Research Field 'Structure and Genesis'

Rhine Graben (after Rotstein et al., 2006). Sediment Basins, as for example the Heidelberg Basin, are related to strong negative anomalies. These are caused by the low densities of the thick sediment successions. Right: Currently, the Heidelberg Basin is investigated by three research drillings.

A detailed understanding of the structure and the spatial-temporal evolution of sediment successions is - among other aspects - relevant for the evaluation of their potential for natural resources, their suitability as climate and environmental archives, or its potential for natural hazards. In addition, internal sediment structures yield information about the tectonic evolution of a region. Only by an optimized combination of geophysical methods a consistent picture of the 3D-structure of the sedimentary units can be provided, what is a precondition for further studies regarding their geological evolution.

This subtopic ‘structure & genesis’ contributes primarily to the solution of important questions of Quaternary stratigraphy that is characterized by large spatial variations in Central Europe and examines the stratigraphic position of a sedimentary unit in the context of the overall sediment system. In particular aspects of the temporal development of the sediment system are studied, like e.g. inferring processes, which provide accommodation space. The scientific work is mainly based on methodical approaches that shed light on the above mentioned research topics by combining information from core drillings with surface geophysical surveys. Only this combination allows the investigations of different stratigraphic units that were deposited over long times in superposition.