Press archive 2010
23.12.2010 | Six years after the tsunami disaster
Six years after the tsunami disaster of 26/12/2004, the set-up of the German-Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System for the Indian Ocean (GITEWS) has been completed. The project ends on 31 March 2011. After that, Indonesia accepts the sole responsibility for the overall system.
22.12.2010 | Drilling in the Holy Land
About 50 miles from Bethlehem, a drilling project is determining the climate and earthquake activity of the Holy Land. Scientists from eight nations are examining the ground below the Dead Sea, by placing a borehole in this deepest basin in the world. The International Continental Scientific Drilling Program ICDP brings together research teams from Israel, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, the USA and Germany. Particularly noteworthy: Researchers from Jordan and Palestine are also involved.
23.11.2010 | Seismic waves spread out unevenly
Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag, presented the German Study Award 2010 on Tuesday, 23 November in the premises of the German Parliamentary Society in Berlin. The geoscientist Hauke Marquardt from the Free University Berlin /GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences received the first prize in the category of natural science and technology and a prize money of € 30 000 for his thesis, with which he could prove that the velocity of the outgoing shear waves from earthquakes (S-waves) in Earth's lower mantle very much depends on the spatial orientation of the mineral ferropericlase.
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.
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. Due to its proximity to the epicenter of the earthquake, the tsunami arrived on the island of Pagai around the same time as the alert from the early warning system.
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 and 3718 days in space, on the afternoon of 19. September the georesearch satellite CHAMP burned up in space.
20.09.2010 | GFZ training course Istanbul
The 20th of September marked the beginning of the GFZ training course “Seismologie and Seismic Hazard Estimation” in Istanbul, Turkey. The participants were welcomed by representatives of the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, the GFZ, the Boĝazici University and the Kandilli Observatory Istanbul. During the next five weeks a total of 28 participants from 19 countries including the eastern Mediterranean region, Central Asia and the Near- and Middle East are being tutored by experts from the GFZ and other European research institutes in the field of seismology, seismic data analysis, seismic hazard estimation and the calculation of seismic risk.
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 and reaches a depth of 250 kilometers. Over the past 50 years alone, the Indian subcontinent has moved two meters below Tibet. These conclusions were reached by scientists of the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences. In the latest issue of the scientific journal "Science" (vol. 329, Sept. 17, 2010) they report on how the collision process was investigated.
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).
15.07.2010 | Birthday in Space: Recap of the life of a satellite
Today, on the 15th July at 14:32 GMT, the georesearch satellite CHAMP orbits the Earth for the 57217th time, thus heralding its 10th anniversary in service. Exactly one decade ago, the satellite was set into an almost polar orbit at the head of a Russian COSMOS-rocket following a text-book launch from the Plesetsk cosmodrome.
15.07.2010 | Diamonds as Signposts
The source of diamonds is closely linked with processes, which take place deep in the Earth’s interior, at the core-mantle boundary at depths of approximately 2900 kilometres. The same procedures, which led to the formation of Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs), also sculpted the areas in the cores of the continents, in which today the richest diamond deposits of the world are found. That is a result of the investigation of Kimberlite rocks, presented by a group of scientists from Norway, South Africa, Germany and the USA in the latest volume of “Nature”.
From the spaceport Baikonur (Kazakhstan) the German Earth Observation Satellite, TanDEM-X, was brought into orbit at a height of 514 km on 21 June at 04:14:02 MESZ. On board: the navigational instrument TOR, developed by scientists at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam. TanDEM-X will record data on the elevation of the Earth's surface with a dissolution unattained to date – thus, the TOR instrument is the technical basis, without which the mission would not be possible.
12.05.2010 | The myth of the shrinking mountains
The constant increase in the volume of accumulated sediment that has taken place in the past 5 million years does not exist. This is the principle result of an analysis that GFZ scientists Jane Willenbring and Friedhelm von Blanckenburg publish in the newest issue of the Journal “Nature” (13.May 2010). The globally observed four-fold acceleration of sedimentation is an artifact of the observations. Important geological hypotheses that are based on this observation now require revision.
