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10.08.2016 | New insights into mineralization

A study published in “Science” by Potsdam based scientists offers new insights into the mechanisms of mineralization in micro-organisms. The team led by André Scheffel from the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces investigated marine microalgae, Pleurochrysis carterae, with shells containing calcite. The so-called coccoliths – tiny scales protecting the algae – are highly ordered arrangements of calcite crystals produced by the organisms. The study was accompanied by Richard Wirth from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences who carried out analyses with the Transmission Electron Microscope TEM. According to the study, the localization of crystals within the coccoliths is determined by the interaction of nucleating macromolecules with the mineral phase. The scientists showed that, preceding nucleation, a specific interaction between soluble organic molecules and an organic backbone structure directs mineral components to specific sites. This strategy underlies the formation of coccoliths. The findings probably apply to all calcite forming organisms such as sea urchins and shells. 


27.07.2016 | The GFZ and the Ocean

The Science Year 2016*17 „Seas and Oceans“, declared by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is dedicated to marine research. The GFZ is the centre for solid earth sciences. There are, however, several points of contact and cooperations with the sea sciences. System Earth is complex and consists of interacting subsystems and cycles. Therewith the research of several GFZ scientists also contributes to a better understanding of seas and oceans. Within our overview we present some of them.


20.07.2016 | GRACE and LARES satellites improve tests of the Lense-Thirring effect

The Gravity Recovery and Climate Mission (GRACE) helps in testing the effects predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity. One of these effects is the Lense-Thirring effect or frame dragging effect: a satellite orbiting around Earth is dragged by Earth’s rotation like honey by a twisted spoon.


19.07.2016 | Huge time-lag between erosion and mountain building

19.07.2016: An unprecedented record of erosion rates dating back millions of years shows a significant time-lag between tectonic uplift and maximum erosion rates in the Argentine Precordillera mountains. According to a new study by an international team of scientists, tectonic shortening and exhumation of rocks peaked between twelve and nine million years ago whereas the maximum erosional response is detected roughly seven million years ago, i.e. two million years later.


18.07.2016 | Continental tug-of-war - until the rope snaps

18.07.2016 Present-day continents were shaped hundreds of millions of years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. Derived from Pangaea’s main fragments Gondwana and Laurasia, the current continents move at speeds of 20 to 80 millimeters per year characterizing today’s plate tectonics.


14.07.2016 | Record breaking volcanic kettle on Iceland explored

The Bárdarbunga eruption on Iceland has broken many records. The event in 2014 was the strongest in Europe since more than 240 years. The hole it left behind, the so-called caldera, is the biggest caldera formation ever observed. And the event as such was studied in unprecedented detail by a team of international scientists, amongst them a group from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. Together with lead author Magnus T. Gudmundsson from the University of Iceland, the team has now published its findings in the upcoming issue of SCIENCE.


12.07.2016 | Inauguration of the international graduate school StRATEGy

12.07.2016 | Today, the international graduate school StRATEGy „Surface processes, Tectonics and Georesources: The Andean foreland basin of Argentina“, will officially be inaugurated. The Brandenburg Secretary of State for Science will give a speech on that occasion in Potsdam-Golm.

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