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A new type of gold mineralization discovered in the Bohemian Massif

Gold deposits of economic importance can be found in the Bohemian Massif (e.g., Mokrsko or Kašperské Hory). These well known occurrences are intimately associated with magmatic/hydrothermal processes during the Variscan orogeny (at ca. 340 Ma). A new study co-authored by Institute scientists Lukáš Ackerman and Martin Svojtka describes a completely new type of gold mineralization found in shales of Neoproterozoic age (ca. 570 Ma). Structural position of quartz veinlets that host gold mineralization together with the chemistry of the associated sulphides link this type of gold mineralization with high heat flow in response to continental rifting during the Ordovician (c. 470 Ma). The discovery is not of economic significance but represents a new genetic model for this type of gold mineralization in the Bohemian Massif. For additional information, see Mineralium Deposita journal.

Iceland's most recent volcano explored by Lukáš Krmíček

The newly formed volcano of Litli-Hrútur (Little Ram), which was born on the Reykjanes Peninsula in July, was investigated by Professor Lukáš Krmíček, who is a member of an international volcanology team. The team of experts from Europe and the USA was given permission to stay in the immediate vicinity of the eruption. The situation at the site was complicated by extreme air pollution the first days of the volcano's existence, caused by a combination of volcanic gases and local vegetation fires. This was later compounded by random explosions of pockets of methane and hydrogen. Nevertheless, it was possible to take samples of tephra and lava, the study of which will provide valuable information about the interior of our planet.

World-oldest find of the Rafetus turtle

Softshell turtles have been known from NW Bohemia for more than 100 years, however, their taxonomy was as yet a mystery. Milan Chroust with his colleagues published a new study, in which fossil material from Břešťany could be attributed, owing to modern computed tomography, to Rafetus bohemicus species. Also, new important morphological details could be identified. This is the oldest fossil record of this genus in the world. The paper has been published in PeerJ journal.

Czechoslovak Microscopic Society award to Šárka Křížová

The award for best PhD Thesis with significant contribution of microscopic techniques for the year 2022 was granted by the Czechoslovak Microscopic Society (CSMS) to Šárka Křížová for her thesis titled 'Chemical and physical properties of impact glasses. The award was announced at the annual “Microscopy 2023” conference in Olomouc.

Lukáš Laibl received a special award from the Živa magazine

Lukáš Laibl of the Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences received a special award from the Živa magazine for his popularization of biological sciences via an article series titled Unique Windows to the Paleozoic. The series presented selected Paleozoic sites displaying exceptional preservation of fossils. The first part of the series is available here. Detailed information about the award can be accessed here.

Study of fossil turtles supported

Milan Chroust received a prestigious Polonez Bis grant project co-funded by the National Science Centre and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement. The name of the project is “Turtles from Czechia and Poland: An overview of their common evolution in central Europe from the Triassic to the Recent”. Previously published and new fossil turtle material from Poland and Czechia will be revised, and the Mesozoic to Cenozoic evolution of turtles will be assessed in the context of environmental changes. As of 1 June, Milan Chroust starts a two-yearsʼ postdoc stay at the Institute of Paleobiology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. ©CC-BY

Speleological discoveries contributed by the Institute of Geology

A few days ago, members of the Czech-Polish speleological expedition returned from China (Xiaonanhai area near Hanzhong in Shaanxi Province). The expedition was organized by the Czech Speleological Society and the Institute of Geology of the CAS. The speleologists continued in the survey and documentation of karst phenomena they have been discovering since 2016. In total, about 4 km of new cave spaces were discovered using rope techniques and boats, including large underground halls. Several new sedimentary phenomena have been noted as a part of the documentation and will be the subject of further research.

Cadmium isotopic fractionation in mushrooms

Cadmium is a toxic metal occurring in 8 isotopes in nature. However, the ratios of these isotopes may vary slightly among individual environmental compartments. This is caused by a phenomenon called isotope fractionation, where one environmental compartment is enriched in a heavier or lighter isotope at the expense of another. This can be exemplified by the uptake of cadmium by plants whose leaves are often isotopically lighter than their cadmium source in the soil. A new paper published in the journal Science of the Total Environment investigated the isotopic composition of Cd in mushrooms and topsoils in western Bohemia. Compared to soils, many mushroom species show a distinctly lighter Cd isotopic composition and, as suggested by data, such isotope fractionation may depend on specific mushroom species.

An award for Václav Santolík

A set of prestigious Werner von Siemens Awards were announced in the Bethlehem Chapel of the Pragueʼs Old Town on 22 March 2023. Václav Santolík, a Ph.D. student employed with the Institute of Geology, received the Honorary Prize of the Evaluation Board for scientific excellence of his MSc Thesis titled Petrogenesis and evolution of the Davle Volcanic Complex, supervised by Assoc. Prof. Lukáš Ackerman. For details see here.

Do forest fires do any damage to sandstone cliffs?

This is the topic studied by geologists within the partial project Changes of the Earth surface, which is a part of the research programme Dynamic planet Earth (Strategy AV21). The forest fire in the Bohemian-Saxonian Switzerland (northern Bohemia) of summer 2022 was the most extensive one in the modern history of the Czech Republic. What was the impact of this event on sandstone cliffs? This is being studied by scientists of the Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences. To date, photographic documentation was taken and a few tens of rock samples were acquired. Other works will be dome in the coming weeks, after the temperatures rise permanently above the freezing point. The study, involving both instrumental analytical and microscopic methods, will assess the effect of the fire itself but also the subsequent effects of the winter season when water freezes in the joints and pores of cliff faces and free-lying blocks. See also information at AV21 website.

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