1994 IPA Country Report

Table of Contents

Argentina (and South American Partners)
United Kingdom
United States of America
The Netherlands

Argentina (and South American Partners)

The Argentina Committee for the IPA has 28 members. In 1994, the Adhering Body was able to pay its dues to the IPA for the first time. At a 23-27 November 1992 meeting on Geocryology and Paleoclimates of Northern Patagonia in Puerto Madryn, a series of papers was presented on basic and applied research, including some dealing with road construction in Patagonia. Members of this Argentina Committee presented papers at the XII Argentina Geological Congress in Mendoza, 15-20 October 1993, and the Symposium and Workshop on High Latitude Processes in Buenos Aires, 13-17 December 1993. A.E. Corte completed the Spanish contribution to the IPA multi-language index of terms.

Members of the Argentina PA Committee completed a several year program on the significance of active layer freezing and thawing and permafrost behavior on the hydrology of the Central Andes. Work on a periglacial basin originally started in 1982, but most ofthe activities have been since 1990. Meteorological stations at 1450, 2240, 2505 and 3565 meters indicate a lapse rate of 0.6°C/100 m, with precipitation increasing 17mm/100 m. During the last 13 years, the annual mean temperature of the Aquaditas underwent a clear increase. Glacier ice has diminished significantly. Discontinuous permafrost occurs above the 3000-3500 m zone and occupies 77% of the study area. Geophysical and temperature soundings in this zone indicate the active layer is about 2 m thick and the permafrost is 72 m thick. Below the sporadic permafrost zone, 17% of the area has seasonal frost. Mean annual flow of the Rio Blanca in 1992 was 500 L/s. It is estimated that the flow from the nearby Argostura basin must be equal or greater. Permafrost aquifers and residual flow produce significant winter flows. Rock glaciers and covered glaciers yield clear discharge. Winter flows have a higher solute concentration. Total solutes are greater in discharge from metamorphic areas than volcanic areas.

The final report for IGCP Project 297; Geocryology of the Americas, has been prepared. Some results of the project were published in eight reports in Volumes 1 and 2 of the Sixth ICOP. These and other papers in 1993 included the following topics: geochemistry and geocryology, periglacial hydrology, ice wedges, freezing point depression effects on calcium carbonate, regional geocryology, cryogenic weathering, geophysical investigations, palsa-like mounds, and cryogenic soils.

Submitted by A.E. Corte


Report from June 1994

For some 30 years, the Permafrost Subcommittee of the National Research Council of Canada (NRCC) was central to many aspects of coordination of permafrost research in Canada. The parent body of the Permafrost Subcommittee was the NRCC’s Associate Committee on Geotechnical Research (ACGR). This committee, which was founded in 1945 to coordinate and stimulate research on the engineering and physical aspects of the terrain of Canada, was one of a number of advisory committees set up by the NRCC after World War II to consider scientific and technical problems of countrywide concern. The ACGR carried out much of its work through a number of subcommittees, which were expected:

To define problem areas in their assigned field, advise the Associate Committee on research needs, follow through actively in promoting research, and assist in the publication and application of the results of research.

Given that about half of Canada is underlain by permafrost, it was natural that the committee should pay particular attention to this subject. In 1958 the ACGR sponsored the first conference held in Canada devoted solely to the subject of permafrost. That conference, attended by 33 people from Canada and the USA, clearly showed the growing interest and concern developing in Canada regarding permafrost, the technical problems it presented for northern development, and the limited scientific understanding available to address these questions.


As a result the Permafrost Subcommittee was formed in 1960. It was always a very active body, and highly effective in stimulating research on basic aspects of permafrost and related engineering activities, and in developing communication among individuals in universities, industry and government who had interests in the subject. It played a leading role in the development of the knowledge and capability concerning this very challenging ground condition, primarily through sponsoring conferences and seminars, and the publication of reports and books.

Over the years, the Subcommittee organized six general conferences (one international) and 10 specialized workshops or seminars, on topics as diverse as permafrost geophysics, engineering, pipelines, the active layer, global climate change, subsea permafrost, and saline permafrost. The proceedings of these conferences and seminars have been made available through the publication series of the ACGR. The Subcommittee also sponsored the publication of “Permafrost Terminology,” by R.J.E. Brown and W.OKupsch (1974), “Permafrost Engineering Design and Construction,” by G.M. Johnston (198 1) and “Glossary of Permafrost and Related Ground Ice Terms” (1988). This last publication is still in print, in English and French editions, and may be obtained from Bitech Publishers, Vancouver (see inside back cover).

