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Geo-colloquium programme

Programme for Summer Semester 2024



13:15, Lecture hall C.011

Prof. Dr. Jessica Agarwal (TU Braunschweig)

Active Asteroids

Small solar system bodies such as asteroids, comets, and Transneptunian Objects are thought to be remainders of the planetesimal formation process in the young solar system. Out of this population, the asteroids are located closest to the Sun, on stable orbits between those of Mars and Jupiter. In this main asteroid belt, temperatures are too high for surface ice to be preserved over solar system time scales, hence most asteroids at most times have a rocky-looking surface and appear star-like in a telescope. However, over the past decades, a few dozens of asteroids have been found to emit dust, forming prominent tails similar to comets. These objects are now called "active asteroids". In this talk I will introduce the different processes that are thought to trigger and/or sustain dust and gas emission ("activity") from asteroids, the astronomical methods we use to study them, and illustrate this with examples.

Vita: My research interests focus on small solar system bodies and the dust they emit into interplanetary space, using both astronomical telescopes and data from spacecraft. I obtained my PhD from Heidelberg university in 2007, having analysed the emission of large dust particles from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the target of ESA's Rosetta mission. During postdoctoral stays at ESA/ESTEC in the Netherlands, at Postdam university and at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen, I extended my research to dust from a broader range of solar system bodies, including the active asteroids. Currently I hold a (tenure-tracked) professorship at the TU Braunschweig, funded by the Lichtenberg Programme of the Volkswagen Foundation.

(Image credit: Max Fuhrmann, TUB)

Invited by: Juergen Schmidt




13:15, Lecture hall C.011

Prof. Dr. Jens Gutzmer (TU Bergakademie Freiberg)

Copper - a prime example for opportunities and limits of a Circular Economy

With a production of ca. 27 Mt of refined metal in 2023, Cu takes fourth place among the metals most widely used by society. Its importance is expected to rise dramatically in response to the roll-out of renewable energy systems, electrification and digitalization. But where will this copper come from ? Will recycling be able to cover the demand ? What role will primary resources have to play ? Can we cover some of our demand from domestic resources ? These pertinent questions will be discussed in this seminar.

Vita: Jens Gutzmer graduated from the TU Clausthal (Germany) in 1992 with a diploma in Mineralogy and Economic Geology, followed by a PhD in Geology from the Rand Afrikaans University in Johannesburg (South Africa) in 1996. He is founding director of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology in Germany and Professor of Economic Geology and Geometallurgy at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg. As a visiting professor at the University of Johannesburg he maintains a link to South Africa. Most of his recent research has focused on geometallurgy and mineral systems analysis.  

Invited by: Timm John



13:15, Lecture hall C.011




13:15, Lecture hall C.011

Dr. Hauke Hussmann (DLR Berlin)

Exploring the Icy Moons of Jupiter with the Ganymede Laser Altimeter (GALA)

In April 2023, the JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer) space probe was successfully launched from the ESA space centre in Kourou (French Guiana) on an Ariane 5 launcher to the Jupiter system. The aim of the mission is to study the giant planet, its magnetosphere and the Galilean moons in detail. In particular, Ganymede, the largest moon in the solar system, is in the mission's focus. After flybys of the moons Europa and Callisto, JUICE will enter in orbit around Ganymede in the final phase of the mission. The exploration of Jupiter's icy moons, under whose outer layers of ice huge water oceans are suspected, plays a major role not least in the possible emergence of life outside the Earth. The Ganymede Laser Altimeter (GALA), one of the 10 mission payloads, will characterize the subsurface ocean by measuring the tidal deformation of Ganymede. It will also provide precise topographic measurements of the entire moon and to lesser extent for Europa and Callisto during flybys. In combination with the camera and subsurface radar instruments this will significantly  improve our understanding of the processes that have shaped these unique and very diverse icy surfaces. Following the launch and commissioning of the space probe, the functional tests of the instruments have been successfully completed. Describing the objectives of the mission and the planned scientific investigations of the Galilean moons, the talk will mainly focus on planned measurements of the Ganymede laser altimeter.

