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Progress in the study of cadmium

Cadmium (Cd) is a toxic metal widely occurring in the environment, often due to the human activity. The employees of the Institute of Geology of the Czech Acad Sci have developed a method for measuring Cd isotopes in biological samples using thermal ionization mass spectroscopy (TIMS). The results published in the prestigious analytical journal Talanta represent a useful tool in the quality control of chemical analyses for all laboratories involved in the analysis of cadmium in biogenic materials. Find out more here or in the original publication.

The oldest trilobites had babies with large heads and long spines

Trilobites are the most iconic inhabitants of the Paleozoic seas. These arthropods possess an exoskeleton that was hardened by calcium carbonate shortly after they hatched from the egg. Owing to this fact, their developmental stages are often preserved in the fossil record. In their new paper, Lukáš Laibl with his colleagues from Freie Universität Berlin described the development of trilobite Fritzolenellus lapworthi from Cambrian strata of Newfoundland, from tiny individuals smaller than one millimeter up to the nearly 20 cm long adults. Juveniles of Fritzolenellus show a large cephalon and distinct spines on their body. Based on a detailed comparison of Fritzolenellus babies with those of other Cambrian trilobites, the authors showed that features seen in Fritzolenellus have the original morphology inherited from the last common ancestor and can be thus used as a reference group when studying the ontogeny of other trilobites. For additional information click here.

Promotion of geosciences: a new open-air rock exhibition

On the occasion of the International Day of Museums and Galleries, a new outdoor geological exposition "Selected Rocks of the Rakovník District" will be opened on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 from 4 pm near the Museum T.G.M. in Rakovník. A number of subjects participated in the preparation of the exhibition, including the Institute of Geology represented by Karel Žák and Jiří Adamovič. This exhibition is one of many examples of the outreach of scientists-geologists beyond the area of "hard science" in conveying their knowledge to the general public. Those interested can visit the exhibition free of charge during the museum's opening hours.

Institute in the Database of Transfer, Knowledge and Technology of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Institute of Geology has been involved (through several topics) in a recently established database, which aims at "connecting science with business". In other words, this database offers useful results, products and procedures, as well as research facilities, methodologies, analyses and other knowledge that people from commerce, research and education, as well as the general public, may wish to use.

Lesní potok catchment – presentation

Short 5 minute presentation including overview of Lesní potok catchment instrumentation and selected scientific achievements was given by Tomáš Navrátil in framework of “2021 Winter Cyberseminar Series: Research and Observatory Catchments: the Legacy and the Future” organized by CUAHSI (The Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc.). Follow this link to watch the Week 5 Section entitled “Low to no Snow Temperate Catchments”. The main purpose of this event was to bring the wide audience of catchment related research scientists familiar with location, instrumentation and/or results of others. The schedule and recordings of all presentations can be found here.

Introduction to the Institute

An informative brochure titled “INTRODUCTION to the Institute of Geology”, which provides comprehensive information about the Institute structure, equipment and activities, was updated and presented on our webpage. It is a good springboard for those who are seriously interested in scientific work in the field of geology and in events at the Institute of Geology. 

Book award

The book “Underground monuments of central Bohemia” by V. Cílek (Institute of Geology), M. Majer, L. Faltejsek and others, published by the Dokořán publisher in 2019, was awarded – after several postponements – the Egon Erwin Kisch Prize for non-fiction literature for the year 2020. The book describes underground spaces of various types in central Bohemia, concentrating on remains after ore, coal and limestone mining. The wide distribution of historical mines documents and explains the rapid, multi-level boom of central Bohemia. Many congratulations to the authors!

Mercury concentrations in the air and in forest crops

The January issue of Vesmír, the Czech popular science journal celebrating its 150 anniversary in 2021, published two papers authored by members of the Department of Environmental Geology and Geochemistry of the Institute of Geology. The first paper by Borovička, Roll and Nováková deals with the safety of collecting edible mushrooms and forest fruits at sites affected by historical mining of mercury-rich ores. The second paper by Navrátil and Rohovec brings news about the possibilities of using passive samplers to monitor mercury concentrations in the air.

Carboniferous eruption covered central and western Bohemia with up to 1 m thick ash layer

The famous Bělka tuff is an areally extensive pyroclastic layer preserved in the central and western Carboniferous late- to post-orogenic basins of central and western Bohemia. This tuff represents a unique stratigraphic marker documented from tens of boreholes and numerous black coal mines within a large area between the southern edge of the Pilsen Basin in western Bohemia and the eastern part of the Kladno-Rakovník Basin over a distance of 100 km. However, its volcanic source has been as yet enigmatic. In a new study by Tomek et al., published in International Geology Review, a multidisciplinary approach using the LA-ICP-MS U/Pb zircon dating, analysis of thickness and grain size distribution, and volume calculation suggested that the source volcano was the Altenberg–Teplice Caldera located at the Czech–German border in NW Bohemian Massif. In detail, this volcano underwent a major caldera-forming ignimbrite eruption with an estimated volcanic explosivity index 7 (out of 8) at 314 Ma. From the northern caldera margin, pyroclastic density currents travelled south over a distance of ca. 40 km towards the area of Oparno valley (Porta Bohemica). From here, northeasterly winds distributed the volcanic ash cloud towards the southwest, where the ash was deposited in the sedimentary basins. As indicated by an isopach reconstruction, the Regensburg area (Germany), for instance, was covered by a 10 cm thick ash layer that originated from the Altenberg–Teplice Caldera nearly 220 km away. For additional information click here.


The Journal of Petrology, published by Oxford University, has recently published an extensive study by Czech and German researchers summarizing the results of their study of late-Variscan mantle-derived magmatic activity in the Bohemian Massif. Based on a combined research of radiogenic and non-radiogenic isotopes, the development of the composition of the upper mantle beneath the Bohemian Massif was reconstructed for a time span of 65 million years. The study was coordinated by Lukáš Krmíček of the Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences and provides a recognition of a specific rock type described under a new term – lampyrite.

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