From its inception in 1960 until his untimely death in 1980, the late Roger Brown served as the research advisor to the Subcommittee, and much of its effectiveness was due to his enthusiasm and energy. The proceedings of the 4th Canadian Permafrost Conference were dedicated to his memory, and the volume includes a brief biography and a list of his publications. Roger served under a series of chairmen, including Ross Mackay and Hugh French, both of whom are well known within the IPA. Roger was suceeded as research advisor by Henry (Hank) Johnston, who was followed in turn by Sivan Parameswaran and then by Harry Baker, all on the staff of the Division of Building Research at the NRCC. In 1988, Don Hayley took over as chairman of the Subcommittee; Don currently chairs the Canadian National Committee for the IPA.

Membership of the Subcommittee was made up of engineers and scientists from industry, consulting firms, universities and government agencies. The technical specialties represented by the membership have included geotechnique, exploration geophysics, geothermics, hydrology, geomorphology and climatology. Many well-known Canadian permafrost workers served on the committee over the years-too many to name individually.

Not only was the Subcommittee active within Canada; it also played a strong role internationally. It acted as the coordinating committee for Canadian participation for the First and Second International Conferences on Permafrost ICOP) in the USA (1963) and the USSR (1973). The Subcommittee was later responsible for putting together the Organizing Committee for the Third ICOP, held in Edmonton in 1978. The Subcommittee coordinated visits to Canada by permafrost researchers from the USSR, China and Japan, and visits of Canadian permafrost delegations to the USSR (1966, 1978) and China (1977, 1987). It was also involved in the development of the IPA itself, and in discussions of Canadian membership in the IPA.

In 1990, the NRCC, as part of a major review and reorganization of its operations, concluded that the Associate Committees had served their purpose. Many of the technical areas of interest represented by them now are represented by active professional societies. In a move to support the activities of these societies, the NRCC has passed to them the responsibilities of providing national advice on research needs and directions, and for representing Canada in the international arena. The ACGR was therefore disbanded in 1991 and, with its disappearance, the Permafrost Subcommittee and the other subcommittees were alsodisbanded. In the case of geotechnique, the Canadian Geotechnical Society has taken responsibility for many of the functions of the former ACGR, with the Cold Regions
Division being responsible for permafrost and frost action. The international coordination functions of the Permafrost Subcommittee have passed to the Canadian
National Committee for the IPA, which is sponsored jointly by the NRCC and the Geological Survey of Canada.


A speech given by Lorne Gold at the opening ceremony of the Third ICOP, Edmonton, 1978, and an unpublished report on the ACGR prepared by Michael Bozozuk
(1990) formed the basis of this short account of the Permafrost Subcommittee.

Submitted by J. Alan Heginbottom
Secretary, Canadian National Committee for the International Permafrost Association

Report from December 1994

Over the last year, the main activity of the Canadian National Committee for the IPA (CNC-IPA) has been the process of organizing the VII International Conference on Permafrost, to be hosted by Canada in June 1998 in Yellowknife, NWT. The CNC has set up a small executive committee, identified leaders for key functions (particularly local arrangements, technical program, and field excursions), and begun recruiting committee members and raising funds. A formal announcement of the conference will be made in mid-1995. The CNC held its annual meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia, 23-24 September 1994. General committee business was carried out on 23 September, when the committee received reports on the IPA Executive Committee meeting; on IPA activities, working groups and coinmittees; and from other Canadian organizations, the Cold Regions Division of the Canadian Geotechnical Society, and the Permafrost Committee of the Science Institute of the NWT/Arctic College (see below). Planning for the international conference occupied the committee on 24 September.

As in previous years, the CNC meeting was held directly following the annual conference of the Canadian Geotechnical Society. The 47th Canadian Geotechnical Conference included a session of four papers on “Pile Load Testing in Permafrost,” organized by the Cold Regions Division. At the Cold Regions Division annual business meeting, a new committee was proposed; the members’ names will be announced in January 1995. This year the Roger J.E. Brown Award was pregented to Prof. Kevin Biggar, Royal Military College, Kingston, and Prof. David Sego, University of Alberta, Edmonton, for the two papers “Field Pile Tests in Saline Permafrost. I. Test Procedures and Results” and “Field Pile Tests in Saline Permafrost. II. Analysis of Results.” Both were published in the Canadian Geotechnical Journal, volume 30, in 1993. These papers were based on the doctoral research of Biggar, under the direction of Sego. (For details of the Roger J.E. Brown Award, see Frozen Ground No. 8, December 1990.) The 48th Canadian Geotechnical Conference will be held in Vancouver, BC, 25 -27 September 1995. At this conference, the Engineering Geology Division will join with the Cold Regions Division in organizing a session on “Mass Wasting in Permafrost Regions.”

