This report encompasses Spanish permafrost activities in 2005 and 2006. Spanish research on geomorphologic processes associated with frozen ground and snow is ongoing in several mountain regions of the Iberian Peninsula and in other parts of the world. A number of teams are monitoring ground temperature in the Pyrenees in order to detect permafrost.
Enrique Serrano and his team from the University of Valladolid has been working in the Posets Massifs monitoring rock glaciers, Javier Chueca and the group from the University of Zaragoza is in the Telera, Madaleta and Guara massifs, and Antonio Gómez, heading the team from the University of Barcelona, is in the eastern Pyrenees.
Several studies in the Iberian Range focus on ploughing blocks as a unique feature of the periglacial belt. When active, these blocks become a distinctive element of high mountain environments. Fifty were measured in the area of Picos de Urbion (Iberian Range, province of Soria) and ten samples have been monitored to detect movement and measure displacement. The search for ploughing blocks in other areas included mountainous regions above 2000 m asl in Castile-Leon (Central Range, Galician-Leonese Mountains and the Catabrian Range). Any blocks from these areas that appeared active were also monitored. Partial results from this research were presented in a poster at the VI International Geomorphology Conference held in 2005 in Zaragoza. Members of this working group include Pablo Arroyo Perez, Alberto Gandia Fernandez and Alipio Garcia de Celis, from the Department of Geography of the University of Valladolid.
The team of researchers from the University of Barcelona, the Complutense University of Madrid, and the University of Extremadura, headed by Antonio Gomez, has been monitoring temperatures in the active layer at varying depths, and is tracking the movement of the rock glacier at Corral del Veleta (3120 m asl) in Sierra Nevada. Results so far show variations in the ground temperature regime with a surprisingly broad interval between high and low values, and evidence of advancement and collapse of the glacier body. Ongoing observations of the snow cover during the summer also suggest that the rock glacier dynamics and the temperature variations detected within this rock glacier are probably related to the snow cover amount.
Juan Ramon Vidal Romani and Daniel Fernandez Mosquera (Institute of Geology, Univ. of Coruña) coordinated dating studies in the Galician-Portuguese mountain ranges, the Central Range (Guadarrama) and in other regions of the Iberian Peninsula using cosmogenic isotopes 10Be and 21Ne in granite massifs exposed to periglacial processes during the late Pleistocene. The results have been useful in determining the rates of deterioration in conjunction with the structure of the massif. Well-fractured massifs have undergone intensive periglacial processes while non fractured massifs in the same area have not been affected at all. The studies also revealed that the glaciated areas that had been affected by glacial scouring maintained the characteristics of their origin. These traits tend to disappear, however, in adjacent zones due to periglacial action. The findings demonstrate that surfaces that were originally thought of as having the same age were actually very different.
Fernando Diaz del Olmo (Univ. of Seville) coordinated studies in the Betica Range on the relationship between karstic and periglacial processes, and particularly, karren and doline formations in connection with travertine geosystems. F. Diaz and Guillermo Brenes (Univ. of Costa Rica) have been collaborating in a study to re-evaluate the periglacial formations on the summits of the Talamanca Range (Costa Rica) in the Cerra de la Muerte and Cerro Buena Vista massifs (3490 m asl). The characteristics of the surface formations and the existing vegetation recall inherited periglacial dynamics that are very different from the conventional identification established for the neighbouring summits of Cerro Chirripo in the Talamanca Range (K.H. Orvis and S.P. Horn).
The team led by Jose Maria Redondo Vega from the University of Leon has been conducting surface analyses of the fabric of 20 relict rock glaciers in the western sector of the Cantabrian Range. Collected data is being analyzed statistically. Ground temperatures are recorded near some rock glaciers.
Augusto Perez, Marcos Valcarcel and their group have been monitoring geomorphologic activity and microclimatic conditions in an active nival niche in Sierra Ancares (Galicia). They have also initiated studies on periglacial and permafrost dynamics in Tierra de Fuego in collaboration with Jorge Rabassa.
The team headed by David Palacios (Complutense Univ. of Madrid) continues to monitor cryonival processes in several nival niches in the Central Range. This group is also involved in surveying and locating permafrost on volcanoes in Mexico (Popocatepetl and Iatacihualt) and Peru (Misti and Coropuna).
A team from the University of Alcala de Henares, the University of Lisboa and the University of Zurich, led by Miguel Ramos, is monitoring permafrost thermodynamics on Livingston Island (Antarctica). Two projects coordinated by Miguel Ramos and funded by the Spanish Antarctic Programme will be carried out in the Antarctic in collaboration between the Universities of Alcalá de Henares (Spain), of Lisbon (Portugal) and of Zurich (Switzerland). Plans include drilling new 20-m deep boreholes. These projects Permamodel 2006-07 and Permamodel 2007-09 are entitled «Permafrost and Active Layer Monitoring and Modelling in Livingston and Deception Islands (Antarctic)» and are part of International Polar Year and the IPA TSP Project 50. Other requests for IPY funding in Spain are pending and will be reported on in 2007.
David Palacios (email@example.com)