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29.10.2010 | Is the ice at the South Pole melting?

The change in the ice mass covering Antarctica is a critical factor in global climate events. Scientists at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences have now found that the year by year mass variations in the western Antarctic are mainly attributable to fluctuations in precipitation, which are controlled significantly by the climate phenomenon El Niño. They examined the GFZ data of the German-American satellite mission GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment). The investigation showed significant regional differences in the western coastal area of the South Pole area.


28.10.2010 | Information about the Tsunami in Indonesia from 25/10/2010

28.10.2010 | Potsdam:
On 25/10/2010 at 14:42:21 UTC (= 21:42:21 local time), a strong submarine earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 occurred about 25 km southwest of the Pagai island in the Sunda Arc off Sumatra (Indonesia). This triggered a tsunami, which devastated in particular the Mentawai Islands, to which which Pagai belongs. The exact number of earthquake and tsunami victims is currently unknown, first estimates are on more than 300 dead.


20.10.2010 | Satellite trio SWARM explores the Earth's magnetic field

With three identical satellites, the earth observation mission SWARM will monitor the magnetic field of our planet from June 2012. As part of the "Living Planet" programme of the European Space Agency ESA, the as yet most precise measurement of the geomagnetic field will be used to explore processes within the earth and in near-Earth space. The project is coordinated by the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, a particular focus lies on the scientific and economic use of data products within Germany. The first SWARM satellite has now been completed at Astrium in Friedrichshafen.


20.09.2010 | CHAMP: A Fiery End

After 58277 orbits it was finally all over: in the afternoon of 19. September the georesearch satellite CHAMP burned up in space . Exactly 10 years, two months and 4 days after going into orbit, the satellite ended its mission over the Sea of Okhotsk. 


17.09.2010 | The biggest crash on Earth

During the collision of India with the Eurasian continent, the Indian plate is pushed about 500 kilometers under Tibet, reaching a depth of 250 kilometers. The result of this largest collision in the world is the world’s highest mountain range, but the tsunami in the Indian Ocean from 2004 was also created by earthquakes generated by this collision. The clash of the two continents is very complex, the Indian plate, for example, is compressed where it collides with the very rigid plate of the Tarim Basin at the north-western edge of Tibet. On the eastern edge of Tibet, the Wenchuan earthquake in May 2008 claimed over 70,000 deaths. Scientists at the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences report in the latest issue of the scientific journal "Science" (vol. 329, Sept. 17, 2010) on the results of a new seismic method which was used to investigate the collision process.


09.09.2010 | A tectonic zip

The complex fracture pattern created by the earthquake in Concepción (Chile) on 27 February 2010 was to a certain extent predictable. GPS observations from the years before the earthquake showed the pattern of stresses that had accumulated through the plate movements during the past 175 years in this area. The stress distribution derived from the observations correlates highly with the subsequent fracture distribution. In all likelihood the tremor removed all the stress that had accumulated since the last earthquake in this region, which was observed by Charles Darwin in 1835. An earthquake of similar magnitude in this area is therefore unlikely in the near future. This result was presented by scientists of the GFZ German Centre for Geosciences (Helmholtz Association) in the latest edition of the scientific journal "Nature" (09 September 2010).


10.08.2010 | Unconventional natural gas on Bornholm

Today, Wednesday, a scientific drilling project to investigate natural gas in shale rock is launched on the Danish island of Bornholm. The GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences together with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) will be performing a shallow drilling of 40 meters into the Alum Shale of the island within the research project GASH (Gas Shales in Europe). These dense claystone packages from the Cambrian era are some 500 million years old and may contain natural gas (methane). Also known as shale gas, this methane is regarded as a so-called unconventional natural gas and could be an interesting new energy resource for Europe.

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