Argentina is the second country after Chile in terms of ice cover with approximately 15 percent of the total ice in South America. This fact requires a serious commitment to the protection of this natural resource, as ice masses provide drinking water and irrigation. The IANIGLA has helped to elaborate the Argentine law for the protection of glaciers and rockglaciers. After four years, the law on Protection of Glaciers and Periglacial Environment was finally approved by the government in October 2010. As part of this law a national inventory of ice masses and creeping frozen ground and a monitoring program will be made. The IANIGLA is in charge of the coordination between different research institutes in order to elaborate this inventory and will provide policy makers and the private sector related to water management with updated information. A Spanish glossary of periglacial terms has been elaborated by L. Arenson, P. Wainstein and D. Trombotto and a web page on South American Geocryology is in preparation.
Active layer monitorings along the Andean Cordillera with some surface drillings have been continued. At present there are monitoring sites in the provinces of San Juan Mendoza, Neuquén and Chubut between 31º and 42º S. Cryoforms of these sites are being analysed for the mentioned inventory and will be presented at the CTN-P workshop in Potsdam.
Concerning permafrost distribution the Geocryology Unit has started in 2009 a research program to evaluate the present and past distribution of permafrost, in the Andes of North Patagonia (L. Ruiz). After 3 years of BTS measurements a statistical model of mountain permafrost was elaborated. Although not aerially extensive, permafrost conditions were related with high altitude zones that received very little radiation. A streamlet on the tips of a rockglacier at 35º S at the upper basin of the river Malargüe (Mendoza) near the active volcano complex Peteroa will soon be equipped with instruments (P. Grizas).
In 2011 the research group of the Institute of Quaternary Geology (Tucumán) led by Ana Lía Ahumada has intensified fieldwork in the Sierra de Santa Victoria, Cordillera Oriental (Salta and Jujuy). At heights above 4000 ASL active, inactive and fossil rockglaciers were identified in the upper basin of the Rio Bermejo. The research group participated in the Argentine Congress on Geology in Neuquén with cryological data to be considered for road construction and in terms of sustainable tourism.
The inventory program of soil temperatures (at a depth of 1 m) and air temperatures on the S and N slopes of the volcano Coropuna (15º31’S, 72º39'W, 6377 m ASL) with three monitoring sites between 4600 and 5600 m ASL in search of possible permafrost occurrence has been continued (D.Palacios). The same is true for the south face of the volcano Chachani (16°11′ S, 71°31′ W, 6057 m ASL), where additional results of a one-year monitoring at 10 m depth at a height of 5331 m are expected.
Researchers from the University of Waterloo, Canada (A. Brenning), the CNRS EDYTEM unit in Chambery, France (X. Bodin) and the Catholic University of Chile (G. Azócar) continued their field-based monitoring of rockglaciers and periglacial environments in the Andes of Santiago and the upper Elqui valley, partly within a project funded by the Chilean Water Directorate. A rockglacier inventory for the semi-arid Chilean Andes was created within this project and for Chile's national glacier inventory. Thermal imaging and texture filters were furthermore studied as novel rockglacier remote sensing approaches in a collaboration between the University of Waterloo and Universidad Mayor, Santiago.
Dario Trombotto Liaudat (email@example.com)