Permafrost Research Group – University of Alcalá (Spain)

The permafrost team of the University of Alcalá is one of the world leading groups in the study of Antarctic permafrost. The first Antarctic campaigns of this group started in the 80’s when the Spanish Antarctic Program was being formed. Since then, the Research Group conducts research in the Antarctic Peninsula participating in the Spanish Antarctic expedition with the collaboration of the University of Lisbon. They focus on the study of the thermal state of permafrost through the CALM-S sites and the boreholes drilled in the South Shetland Islands (Antarctic Peninsula region).

Besides, during the last years the interest of the group turned towards the analysis of landscape in Mars and the possible distribution of permafrost there. The group participates in the Mars Sciences Laboratory NASA mission (MSL) collaborating in the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS), which is led by the Centro de Astrobiología (CAB-INTA). Mars Science Laboratory is a rover that will assess whether Mars ever was, or is still today, an environment able to support microbial life, basically on the permafrost system. In other words, its mission is to determine the planet’s “habitability.”


Meteo station and a 25 m deep borehole established to characterize the thermal state of permafrost and the active layer evolution in the top of Reina Sofia peak, close to the Spanish Antarctic Station (Livingston Island, Antarctica).


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