The Science Institute of the Northwest Territories is in a state of flux, and its Pemnafrost Committee is presently inactive. The Science Institute is being merged with Arctic College, which is a community college and training institute. The combined entity is to be divided into western and eastern units, probably to be based in Inuvik and Iqaluit, in anticipation of the division of the Northwest Territories into two new territories in 1999. This territorial division follows from the settlement of the land claim of the Inuit of the NWT; the eastern Canadian arctic region will become the Nunavut Territory.

Submitted by J.A. Heginbottom
Secretary, CNC-IPA


United Kingdom

A Geocryology Workshop, the first scientific meeting to be organized by the British National Committee of the International Permafrost Association, was held on 29 March 1994 at the University of Cardiff. The workshop was attended by 16 members, and papers were delivered on a wide range of permafrost-related topics. Papers by Brian Whalley (Belfast) and by Rick Shakesby, John Matthews and Danny McCarroll (Swansea) described new data on the origin of rock glaciers and protalus ramparts. Iain Sutherland (Cardiff) and Colin Ballantyne (St. Andrews) each described studies of rapid periglacial slope adjustments in Norway; Graham Elliot (Reading) illustrated the potential of radiocarbon dating in determining past rates of solifluction and Adrian Humpage (Cardiff) discussed shallow active layer detachment slides on Ellesmere Island, Canada, as analogues for British Quaternary clay slides. Colin Lloyd (Institute of Hydrology) outlined new hydrological research in Spitsbergen, Stephen Gurney (Reading) presented data on cryogenic mounds in Quebec, and Ed Derbyshire (Royal Holloway, London) demonstrated the value of periglacial stratigraphy in palaeoenvironmental  reconstruction on the Tibetan Plateau.

Three papers were concerned with laboratory studies: Ron Jones (Nottingham) discussed frost heaving of clay soils; Julia Branson (Southampton) described experimental simulation of needle ice growth; and Charles Harris (Cardiff) presented preliminary results of large-scale laboratory simulation of solifluction currently being undertaken in the cold labs of the CNRS, Caen, France. Finally, the importance of establishing a cold regions data bank and the work of the Data and Information Working Group of IPA were discussed by Mike Clark (Southarnpton).
This workshop was highly focused and informal and generated much discussion. It was agreed that further such meetings should be held, possibly on an annual basis, under the auspices of the British National Committee of the IPA.


Submitted by Charles Harris
Chairman, British National Committee of the IPA

United States of America

On 14 March 1994 Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt gave the oath of office to Dr. Gordon Eaton, who will serve as the 12th Director of the US Geological Survey. Dr. Eaton, an earth scientist, was most recently the Director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and previously an employee of the USGS, President of Iowa State University, and Provost and Vice President at Texas A&M University. Dr. Eaton succeeds Dr. Dallas Peck, who has returned to his research in the Geological Survey. The USGS has the federal government’s largest civilian mapping program and the largest water resources scientific and data program, is responsible for the national assessment of energy and minerals resources, and conducts basic and applied research on a wide range of earth science and earth hazard programs. The agency has 10,000 employees working in nearly 200 field offices and headquarters. In addition to its long history of permafrost research, the USGS is supporting the IPA map project and is providing expert assistance and experience for the development of the IPA Geocryological Database project.

