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Study of fossil turtles supported

Our colleague Milan Chroust received a grant project within the prestigious Polonez Bis programme. Starting from June 2023, he will be working as a postdoc fellow at the Institute of Paleobiology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw for two years, dealing with the study of fossil turtles.

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.

Centennial of the Czech Geological Society

On 7 March 2023, a lecture day commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Czech Geological Society was held in the premises of the Czech Academy of Sciences at Národní St. in Prague 1. A total of nine lectures covering the history of the Earth in terms of stratigraphy were presented here. The Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences was represented by the talk on buried Quaternary soils by Lenka Lisá and the talk on the Anthropocene issue by Václav Cílek.

Two new outputs of the Institute of Geology

Annual report on scientific activities of staff of the Institute of Geology has been published - Research Reports 2021.

And a new price list for laboratories of the Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences has been released. Click here.

Planktic trilobite larvae as a part of the trophic chain

Trilobite larvae played a crucial role in the Ordovician food chain. Lukáš Laibl (GLI CAS) with his colleagues from the University of Lausanne published a new study in which they showed that planktic larvae evolved in trilobites about 495 to 470 million years ago. These tiny stages then served as an intermediate link in the food chain for larger swimming organisms that could not directly feed on tiny planktic algae. The paper was published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. A press release was also issued by the Czech Academy of Sciences.

Science starts with discoveries

In December 2022, a paper on exceptional speleological discoveries in central China was published in the Geoheritage journal. These discoveries are credited to cavers of the Czech Speleological Society, naturally in collaboration with Chinese partners. The expeditions and the paper were contributed by Michal Filippi of the Institute of Geology. The paper is a descriptive one, reporting no classical “scientific data”.

Origin of cherts in the Bohemian Massif

Cherts are peculiar rocks that contain very high proportions of silica, deposited on the ocean floor from the Archean onwards. In the Bohemian Massif, cherts form characteristic rocky ridges, notably in the area of the Křivoklátsko Protected Landscape Area and in the southern part of the Brdy Mts. A new study, significantly contributed by scientists of the Institute of Geology, was published in the journal Geoscience Frontiers. It is a complex study of tens of localities with these rocks, revealing that chert formation was intimately associated with low-temperature hydrothermal activity. This was located directly on the ocean floor or on slopes of seamounts in late Proterozoic to early Cambrian times in response to a global change in silicon concentration in seawater.

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