Canada. Besides investigations on soil genesis, the study focused on soil ecological interactions. Soil temperatures were measured at different depths. The results of the study will be presented at Yellowknife and at the International Soil Science Society Congress.
During 1997 the following activities were carried out within the Italian IPA Adhering Body.
Research was conducted on mountain permafrost in the Italian Alps with particular reference to permafrost degradation and related slope instability phenomena.
A three-year research program on permafrost and buried ice in Victoria Land, Antarctica, funded by the ENEA-PRNA Project, is in progress. It includes geophysical soundings, thermal logging and monitoring of boreholes, and chemical and isotope analysis of ground ice.
A research project on permafrost distribution and thermal characteristics in the Svalbard Islands has been initiated with the financial support of the National Research Council. The first field investigations (including deep drilling) will start in the spring of 1998.
In 1997, the International Center of Geoecology of Mountains in Arid Regions (ICGM) continued observations on monitoring the thermal regime of seasonally and perennially frozen ground at the special polygon for thermometry in the basin of the Bolshaya Almatinka River (Zailiysky Alatau Range, Northern Tien Shan). The polygon includes over 30 observation sites with different conditions of absolute elevation, ground and vegetation. Observations of the dynamics of representative rock glaciers as well as glacio-hydrophysical observations on the Tuyuksu Glacier were continued. Winter observations of the frost heaving of seasonal mounds (thufurs) showed that the vertical movement of their surfaces reaches 10 cm, i.e. about one-third of the height of these features in summer.
Geocryologists at the Institute of Geography of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences are working on the generalization of the permafrost research materials obtained over the past years. In 1996, a publication on the geocryological character-istics of the economic zones was prepared, and a monograph on permafrost conditions in Mongolia was initiated.
As a result of many years of observations of the surface temperature regime on the protected Bogd Khan Mountain near Ulaanbaatar, N. Sharkhuu analyzed regional regularities in the quantitative alteration of permafrost conditions depending on latitudinal belts, slope exposure, winter air temperature inversion, and snow and vegetation covers. Results are reflected in a report and permafrost map (1:125,000) compiled in 1996 for the national atlas of this protected mountain.
Since 1989 several high-mountain areas in southern Norway have been investigated by the University of Oslo to map permafrost distribution using BTS, DC resistivity sounding, and sledge hammer seismic technique. A map of permafrost in southern Norway was recently presented based on this type of investigation. A new grid-based temperature map of mean annual air temperature by the Department of Norwegian Meteorological Institute (DNMI) and GIS analysis opens the possibility of mapping the southern limits of discontinuous permafrost over vast areas. Sporadic permafrost in connection with palsas and snow patches is excluded. The approach is well suited for interpretations on a regional scale to study past and future climate through change in permafrost distribution. A special study of frozen ground processes is being performed at Finse.
Research on permafrost and contemporaneous periglacial processes, carried out in 1996–97, was a continuation of a complex program of research in the region of the H. Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station, King George Island, West Antarctica, on the west coast of Spitsbergen in the vicinity of Hornsund Fjord and the Polish Station founded there in 1956, and other university polar stations which are active during the summer months. In the Hornsund region (south Spitsbergen), research was undertaken by teams from the Silesian University in Sosnowiec, the Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan, and the University of Wroclaw. The Maria Curie–Sklodowska University in Lublin was engaged in research in the Recherche Fjord region (central Spitsbergen), whereas the Mikolaj Kopernik University of Torun owns a station on the Kaffoyra plain on the northwest coast.