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One of the outstanding tasks of the Geocryology Unit of Mendoza (D. Trombotto, J. Hernández) were the thermogeomorphological monitoring campaigns at the Peteroa volcano (35º15´S and 70º35´W) in a joint research project with the Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica (P. Penas, Buenos Aires) and the International Center for Earth Sciences (A. Ramires, Malargüe).

Daytime as well as nighttime flights with a Cessna 180 for four passengers with thermo-cameras a AGEMA TVH 550 or a sophisticated FLIR P660 made it possible to identify hot (active craters with fumaroles) and cold (with permafrost and glaciers) sites of the volcano caldera and to compare this information with former data obtained in 2009. Changes of geoforms, glaciers, permafrost and of the thermal spectrum as an alert of the eruption registered later on in September 2010 (FOTO) were detected. As part of this project in the region of the Peteroa Volcano and the upper basin of the Malargüe river, Pablo Grizas has began his doctoral thesis on periglacial hydrology under the direction of Dario Trombotto.


Eruption of the Peteroa Volcano, September 20, 2010 (Photograph provided by Dario Trombotto).

In 2010 Argentina had significant national and international transfer activities. In March there was a scientific exchange program with the University of Salzburg, Austria. In August Trombotto took part in the International Short Course on Permafrost Engineeging as a lecturer in Santiago de Chile. The same course was then given in San Juan, Argentina. This special course on Geocryology was organized by BGC Engineering Inc. (L. Arenson, S. Pastore) from the Argentine and South American Association of Permafrost). Other courses held were "Processes and Geodynamic Risks" at the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza as part of the Master program in territorial planning. Another course on Geocryology, “Permafrost and Ice in Caves” was held during a workshop on speleology in Malargüe.

There have been joint initiatives of Chile and Argentina under the international project: "Dinámica de glaciares rocosos en el Chile Semiárido" (Dynamics of rock glaciers in Semiarid Chile) in cooperation with the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, the Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago and the Geocryology Unit IANIGLA, CONICET Mendoza, Argentina. In the framework of a project funded by the Dirección General de Aguas (DGA), F. Herrera (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), G. Azócar and A. Brenning, with additional help from F. Rojas and F. Lobos (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile) built an exhaustive inventory of rock glaciers in the Choapa, Limari and Elqui watersheds. Within the same project, P. Iribarren (DGA), A. Brenning, X. Bodin and G. Azócar set up two new permafrost monitoring sites (Tapado and Llano de la Liebre, near the Agua Negra pass, border with Argentina), including sub-surface temperature measurements, active layer temperature measurements with material and help from D. Trombotto, L. Ruiz (Geocryology, IANIGLA) and J. Hernández and GPS-based survey of surface displacements. Those sites and the equipment are part of the DGA’s glacier monitoring network. Other active monitoring sites in order to create a bigger Chilean geocryological network are Laguna Negra and La Parva in the Central Andes of Santiago. They are attended mainly by the specialists mentioned above.

Dario Trombotto Liaudat (dtrombot@mendoza-conicet.gov.ar)