The Argentine and South American Association of Permafrost (AASP) grew with more cryo-scientists who are working in different parts of the Andes. The Association was also active at the NICOP in Siberia, where South American research projects were presented, e.g. about permafrost modelling in the Patagonian Andes (L. Ruiz) or rock glaciers inventories of the Central Andes of Mendoza (D. Trombotto, G. Lenzano, M. Castro). A new geomorphological periglacial map of Mendoza was also displayed in Salekhard (D. Trombotto and V. Alonso).
The most important topic in Argentina is the present inventory of rock glaciers of the Andes and neighboring high mountains according to the Federal Law to protect them, seeing rock glaciers as a significant water reservoir for arid and semiarid regions. In this way the fact to protect the Cordón del Plata range as Provincial Park in Mendoza was justified because of its cryospherical system and hydrological value. An ongoing hydrological and geochemical work titled “Research of the cryogenic environment and hydrology of the Peteroa volcano region” (P. Grizas) is part of a project carried out in the upper basin of Malargüe river where many rock glaciers systems are rooted. A new scholarship (E. Bottegal) began with a project about crydynamics in permafrost areas of the Andes and an attempt to find cryosystems comparable with environments on Mars.
During the period 2012 the group of Quaternary Geology, Institute Miguel Lillo Foundation A. L. Ahumada (G. Ibáñez Palacios, M. Toledo, V. Paez Silvia) has intensified its exploration in the Sierra de Santa Victoria, Cordillera Oriental, Salta and Jujuy, at altitudes above 4000 m ASL. In Sierra de Aconquija they are implementing the installation of instrumentation soil temperature readings in an intact rock glacier at 4200 m ASL. They participated in the Workshop on Geomatics 2012 with their progresses and are working on the National Inventory of Glaciers in 4 basins of NW Argentina.
Recently in Arica (Chile) the XXXIII National Congress and the International XVIII Geography Congress with participation of representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and Costa Rica was held. Two glaciological presentations are to be mentioned: 1- Glacier pyramid: characteristics and recent evolution of a covered glacier (F. Ferrando A.); and 2- Spatiotemporal variation in the glacial extension at the Sillajhuay mountain between 1989 and 2011, Pica-Colchane Tarapacá region, Chile (Lobos). The Glaciology Group at the “Centro de Estudio Avanzados en Zonas Áridas (CEAZA, Ch. Kinnard)”, Chile, has been conducting a study on the rock glaciers in the area near the Agua Negra Pass near the Chilean-Argentine border. They concentrated on acquiring long GPR profiles on the “Llano de Las Liebres” rock glacier and on the Tapado debris-covered glacier and rock glacier, as well as conducting superficial geomorphological and sedimentological observations. The objective is to study the internal composition of the rock glaciers, including an estimation of their possible ice content. Preliminary results show that the 2.5km-long “Llano de Las Liebres” has a high ice content in its upper part, which decreases toward the terminus, in agreement with the present climate conditions which put the zero degree isotherm in the middle of the rock glacier. GPR results from the Tapado debris-covered glacier revealed a considerable amount of buried ice near the exposed glacier terminus (60m), pointing to the hydrological significance of these landforms.
The research team GFAM (Complutense Universidad of Madrid), in collaboration with Kenji Yoshikawa (University of Alaska Fairbanks) has been drilling boreholes (3 to 10 m deep) in tropical volcanoes (Chachani and Coropuna in Peru, and Iztaccihualt, in Mexico) over the past year to monitor permafrost dynamics. The group has also continued to date periglacial landforms -mainly fossil rock glaciers- in those volcanoes, to understand their origin and associate them to paleoclimatic periods and to the deglaciation process of the volcanoes.