Permafrost. Fourth international conference, proceedings

Permafrost. Fourth international conference, proceedings

Book Reviews v an important document and is recommended to anyone interested in the history of the North Atlantic region. J.T. Andrews Geological S...

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Book Reviews


an important document and is recommended to anyone interested in the history of the North Atlantic region. J.T. Andrews

Geological Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309, U.S.A.

Permafrost. Fourth International Conference, Proceedings, edited by National Academy of Sciences, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 1983, ISBN 0-309-03435-3, 1524 pp. $65.00. The international conferences on permafrost tend to develop into very large congresses. This has disadvantages as well as advantages. Among the latter are the usually very well conducted proceedings which come out of the meetings. The fourth and latest of these conferences, held in 1983 in Fairbanks, Alaska, has now presented its main volume of proceedings, a heavy 1524 pp. book which is completed by a 278 pp. volume of abstracts, programme etc., and a forthcoming additional volume. The editors of the proceedings have assembled an impressive work in a very In spite of the heterogeneous origin and content of the individual papers produced a surprisingly homogeneous book. The organizing committee chairmanship of Troy L. Pdw6 and Jerry Brown, and the editorial group with Miller as chairman are to be congratulated.

short time. they have under the Robert D.

The book contains 276 papers by authors from 22 countries. We notice with pleasure that numerous papers derive from countries from whom the scientific literature is sometimes not easily accessible. There are, among others, 41 Chinese papers. The content of the papers can be divided into 25 different groups of subject. These are indicated in a special index - - the papers themselves are presented in strictly alphabetic order based upon the name of the senior author. The titles of papers contain the most different types of subject, from patterned ground to pipelines, from sub-sea permafrost to problems of foundation, from the Alps to the Jovian moons. A considerable interest is devoted to permafrost on other planets. Eight papers deal with this issue, especially Martian conditions. Permafrost obviously exists on Mars, and has a great morphological importance all over the planet. Exploitation of oil and gas in the subarctic regions, and its' transport in pipelines offer many problems because of the permafrost. The same applies to the construction of buildings, roads, airports etc. Consequently, research on permafrost has increased in the last decades, and is a main reason for the increasing size of the conferences. The increasing activity comprises methods of investigation as well as construction work. Among the methods of investigation we notice the application of remote sensing. A group of papers deal with such methods and mapping problems and techniques. The classical aspects of the permafrost problems seem to play a decreasing role, while the


Book Reviews

aspects of applied science increase. Nevertheless four or five of the groups of subjects are devoted to this field. But also among these papers we notice an increasing modernization, for instance, a more sophisticated mathematical treatment. From the geological point of view it is of special interest to notice the use of periglacial phenomena like permafrost in the interpretation of past climatical changes. For instance, papers from China describe the reconstruction of the paleogeographic environment during the last 35,000 years. It is impossible to discuss here the content of the individual papers, and even to select any especially interesting achievements. Anyhow, the book is undoubtedly extremely rich in facts and viewpoints and certainly worth its price. It is a good source of information about news in the field of permafrost and periglacial activity. It should occur on the shelves of all geoscientific libraries where there is any interest in this field. Jan Lundqvist

Department of Quaternary Research, Stockholm University, Odengatan 63, S-113 22 Stockholm, Sweden.