Troy Péwé reports that in August 1993, 25 scientists interested in evidence of periglacial and glacial features on Mars  attended a workshop and field trip in Fairbanks, Alaska, sponsored by the NASA Lunar and Planetary Institute. The meeting was most notable for its field setting and the fact that it brought together researchers from the planetary and earth science communities who have special interests in cold-climate processes and landforms. Many of these planetary scientists had never before observed periglacial (permafrost) and glacial ice in the field. Three of the four days of field trips were headed by T.L. Péwé and R.D. Reger using Guidebook No. 1 of the Fourth International Conference on Permafrost. A second printing was issued in 1993. Other field leaders were J. Begét and D.M. Hopkins. Field trip leaders presented invitational papers at the workshop.
Troy Péwé also reports on the field trip following the Sixth ICOP, 10-15 July 1993. Nine US participants attended the post-conference excursion to southern China. The first stop was the outstanding archeological display of life-sized terra cotta figures of soldiers from the time of Emperor Qin (221-206 B.C.). Large, new exposures of loess were seen in road cuts leading to the bridge across the Wei River at Xian.
The highlight of the trip was the visit to the spectacular and unique, limestone tower-karst topography at Guilin in the Guongxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of southeast China. The first day was spent inspecting several of the more than 3000 caves in Devonian limestone. One day was spent floating down the Li River on a flat riverboat, through the world-famous karst “forest” of stone peaks eroded in tilted Devonian limestone. This mystic landscape has been reproduced on silkscreens, paintings, and ceramics for more than 1000 years. After Guilin, a day was spent in the large ancient city of Gangzhou (Canton) on the Pearl River.
Eric G. Johnson,Executive Committee Secretary, Technical Council on Cold Regions Engineering (TCCRE), reports on the success of the 7th International Cold Regions Engineering Specialty Conference held 6-9 March 1994 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The conference was sponsored by the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, the Canadian Geotechnical Society, and the American Society of Civil Engineers. One hundred-eighty engineers and scientists from many countries attended, including Russia and China. Besides presentation of papers, the conference included forums on research and education from which summarizing documents will be prepared. Planning is underway for the 8th International Cold Regions Engineering Specialty Conference with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks for August 1996. The next meeting of TCCRE will be during the National ASCE Convention in Atlanta, 7-9 October 1994. The following committees will meet: Executive Committee, Programs, Frozen Ground, Publications, Awards, Research, Education, and Design and Construction. Work continues on the monographs on Arctic Foundations, Roadways and Airfields, and Materials, and on updating the Cold Climate Utilities Manual.
During the 7th Specialty Conference, TCCRE’s Education Committee participated in sessions to identify cold regions subjects that might be included in a standard undergraduate civil engineering curriculum. Results will be reported in a paper for the Journal of Cold Regions Engineering. For information contact Education Committee, Chair Larry Bennett (tel.  907-474-6121).
Frozen The Committee on Frost Action of the Transportation Research Board held its annual meeting on 10 January 1994 in Washington, D.C. Presentations included: Update on the MNROADS project (Melrae Succio), New “n” factor computations (Richard Berg), Cold weather impacts on bridges (Leroy Hulsey), CRREL FERF load cart (Robert Eaton), Underground bridging (Billy Connor), New airfield test section (Vincent Janoo), and Geofoams (John Howath), among other presentations and discussions of research needs.
David Esch, of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, reports two active studies related to permafrost. The benefits (K-factors) of ground tire rubber as insulation for permafrost or frost heave are being studied by John Zarling (University of Alaska-Fairbanks) using thermal conductivity measurements. Development of a string of soil saturation sensors to measure perched water on top of frozen soil layers is underway with Gerald Christenson, MPC, Gig Harbor, Washington.
K.R. Everett, Ohio State University, F.E. Nelson, Rutgers University, Y. Shur, University of Alaska, and Jerry Brown report on a joint US-Russian active layer project which has several Russian sites on Yamal Peninsula (M. Liebman), Gydan Penisula at Parisento (A. Pavlov and N. Moskalenko) and Anadyr (A. Kotov) and in Alaska. The main sites are located at
Barrow, Prudhoe Bay and several places along the pipeline road. Late summer active layer thicknesses have been probed on 1- x 1-km grids, 100- x 100-m grids or transects for 1992 and 1993. Barrow thaw is the least (22 and 30 cm), Anadyr is intermediate (59 and 51 cm), and Yamal(86 and 93) and Parisento (81 and 93 cm) have the deepest thaw.  Observations will continue in 1994 with additional sites added in both Siberia and Alaska. Measurements will be  incorporated into the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX).
Virgil Lunardini reports that CRREL had two holes drilled in permafrost in central and northern Alaska in winter 1993-94. A small amount of undisturbed core was recovered, with sampling obtained throughout. Further coring is planned.  Temperature measurements will begin in July 1994, in 3-inch-diameter PVC pipe, filled with silicone fluid.
Bob Eaton reports that a new traffic loading machine is being procured for the CRREL Frost Effects Research Facility (FERF). The machine will make it possible to apply the equivalent of 20 years of truck traffic in six months. The effect of moisture upon subgrade support will soon be evaluated in the FERF, testing four soil types representative of the United States. This work is part of a cooperative international effort being sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration. Vincent Janoo, CRREL, reports that the Federal Aviation Administration has contracted with the Corps of Engineers for a five-year study to evaluate airfield pavement design methods. An instrumented section on the main runway of the new Denver Airport will have the following parameters measured: dynamic strain, thermal-induced strains, layer deflections, and temperature and moisture with depth. The structural capacity of the pavements will be periodically characterized
with a Heavy Weight Deflectometer. Data will be collected remotely via modem and downloaded into a database. Results will be used to develop a design procedure which will account for the seasonal temperature and moisture changes.
Nancy Liston reports that the CRREL Technical Library has relocated to its new home in the new four story Technical Information Analysis Center. The library collection includes over 20,000 books, 160,000 micrographics, 760 journal titles, in some cases dating from the mid-1950s, and a technical report collection of more than 100,000  documents. A room has been dedicated to the micrographic and paper collection of the 48-volume COLD Bibliography. The new facility was dedicated in June 1994.


