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A documentary on rock arches

In the first week of this year, the Czech Television presented a documentary called “Arches”, dealing with sandstone weathering and the origin of sandstone arches. Both the documentary and the preceding research were contributed by scientists of the Institute of Geology: Michal Filippi, Radek Mikuláš and Jiří Adamovič. For more, click here.

A new database of rockfall phenomena in Czech sandstones

Sandstones are porous rocks extremely sensitive to temperature and humidity changes. Climatic extremes of the last decades therefore induce accelerated destruction of sandstone outcrops in the whole Bohemian Cretaceous Basin. These events have not been registered yet. Now, a database of rockfall events, both recent and fossil, has been established with the support of the Geohazards Programme within Strategy AV21. Descriptions of individual objects are accompanied by photos taken at different times after – and before – the event. The database is fully open to contributions from professional and lay public. Annotation of the Kokořínsko – Máchův kraj  PLA in 2016 and Bohemian Paradise PLA in 2017 will be followed by other sandstone areas. To enter the application, click HERE.
Registration of users: Mgr. Jiří Adamovič, CSc., adamovicatgli [dot] cas [dot] cz

An endemic ichnoassemblage from Tertiary paleolake in SE Iceland

In Þórisdalur valley in southeastern Iceland, a small relict of unique sedimentary body was identified. It probably represents a remnant of a deep, tectonically arranged paleolake (Late Miocene, 8–9 Ma), filled with volcaniclastic material from the nearby active volcanic centers. Trace fossils of the newly described endemic ichnoassemblage (e.g., Thorichnus ramosus igen. et isp. nov., T. corniculatus igen. et isp. nov., Mammillichnis jakubi isp. nov., Vatnaspor jachymi igen. et isp. nov.) were identified in the sedimentary section. The results of the study, actively participated by Assoc. Prof. RNDr. Lukáš Krmíček, Ph.D. of the Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, are currently published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

Conspicuous Research of the Tunguska Explosion

X-ray scans over wood disks collected in the Tunguska region in 2008 partly unveiled the mystery of the Tunguska explosion. Several trees survived the event. While the trees contain a record of this event in the form of anomalous Ca concentration (and other elements), the size of the Ca anomaly also shows the direction towards the explosion epicenter. Figure: Four identical images of the larch anual rings, each showing the direction towards the TE epicenter (arrow in the compass rose). Graphical inset on top of each image shows the relative concentration of Ca across the wood section along a transect shown by the bottom edge of each inset. The x-axis distance scale on the Ca graphs has a 2-mm grid spacing, and the y-axis is the relative concentration of Ca. (A) North-south transect; black arrows show the extent of fire damage along the 1908 tree ring. (B) East-west transect; (C) Northwest-southeast transect; (D) Southwest-northeast transect.
Research results were published (Kletetschka et al. 2017: Survival Response of Larix Sibirica to the Tunguska Explosion) in the Tree-Ring Research journal.

An exhibition to the Photogenic Science photo competition

Much like in the years before, staff members of the Institute of Geology, Czech Academy of Sciences, participated in the Photogenic Science photo competition with their best shots. Some of them were chosen for the shortlist, and finally one photo by Michal Filippi and two photos by Pavel Lisý were nominated. One of the two photos, titled "Nobody was at home" ended up second in the "Scientists in photography" category.

Open Days 2017

Open Days 2017 were held on the 3rd, 9th and 10th  November 2017 in the Institute of Geology. The visitors, about 80 in number, were dominated by children. Besides experiences, they took away some 150 copies of journals issued for a broad public by the Czech Academy of Sciences. See also Week of Science and Technology.

Three-dimensional reconstruction of a unique Devonian amphibian Ichthyostega

Professor Zbyněk Roček of the Institute of Geology CAS takes part in a three-dimensional reconstruction of a unique Devonian amphibian Ichthyostega, which is one of the earliest known terrestrial vertebrates living about 360 million years ago. The model is made by the Danish artist Esben Horn and his team from the 10 Tons Studio in Copenhagen. Under the permission of the 10 Tons Studio we are pleased to publish one of the first photos of the prepared reconstruction (see picture). Ichthyostega represents a key evolutionary stage in a transition of vertebrates between permanent water-dwellers and terrestrial tetrapods. The model will be installed in a permanent public exhibition in the National Museum in Prague after its main building becomes re-opened after its general reconstruction.

Installation of a new Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometer (TIMS)

The Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences  was granted financial support from the Czech Academy of Sciences for a Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometer (TIMS) Thermo Triton Plus. This instrument offers ultra-high precision isotopic measurement of selected elements (e.g., Sr, Nd, Os, U, Pb) providing an outstanding opportunity to several research topics in the field of rock and environmental geochemistry, palaeontology and paleoecology, but also archaeometry and anthropology. It is equipped with nine Faraday detectors, an electron multiplier, five 1013 Ω amplifiers and a RPQ system, and will be used for ultra-high precise U-Pb age determination by CA-ID-TIMS method and several projects dealing with Sr, Nd, Os, U, Pb and Mo isotope geochemistry. Several photographs from the installation procedure of the instrument can be found in the attached gallery.

The newly determined Ar/Ar ages for the youngest Czech surface volcano

Assoc. Prof. RNDr. Lukáš Krmíček, Ph.D. of the Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, v. v. i., together with his colleagues of the University of Potsdam (Universität Potsdam) presented new results of radioisotope dating of the Železná hůrka (Eisenbühl) volcano near Cheb at the Basalt 2017 conference. Based on the results of Ar/Ar step-heating of dark mica, the age of this volcano was shown to be "only" 400,000 years. Thus, the Železná hůrka represents the youngest Czech surface volcano. Volcanic activity in the vicinity of the Železná hůrka resulted in the formation of subsurface explosive maar-diatreme volcanic structures about 100 to 200 thousand years later. As yet, the "echoes" of volcanic activity in the Cheb area (similarly to the Yellowstone National Park in the USA) can be registered in the form of CO2 emanations accompanied by frequent earthquake swarms.

Participation in an archaeological expedition to southern Uzbekistan

The international expedition to southern Uzbekistan returns home. It was attended by specialists from the Institute of Geology and Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences together with archaeologists from University of Brisbane, Charles University and University in Temez. They worked in the Kaptar Kamar Cave in the foothills of the Kugitang and confirmed the presence of an Early Iron Age (Yaz I) settlement in the cave and probably the first find of site-specific Neolithic pottery. The sedimentary archive of the Kaptar Kamar Cave provided valuable information about the Holocene climate in Central Asia. Preliminary fieldwork report. Photogalery.

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