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Section 3.3: Earth Surface Geochemistry

New developments in geochemistry opened up an entirely new perspective on the constantly changing land surface. Here rock meets water, air and all forms of life. In the course of this weathering and erosion huge material turnovers and chemical reactions are triggered. Chemical elements and sediment are released. Plants are nourished with nutrients and soils can develop. The forces of the Earth’s interior lead to the uplift of mountains and, and compete with climatic forces and the influence of humans that simultaneously erode the mountains. In our section we measure the velocities of these processes and the age of the resulting landforms with cosmogenic nuclides. We investigate the causes of biogeochemical transformations using novel methods of stable metal isotopes. In brief, we want to trace the material turnovers on the Earth's surface by using geochemical fingerprints.

Our research focuses on the following main topics:

  • Weathering and Climate Interaction
  • Soil, Plants, Nutrient Cycles
  • Global Sediment Cycles
  • Erosion
  • Isotope Tools (cosmogenic nuclides, stable metal isotopes) 

Watch our Science Movies:

EarthShape: The Skin of the Earth - Where Life Meets Rocks
IsoNose: Isotopes and Mass Spectrometry
Soil Formation: Why is Soil on Earth?
Deep Weathering : The Rock Murder Mystery

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