Compiled by Jerry Brown

The Netherlands

Between 1990 and 1994 several Dutch research groups cooperated in the Greenland Ice Margin Experiment (GIMEX). This program concentrated on the mass balance of the west Greenland ice sheet and its sensitivity to climatic change, including the Holocene deglaciation history. In the latter part of the program attention was paid to permafrost and its effect on glacial dynamics in the frontal zone of the ice sheet, e.g. on ice-cored moraine formation. In order to study present-day permafrost conditions, temperature data spanning 15 years from a 15-m-deep permafrost profile at Kangerlussuaq airport were analyzed with Danish colleagues. They have been compared with shallow temperature profiles in the study area. In 1993 and 1994 further field studies concentrated on permafrost thickness and distribution, frost mound development (both seasonal and multi-annual), and ice wedge polygons.
The Geological Survey of The Netherlands and the three Departments of Physical Geography of the universities of Amsterdam and Utrecht regularly study periglacial and permafrost-related phenomena as part of a mapping program and other  investigations in Pleistocene sequences and present-day environments, not just in the Netherlands but also in the Alps and Antarctica.

Submitted by J.J.M. van der Meer



A special invitational visit was made by Professor T.L. Péwé to Madrid, Spain, to lecture on the background of the IPA to the new IPA group in Spain. Many scientists and engineers are greatly interested in the subject of past and present permafrost and other periglacial phenomena, not only in Spain but in Antarctica, the US and Mexico, where members of the Spanish committee are working.
An enthusiastic group of Spanish researchers (see photo) conducted a day-long field excursion west of Madrid with Dr. Péwé to view inactive mass movement periglacial phenomena and Quaternary loess deposits with strikingly developed paleosols.

Submitted by T.L. Péwé


The Annual Meeting of the Scientific Council on Earth Cryology was held 25-28 April 1994, in Pushchino, Moscow Region at the Institute of Soil Science and Photosynthesis of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Twenty-six papers were discussed at the Plenary Session. The main subject of the meeting was Global Climate Warming and Permafrost. 
Nine sessions of contributed papers (67 papers) dealt with permafrost age and evolution (northern part of European Russia, Transbaikal area, high mountainous regions of the Earth); stability and protection of permafrost; prediction of air  temperatures by the different climate scenarios; remote sensing to observe the dynamics of the permafrost and northern ecosystems; trace gases and carbon in soils; thermokarst lakes in tundra; and construction problems related to gas, oil and mining developments. Other papers were devoted to the problem of geothermal stability in Siberia; to the technogenic impact on permafrost, to the geomorphological processes in permafrost such as thermokarst and slope failure; the development of sea and lake shorelines; frost heaving processes; methods of assessment of ice content and stability of the frozen soil, the depth of the active layer; geophysical control of the structure and composition of the frozen soil; and seasonal thaw and freezing of the ground.

A meeting resolution was passed which approved the activities of the Council and proposed the main research problem areas:

  • Evolution of the cryolithozone
  • Monitoring of the cryolithozone
  • Study and prediction of global changes in the environment, climate, and cryolithozone
  • The ecology and recommendations for rational land management on permafrost
  • Fundamental and applied research in the processes of soil thawing and freezing
  • Elaboration of the theory of stability in the thawing and freezing of soil associated with the anticipated climate warming

It was recommended that the Scientific Council on Earth Cryology organize a Russian conference in 1995 and invite scientists and specialists from abroad. The subject of the conference was: “Evolutionary Geocryological Processes in the Arctic Regions and Problems of Global Changes of the Environment and Climate in Permafrost Areas.”
IPA should be asked to assist in involving the scientists and specialists to participate and present papers on the above-mentioned problems.
Several of the activities discussed above are conducted under Program 18 “Environment and Global Climate Change” and its permafrost component which includes:

  • The assessment or estimate of the influence of climate change on the cryolithozone
  • The monitoring of the cryolithozone
  • Methods and measures to protect construction and the environment in the North.

Numerous institutes, universities and private contractors are involved, including those of the Russian Academy of Sciences and its Permafrost Institute, the Institute of Northern Development, the Institute of Geography and the Institute of Soils and Photosynthesis at Moscow State University and the Faculties of Geography and Geology, VSEGINGEO, and PNIIIS. The program is financed by the Ministry of Science under the direction of Yuri Israel and Academician George Golitsin. The permafrost program is directed by Academician P.I. Melnikov and the Scientific Council on Earth Cryology.
Experimental sites for monitoring changes in air and ground temperatures were established in northern West Siberia and two sites were established in Yakutia in cooperation with Japanese, Canadian and US specialists. Based on measurements from experimental sites, engineering methods to protect construction are being developed including use of thermopiles, thermosyphons, insulations, and special foundations using horizontal cooling of frozen basements.

Submitted by Nikolai A. Grave

Stanislav Grechishchev, VSEGINGEO, reported on investigations during 1993 as follows.

