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News from the Lab (news.myScience.ch)

  • News from the Lab’ is a selection of scientific works that are significant or interesting for a broad readership. 
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Earth Sciences



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Environment - Earth Sciences - 18.05.2022
Study explores concentrations of microplastics in the Rhine floodplains near Langel in Cologne
Microplastics accumulate in the Rhine meadows at Langel-Merkenich / topography and flooding determine local concentrations of particles in the soil Microplastics can be deposited in river floodplains and transported to deeper soil horizons. Local topography, flood frequency, and soil characteristics are responsible for the amount of plastic particles deposited and their possible transport into deeper soil.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 12.05.2022
Algae reveal clues about climate changes over millions of years
Göttingen scientists identify and investigate algae which register sea water temperatures of the warmest months Organisms adjust their cell walls according to environmental conditions such as temperature. Some adaptations involve changes in lipids which may still be preserved long after the rest of the organisms has been degraded.

Earth Sciences - Astronomy / Space Science - 28.04.2022
Graveyard of Earth’s Plates: Ancient Protocrust of Earth Discovered in Depths of Earth’s Mantle
Earth's earliest crust, more than four billion years old, survived deep in the mantle / Traces of ancient Earth's crust still exist today in volcanic rocks at Earth's surface / Publication in PNAS Dr. Jonas Tusch and Carsten Münker, both scientists at the Institute of Geology and Mineralogy at the University of Cologne, along with their colleague Dr. Elis Hoffmann, Freie Universität Berlin, used chemical analyses of magmatic rocks to prove that the remains of the first crust of our planet lie buried at great depths in Earth's mantle.

Computer Science - Earth Sciences - 20.04.2022
Artificial Intelligence Decodes Causes of Mass Extinction in the Permian
Artificial Intelligence Decodes Causes of Mass Extinction in the Permian
Volcanic eruptions in Siberia caused massive climate change 252 million years ago. Approximately 75 percent of all land organisms and 90 percent of all ocean organisms perished. The paleontologist Dr. William Foster at the Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN) has now decoded the causes of this mass extinction in the oceans.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 19.04.2022
No glacial fertilization effect in the Antarctic Ocean
No glacial fertilization effect in the Antarctic Ocean
International study led by the University of Bonn records 1.5 million years of climate in the drill core Can iron-rich dust fertilize the ocean, stimulate algae growth there, and thereby capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? An international research team led by the University of Bonn used deep-sea sediment cores from the Scotia Sea to investigate whether this hypothetical greenhouse gas sink had an effect during ice ages.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 18.03.2022
Dramatic warming in the Arctic - HALO-(AC)3 field campaign investigates an alarming phenomenon
In mid-March 2022, the large-scale international HALO-(AC) 3 research campaign will begin investigating transformations of air masses in the Arctic. Three German aircraft will be deployed, scientists from the UK and France will also be involved during joint flights with two further aircraft. The team of researchers will be focusing particularly on northwards-flowing warm air reaching into the central Arctic, which are often called warm air intrusions.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 16.03.2022
In search of pure quartz
In search of pure quartz
A small heap of very fine white quartz sand glistens in the palm of Prof. Ralf Hetzel's hand. The grains of sand allow him to look deep into the past. To be precise, the cosmogenic nuclide Beryllium-10 (10Be) does. Such nuclides are produced by cosmic radiation in solid rock.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 09.03.2022
Stalagmites trace climate history and impact from volcanic eruptions
Stalagmites trace climate history and impact from volcanic eruptions
Research team including Göttingen University studies volcanic impact on ecosystems in Patagonia The soils and vegetation of Patagonia's fjord regions form a unique and highly sensitive ecosystem that is closely linked to marine ecosystems, sediment deposition and carbon storage in the ocean. A research team, including the University of Göttingen, has been working on reconstructing the climate history of this region in this extremely wet, rainy and inaccessible fjord and island zone of the Patagonian Andes in southern Chile.

