Research Activities of the Argentinean, Chilean and Bolivian Mountain Permafrost Community

The Cryosphere session at the XIXth Congreso Geológico Argentino (Córdoba), chaired by Dario Trombotto, Ana Lía Ahumada, Sandra Barreira, Diego Araneo y Carlos Di Prinzio, was attended by more than 40 participants, mostly from Argentina, Chile and Brazil. 13 oral presentations and 10 posters were offered.

On behalf of the jury elected at the XIX Argentine Congress of Geology, held in Córdoba in 2014, a meeting was celebrated in order to choose three young scientists among 9 contributions presented in E1, the special session of cryospheric sciences, to be awarded two prizes granted by the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences as well as one special distinction conceded by the Subcommittee of Cryospheric Sciences of the Argentine Republic (abbr. SAC).

Dr. Ana Lía Ahumada (San Miguel de Tucumán) on behalf of the Subcommittee of Cryospheric Sciences of the Argentine Republic (SAC) and the Argentine and South American Permafrost Association (AASP), Dr. Gladys Ortega (Córdoba) on behalf of the Scientific and Editorial Committee of the XIX Argentine Congress of Geology 2014 and Dr. Maisa Tunik (General Roca), president of the Argentine Geological Association decided to give the awards to the following candidates:

1- First Prize: Alessa Geiger from the University of Glasgow for her innovative contributions in the technique of cosmegenic analyes applied to glacial landforms in Patagonia, Argentina.

2- Second Prize: Cristian Villarroel from the National University of San Juan, Argentina, for the adequate and efficient management of numerous scientific data on high mountain periglacial environments of the Central Andes, Argentina.

3- Special distinction: Mateo Martini from CICTERRA CONICET, National University of Córdoba, Argentina, and the Argentine Antarctic Institute for the first thermal monitoring of rock glacier surfaces in the Sierra de Zenta, Jujuy, Argentina.

In 2014 the Terminological Guide of the South American Geocryology was published in Buenos Aires (editor Vazquez Mazzini). This book is a cooperation between D. Trombotto, Pablo Weinstein (Calgary) and Lukas Arenson (Vancouver) and it is meant to contribute to a better understanding of the Periglacial Environment of the Andes.

In 2014 (October) Dario Tromboto of the Argentine Permafrost Group was invited by the World Meteorological Organization for the meeting GLOBAL CRYOSPHERE WATCH (GCW) and CryoNet South America Workshop,Santiago de Chile, Chile. Dario Trombotto was nominated as National Representative.

In San Juan, 2014 the Argentine Sub Committee of Cryospheric Sciences was invited to the XXVII Meeting of the INTERNATIONAL UNION OF GEODESY AND GEOPHYSICS of Argentina,. Its President D. Trombotto gave a talk about the detection of natural imbalances of the cryospheric system in the volcanic complex of Peteroa , Argentina/Chile.

Three PhD scholars (Director D. Trombotto) are presently working on permafrost in the Central Andes of Mendoza and San Juan. Estefanía Bottegal (National University of Córdoba) is writing her PhD about cryodymamics of the Morenas Coloradas rock glacier. Noelia Sileo (National University of Buenos Aires) is working in Vallecitos (Mendoza) about cryohydrochemistry and Carla Tapia Baldis (National University of San Juan) is elaborating the inventory of geoforms, cartography and permafrost distribution of the Río Blanco Sur basin at "Valle de los Glaciares de Escombros" and at "Cordón del Espinacito" province of San Juan.

Research operations

The permafrost research group in Mendoza has initiated a joint project between the Altai State University (Barnaul), Siberia, Russia represented by Dr. Oleg Ostanin, Ph.D., Head of the Department of Physical Geography and GIS and the IANIGLA, CCT CONICET, Mendoza, Argentina, Geocryology Unit, represented by Dr. Dario Trombotto.

ANDALP project

Provinding a framework for scientific collaborations between South American and European researchers and institutes, the ANDALP project was funded by the program CMIRA of the Région Rhône Alpes (COOPERA n°13.005522.01 and 13.005522.02) in order to improve our understanding of Andean rock glacier dynamics. The main objectives are i) improving our knowledge about the location of rock glaciers, ii) detect and analyse rock glacier dynamics and iii) set up monitoring activities to record rock glacier evolution.

The methodological framework includes : GIS and remote sensing, differential SAR interferometry and methods for monitoring thermal state (temperature datalogging) and kinematics (DGPS and terrestrial photogrammetry) of rock glaciers.

The project involves the following Argentine, Bolivian and French partners: EDYTEM laboratory (CNRS / Université de Savoie, France), IANIGLA (CONICET / CCT Mendoza, Argentine), IGEMA (UMSA, La Paz, Bolivia), GIPSA-lab (CNRS / INP Grenoble, France), LISTIC (Université de Savoie / Polytech Annecy-Chambéry).

The preliminary results include: i) a complete inventory of rock glaciers in the Tropical Andes (Chile and Bolivia, between 17 and 23°S, Anetaset al., in progress), ii) generation and interpretation of interferograms from TerraSAR satellite in the region of Cordón del Plata (33°S) and Tapado/Agua Negra (30°S) and iii) the set-up of a monitoring system of the Quebrada del Medio rock glacier (ground temperature and surface displacement; Bodin et al., 2014).

Figure 1. Caquella rock glacier, Bolivia (IRD, 2009).
Figure 2. Quebrada del Medio rock glacier (Bodin, 2014, Central Andes of Mendoza, AR).

More information is available on this webpage:

Report prepared by Dario Trombotto Liaudat (, Xavier Bodin and Alexander Brenning