On Tuesday 04.05.2010, Prof. Dr. Friedhelm von Blanckenburg, Head of GFZ-Section 3.4, the Ralph Alger Bagnold Medal is awarded to Friedhelm von Blanckenburg for the innovative nature and breadth of his geomorphological studies using cosmogenic isotopes on occasion of the EGU General Assembly 2010. The medal is named after the Britisch geomorphologist Ralph Bagnold.
24.04.2010 | The Aschersleber Globe and the Potsdam Potato
With the inauguration of a three meter high bronze globe, the main work of art for the regional garden show in Saxon-Anhalt was today introduced to the public. The basis of the work created by the Berlin artist, Oliver Störmer, was the shape of the Earth calculated by scientists at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences.
The Helmholtz Association promotes the establishment of two new Helmholtz Graduate Schools and four Helmholtz Research Schools, in order to offer optimal supervision opportunities for new generation scientists during their Ph.D. studies. And one or more universities as cooperation partners are on board in each case.
23.04.2010 | FOR 741 begins its next 3-year period
The DFG will support the research team 741 "Nanoscale Processes and Geomaterial Properties" for a further three years
16.04.2010 | GFZ: The 1000th
With Ms. Katja Fregien, the one thousandth employee will be hired at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences on 15 April this year. Ms. Fregien will be working as a Ph.D. student in climate research at the GFZ and will be dealing with annual tree rings for the investigation of the climatic dynamics.
The Central Asian Institute for Applied Geosciences (ZAIAG), founded by the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, survived the serious unrest and looting in Bishkek comparably unblemished. “All that was damaged was a door during marauder attempts to enter the building on the night of the conflicts” reports Bolot Moldobekov, the Kyrgyz Co-Director of the institute. Together with the other male employees at ZAIAG he stood guard for several nights, protecting the institute against looting and destruction.
German-Chilean monitoring of high-magnitude quakes
After the quake of Concepción, the remaining gap in the north of Chile now holds potential for a comparable strong quake and is, thus, moving more and more into the focus of attention. The GFZ has been monitoring this gap with the Integrated Plate Boundary Observatory (IPOC) in Chile since 2006. In a festive ceremony on March 15 the GFZ is handing over this Observatory to the Universidad de Chile with the seismological service of Chile and to the Universidad Catolica del Norte.
08.03.2010 | Earthquake in Chile - a complicated fracture
The extremely strong earthquake in Chile on 27 February this year was a complicated rupture process, as scientists from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences found out. Quakes with such magnitude virtually penetrate the entire Earth’s crust. The researchers analysed the seismic waves radiated by this earthquake during the first 134 seconds after start of the rupture.
Climate change and limited ressources are examples of geoscientific topics, which are of significant relevance for the future of society. With the foundation of the coordination platform Geo.X a european-wide unique network to help accept these challenges opens to geoscientific research and teaching in the Berlin-Brandenburg region.
The fight against the CO2 emissions can be applied at two places: First of all, forms of energy can be used, which yield either no, or only very small amounts of carbon dioxide emissions, for example geothermal energy. Secondly the inevitably freed CO2 when burning fossil energy sources can be captured and geologically stored in suitable rock formations. If, however, geothermal and geological CO2-storage need to use the same rock layers, the question arises if the one does not perhaps rule out the other.
25.01.2010 | Exercise in the case of emergency
This year the workshop for Tsunami Early Warning is not only for staff from Indonesia, but also for staff from further countries of the Indian Ocean. The three week work shop 2010 started today in Citeko, south of Jakarta in Western Java. The Training will provide theoretical fundamentals and practical training for those concerned with tsunami early warning.
17.01.2010 | The seismic gap south of Istanbul
The chain of earthquakes along the North Anatolian fault shows a gap south of Istanbul. The expected earthquakes in this region represent an extreme danger for the Turkish megacity. A new computer study now shows that the tensions in this part of the fault zone could trigger several earthquakes instead of one individual large quake event.
Scientists from the GFZ and the University of Potsdam utilized for the first time the GFZ laboratory container on an expedition to the Barents Sea. The container, specially equipped for microbiological operations, successfully met its demands due to its high flexibility.