Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Physics of Environmental Archives



Here you can find a few impressions of our work, the laboratories and our off work activities as a team. We also provide images from running field work in case we are at sea or or in continental places.

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Field Trip to Puerto Rico (Larga Cave) 2019

In March 2019 Sophie Warken and Rolf Vieten (Hebrew University Israel) took three students to Puerto Rico to take up scientific work on the Hurrican imprint on the geochemical and isotopic composition of cave drip water and speleothem carbonate. During the field trip numerous carbonate deposits have been investigated, drip water collected, and the cave was further explored for its scientific value.

This project was funded by the University Heidelberg to initiate a work program leading to a scientific proposal.


Research Cruise M151

From the 6. October to the 31. October 2018 the RV Meteor explored the slopes of the Azores and its southwestern seamounts, including Great Meteor Seamount, as part of the ATHENA research project. A scientific team composed of marine biologists, geologists, and environmental physicists were on board to collect seawater, sediment and fossil cold-water corals ultimately to reconstruct past thermocline water and ecosystem dynamics. weekly reports .

The ATHENA - cruise spent four exciting weeks to collect water, sediment and cold-water corals of the thermocline east Atlantic Ocean.


Research Cruise M141-2

From the 5. October to the 19. October the RV Meteor transits from the Azores to the Black Sea through the Mediterranean Sea. We, Evan, Norbert, Marleen and Patrick join the cruise to collect seawater that would allow high precision measurements of geochemical constituents, in particular the natural isotopic composition of U. It has been proposed that the natural 234U/238U ratio may serve as a tracer of continental weathering. We intent to collect water in a few places study the difference between Atlantic and Mediterranean seawater. Hopefully, this will allow to obtain a new fingprint of Mediterranean continental weathering. A second part of our scientific program concerns the measurement of the solar attenuation including the effect of water vapor. This part will be conducted by a colleague from the NASA's AERONET group. Find more information about the solar attenuation measurements on the webside of the maritime aerosol network.

The UFO - cruise spent two exciting weeks to collect water for U isotope studies of the Mediterranean Sea deep water. We sailed roughly 3000 nautical miles and collected water to a depth of 3500m in 7 Stations. There where numerous highlights both scientifically as well as touristically. Many thanks to the Captain Detlef Korte and his excellent team. We are eager to come back in October 2018. Find our preliminary short cruise report here


The Labs and instruments

We make use of numerous techniques to study, describe, store and document the material we work with. Our repository contains corals and speleothems from all around the world. Once prepared we use mass spectrometric instruments, such as thermal ionization mass spectrometry and laser-ablation coupled to multi-collector inductively coupled plasma source mass spectrometry (short: LA-MC-ICPMS) or high sensitivity inductively coupled plasma source quadrupole mass spectrometry to measure element and isotope composition of our samples. Look up the service section for the analysis we can provide through scientific cooperation and if you want to learn more see the publications or get in touch .


Images from research cruises and field trips

The team participates in field work to collect samples from all around the world. The photos are snapshots providing a glance on what it is like to be on sea or to take part in a search for new speleothems, calcareous tufa, sediments, rocks etc. The remotely operate vehicle (ROV) Victor 6000 belongs to the marine research infra-structure IFREMER and all rights on using those photos belong to IRFREMER and the cruise chief scientist. Other equipments are sediment traps, long gravtiy or box cores and the new ROV - Squid from Marum. Finally, water is collected using conventional CTD (Conductivity=salt; temperature; and depth) - Rosette with 24 Niskin bottles of 10 litres each.


Team events ...

We celebrate celebrate our scientific success and invest in a strong team through group events. 2016 we have visited the waterfalls of Bad Urach . In 2015 we have spent a few days on scientific writing funded by the Wilhelm und Else Heraeus-Foundation for which we stayed at the KLJB Bildungshaus Fiegenstall . The year before we went caneoing on the Elsenz and bowling . and sometimes we just celebrate remarkable events such as the 40 years of environmental physics.


Movies ...

Here we propose a selection of movies that cover aspects of our work or the scientific field.


responsible: E-Mail Last Changes: 09.05.2018


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