Sustainable Changes: Climate and Resources

EDUC Online Seminar 17-18 June 2021

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The challenge of Earth, Climate and Life sciences today is to understand processes involved in environmental changes in order to guide sustainable solutions and assess societal impacts. This requires the development and analysis of models and big data in multiple space and time scales, exploring the past, present and future of our ressources and environments. This seminar aims to promote research collaborations for future potential funding between EDUC members through the following open ended session topics.

1. Climate, Landscape evolution and Natural Hazards

Contact: Pr. Peter van der Beek (Potsdam)

The links and feedbacks between climate change and landscape evolution are fundamental for understanding the controls on climate change on geological timescales (e.g. Cenozoic cooling and descent into the ice ages) but also the response of sensitive (mountain) landscapes to ongoing anthropogenic climate change on a decadal to 100-year timescale. The latter question is also intimately linked to the occurrence of natural hazards: rockfalls, debris flows, glacial outburst floods and their linked hazard cascades are particularly sensitive to rising temperatures and the increasing frequency of extreme events. Understanding the mechanisms and dynamics of these links, through direct observation and monitoring, geochemical and geochronological records, and (numerical) modelling, are thus of crucial importance for our understanding of the Earth system and its evolution at different timescales.

2. Crustal Dynamics over geological time scales and Ore formation

Contact: Pr. Max Wilke and Martin Timmerman (Potsdam)

Investigations on the crystalline basement of past orogenic systems provide unique insights into the dynamics of the deep roots of crustal systems. Comparing systems of various geological ages unravels the crustal evolution during the Earth’s past, which also has considerable implications for processes at Earth’s surface. Past orogenies, ranging from Neoproterozoic (Cadomian) to Palaeozoic (Variscan) to Mesozoic (Alpine), each had their own specific developments that nonetheless offer different perspectives on common processes ranging from crust formation to ore forming processes.   Ore formation is a complex multistep process operating over geological timescales in crustal systems often linked to to crustal evolution of a given site. Particularly in the last step, transport and precipitation by hydrothermal processes associated with magmatism and volcanism play an important role. Many fundamental aspects are addressed in research projects, ranging from mineral solubility experiments in the lab to field studies and hydrochemical modelling on the ore-system scale.

3. Environments, Climate and Biodiversity interactions

Contact: Guillaume Dupont-Nivet, Pr. Maria Mutti and René Dommain (Potsdam and Rennes)

With ongoing human alteration of the Earth’s ecosystems and rapid global warming there is an urgent need to understand the response of species and environments to climate change. In a fascinating network of interactions and feedbacks, global biogeochemical cycles, tectonic processes and carbon storage are recorded by source to sink systems and reservoirs over geological time. Examining interactions between environment, climate, and biological diversity recorded in sedimentary archives and phylogenetic databases, provides unique information about the ability to adapt to changes in a sustainable fashion. The advent of molecular phylogenic tools, and biotic-based environmental proxies has led to an explosion of data and models to understand such processes. Several international projects from EDUC partners and other connected groups are currently yielding new enticing research paths.