Department 4: Geomaterials

Director: Prof. Dr. Onno Oncken

The continuous movement and evolution of the Earth's surface, crust, and Earth’s mantle are the focus of our research. We investigate both the slow drift of lithospheric plates and the extremely rapid rupturing of Earth’s surface during an earthquake. In careful laboratory experiments we investigate rock failure during an earthquake, which happens, for example, when plates are subducted into the Earth's mantle. We investigate the processes that take place when rocks melt and turn into magma. We also study the chemical processes at the Earth's surface, where air, water and the biosphere interact with rocks, and where humans interact most visibly with the environment.Research in department 3 focuses on two of the topics which have particular relevance for system Earth and the human habitat: Understanding the dynamics and mechanics of selected, particularly active regions of our planet from the earthquake rupture to the geological record; and unravelling the mechanisms of past changes of the Earths climate for an assessment of future changes.   ... more

The research of Department 4 is organised in four sections: 

Department trip 2014


Profile photo of  Prof. Dr. Onno Oncken

Prof. Dr. Onno Oncken
Lithosphere Dynamics

Building C, room 224
14473 Potsdam
tel. +49 331 288-1310

Department Coordination

Profile photo of   Franziska Alberg

Franziska Alberg
Lithosphere Dynamics

Building C, room 225
14473 Potsdam
tel. +49 331 288-1311