From 4 to 15 March, the launch event of the second phase of the 'Earthshape - Earth Surface Shaping by Biota' project takes place in Olmuè, Chile. In the Chilean coastal mountains, approximately 80 Earthshape scientists, including five new PhD students from GFZ, will discuss the future course of the project. Todd Ehlers, University of Tübingen, and Friedhelm von Blanckenburg, Head of GFZ section Earth Surface Geochemistry, are coordinators of the project that runs until 2022.
In four subprojects, the scientists are investigating how the activity of plants and microorganisms affects the Earth's surface and how, conversely, the composition of the subsurface influences an ecosystem.
In order to understand the role of the climate on plants, microorganisms, and the subsurface, four locations with very different climatic conditions are compared - from humid rainforests to the dry Atacama desert. In the further course of the project, the influence of the climate will be assessed. For the first time, a drilling project at all four locations will look down to 100 metres depths.
The participants of the project come from the disciplines of soil sciences, ecology, microbiology, geology, geochemistry, geography, and geophysics; the project is funded by the German Research Foundation DFG and the State of Brandenburg. (ak)