The Spanish groups of IPA-Spain continue with the periglacial researches beginning in the last years. The researches are centered in Antarctica, Arctic, Andes and Iberian mountains. During 2012 several activities have been developed by means of big efforts of researcher caused by the lack of funds and financial support for research in Spain, which is seriously endangering the continuity of research on the cryosphere and the Spanish community participation in the activities of the IPA.


The University of Barcelona (leaded by Dr. Antonio Gómez Ortiz) continues monitoring works in the Corral del Veleta rock glacier (Sierra Nevada, 3150 m). From 2001 the rock glacier dynamic and the relict ice and permafrost degradation is studied. The results show an unbalanced behaviour. Between 2009 and 2011 any movement nor degradation was measured because the snow cover (2,5 m depth) remained all summer. During 2011-2012 period the rock glacier newly moved and degraded, recording degradation values around  32 cm at its central in the central part.

The research team GFAM (Complutense University), in collaboration with KenjiYoshikawa (University of Alaska Fairbanks) has been drilling boreholes (3 to 10 m depth) in tropical volcanoes (Chachani and Coropuna in Peru, and Iztaccihualt, in Mexico) over the past year to monitor permafrost dynamics. Another part of the work has been the study of different active rock glaciers in the Trollaskagi peninsula,in northern Iceland,using lichenometry and photogrammetry to study their origin and dynamics. The group has also continued to date periglacial landforms, mainly relict rock glaciers in different climatic settings (Arctic, Template and Tropical mountains), to understand their origin and relationship to paleoclimatic periods and to the deglaciation process of the mountains where they are found.
During 2009 the PANGEA Research group (University of Valladolid, collaborating with University of Extremadura, University of Basque Country, Saint Louis University and CES-ALFA Speleological Studies Centre), have made several field work in Pyrenees and Cantabrian Mountains. Appling DGPS, Laser-Scanner and soils thermal regimes (dattalogger) have been studied the dynamic and permafrost distribution on high mountain environments. Control on protalus lobe, rock glaciers, debris lobes and cones, ice-patches and ice caves have been developed during the 2012 summer. This year have finished works on rock glaciers, where the group is working during the last 10 years (Posets) and six years (Maladeta).

Photo 1. Field work by Laser Scanning on rock glaciers in the La Paúl valley, Posets Massifs, Pyrenees, Spain.

During summer 2012 have been made by first time combined works of thermography and laser scanner in ice caves, and orthotermographies of Castil Ice Cave (Photo 2.) in the Picos de Europa have been obtained. Finally, Ramón Pellitero, researcher of the University of Valladolid has presented his doctoral thesis which deals with ancient cold environments, current periglacial processes and the snow processes in the mountains of Alto Carrión (Cantabrian Mountain, Spain).

Photo 2. Laser-Scanner works and TDM in the Castil Ice Cave (Picos de Europa, Spain) made by Manuel Gómez (UVa) and Fernando Sampere (UEX) as part of the project.

Members of the GEOPANT-2011 project (Research Group on Geosciences and Antarctica, UAM), take part in the fieldwork in South Shetland Island during the winter 2012-2013. Leaded by Jerónimo López-Martínez (University Autónoma of Madrid), Juan José Durán (IGME), Thomas Schmidt (CIEMAT) and Tanya O´Neill (University of Waikato) are working on the field about distribution of permafrost and groundwater flows, and also the effects of human activities on soil and terrain surface. The methodology applied in the human impact have been developed and applied previously in East Antarctica, and now it will be applied in Maritime Antarctica. The field work is oriented also to obtain field data to work with Radarsat-2 satellite images on periglacial and permafrost environments in ice free areas of Maritime Antarctica.

Marc Oliva, leader of the project Holocene Environmental Change in the Maritime Antarctic. Interactions between permafrost and the lacustrine environment  HOLOANTAR, developed in the University of Lisbon, and member of the University of Barcelona research Group have been working in Byers Peninsula, Livingston Island. The Byers expedition has been formed by a multidisciplinary group collaborating researchers of the Earth Science Institute Jaume Almera (CSIC) and they are worked in obtain lake sediments cores of the Byers peninsula lacustrine complex. The main objective of fieldwork is to derive high-resolution proxy data from Byers lake sediments and reconstruct, for the past, the landscape changes. The influence of permafrost and active layer dynamics in the area in the last millennium will be interpreted taking into account the relationship between the current geomorphological processes.

Department of Physics of the University of Alcalá de Henares develop research in Antarctic leaded by Miguel Ramos, in collaboration with the University of Lisbon,  focusing on the study of the evolution of the thermal active layer in polar permafrost of Livingston (62º39’S, 60º21’W) and Deception (62º43’S, 60º57’W) islands in the Maritime Antarctic. The works are coordinates with international networks CALM-S (Circum-polar Active Layer Monitoring) and GTN-P (Global Terrestrial Network – Permafrost) in order to attain long-term data series. Two researchers of the Antarctic Project ANTARPERMA (University of Alcalá de Henares), Miguel Ángel de Pablo, leader of the project, and Antonio Molina, have participated in the Antarctic fieldwork. The objective of 2012-2013 fieldwork is to maintain the equipments to soil and permafrost measurements, to add new measurements on active layer depth and collect data on experiments begin the last fieldwork.

Miguel Ramos (University of Alcalá de Henares), an active partner of the IPA is, from 2012, the President of the Crysopheric Sciences Spanish Comission, dependent of the Fomento Ministry (Spain Government). From 25 to 28 June was held in San Sebastián (Spain) the 7ª Spain-Portugal Assembly on Geodesy and Geophiscis where a session related to permafrost and glaciology was developed.

The biannual hispano-portuguese workshop, the “IV Iberian Meeting on Permafrost” will hold on June 2013, in the Pyrenees, organized by the University of Barcelona Research Group (2009SGR868). Participants in this event will cover topics as alpine permafrost, past periglacial environments, polar permafrost and periglacial proceses and landscape dynamics in the Pyrenees, Sierra Nevada, Cantabrian Mountains, central System, Antarctica, Arctic and Andean Cordillera or Mars, joint to other news subjects of Iberian young researchers.

Enrique Serrano