Terrestrial Sediment Systems

The aim of this topical research field is to gain extended knowledge about the structure, the genesis, and the age of continental sediment successions which are of Quaternary and Tertiary age. By often multidisciplinary approaches basic information are derived concerning the environmental and climatic conditions in the past. The Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics contributes with geophysical and geochronological methods.

The conservation of nature in the context of a sustainable development of the environment is of existential interest. Changes in the environment or more specifically climate changes control significantly the natural basis of mankind. A reliable characterization of these changes during the past is the key to an understanding of natural or anthropogenically induced climate changes in future. Therewith it is of high social and therefore also political relevance. With the concentration on continental sediment systems only, the focus is on that habitat which is most important but also most influenced by mankind. Local and regional investigations of continental structures are an indispensable complement to global and marine studies regarding a comprehensive understanding of environmental change.

For this topical research field a strong national and international network is established. Depending on the specific sediment system different geoscientifc research institutions, universities, and Geological Surveys are involved. Especially the research drillings define a crystallisation point for geosciences in Germany, sometimes even beyond national borders. 

Projects in this topical research field are currently related to two different fields of research:

This classification enables the investigation of most different sediment systems – thick and continues sequences, deposits with a high temporal resolution, and also sediments deposits related to abrupt environmental or climate changes. For our work the knowledge of the exact geochronological frame is mandatory. Limited outcrops of sediments require the application of geophysical methods to explore the structure, the genesis, and the age of continental sediment successions. The obtained data can define basic input for additional modelling approaches.

In addition, some information about already finished projects is still available.