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The main focus of activity during the past year was on planning for the poster sessions and excursion linked to the INQUA conference that will be held in Durban, South Africa, in August 1999. A post-conference excursion to Sani Pass will be of particular interest to IPA and to its new Working Group on Southern Hemisphere Permafrost and Periglacial Environments (SHWG). The excursion will examine periglacial features, blockstreams, valley asymmetry, sedimentary successions and contemporary periglacial microforms on top of the Drakensberg and Lesotho mountains. A key issue will be the contrasting periglacial and glacial hypotheses for Pleistocene palaeoenvironments.
During the INQUA Congress two poster sessions with associated workshops will be of particular interest to IPA: Southern Hemisphere Periglacial Research and Quaternary Environmental Change (contact Jan Boelhouwers or Kevin Hall) and Current Periglacial Research and Palaeoclimatic Reconstruction (contact Stefan Grab or Ian Meiklejohn).

Other activities undertaken under the auspices of the SAPG, or by its members, during the past year include:

  1. Two field workshops at Sani Pass were conducted under the leadership of Jan Boelhouwers. Emphasis was on boulder streams and their use as palaeoclimatic indicators. It is suggested that periglacial conditions existed and that the only possible glaciation is in the form of niche glaciers.
  2. Ongoing field research on sub-Antarctic Marion Island by Jan Boelhouwers and Ian Meiklejohn includes an ice-mass balance study on the Marion Island icefield, monitoring of cryogenic processes, landforms and rock weathering.
  3. Paul Sumner is investigating open-work block deposits in the Hogsback region, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, to find geomorphic evidence for Pleistocene palaeoclimates. He conducted a field workshop during June 1998. These features have previously been used to argue for Pleistocene periglacial gradients and snowlines.

Ian Meiklejohn (kim@nsnper1.up.ac.za)