  • The results of 15-year studies of geocryologyclimatic conditions at the stations Marre-Sale (Yamal) and Parisento (Gydan) were analyzed.
  • Rates of shoreline movement along the Kara Sea were observed.
  • The ice-thermal regime of lakes for eight years was analyzed.
  • The estimation of possible changes of ground temperature was undertaken forthe Global Change Program.
  • The mathematical model “Shlier” of physicochemical and mechanical processes in freezing thawing water-saturated soils was produced.
  • The temperature depression at the freezing front versus the freezing velocity was studied.
  • Methods of echo-geological surveying and monitoring in ore fields in permafrost areas were developed.
  • New publication-Investigations of Engineering-Geocryological and Hydrogeological Conditions of the upper Horizons of Permafrost Ground in Oil-Gas Regions (E.S. Melnikov, S.E. Grechishchev, A.V. Pavlov, Ed). 280 pp.




Joint Siberian permafrost studies between Japan and
Russia were conducted in summer 1994. Thirty-one
researchers from various institutes in Japan joined this
program. There were five groups in different research

1. Permafrost
Objective: Permafrost response to global change of climate
Members: Institute of Low Temperature Science, Sapporo; Permafrost Institute, Russian Academy of Science, Yakutsk; Department of Cryolithology and Glaciology, Moscow State University
Research sites: Big Lhyavossky Island, Oyagosky Yar, Duvani Yar
Participants: Japan 4, Russia 8

2. Biology
Objective: Diversity of fauna and flora in Siberia region
Members: Institute of Low Temperature Science, Sapporo; Institute of Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Yakutsk
Research sites: Oymiyakon region, upper Aldan River
Participants: Japan 4, Russia 8
3. Atmospheric science
Objective: Monitoring greenhouse gases over Siberia
Members: Institute of Environment, Tsukuba, Japan; Central Agency of Aero-Observatory, Moscow; Permafrost Institute, Yakutsk
Research sites: central, northeast and west Siberia; traverse monitoring by aircraft; ground-truth monitoring in central Yakutia and west Siberia
Participants: Japan 12, Russia 20
4. Forestry
Objective: Function of taiga and tundra as reservoir of carbon
Members: Forest Research Institute, Sapporo; Institute of Biology, Yakutsk; Institute of Forestry, Krasnoyarsk
Research sites: Central Yakutsk, Tiksi
Participants: Japan 8, Russia 14
5. Water budget and heat study (WCRP/BEWEX)
Objective: Global budgets of water and heat from ground surface
Members: Institute of Atmospheric and Water Resources, Nagoya Institute of Geography; Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow
Research sites: Upper, middle and lower regions of Lena River
Participants: Japan 3, Russia 2
The joint symposium on this study is planned for 22-23 March 1995 at Yakutsk. About 30 papers will be presented. The conveners of that meeting are Masami Fukuda, Institute of Low Temperature Science, Sapporo, and R.M. Kamensky, Director, Permafrost Institute, Yakutsk. Additional information is available from M. Fukuda, Institute of Low Temperature Science, Sapporo, Japan (Fax: 81 11 706 7142; E-mail: masami.fukuda@lt.hines.hokudai.ac.jp). Three volumes of reports on this joint program have already been published. A few copies are available; please contact the above address.
Japan and Argentina are planning joint field studies at James Ross Island, Antarctica, this austral summer. Two Japanese researchers will join the program, cooperating with the Instituto Antarctico Argentino, Buenos Aires.

Submitted by M. Fukuda


Report from June 1994

In October 1993, Professor and Mrs. Troy L. Péwé visited members of the International Permafrost Association in Italy. Professor Péwé presented invitational lectures on the origin and distribution of permafrost as well as of the history and status of the IPA at universities in Naples, Rome, and Camerino. Students of Professor Francesco Dramis are actively studying rock glaciers in the Alps and periglacial mass movement in the central Apennines, especially at Campo Imporatore. Recent work indicates modern permafrost may be present in the central Apennines.

Submitted by T.L. Péwé

Report from December 1994

The Italian Adhering Body of the International Permafrost Association, which is composed of some 40 researchers belonging to several universities and research centers, is presently working on several research projects.

Most of the efforts are devoted to high mountain permafrost, which is present throughout the Alps. There, research in progress mostly deals with characterization of rock glaciers and other permafrost-related features, such as landslides affecting partially frozen slopes (a huge one recently affected the Valtellina).

In the Apennines, both fossil (i.e. stratified slopewaste deposits and rock glaciers) and “active” phenomena have been studied. Regarding the latter, the BTS measurements have confirmed the presence of permafrost in a valley located close to the top of Malella Mountain in the Abruzzi region of central Italy. Fresh-looking rock glaciers have been identified, thus fixing a new southern limit of sporadic permafrost for the whole Northern Hemisphere.

