22 June, 2008

Looking to the future

Amidst my preperation for monday's diploma exam I received a very fortunate email this week regarding my diploma mapping project (in Germany one must work a major mapping project and a thesis for a Diplom/Master degree). On thursday I got news from the friendly geo in the regional geological survey of Baden-Wurttemberg located in Freiburg regarding my bid for help in finding a theme. I already knew I would be doing my project there two or three weeks ago but the good news is that they now agreed to also co-finance my mapping work to make up for expenses in housing, fuel, etc. It's a great relief not to be plunged into a too big financial black hole. A hole with a visible buttom is much better.

I will be doing a geological mapping of mainly Jurassic and Triassic sedimentary rocks. These are high purity limestones. The main target will be the so called Hauptrogenstein - an oolitic limestone. There are still formalities to be settled, therefore I do not know the exact mapping location, yet. Nevertheless it will be around 25km south of the city of Freiberg in the Upper Rhine Valley ranging roughly from the Rhine river to the main fault in contact with the Black Forrest. There is a univers of literature about the region so it was no problem to find the bellow geological overview of the area.

The red circle that I included roughly encircles my approximate mapping area. As things are going I will start mapping in november due to dense vegetation cover and active agriculture. This is around 30km south of the Kaiserstuhl volcanoe and carbonatite deposit and also very close to a few old and famous mining districts in the Black Forrest. As you can recognise on the map I will be mapping right in a major rift setting that still today is one of the most earthquake active regions of Germany (nothing in comparison to US Pacific coast though). I'm expecting quite a bit of tectonics in my area which is a good reason to catch-up on my structural geology.

Google Earth is such a neat tool to take a quick look at the place:

I hope I have time and chance to do a few good post about the Upper Rhine Graben after I am back from vacation.

21 June, 2008

Rocks in the City

Following up on my contribution to the last Accretionary Wedge I would like to point out the website called "Steine in der Stadt" - German for "Rocks in the City". The website is run and maintained by the two lecturers who walked us through Berlin last weekend. Even to those of you not able of German it might be a great source. Sparing you the ordeal of having to nagivate a German site I send you directly to Bibliography featuring literature about Rocks in Cities for America. Sources here all in English. For all those able of some German - you should try to explore this site. You can download abstracts, excursion guides and conference booklets from the last 3 years all dealing with dimension stones in cities. Very informative perhaps also to those who cannot afford big field trips. Explore your town with a guide and you are likely to find all kinds of rocks from all ages and types close-by.

Also please excuse my recent low activity. I am busy with another diploma exam that I will take on monday. After that I'll be be off for vacations till the middle of July

18 June, 2008

Accretionary Wedge #10 - Summary

John has posted a great summary of the Accretionary Wedge #10 with a large variety of contributions ranging from A to Z. It's definitly worth checking it out!

14 June, 2008

Accretionary Wedge #10 - Geology in Art

John from Geological Musings in the Taconic Mountains is calling for our contributions to Geology in Art, the 10th Accretionary Wedge Carnival. I must admit I am not well versed in the arts and finding a good topic was rather hard but taking two long walks across Berlin I came across so many different kinds of rocks that the really hard choice was to make a selection because one could easily fill book volumes with it. So here we have my walk around Berlin, mostly in in the district of Mitte and close to Kreuzberg where I live. I will throw in a few bits and pieces of modern history, as well.

My usuall walk through town oftens brings me to Checkpoint Charlie, the former hot spot of the Cold War and symbol of the devision of Berlin, and the world. So a few days ago I was leaving the American Sector...

...which always gives me a bit of a chill dispite the hords of tourists that are flooding the place every day. Sadly enough only concrete here.

Starting from Checkpoint Charlie the first great square that you need to visit is Gendarmenmarkt. Two cathedrals are at the sides and the opera inbetween making it a wonderful place. Here is a view north towards the French Cathedral. Construction material for both sculpturing and building is sandstone from various locations within Germany.

The blue tents are from the celebration of the birthday of the state of Israel. Notice the white statue in the centre? Let us have a closer look.

A statue of the German poet and dramatist Schiller constructed around 1980. Pure white and shining Carrara marble will blind your eyes on bright days supporting the noble statue. The base of the statue if also marble.