Earth Sciences - Life Sciences - 23.02.2022
Microbes living under extreme conditions
Microbes living under extreme conditions
At the mouth of the Rio Tinto in southwestern Spain, acidic river water - polluted with heavy metals from ore mining and mineral weathering - mixes with the salt water of the Atlantic Ocean. Here, microorganisms that love such extreme conditions form a unique community. They live in water as acidic as vinegar, are resistant to high salinity, and some also cope very well with high levels of toxic metals.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 15.02.2022
How Climate Change is Destroying Arctic Coasts
How Climate Change is Destroying Arctic Coasts
Global warming is causing permafrost in the Arctic to thaw and sea ice to melt. As a result, coasts are less protected and are being eroded, while carbon stored in the soil and carbon dioxide are being released into the ocean and atmosphere. In a first, researchers at Universität Hamburg have now calculated the future scale of these processes for the entire Arctic.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 07.02.2022
Understanding tomorrow’s Arctic
Hundreds of international researchers are currently analysing observations from the year-long MOSAiC expedition, during which hundreds of environmental parameters were recorded with unprecedented accuracy and frequency over a full annual cycle in the central Arctic Ocean. Three review articles on the MOSAiC programmes for atmosphere, snow and sea ice, and ocean have now been published in the journal Elementa, highlighting the importance of looking at all components of the climate system together.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 20.01.2022
Mount Etna's exceptional CO2 emissions are triggered by deep carbon dioxide reservoirs
Mount Etna’s exceptional CO2 emissions are triggered by deep carbon dioxide reservoirs
The transport of carbon dioxide stored in the Earth's lithospheric mantle beneath the Hyblean Plateau in southern Italy at a depth of approximately 50 to 150 kilometres is responsible for the exceptionally large CO2 emission of Mount Etna. That is the result of research conducted by an international team of geologists, including researchers from the Universities of Florence (Italy) and Cologne , and from the Istituto di Geologia Ambientale e Geoingegneria of the Italian National Research Council (CNR).

Earth Sciences - 15.12.2021
Swaying mountains
Swaying mountains
The Matterhorn appears as an immovable, massive mountain that has towered over the landscape near Zermatt for thousands of years. A study now shows that this impression is wrong. An international research team has proven that the Matterhorn is instead constantly in motion, swaying gently back and forth about once every two seconds.

Earth Sciences - Astronomy / Space Science - 23.11.2021
Analysis of Mars’s wind-induced vibrations sheds light on the planet’s subsurface properties
Seismic data collected in Elysium Planitia, the second largest volcanic region on Mars, suggest the presence of a shallow sedimentary layer sandwiched between lava flows beneath the planet's surface. These findings were gained in the framework of NASA's InSight mission (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport), in which several international research partners, including the University of Cologne, collaborate.

Earth Sciences - Research Management - 27.10.2021
Fluid-Mineral Interactions in Rock
Fluid-Mineral Interactions in Rock
Heidelberg geoscientists test new methods to understand the effects of rupture processes in the Earth's interior Spontaneous mineral growth and dissolution in the rock of the Earth's crust, until now observed only by chance and never described or systematically studied, are the focus of a new research project at Heidelberg University.

Paleontology - Earth Sciences - 11.10.2021
Oldest footprints of pre-humans identified in Crete
Oldest footprints of pre-humans identified in Crete
The oldest known footprints of pre-humans were found on the Mediterranean island of Crete and are at least six million years old, says an international team of researchers from Germany, Sweden, Greece, Egypt and England, led by Tübingen scientists Uwe Kirscher and Madelaine Böhme of the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment at the University of Tübingen.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 30.09.2021
Bombardment of Planets in the Early Solar System
Bombardment of Planets in the Early Solar System
Studies of the asteroid Vesta provide new findings on the formation of Earth-like planets The largest asteroid in our Solar System - Vesta - was exposed to an extensive series of impacts by large rocky bodies much earlier than previously assumed. Researchers of an international collaboration, including earth scientists of Heidelberg University and Freie Universität Berlin, reached this conclusion based on analyses of Vesta meteorites, numerical simulations, and observations carried out with the space probe Dawn in 2011 and 2012.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 06.09.2021
Nightmare Without End
Study with participation from Heidelberg shows that supervolcanoes remain dangerous long after erupting Besides cosmic impacts, supervolcanic eruptions rank among the worst catastrophes in the Earth's history, like that of the Toba volcano on Sumatra (Indonesia) approximately 75,000 years ago, which affected all of Southeast Asia and beyond.

Earth Sciences - Astronomy / Space Science - 11.08.2021
Virtual experiments: Münster University geophysicists research the Earth's origins on the computer
Virtual experiments: Münster University geophysicists research the Earth’s origins on the computer
Although Dr. Christian Maas does his research only on the computer, it's sometimes as if he were standing in a laboratory. "I do experiments," he says. By means of his virtual experiments, geophysicist Maas is investigating a question that couldn't be answered in any lab in the world: the question of the how the Earth came into being.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 04.08.2021
51,000-year-old Engraved Giant Deer Bone Discovered in the Harz Mountains
Artifacts found in the Einhornhöhle cave in northern Germany are the subject of a research project involving experts from Freie Universität Berlin and shine a light on the cognitive abilities of our Neanderthal ancestors No 150/2021 from Aug 04, 2021 A discovery made by a research team in a cave in Lower Saxony, northern Germany, suggests that Neanderthals were not merely a primitive subspecies of archaic humans - a commonplace belief ever since their first fossil remains were found in the nineteenth century.
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