About & Research

This blog started when I was a student at the Free University of Berlin as a mean to share my passion for the geosciences with like-minded people. The blog re-started in 2015 when I decided to pick it up again as an outlet from finishing my doctoral thesis. It is not an official account of my university or any other institution.

Blog Name: As a student, it took long to understand the multitudes of geological knowledge. I frequently felt lost. Gladly, that changed drastically and I found a great "home" in and developed a life-long passion for geology!

Currently, I am a doctoral student at the Chair of Engineering Geology, Technische Universität München, Germany. This is my final year and Iooking forward to my defense in spring 2016. My doctoral research aims at elucidating the genesis of calcium, magnesium and sodium bentonite deposits in marine and terrestrial depositional environments. Authigenic soil and groundwater dolomites, the role of pedogenesis, and Ca & Mg cation provenance in Mid-Miocene bentonites of the North Alpine Foreland Basin are my main focus area. My work is complemented by boron isotope geochemistry of smectites from bentonite deposits in the United States, Argentina, Spain, Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Georgia and Armenia. I use boron to unravel the chemical composition and salinity of fluids during smectitization, and to explain the differences in calcium, magnesium and sodium bentonite formation. In Munich I supervised 1st and 2nd semester students in introductionary geology classes, and introduced them to geological maps and profiles. Also, I co-supervised field trips to Quaternary sediments and to Cenozoic Molasse Basin sediments, both in Southern Bavaria, Germany. Three Bachelor students and their Bachelor thesis projects were supervisor/co-supervisor by me.

Before embarking on my doctoral studies I have been at the Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg and the Free University of Berlin. I graduated from the Free University of Berlin with a Diplom degree in geology/palaeontology (the old German equivalent of a Master). My diploma thesis was about the microfacies, diagenesis, geochemistry and raw material properties of oolithic, shallow marine Jurassic carbonate rocks.

Main Expertise: 
  • Field geology, clay minerals, carbonate sedimentology, industrial minerals, and isotope geochemistry.

Research aims: 
  • Paleo-salinity and fluid composition for Na, Ca and Mg bentonite formation. 
  • Genesis and raw material properties of Bavarian bentonite, Southern Germany. 
  • Li-clay (hectorite) deposit formation, Li sources, and alteration mechanisms. 
  • Terrestrial dolomite formation in paleosols & the role of carbonates in clay genesis.
  • Industrial minerals geology/mineralogy. 
  • Whole-rock and clay mineral composition in Permian salt deposits [together with Dr. C. Leitner]

Diplomarbeit (Master thesis) and Diplomkartierung (Master mapping project):
  • Mikrofazies, Diagenese und Geochemie des Hauptrogensteins aus dem Pfirter Jura - (Microfacies, diagenesis and geochemistry of the "Hauptrogenstein" from the region of Ferrette, France).
  • Kartierung, Dokumentation und rohstoffgeologische Betrachtungen zum Braunen Jura und Hauptrogenstein im Markgräflerland - (Mapping, documentation and raw material aspects of the Brown Jurassic and Hauptrogenstein of the Margraves' Land).

I have been lucky to be recognized by the several awards:
  • Best Student Oral Presentation, EuroClay 2015, Edinburgh, UK.
  • Blair F. Jones/Jane M. Flinn Travel Award 2015, Clay Minerals Society.
  • Robert C. Reynolds, Jr. Research Award 2014, Clay Minerals Society.
  • Clay Minerals Society Student Research Grant 2014, Clay Minerals Society.
  • SEGF Graduate Student Fellowship Award 2012, Society of Economic Geologists.
  • 2nd place Student Oral Competition, 6th Mid-European Clay Conference 2012, Pruhonice, Czech Republic

Several field and analytical techniques define my work, and I have several years of experiences in:
  • Hands-on fieldwork, sampling, and geological mapping of Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Tertiary volcanic and sedimentary terrains of Central Europe (especially Germany & France), Peru (Coastal plains and Andes) and the United States (Arizona).
  • Clay mineral and clay deposit formation, especially bentonites.
  • Dolomite and calcite rocks and their genesis.
  • X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD) and Rietveld refinement with BGMNwin.
  • X-ray fluorescence (p-XRF) using a handheld ED-XRF Bruker Tracer III-SD and Artax software
  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
  • Prompt gamma neutron activation analysis (PGAA) at the research neutron source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II), Garching, germany.
  • Polarization microscopy
  • Stable and radiogenic isotopes (C, O, B, Sr)

You can also find me at these sites:

ResearchGate: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mathias_Koester
LinkedIn: http://de.linkedin.com/in/mathiashkoester