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