University of Sussex), with funding from The Leverhulme Trust and the Geological Society, is investigating ‘The origin of deformed massive ice, Pleistocene Mackenzie Delta, Western Canadian Arctic’. A second project, organised by Julian Murton and funded by the UK Natural Environmental Research Council, brings together expertise on ground ice, rock weathering and cryogenic experiments from the University of Sussex and the Centre de Géomorphologie, Caen, France to develop ‘A pilot experiment on rock weathering in permafrost’.


A new methodology for simulating the ground thermal regime of the active layer and the upperpart of permafrost (two-sided freezing) has been successfully developed and is being applied to a large block of chalk. Results to date indicate that frost heave occurs during both freeze and thaw cycles, and that ice segregation is causing rock cracking to take place at the base of the simulated active layer. As part of the research project “Assessment of renewable ground and surface water resources and the impact of economic activity in The Ili River Basin, Republic Of Kazakstan” funded by the INCO-COPERNICUS Fund of the European Commission , Stephan Harrison (Centre for Quaternary Science, Coventry University) and David Passmore (Department of Geography, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne) are investigating the geomorphological evolution of upland valleys in the Tian Shan mountains. Long-term monitoring of environmental systems in the Zailiisky Alatau mountains of the northern Tian Shan offers an unusually detailed record of late 19th and 20th century glacier fluctuations, rock glacier fluctuations, climate records and frequency of avalanche activity over the past 40 years. Research aims include (a) to establish temporal and spatial linkages between twentieth century climatic changes, glacier and rock glacier response and patterns of valley side and valley floor instability, and (b) to develop a model of climate change and associated geomorphic responses that may be integrated within environmental and economic management frameworks. Scaled centrifuge modelling of thaw-related slope processes by Charles Harris and Brice Rea (Cardiff University) has made significant progress through 1999 (see PACE report, this issue), and a new three-year project entitled “Scaled centrifuge modelling of periglacial mass movement processes” commenced in October 1999. Funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council, this project will study gelifluction processes and the transition to rapid mudflow/active layer detachment sliding, with particular emphasis on the role of con-stitutive soil properties. A second project, involving Anglo-Norwegian collaboration and funded by the British Council and the Norwegian Research Council has been initiated to monitor processes of gelifluction at a field site in Finse, Southern Norway. The research team includes Johan Ludvig Sollid and Ivar Berthling (University of Oslo), Charles Harris (University of Cardiff) and Michael Davies (University of Dundee). This monitoring is designed to provide field validation of the scaled centrifuge modelling programme.

Charles Harris (