The Second International Conference on Contaminants in Freezing Ground was held at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2-5 July 2000. The Conference was organised by the Scott Polar Research Institute in collaboration with Geotechnical Science Laboratories of Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. The primary theme was removing pollution in cold regions and especially that entering the ground from oil spills, military wastes, various sources of nuclear material and other contaminants.


Delegates from 11 countries attended the Conference in Cambridge. A recurring topic was the restoration (decontamination) of lands damaged by oil and other spills using bacteria able to tolerate freezing conditions. The environmental conditions are such that conventional clean-up methods as practised in temperate lands often cannot be used. The proceedings of the Conference will include more than 20 reviewed papers, and various shorter items, which collectively illustrate the current rapid development of the associated science and technologies. The pre-publication price is US$100. In addition to the approximately 200-page Proceedings, this price will include a membership in the Virtual Conference and, currently, a free copy of the proceedings of the first Conference (of which there is only a limited stock). As a member of the Virtual Conference, you will be able to join the international discussion and planning for the future. Enquiries should be directed to: conferencesecretariat@freezingground. org, or visit the web site http://www.

The British National Adhering Body of the IPA held its Fourth Periglacial Workshop on 6-7 September 2000 at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. The Workshop was organised by Julian Murton and Colin Ballantyne in association with the Cryostratigraphy Research Group of the Quaternary Research Association, the IPA Working Group on Periglacial Processes and Environments, and the IGU Commission on Climatic Change and Periglacial Environments. The Workshop had four themes.

1. Modelling and monitoring of cryogenic processes. Keynote addresses were given by Charles Harris (Cardiff) on physical modelling in periglacial geomorphology, and Albert Pissart (Liège) on periglacial experiments and the origin of cryoturbations. Presentations were given by Colin Ballantyne (St. Andrews) and Ivar Bertling (Oslo) on ploughing boulders, Michael Davies (Dundee) on centrifuge modelling of rock slope stability, Norikazu Matsuoka (Tsukuba) on micro- and macrogelivation, Julian Murton (Sussex) on physical modelling of ice segregation in bedrock, and Samuel Etienne (Nantes) on biological weathering in periglacial environments.

2. Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. The keynote address was by Colin Ballantyne on the Late Devensian periglaciation of Scotland. Presentations were given by Hanne Christiansen (Copenhagen) on nivation in the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland, and Stephanie de Villiers (Pretoria) on South African cryogenic palaeoenvironments.

3. Mapping and monitoring of permafrost and periglacial features. Presentations were given by Daniel Vonder Mühll (Zürich) on geophysical mapping of mountain permafrost, Nikolai Shiklomanov (Delaware) on the effects of climate variability on active- layer thickness in Alaska, Hanne Christiansen on monitoring of snow cover by automatic photography, and Martin Gude (Jena) on the microclimate of extraalpine screes.

4. Interactions between permafrost and glaciers. The keynote paper was given by Bernd Etzelmuller (Oslo) on the relation between glaciers and permafrost on Svalbard. Presentations were given by Ole Humlum (Svalbard) on the effect of supraglacial debris on glaciers in permafrost areas, Wishart Mitchell (Luton) on rock glaciers in the Indian Himalaya, Julian Murton on basal ice and the frozen deforming bed of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, and Colin Whiteman (Brighton) on melt-out till overlying Laurentide basal ice.

Nine posters were displayed on topics spanning the four themes. Roundtable discussions highlighted two key areas for future research: (1) the rheology of cold earth materials, and (2) the transient behaviour of cold-climate processes. Laboratory modelling, particularly by way of large geotechnical centrifuges such as those at Cardiff and Dundee, provides promise for advancing understanding of the rheological behaviour of, for example, ploughing boulders, downslope soil movements in areas of two-sided freezing, and subglacial deforming beds of permafrost. Abstracts for the Workshop may be obtained by e-mail from Julian Murton (

Charles Harris (