A symposium to celebrate Professor Charles Harris’ career was held on 25th September at the UMR CNRS 6143 "M2C"/ University of Caen, in Caen, France. Details of this happy and successful event are given in Frozen Ground #33.
Work has continued in establishing a chronology for the relict periglacial landscape of East Anglia. Through their application of cutting-edge luminescence dating methods Stephen Hitchens and Mark Bateman (Sheffield) have been able to discern from single samples multiple activation ages of both stripes and periglacial polygons, indicating polycyclic development of these features during Marine Isotope Stages 4–2. Stephen’s untimely death in September is a great loss to the UK periglacial community and he will be sorely missed.
Glacier-permafrost interactions associated with a Pleistocene ice sheet overriding permafrost ~430,000 years ago in Norfolk, Eastern England, were studied by an interdisciplinary team led by R. Waller (University of Keele) and comprising C. Whiteman (University of Brighton), E. Phillips and J. Lee (British Geological Survey) and J. Murton (University of Sussex). The structural attributes of stratified sand intraclasts within silty and clayey tills constrain the thermal conditions of glaciotectonic deformation. Analogous deformation structures in metamorphic rocks and glacially deformed permafrost in Arctic Canada support the hypothesis that the Norfolk structures did not form in an unfrozen deforming bed, as long thought, but in warm and ductile permafrost.
Ancient plant DNA preserved in permafrost soils was the focus of a UK-Danish-Russian field trip to Duvanny Yar on the lower Kolyma River, Yakutia, NE Siberia (See Figure). This Beringian type site preserves a record of terrestrial silt-sand (Yedoma) deposition during Marine Isotope Stages 3 and 2 (~50,000–10,000 years ago). Frozen cores of sandy silt were collected in a ~35-m high vertical transect through the Yedoma deposits by J. Haile (Universities of Copenhagen & Oxford), M. Edwards (University of Southampton) and J. Murton for DNA analysis, radiocarbon and optical dating, and sedimentological analyses.
The new Permafrost Laboratory at the University of Sussex is now in operation as a result of collaboration between Geography and Engineering at Sussex. A pilot experiment has been running since April to test the hardware and monitoring system, with a systematic experiment on rock fracture in mountain rockwalls planned.
Julian Murton (firstname.lastname@example.org)