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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.

A unique occurrence of fossil animals

A press release on new find of fossils in Morocco and the related paper in the Scientific Reports journal was published on the web of the Academy of Sciences on 16 December 2022. The study was contributed by Lukáš Laibl of the Institute of Geology. These fossil finds are exceptional in the presence of various species of shrimp-like animals, which have not been encountered at similar sites elsewhere. Some of them could have attained a length of 2 metres. The researchers also expect totally new species to be identified among the collected specimens.

Documentation of a unique site in Wales

More than a century ago, English geologist Edward Greenly described a specific sequence of rocks on the island of Anglesey in Wales, which he called "Mélange" after the French word for a mixture. Mélange is formed in the so-called accretionary wedges – that is, where lithospheric plates slide one beneath another (subduction zones). A team of geologists of the Faculty of Science, Charles University and the Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences visited the site this year for sampling and subsequent analysis.

New Icelandic volcano of Meradalir

On Wednesday, August 3, 2022, the news of the start of a new volcanic eruption in the Meradalir area on the Icelandic Reykjanes Peninsula spread around the world. This happened less than a year after the end of the eruption of the neighbouring Fagradalsfjall volcano. After almost 800 years of volcanic inactivity on this peninsula, we are probably at the beginning of a new cycle of volcanic activity, which will most likely continue in the geologically near future. An international team of experts in volcanism is participating in the research of the new Meradalir volcano, a member of which is also a researcher at the Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences – Lukáš Krmíček.

Conference on Rock Magnetism and Student Award

Five scientists of the Department of Paleomagnetism of the Institute of Geology participated in the conference “17th Castle Meeting – New Trends on Paleo, Rock and Environmental Magnetism” at Trakošćan, Croatia, at the break of August and September. The conference was aimed at rock paleomagnetism, magnetostratigraphy, environmental magnetism, archaeomagnetism and related topics. Conference abstracts are available here, including 9 contributions (4 lectures and 5 posters) authored or co-authored by Institute staff. At this occasion, Šimon Kdýr was awarded the ‘Certificate of Excellence’ for an excellent student presentation. New collaboration was started with University of Chieti – Pescara and the Alpine Laboratory of Paleomagnetism, Pevergno, Italy with the aim to extend research of the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary.

Collision with an asteroid successfully completed

At 1:14 AM CEST today (27 September 2022), American spacecraft Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) conducted the first successful planetary defense test in the history: it impacted asteroid Dimorphos (Greek for “two forms”), which orbits a larger asteroid Didymos (Greek for “twin”). Transfer of kinetic energy by an impact (i.e., collision-induced alteration of the asteroid trajectory) is one of the possible mechanisms of planetary defense. The unique experiment was contributed by Czech scientists and technical engineers of the Astronomical Institute Czech Acad Sci, Brno University of Technology and also by Tomáš Kohout of the Institute of Geology Czech Acad Sci. Further details are available, for instance, from the press releases of the Czech Academy of Sciences and NASA.

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