A working group within the Italian Association of Geomorphologists (AIGEO) started its activity at the end of 2002. A number of Italian researchers, engaged in studies on the periglacial environment and often dealing with relict forms, decided to get together in order to actively compare their study objects and methods. In Italy, landforms related to periglacial processes have been recognized for a long time (Capello, 1960) and permafrost distribution in the present and throughout the Quaternary has recently been reconstructed by means of typical landforms (e.g. rock glaciers) (Dramis and Guglielmin, 1999). However, many other landforms, e.g., different types of inactive scree, common mainly in the Apennine chain and in Sardinia, were identified in the past and considered as "periglacial". Although displaying different characteristics with regard to parent material, texture, form, position and extension, they have some features in common: they are located on moderately steep slopes, are made of a coarse debris that may be mixed with fine material and they have no sedimentary features typical of fluvial or gravitational landforms; in all cases they are not related to present-day geomorphic processes. In the literature they were classified mainly as éboulis ordonnées, grèze liteée and block streams/fields. The Group will be working until 2005. In this first period its main aims are: 1) to collect evidence in order to clarify the true genetic environment of the investigated landforms: whether they are really periglacial, or whether just cryogenic weathering and frost shattering can be responsible for coarse sediment supply, in absence of even sporadic permafrost, and 2) to employ typical periglacial landforms in their relict state (e.g., rock glaciers and wedge casts) for Quaternary paleoclimatic reconstructions in Italian low altitude mountain environments. Firstly, study areas were established and a preliminary illustration of the deposits concerned permitted the members to compare the different typologies.
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