In addition to these studies on mountain permafrost, an investigation of periglacial phenomena in the Terra Victoria (Antarctica) has been initiated. Research was planned to begin by late October, while preliminary studies (photo interpretation, etc.) were already underway.

A pre-conference excursion is being planned within the framework of the Fourth International Conference on Geomorphology, to be held in Bologna during summer 1997. This event, organized together with W. Haeberli and the IPA Working Group on Mountain Permafrost, will deal with mountain permafrost and slope stability in the periglacial belt of the Alps, and will include a scientific meeting as well. A postconference field trip in central Italy has been scheduled which will illustrate fossil periglacial (i.e., stratified slope-waste deposits and, subordinately, rock glaciers) and glacial phenomena, including the only active glacier in the Apennines.

Submitted by F. Dramis


The German Geoscientific Spitsbergen Expedition 1990-1992 consisted altogether of about 45 scientists from 14 different universities. The expedition results have since been published, with many results appearing in the latest volume ofZeitschrift fur Geomorphologie, Supplementband 97, N.F., 1994. A bibliography of expedition results may be obtained from Prof. Lorenz King.

The Geographical Institute of the Justus Liebig University, Giessen, has again begun its permafrost studies in the Zermatt/Gornergrat area of the Swiss Alps. The main research topics are permafrost distribution and its implication for construction (e.g. buildings, cablecars). At the same institute, comparative studies on the regeneration of Arctic and Subarctic ecosystems after human disturbances have been continued in Swedish Lapland (Kiruna mining site), a continuation of the former studies of E. Schmitt in Spitsbergen (Longyearbyen) and Canada (Mackenzie Mountains).

In the field of permafrost engineering, two shafts were constructed in Germany for the exploration of a salt dome near Gorleben, which was selected because it may become a permanent deposit of radioactive waste. To stabilize the soil during shaft-sinking in unstable, water-bearing strata, the soil was frozen to a depth of 270 m. The shaft linings were designed as sliding lining systems, which are characterized by a bedded outer lining and an inner lining supported on a foundation and separated by an annulus filled with an asphalt mass.

The long construction period of ten years was due to many technical and administrative problems, which were solved by the fruitful cooperation of the employer, contractor, control boards and experts. For example, the control of high stresses inside the soft clay layers required installation of a stiff outer steel lining instead of the weak concrete block lining. The experience and the technical developments gained by this construction were a topic of the symposium “Gefrierschachte Gorleben” held on 21-22 September 1994 at Bochum and organized by the Geotechnical Institute,
Ruhr-University, Bochum. The proceedings of the symposium will be published at the end of 1994. Other international publications on this topic will follow.

The 7th International Symposium on Ground Freezing was held in Nancy, France, from 24-28 October 1994. Papers presented during five sessions covered heat and mass transfer, mechanical properties, case histories, environmental soil freezing, and engineering design. The proceedings are available.

Submitted by H.L. Jessberger and L. King


As a result of restructuring at CNRS, Caen, the Centre de Géomorphologie is now a URA (Unité de Recherche Associée) of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. The laboratory is associated with the geologists of the  universities of Caen and Rouen (Normandy). This new unit depends on the department SDU (Sciences de l’Univers)  of the CNRS, which is mainly composed of geologists and of experts on the atmosphere and oceanography. The name of the URA is “Geomorphology and Surface Transfers” (URA 1694).

There are three main teams:

  • Milieux extrèmes (J. Aguirre-Puente, director of the unit): physics of the frost, planet Mars, and arid zones
  • Superficial formations, Quaternary (J.P. Lautridou and J.L. Lagarde)
  • Exchanges between water and sediments at the contact of the continent and the ocean (J. Avoine and R. Meyer)

The French Periglacial Association (l’Association Française du Pergélisol) has now opened its membership to geologists and geophysicists. The association has also published the first issue of an annual journal entitled Environments Périglaciaires. This journal will publish articles in English or French, and will accept for publication material which is not suitable for inclusion in major journals, such as data sets, abstracts of doctoral theses, and so on. The following passage, which is taken from this first issue, is from an editorial by Brigitte Van Vliet-Lanoe, the President of the French Periglacial Association.

