Während der Tagung werden fünf Plenarvorträge gehalten, die einen weiten Bereich geophysikalischer Aspekte ansprechen. Wir präsentieren:

Prof. Katja Matthes

(contact by email)


Titel: Die Rolle des Ozeans im Klimawandel – Chancen und Risiken

Datum: Montag, 1.3.2021, 14:30 - 15:25


The ultimate goal I am pursuing with my research:

As a scientist, I have traced natural climate fluctuations to provide more reliable predictions about human-induced climate change. In my new role as the director of GEOMAR the goals have of course shifted: Now I try to ensure that GEOMAR scientists have optimal conditions for their research.


This is how my everyday life has changed since I left science:

My calendar has filled up a lot and the day-to-day business requires many decisions. At the same time, the current and very dynamic corona situation constantly requires prudent actions where I try to balance the welfare of our colleagues with the needs of science.


For society, GEOMAR's work is relevant because:

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges we are facing - and it is particularly taking place in the ocean. The ocean is getting warmer, more acidic, it is losing oxygen and the sea level is rising. But the ocean also acts as a buffer, absorbing about 20 to 30 percent of the current CO2 emissions. Thus, the ocean can help us to find solutions to mitigate climate change.




Prof. Aaron Micallef

(contact by email)


Titel: Offshore freshened groundwater: State of knowledge and future directions

Datum: Dienstag, 2.3.2021, 14:30 - 15:25



I am a marine geologist investigating global continental margins. I use seafloor surveying and quantitative techniques related to erosion and deposition by landslides, canyons and fluid flow processes. My areas of study include the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans


The ultimate goal I am pursuing with my research is to understand how landforms, particularly on the seafloor, can be quantified to extract information about process rates and past environmental change. Such information can be used to better assess geohazards and resources.

I believe that the most exciting discovery in my field recently was the realisation that offshore freshened groundwater systems are ubiquitous, extensive, and have complex geometries controlled by a wide range of geological factors.

In a work week, what I like doing most is writing scientific manuscripts and brain-storming with colleagues, either in my research group or abroad, to develop ideas for new projects.

For society, the part of my research that is mostly relevant relates to the exploration of offshore freshened groundwater resources and their potential use as a source of potable water in coastal regions. There are still many technical and economic uncertainties about the feasibility and sustainability of such a resource, and these are questions I would like to address in the near future.




Prof. Celine Hadziioannou

(contact by email)


Titel: Listening to ambient seismic noise: what can it tell us about the Earth?

Datum: Mittwoch, 3.3.2021, 10:40 - 11:40


As a seismologist, I analyze recordings of seismic waves. I focus on the ambient seismic noise, the seismic vibrations which surround us at all times.

The ultimate goal I am pursuing with my research is:

Understanding how seismic noise is generated by different processes, and figuring out ways to extract as much useful information as possible from said noise.

I believe the most exciting discovery in my field recently was:

Not so much a discovery, but rather a development: over the past decade or so, new sensors have emerged in seismology that allow us to capture the seismic wave field in unprecedented detail. I believe that this, in combination with the trend of using seismic waves to investigate environmental processes, will lead to many exciting discoveries!

In a work week I like most doing this:

Discussing research results with colleagues and students.

For society likely this part of my research is most relevant:

The fact that we can detect minute changes in material properties by looking at seismic waves that passed through it. By using seismic noise, we can continuously monitor such changes.

Since these changes could be associated with e.g. volcanic eruptions, the onset of landslides, or in general the weakening of materials, they can help us forecast natural hazards.




Prof. Juliet Biggs

(contact by email)


Titel: Satellite InSAR: from opportunistic science to routine monitoring

Datum: Donnerstag, 4.3.2021, 10:40 - 11:40



I use satellite measurements of ground deformation to understand the processes that cause earthquakes and eruptions, and am developing systems to incorporate these measurements into volcano monitoring and seismic hazard assessment.

The ultimate goal I am pursuing with my research is: improving resilience to earthquakes and eruptions through better understanding and monitoring of tectonics and magmatism.

I believe the most exciting discovery in my field recently was: too many to name! the complexity of faults and magmatic systems, the prevalence of aseismic deformation.

In a work week I like most doing this: working with my research group and pushing the frontiers of science.

d) For society likely this part of my research is most relevant: real-time volcano monitoring and seismic hazard assessments




Prof. Brandon Dugan

(contact by email)


Titel: Investigating Submarine Slope Failures with Geophysical Data, Scientific Drilling, Laboratory Experiments, and Numerical Modeling

Datum: Freitag, 5.3.2021, 14:00 - 14:45



My research couples theory, experiments, and models to understand the interactions of fluids and solids in Earth’s shallow crust. I apply this diverse mix of methods to study natural resources, natural hazards, and carbon storage.

The ultimate goal I am pursuing with my research is a process-based understanding of how fluid and rock interactions at the pore-scale affect local- and regional-scale fluid flow and sediment deformation. This allows us to better understand what controls active processes like submarine landslides, megathrust earthquakes, and coastal freshwater resources.

I believe the most exciting discovery in my field recently was the theoretical understanding of how three-dimensional sedimentation and consolidation patterns can produce overpressures that exceed the lithostatic stress. This revolutionized the way we think about shallow phenomena like submarine landslide initiation and shallow drilling hazards and deeper phenomena like breached seals and protected traps.

In a work week I like most working with my students and designing physical experiments. Seeing students explore their curiosity and grow as researchers always makes me feel good. And with my students, we have been building lots of small-scale physical experiments to see processes that are harder to capture in natural settings (e.g., particle segregation due to fluid flow, submarine landslide initiation and evolution). It’s fun to have some hands-on work that can recreate geological-scale problems.

For society my research is most relevant for understanding processes that affect freshwater resources and geohazards along coastlines. Coastal aquifers are becoming increasingly stressed and the more we know about coastal freshwater dynamics, the better we can manage the resource. On the geohazards side, we are striving to improve our foundational understanding of what conditions produce tsunami-generating submarine landslides. As we learn more, we can advance our hazard and risk assessments for coastal infrastructure and coastal populations.