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14.09.2011 | The Cause of Earth’s Largest Environmental Catastrophe

The eruption of giant masses of magma in Siberia 250 million years ago led to the Permo-Triassic mass extinction when more than 90 % of all species became extinct. An international team including geodynamic modelers from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences together with geochemists from the J. Fourier University of Grenoble, the Max Plank Institute in Mainz, and Vernadsky-, Schmidt- and Sobolev-Institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences report on a new idea with respect to the origin of the Siberian eruptions and their relation to the mass extinction in the recent issue of Nature (15.09.2011, vol. 477, p. 312-316). 


17.08.2011 | Room for Science

On 17 August at 10 AM on the Science Campus Telegrafenberg, the foundation stone for the extension buildings A69/70 of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences was laid. In the presence of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. Sabine Kunst, Minister for Science, Research and Culture in Brandenburg, Senior Principal Karl Wollin of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, Jann Jakobs, Lord Mayor of Potsdam and the architect Reiner Becker, a brass cartridge was filled with current newspapers from Potsdam and the construction certificate, then laid in the foundation stone and bricked up.


05.08.2011 | La Niñas distant effects in East Africa

For 20 000 years, climate variability in East Africa has been following a pattern that is evidently a remote effect of the ENSO phenomenon (El Niño Southern Oscillation) known as El Niño/La Niña. During the cold phase of La Niña, there is marginal rainfall and stronger winds in East Africa, while the El Niño warm phase leads to weak wind conditions with frequent rain. Moreover, during the coldest period of the last ice age about 18 000 to 21 000 years ago, East Africa's climate was relatively stable and dry. This result was published by an international group of researchers from Potsdam, Switzerland, the United States, the Netherlands and Belgium in the latest issue of the journal "Science" (Vol. 333, No.6043, 05.08.2011).


29.06.2011 | The seasonal potato

The "Potsdam Gravity potato", as this representation of terrestrial gravity has become known, can for the first time display gravity variations that change with time. The seasonal fluctuations of the water balance of continents or melting or growing ice masses, i.e. climate-related variables, are now included in the modeling of the gravity field. "EIGEN-6C" is the name of this latest global gravity field model of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. It was recently calculated in Potsdam in cooperation with the Groupe de Recherche de Géodésie Spaciale from Toulouse. This new gravity field model is based on measurements of the satellites LAGEOS, GRACE and GOCE. These were combined with ground-based gravity measurements and data from the satellite altimetry. EIGEN-6C has a spatial resolution of about 12 kilometres. Compared to the last version of the Potsdam potato, this is a four-fold increase.


29.06.2011 | Klimaforschung im natürlichen Labor: ICLEA am GFZ (only available in German)

Die Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft fördert ab 1. Juli 2011 zwölf neue Helmholtz Virtuelle Institute. Darin arbeiten Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler aus einem Helmholtz-Zentrum mit Partnern insbesondere aus Universitäten an einem gemeinsamen Thema. Die Virtuellen Institute werden mit jährlich bis zu 600.000 Euro über fünf Jahre aus dem Impuls- und Vernetzungsfonds gefördert, dazu kommen Eigenmittel der Zentren, so dass die Forschungsvorhaben insgesamt mit bis zu 900.000 Euro jährlich finanziert werden können.


23.06.2011 | Safer Holidays

At the beginning of the holiday season GFZ, the German Research Centre for Geosciences, would like to inform all those who are planning to travel to areas which are potentially threatened by earthquakes and tsunamis about its leaflets "What to do if you experience a strong Earthquake" and "Tsunami Leaflet".


17.06.2011 | „Our Surprising Planet“, Reinhard F. Hüttl (ed.)

17.06.2011|Potsdam:A book with new insights into System Earth by Spektrum Academic Editors shows that there is no other planet like Earth in the universe, as far as we know. At closer inspection our home planet reveals itself as a unique system of relationships and interactions of the major subsystems, the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere. Their surprisingly fine-tuned interactions were capable to bring forth life, including the evolution of humans, and life in turn modifies the subsystems yet again.  


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