Periglacial Perspectives

Some questions to be addressed in the coming years by the French Periglacial Association:

  1. http://ipa.arcticportal.org/templates/ipa/images/liMark.gif); background-repeat: no-repeat;”>What is the climatic significance of periglacial structures observed at the present time in the Arctic and in mountainous regions or those of their fossil homologues in our regions? Is the parallelism between present conditions in mountains and Weichselian landscape valid? How did different continents react in (peri)glacial time?
  2. http://ipa.arcticportal.org/templates/ipa/images/liMark.gif); background-repeat: no-repeat;”>What has been the zonal distribution of permafrost in Europe since Pre-Tiglian time (2.5 Ma)? What are the mechanical or climatic relationships between periglacial and Cenozoic tectonic movements? Which tectonic structures could be confused with periglacial phenomena? How representative are specific observations of periglacial phenomena, in a given area and morpho-sedimentological setting, in relation to the extent of permafrost at different times during the Last Glaciation?
  3. http://ipa.arcticportal.org/templates/ipa/images/liMark.gif); background-repeat: no-repeat;”>What is the real effectiveness of erosion in a periglacial context?

Submitted by J.-P. Lautridou


Membership of the Danish Society for Arctic Technology includes 20 companies and institutions, 85 private members and 2 students. Of these, 37 receive at their request, Frozen Ground. In Greenland, we collaborate with our sister organization, the Greenland Technological Society. The new Chairman for the Danish Adhering Body, the Danish Society for Arctic Technology (SAT), is Sven Bertelsen. Bertelsen is a director of the consulting engineering firm N&R Consult A/S (from 1 January 1995, Nellemann, Nielsen & Rauschenberger NS). N&R Consult has been involved in arctic engineering since the late 1950s. Through work mainly in Greenland, extensive knowledge of permafrost related to engineering has been gained.

With a change in the SAT chair, the address has also recently changed: Danish Society for Arctic Technology, N&R Huset, Sortemosevej 2, DK-3450 Allerød, Denmark.

Several other international organizations are represented in Denmark at the Danish Polar Center, which represents Danish interests on many international committees. Secretariats for the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Northern Sciences Network (NSN) and the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) are located in the DPC. For more information contact The Danish Polarcenter, Strandage 1 OOH, DK- 140 I , Copenhagen, (E-mail: dapchth@pop.denet.dk).

Submitted by H.N. Mai
Secretary. Danish Society for Arctic Technology


Report from June 1994

The Workshop on Remedial Techniques for the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Highway in Permafrost Regions was held on 13-15 April 1994, at the State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, LIGG, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Thirty experts and scientists participated in this workshop. Several valuable proposals for the remedial scheme and design principles for the highway were presented and discussed. This workshop is one of the most important preparations for carrying out the remedial project on the Qinghai-Tibet Highway.

Progress on the permafrost and global climate change research program is as follows:

  • Chapters for the China report to the IPCC “Evaluation of the influence of climate change on environment in China” have been prepared as follows: Chapter 11: The influence of climate change on permafrost zones in China; Chapter 12: The influence of climate change on glaciers in China; and Chapter 13: The influence of climate change on snow cover in China.
  • The ground temperature monitoring system along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway has been set up.
  • A 100-m-deep and a 200-m-deep bore hole for monitoring ground temperature will be set up on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in 1994.
  • Investigation of the concentration of CH4 and CO2 will be carried out along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway

Volume 2 of the Proceedings of the Sixth ICOP, containing 98 reports, papers and poster abstracts, was shipped in late April to every registered participant, perexcept accompanying persons. Any participant who has not received Volume 2 should contact the Chinese Organizing Committee.

Submitted by Zhu Yuanlin

Report from December 1994

The First National Youth Workshop on Cold Regions Environment and Engineering was held at Lanzhou, China, 2-6 September 1994. It was organized by the State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Lanzhou Institute of Glaciology and Geocryology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Society of Glaciology and Geocryology. More than 40 participants from 15 institutes, universities and organizations attended this workshop. The young researchers and engineers exchanged ideas and discussed their achievements and experience in research on cold regions environment and engineering. The proceedings of this workshop, which includes 39 papers, has been published in Chinese. The Chinese Youth Society of Cold Regions Environment and Engineering was founded during this workshop. It was decided that this workshop will be held once every two years, and the next workshop will be held at Dalian, China, in 1996. The First Chinese National Symposium on Frozen Soil and Ice Mechanics will also be held at Dalian 5-9 June 1995. This symposium is being organized by the State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering. the Dalian University of Technology, and the Monitor Centre of sea Environment, the State Sea Bureau. The first announcement of this symposium has been sent out.

Activities at the State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering continue with numerous test results being published. The CT scanning technique has seen its first successful use to observe the development of micro-cracks in frozen soil and ice specimens during deformation. Three-point bending tests on a frozen beam were successfully conducted in this laboratory, and the test results will be published soon.

Research and planning of future programs continue at the Plateau Station. These include studies of periglacial phenomena. monitoring of borehole temperatures (based on 20 years of records and a 203-m-deep borehole), moisture and heat flow in frozen ground, permafrost ecology, and the effects and measurement of greenhouse gases. Details about these activities are available from Zhao Xiufeng at the LIGG.

Submitted by Zhu Yuanlin