Vita: Dr. Hauke Hußmann studierte Physik an der Universität Osnabrück und promovierte an der Universität Münster am Institut für Planetologie zum Thema der gekoppelten thermisch-bahndynamischen Entwicklung der Jupitermonde Io und Europa. Nach Post-Doc Stationen in Münster und an der Universität São Paulo in Brasilien ist er seit 2008 wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für Planetenforschung des Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. in Berlin. Seit 2021 leitet er dort die Abteilung Planetengeodäsie. Herr Dr. Hußmann ist wissenschaftlicher Leiter (Principal Investigator) des BepiColombo Laser Altimeters (BELA) der ESA Mission BepiColombo, die sich seit 2018 auf dem Flug zum Merkur befindet. Seit 2013 ist er außerdem wissenschaftlicher Leiter des Ganymede Laser Altimeters (GALA), welches im April 2023 als eines von 10 Instrumenten mit der ESA Raumsonde JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer) zum Jupitersystem gestartet ist. Er ist außerdem Teil des wissenschaftlichen Teams (Co-I) des Subsurface Radar Instruments (REASON) und des Gravity and Radio Science Experimentes (G/RS) der NASA Mission Europa Clipper.

Invited by: Frank Postberg



13:15, Lecture hall C.011

Prof. Dr. Julie Fosdick (U Connecticut) 

From isotopes to mountain slopes: Building mountains amidst rising seas in the Patagonian Andes

Abstract: Tectonic activity, magmatism, and climate interact to control the growth and erosion of mountains, basin subsidence, and fluctuations between marine and terrestrial conditions along low-lying continental margins. This presentation summarizes our recent work using stratigraphy, geochronology, and thermochronology in the Oligocene – Miocene Magallanes-Austral region of the southern Patagonian Andes to investigate the geologic controls on depositional patterns and orogen paleogeography during an important time interval for global climate.   

Bio/vitae details: Dr. Julie Fosdick is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on reconstructing ancient phases of mountain-building and erosion to understand how tectonics, magmatism, and surface processes interact to shape the Earth’s continental lithosphere. Julie holds a B.S. degree in Geological Sciences from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Stanford University.

Invited by: Anne Bernhardt and Alex Webb

Research page: https://thermochron.uconn.edu/




13:15, Lecture hall C.011

Dr. Sarah Incel (GFZ Potsdam)

Deformation and reaction of the lower continental crust

How strong is the lower continental crust? Due to the mechanical coupling between the lithospheric layers, deciphering the deformation behaviour of lower crustal rocks is of importance to better understand the complex deformation of Earth's lithosphere as a whole. My presentation will summarise some of my recent experimental research on how fluids, triggering metamorphic reactions in plagioclase-rich rocks, influence rock strength at elevated pressure and temperature conditions prevailing at lower crust depths.

Academic career:

  • Since 04/2024: Fixed-term senior researcher at GFZ Potsdam in section 4.2 geomechanics and scientific drilling
  • 2022-2024: NERC Independent Research Fellowship at Imperial College London
  • 2019-2022: Postdoc at Ruhr Universität Bochum
  • 2017-2019: Feodor Lynen-Fellowship (Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation) at University of Oslo
  • 2014-2017: PhD at École Normale Supérieure Paris
  • 2008-2014: B.Sc. & M.Sc. at FU Berlin

 Main research interests: Experimental rock deformation, experimental petrology, fluid-rock interactions, lower continental crust

Invited by: Timm John




13:15, Lecture hall C.011

Dr. Pilar Madrigal Quesada (GEOMAR Kiel)

Non-hotspot seamounts: Where do they fit in our current plate tectonic model?

Hundreds of thousands to millions of seamounts unrelated to hotspot activity remain uncharted at the seafloor, either as isolated seamounts or as clusters. Non-hotspot seamounts are not influenced by deep mantle upwelling processes or subduction/back-arc regimes, so their composition and mechanisms of formation are intrinsically related to the upper mantle compositional nature and dynamics. In this talk we will discuss their possible origins, how they fit into our current understanding of plate tectonics, and why we need to continue exploring the secrets of the seafloor - the final frontier on our planet.

Bio: Dr. Pilar Madrigal is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow researcher at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. Her research explores the geochemical composition of intraplate igneous rocks to understand the magmatic processes occurring in the mantle and their implications for Earth’s tectonic history. Her ongoing project focuses on the geochemistry of isolated seamounts in the Pacific Plate as possible windows for the geochemical heterogeneities within the Earth's upper mantle. Pilar holds a B.Sc. degree in Geology from the University of Costa Rica and a Ph.D. degree in Geosciences from Virginia Tech.

