During 2011, the activities of Romanian community of glacial, periglacial and permafrost researchers were undertaken only at universities and cover most of the Romanian Carpathians arch and Romanian-Ukrainian Carpathian sector.
At the Department of Geography, West University of Timişoara, P. Urdea and his team (M. Ardelean, F. Ardelean, A. Onaca) are continuing frost heaving and depth of frost monitoring program in the Muntele Mic area, coupled with thermal photography and infrared cameras, magnetic susceptibility meter and thermal characteristic meter (conductivity, diffusivity) in the investigation of periglacial forms (earth hummocks, solifluctional forms) extended in Făgăraş and Ţarcu Mountains. Also, our team and several postgraduate are continuing the program of geophysical investigations - ERT, GPR (Fig. 1) - , ground temperature monitoring by sensors on rock glaciers, scree slopes and rock walls, solifluction lobes, small sorted nets, rocks rivers (Fig. 2) and fossil palsa. In addition, P. Urdea started a series of self-potential investigations in earth hummocks, solifluctional forms and fossil palsa (Fig. 3). Under the coordination of Mircea Ardelean the team of West University of Timişoara started an investigations program of some karstic shaft with perennial snow and ice in Piule-Iorgovanu Mountains, focused on temperature and firn-ice masses evolution (Fig. 4).
Fig. 1. GPR investigations in Ana rock glaciers, Retezat Mts. Fig. 4. (Photo, P. Urdea).
Fig. 2. Rocks-river dynamics measurements, Cindrel Mts. (Photo, P. Urdea).
Fig. 3. Fossil palsa in the glacial morainic complex Soarbele, Godeanu Mts. (Photo, P. Urdea).
Fig. 4. Instalation of thermal sensor in Albele karstic shaft, Piule-Iorgovanu Mts. (Photo, M. Ardelean).
Glacial and periglacial relief and relict permafrost indicators were studied by Timişoara team in Capra_Buha area (Parâng Mountains), Cindrel and Lotrului Mountains (Fig. 5), and by P. Urdea in Cârligata-Buteasa area (Apuseni Mountains).
Fig. 5. Tors in Cristeşti Mountain, Lotrului Mts. (Photo P. Urdea).
Under the coordination of P. Urdea (Timişoara), P. Chiroiu and R. Putan started their investigations for the Ph thesis on the topic of dendrogeomorphology and dendrochronology of periglacial forms and processes of the alpine belt of South Carpathians and, respectively, geomorphologic and geophysical investigations of periglacial forms and processes on upper part of Capra basin (Făgăraş Mountains).
A team of West University of Timişoara lead by M. Voiculescu worked in Southern Carpathians snow-avalanche rhythms during the last decades, combining geomorphic and dendrochronological methods.
Under the coordination of P. Urdea (Timişoara), P. Chiroiu and R. Putan started their investigations for the Ph D theses on the topic of dendrogeomorphology and dendrochronology of periglacial forms and processes of alpine belt of South Carpathians and, respectively, geomorphologic and geophysical investigations of periglacial forms and processes on upper part of Capra basin (Făgăraş Mountains).
In the year of 2011, at the Faculty of Geography, Bucarest University, two PhD theses regarding the permafrost phenomenology (Razvan Popescu) and rock wall denudation (Mirela Vasile) in Southern Carpathians were initiated under the coordination of dr. Alfred Vespremeanu-Stroe. An inventory of the rock glaciers in Southern Carpathians was made based on spatial images. The monitoring of annual ground surface temperature using miniature temperature data loggers and also bottom temperature of snow measurements were conducted on more periglacial landforms of rock glaciers and talus slopes from Retezat (Fig. 6), Parâng and Făgăraş Mountains.Also, the monitoring of two important controlling factors for permafrost maintenance was initiated: liquid precipitations - pluviometry to assessment the local differences in the same massif -, and solar radiation – pyranometry to assessment the differences between computed and field-measured radiation values. Crack extensometers and digital thermometers with data loggers having great capacity of storage for high frequency of sampling were used for a better assessment of rockwalls thermal regime and its effects on weathering (Fig. 7). In-depth thermal measurements were initiated as well, following the profile 2, 15, 20, 40 cm in rock, in order to determine the thermal gradient in different lithologies and areas. The exposure and its influence on the weathering processes is being intensely studied, experimental measurements being conducted in the field in Retezat, Făgăraş and Bucegi Mountains.
Fig. 6. Monitoring of annual ground surface temperature using miniature temperature data loggers and bottom temperature of snow measurements on periglacial landforms of rock glaciers and talus slopes from Retezat (Photo P. Urdea).
Fig. 7. Instalation of crack extensometer in rock walls from Retezat Mountains (Photo R. Popescu).
Studies of perennial ice accumulations in caves continued throughout 2011 in Romania by a ,,Babeş-Bolyai’’ University (Cluj-Napoca) team (A. Perşoiu, B. Onac, I. Perşoiu) . These investigations aimed to 1) decipher the mass balance and dynamics of ice in caves ; 2) explain the relations between climate and the stable isotope composition of ice ; 3) asses the palaeoclimatic potential of pollen grains in ice and 4) disentangle external and internal climate impact on ice dynamics in caves. The vast majority of studies were devoted to Scărişoara Ice Cave (Fig. 8), with some side projects being aimed to Borţig and Focul Viu Ice Caves (Apuseni Mts.).
Fig. 8. Ice sampling for palinological investigations and stable isotope composition on Scărişoara Ice Cave (Photo A. Perşoiu).
On the other hand the studies in Scărişoara Ice Cave formed the bulk of a PhD thesis by Aurel Perşoiu, entitled “Palaeoclimatic significance of perennial ice accumulations in caves: an example from Scărişoara Ice Cave, Romania", defended in February 2011 at the University of South Florida, Tampa, USA.
The research group of University of ,,Ştefan cel Mare’’ University Suceava, lead by M. Mândrescu focused his interest to: 1. detecting new glaciated/periglacial areas and new glacial/periglacial features in the Northern Romanian Carpathians and Romanian-Ukrainian sector ; 2. new studies on the periglacial features and evidence regarding the paleowind direction in Obcinele Bucovinei (“wind shaped tors”), and 3. studying and mapping the paraglacial and parafluvial features such as antislope scars and rock slope features in the Northern Romanian Carpathians (Fig. 9) and Romanian Ukrainian Carpathians (Fig. 10).
Fig. 9. Antislope scars and rock slope features in The Rodnei Mts. (Photo M.Mândrescu).
Fig. 10. Antislope scars and rock slope features in Pop Ivan Mountain (Photo M.Mândrescu).
Petru Urdea (firstname.lastname@example.org)