Studies of periglacial and glacial structures and permafrost conditions in ice free areas around Ny Ålesund area

Updated 2003-03-04

Project Description: - Landform mapping of the periglacial and glacial structures using remote sensing / aerial photography and field observation - Genetic studies of ground ice using geochemical and stable isotope techniques - Studies of microbial life in extreme periglacial environment

Comments and additional information:

The scientific project will be methodical support and preparation of current and planned research on permafrost and periglacial environment. The planned work will consist of detailed mapping and survey of ice-free landscape elements and geochemical characteristics of typical ice-bearing permafrost materials (i.e. moraines, rock glaciers, ground ice bodies, patterned ground). These phenomena will exemplarily be studied to deduce interpretations of permafrost evolution in the Ny Ålesund area. Furthermore, terrestrial permafrost should use as a model for studying microbial life in extreme habitats. Objective of this part of the project is the determination of tolerance limits and survival strategies of the micro-organism/bacteria communities active under the extreme living conditions as a function of the physico-chemical characteristics of dry permafrost. The chemical, physical and structural properties of landscape components that will be studied in this artic environment will serve as reference data and for comparison regarding available data from Siberian and Antarctica periglacial regions. Furthermore, these data administer to the context of permafrost interpretation related to extraterrestrial environments, especially on Mars.

Time frame

Project time span
2003 - 2003
Data collection
2003 - 2003
Data processing
not specified
Data reporting
not specified

Contact information

Contact person
Lutz Schirrmeister
Alfred-Wegener-Institut Telegrafenberg A43 D-14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288 2157
+49 331 288 2137

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Media sampled/studied/modelled


Regions studied
Other areas
Kongsfjord, West Spitsbergen

Data availability

Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?

Methods & Procedures

Procedures and methodology used for, e.g., sampling and sample storage, sample pretreatment, extraction and analysis, including which laboratories are involved, references to methods employed, etc.

We will select field sites representing typical periglacial and glacial landforms in the Ny Ålesund area after evaluation of remote sensing data (i.e. aerial photography). Mapping results from a previous Ny Ålesund based project (KOP 78 / 2002) will be used and extended. We have planned a first field period to Brøgger peninsula in 2003. The purpose of the fieldwork is to collect samples of sediment, ice, snow, and rain and to survey selected periglacial surface structures. Climate data from the AWI-Potsdam weather station (see KOL 11, J. Boike) will be implemented.

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
Other institutes involved in the project

German Aerospace Center (DLR) (E. Hauber) UNIS (Dr H.H. Christiansen) University of Copenhagen, Inst. of Geography (J. W. Jeppesen)

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