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Theme 1: Dynamic Earth – from the interior to the surface

(Cornelia Spiegel, Anke Friedrich, Birgit Terhorst)

Session 1.1: Geohazards in time and space

Birgit Terhorst (University of Würzburg), Andreas Vött (University of Mainz), Bernd Zimanowski (University of Würzburg)

The session highlights the relevance of applied topics in Geosciences in the context of global change, natural hazards, and increasing pressure of human land-use. Inside the frame of Quaternary developments influencing our present-day geosystems, methodological as well as case studies can help to understand regulating factors, which are responsible for geohazards on different time scales. Latest and still ongoing trends show clearly that climate as well as landscape change result in hazardous conditions, which are - in the historical context - unprecedented. As a main area of responsibility in Geosciences there is an enormous need to investigate endogenic and exogenic processes and their impact on the earth’s natural and cultural space, also by the support of retrospective approaches.
The session focusses:
• Exogenous and endogenous geohazards
• Geohazards related to meteorological factors and climate change consequences
• Quaternary timespans and modern case studies

Session 1.2: Archives of Quaternary climatic and environmental changes

Daniela Sauer (University of Göttingen), Tobias Sprafke (University of Bern, CH), Achim Brauer (GFZ Potsdam)

Goals and relevance of the session:
The presently ongoing climate change raises the question, in which way and to what extent climatic shifts trigger environmental responses. One approach to answer this question is the analysis of archives of climatic changes and related environmental responses that occurred over the Quaternary period. Numerous reconstructions of Quaternary climatic and associated environmental changes – from global to regional scale – have been elaborated over the past decades, based on various archives such as ice cores, marine and lacustrine sediments, speleothems, terrestrial deposits and palaeosols, including in particular loess-palaeosol successions. A multitude of proxies, including vegetal proxies (pollen, plant-derived lipids and alkanes, etc.), faunal proxies (molluscs, beetles, etc.), and abiotic proxies (geomorphological, sedimentological and geochemical characteristics, isotopic signals, etc.) has been used. At present, we are experiencing significant methodological progress, especially in emerging fields of biomarker analysis, interpretation of isotopic signatures in various materials, and numerical dating. This progress has been possible only through increasing specialisation within several sub-disciplines of Quaternary research. This progressive specialisation makes it all the more important to ensure regular contact and scientific exchange of the various sub-disciplines, as the answer to the question of environmental responses to climate shifts can be given only through interdisciplinary efforts. Thus, this session intends to bring together scientists working on various Quaternary archives and proxies, in order to enable comparison and discussion of reconstructions from different archives. Moreover, the session aims at initiating new interdisciplinary contacts and encouraging future integrative research.


Session 1.3: Controlling factors of surface evolution

Cornelia Spiegel (University of Bremen), Anke Friedrich (LMU München)

Topography and surface evolution are governed by a complex interplay between deep-seated lithospheric configurations, tectonic activity, and climate. The role of each of these factors for modulating surface evolution is still not fully understood: Some studies suggest that climate dominantly controls surface denudation rates, while others emphasize the dominant importance of tectonic activity. The role mantle or deep crustal processes may play for surface evolution is still poorly understood. For this session we welcome studies that investigate processes controlling surface evolution, landscape evolution and denudation patterns on different time scales and in different geodynamic settings.


Session 1.4: From rifts to passive continental margins: mantle-, and lithosphere-basin dynamics, and long-term landscape evolution

Ulrich A. Glasmacher (University of Heidelberg), Magdalena Scheck-Wenderoth (GFZ Potsdam), Hans-Peter Bunge (University of München), Peter Kukla (RWTH Aachen)

Passive continental margins represent long-term and large-scale geo-archives of Earth processes related to mantle dynamics, break-up of continents, creation of sedimentary basins, long-term landscape evolution, changes in ocean circulation and their effect on climate. Passive margins are also of paramount economic importance in terms of hydrocarbon resources. This interdisciplinary session seeks contributions from geological and geophysical observations, as well as from geodynamic or geomaterials modeling, addressing the interplay of deep mantle - lithosphere - basin - surface – climate, and erosion processes in rift to passive margin systems and adjacent continents. We solicit thermochronological studies contributing to onshore – offshore feed-back processes, studies related to magmatic activities in passive margins, seismic studies of the lithosphere and mantle, basin modeling, as well as geodynamic modeling related in particular to mantle dynamics and its multiple surface expressions. Emphasis is given to the North, Central, and South Atlantic systems and adjacent continents but the session welcomes contributions on other passive continental margins as well. The session addresses the many complex interacting feedback cycles that acted since the breakup of continents. We also encourage scientists concerned with the long-term evolution of fracture zones at passive continental margins and adjacent continents to present their data.


Session 1.5: High latitude geodynamic and environmental evolution

Frank Lisker (University of Bremen), Cornelia Spiegel (University of Bremen)

The high latitudes still belong to the most underexplored areas of the planet. Their evolution, however, plays an important role for the long-term climate and environmental evolution of the earth system. This session focusses on the geodynamic evolution of the Arctic and Antarctica. It includes studies on structure and evolution of the polar regions in light of recent geophysical and geological investigations, the formation of Arctic and Antarctic orogens, continental margins and adjacent oceans, the exploration of unknown areas beneath the ice, but also (paleo-) climate research, interactions between cryosphere, atmosphere and oceans, the comparison with high-altitude (Himalayan) induced climate forcing, and the development of Cenozoic biodiversity in high latitudes. We particularly welcome multidisciplinary contributions, which investigate interactions and relations of geodynamic activity on all time scales with climate, biotic, and oceanographic change and ice sheet dynamics.