However, as you can see, definitly not from Carrara! This is Gris Siboney - marble from Cuba! A tribute to good relations between the former German Democratic Republic and the socialist brother nation of Cuba.

Moving fast forward to today. Today I had the excellent opportunity to meet with EffJot from the same named Geoblog! Together with a view students of his University we had a short but informativ field trip in Berlin - Dimension stones and their use! There is a plethora of variaty in dimension stones used in the centre of Berlin. Almost 350 different kinds of rock can be found in building, pavement and art from all over the world and all geologic ages.

Isn't this a wonderful piece of great art? Purest white marble used in a statue at the German National Gallery. The inside floor was a wonderful color play of limestones and marble, too. Unfortunately I took no fotos.

Just outside though we can observe well preserved and maintaned Cretacous Elbesandstein (sandstone) from Saxony. It is soft enough to be transformed by able hands into wonderful art, as well. Below you can observ another great piece of sandstone architecture. The Berlin Cathedral! There are several dozen (48 I think) different kinds of rock used in this building from sedimentary and magmatic and metamorphic origin.

Last but not least a jump back to modern history preserved in an old piece of art. The huge granite bowl of the pleasure garden in front of the Old Museum on the Museum Island right opposite the Berlin Cathedral.

The bowl was made in 1830 by Christian Gottlieb Cantian by order of the Prussian king from a single, large reddish granite bolder with lots of K-feldspar exhibiting large crystal with twining. It is the largest bowl manufactured from a single piece of rock. Looking closely we can find the traces of World War 2 engraved for eternity into this bowl.

I used circles to point out the most prominent bullet holes from the Battle of Berlin. As a matter of fact one can find bullet holes from that battle all over Berlin on historic buildings.

Battle damages have been left in place as monuments against war and to remind everyone who walks by.

Hope you enjoyed my short Berlin Geology in Art tour.

09 June, 2008

Geoblogging going strong

Chris from Highly Allochtonous posted a list of all the Geoblogs on his AllGeo feed. It is 45 Geoblogs! Wow! I indeed discovered four Geo-related blogs I did not know about, yet. Namely: Dave's landslide blog, Geomorphic Hazards, Head in a Cloud and the Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week.

If you are new to the Geoblogosphere you better check out Chris list and you will get a very thorough first impression!

06 June, 2008

Weekend Field Foto - Ferry to Hiddensee

Time for another weekend field foto! Here is a foto I took on my first big field trip with university after my 2nd semester (I skipped the 1st semester and started right in the 2nd, that is why it was my first field trip). At 5:30AM or maybe 6:00AM we had to take the ferry from the German island of RĂ¼gen to the island of Hiddensee. The field trip was about coastal environments of the Northern and Baltic Sea. Within 12 days we drove from Usedom in the very east to Heligoland in the very west. Being my first it was quite stressful especially because I am a real night-owl and hate getting up early. On the other hand I could keep working way into midnight without a problem.

You can see the small town we departed from. Church in center and the German flag of the ferry boat waving gently in the warm morning wind.

03 June, 2008

Where on Google Earth # 130

EffJot's WoGE#129 was easy to find and thus WoGE#130 is back on my Blog! Originally I wanted to chose another location, however, the copyright note on the image was giving away the exact location. This region is similiar enough and a similiar process is happening here but in a different part of the world. What I want from you is the exact location and a good educated guess on what's going on here. The location is well described in the literature.

I decided to invoke the Schott Rule again. Meaning previous winners must wait 1 hour for every previous win before posting the solution. Good luck!

Posting time was 5:11 PM Central European Time.

P.S. EffJot's commentaries do not show my comment and link to this WoGE. Please excuse the inconvenience.

02 June, 2008


Finally I passed my absolutely last class exam!!! I even dreamt about Gastropods tonight and snails like Natica and Nassarius were chasing me in my dream! Thankfully it is behind me! Basicly I saved the worst exam for last. I did not do much in the last week besides studying. To finalise my series about the Gastropoda I will just show you some pretty pictures I took in the collection while studying.

Calliostoma sp.

Potamides sp.

Aporrhais sp.

Murex sp.

That leaves to do:
  • another two verbal diploma exams - next one in July maybe...
  • one diploma mapping project - starting in October maybe...
  • one thesis - big questionmark. I still do not have a replacement topic.
Hmm...could be worse. :-)