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Institute of Geology involved in science promotion at schools

On October 31 and November 1, a pilot event of an educational project financed by the Czechoslovak Microscopic Society was organized by our colleague Eva Pecková. Within their „Journey from Microworld to Macroworld“, students of grades 3 and 8 of the Dolákova Basic School in Prague 8 analysed specimens from living and inanimate nature using their optical microscopes as well as images from the polarizing and electron microscopes of the Inst Geol. The event received high rating from the school management, and the whole project will be continued (for info see Osmička monthly or School webpage). Other educational activities at basic schools were performed within the project Strategy AV21 (Dynamic Planet Earth programme). Altogether 17 events were organized by our colleague Martina Kočová-Veselská in 2023. Being focused on geology and palaeontology, they were taken as a supplement to standard curricula.

Signum Excellentiae medal for Lukáš Krmíček

On the occasion of the November 17 anniversary of the events in 1939 and 1989, a ceremonial assembly of the academic community was held in the historic hall of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, BUT Brno, at which important personalities were honoured. Prof. RNDr. Lukáš Krmíček, Ph.D. was awarded the Signum Excellentiae ("sign of excellence") silver medal for his outstanding achievements in publishing scientific articles, research in the field of geosciences, and for pedagogical and science-promotion activities. Lukáš Krmíček is engaged in comprehensive research in the field of volcanology and geochemistry of igneous rocks at Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences. In the current issue of Vesmír magazine, he published an article dedicated to the Litli-Hrútur volcano, which arose on the Icelandic peninsula of Reykjanes in July 2023.

Study of continental red beds in Utah

On the Colorado Plateau, thick sequences of sediments can be observed in deep canyons or various rock formations. Well known are the rocky sceneries of national parks such as the Grand Canyon, Canyonlands and Arches. Some rocks show a striking red coloration. A few days ago, a team of geologists of the Faculty of Science, Palacký University Olomouc and the Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences returned from Utah. They studied Permian to Jurassic sediments around Moab with the aim to characterize the conditions under which the red coloration of these rocks is formed.

Institute of Geology contributes to the study of Mars

The scientific community takes it as a viable working hypothesis that hot ocean-floor springs on Mars represented a source of energy for a group of chemotrophic bacteria, such as those found in terrestrial conditions. Nevertheless, the evolution of possible life on Mars did not reach beyond the level of microbial communities of stromatolite type. It is presumed that sediments with microbial remains were deeply buried and altered by high temperatures and pressures in a similar way as phytoplankton which gave origin to oil deposits on Earth. The new study in the International Journal of Astrobiology, which was contributed by Václav Cílek of the Institute of Geology, considered Mars surface in view of Mars gravity data in order to determine areas with possible occurrences of organic remains in rocks. The purpose of this research is to point to potentially significant sites to be studied by future Martian missions.

Larvae of ancient arthropods lived similarly to their adults

An international team of paleontologists led by Lukáš Laibl of the Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Allison C. Daley of the University of Lausanne studied tiny, 480 million years old, arthropod larvae. They scanned these fossils using a powerful X-ray scanner at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland to study them in detail. The results show that the development of these ancient arthropods was very simple, with no fundamental changes in the mode of life. Larvae and adults were living at the same place, feeding in a similar way. This contrasts with the development of most of today's arthropods whose larvae often live differently from the adults. Early arthropods likely had a simple type of development, while more complex life cycles evolved independently later in this animal group.

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.

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