Invited by: Elis Hoffmann



13:15, Lecture hall C.011

Prof. Dr. Xiao-Ming Liu (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

My Geochemical Adventures on Earth's Surface

Discover how novel isotopes like lithium and potassium unlock Earth's dynamic geochemistry! This seminar explores chemical weathering, reverse weathering, and their profound impacts on Earth's evolution. From the volcanic slopes of Hawaii to the ancient oceans of the Permian-Triassic, we'll delve into isotope geochemistry and its power to reveal transformative environmental and climate shifts.

Bio: Prof. Xiao-Ming Liu earned her undergraduate degrees in Geology from the University of Waterloo and the China University of Geosciences (Beijing) in 2007. After completing her Master's in 2009 and Ph.D. in 2013 at the University of Maryland, she conducted research as a Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science until 2015. Prof. Liu then joined the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was promoted to Associate Professor in 2021. Her research explores non-traditional stable isotope cycling in critical zones, terrestrial chemical weathering, fluid-rock interactions during subduction and metamorphism, and the global cycling of trace metal elements. Prof. Liu's research contributions have earned her numerous awards, including the NSF Career Award, the GSA MGPV Early Career Award, and the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award. She also serves as an Associate Editor for Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.

Invited by: Harry Becker



13:15, Lecture hall C.011

Prof. Dr. Paola Manzotti (Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University)

Continental Subduction in the Western Alps: Facts and Theories

Once that continental subduction was largely accepted (by the end of the 1980’s), it immediately opened a range of major questions, amongst which the most important are summarized below.

  • Is continental subduction always succeeding oceanic subduction, the buoyant continental crust being dragged down by the subducting slab of oceanic lithosphere?
  • Which parts of the continental crust are subducted? Is it the entire palaeomargin, or just parts of it, for example extensional allochthons? What is the role of the inherited structures associated with the rifting history of the palaeomargin?
  • What is the petrological record of burial and exhumation in the continental crust? Dehydration takes place during a first orogenic cycle. How can we develop (U)HP parageneses in continental (polycyclic) basement? What role plays the fluid phase in the preservation of the pre-Alpine and early-Alpine assemblages?
  • What is the age of the HP/UHP metamorphism? What are the rates of exhumation?

This talk will answer to some of these questions in the specific case of the European Alpine belt.

Short bio: Paola Manzotti is Associate Professor at Stockholm University (Sweden). After completing her PhD at the University of Bern (Switzerland) in 2012, she worked at the University of Rennes (France) for three years, then she was awarded a Swiss NSF Ambizione Fellowship at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) for three years. Her research focuses on the mechanisms of mountain building and, especially, on the rock record of burial and exhumation cycles. She combines fieldwork, metamorphic petrology, and geochronology in order to decipher the complex evolution of subducted continental crust.

Invited by: Jan Pleuger




13:15, Lecture hall C.011

Dr. Scott D. King (Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech, USA)

Surprisingly Stable Mantle Plumes and Coronae Clustering on Venus 

Coronae are crown-like, tectono-volcanic features found on Venus. Coronae formation models invoke warm upwelling mantle diapers impinging on the base of the lithosphere. With >500 coronae it is difficult to imagine that each is linked to a unique mantle plume. In this talk, I will explore the connection between coronae, diapers, and mantle plumes. My hypothesis is that a plume anchored in the lower mantle will give rise to clusters of upper mantle diapers. The clusters I find resemble a pattern of stable plumes (surprisingly stable plumes) that are found in geodynamic models. I will discuss the implications of stable plumes and coronae clusters for the evolution of Venus.

Vita: My research focuses on the interior evolution of the terrestrial planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. I use numerical models along with the global gravity and topography to test hypotheses regarding the formation and evolution of features on and within terrestrial planets. I obtained my PhD from Caltech in 1990 working on subduction zones. As a postdoc at Scripps Institution of Oceanography I inverted for mantle viscosity constrained by the geoid. Over the years, I’ve expanded my research to Mars, Mercury, and Venus. I’ve been a member of the Dawn at Ceres and InSight mission science teams and I’m currently a member of the VenSAR instrument team. VenSAR is the NASA contributed SAR for the upcoming ESA EnVision mission to Venus.

Invited by: Lena Noack




13:15, Lecture hall C.011

Dr. Christopher Hamann (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin)



13:15, Lecture hall C.011

Dr. Georg Feulner (PIK Potsdam)

From the young sun to present-day climate change

Abstract: TBD

Invited by: Lena Noack


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