Geofyzikální ústav Akademie věd ČR, v.v.i.


Ulrich Harms - Natural Hazards

Natural Hazards: Scientific Drilling sheds new light on active faults, volcanoes and continental dynamics


Ulrich Harms


 GFZ Postdam



21. května 2015 od 16:00 v přednáškovém sále GFÚ na Spořilově


Drilling, sampling and observations at depth are critical to understand the complex System Earth despite great progress in deep geophysical sounding and modelling. The rocks and fluids of our ever-changing planet contain matter, heat, energy, and life and archive records of past developments. These treasurable relicts and biota need to be probed, monitored, collected and analysed to obtain novel data of earth sciences from natural hazards, climate change and earth resources to the origins and evolution of life. This requires improved international coordination effectively addressing the needs of our growing population for energy, sustenance, and quality of life.

The International Continental Scientific Drilling Program, ICDP addresses these questions in the terrestrial environments in close cooperation with partner programs. ICDP is an infrastructure for scientific drilling that facilitates outstanding science at globally important sites. ICDP brings together scientists and stakeholders from 24 nations to work together at the highest scientific and technical level. It is an efficient organization, run according to the philosophy "lean and mean" utilizing a small annual budget to create major third-party co-funding for its drilling projects.

The investigation of the physical and chemical conditions leading to natural hazards such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are a major contribution to the success of the ICDP. Through the groundbreaking coring project truncating the San Andreas Fault at depth several other major active fault zones including the Chelungpu Fault in Taiwan, the North Anatolian Fault in Turkey and the Alpine Fault of New Zealand were addressed by drilling and borehole observatories. Volcanoes are another thread to mankind that is high on the agenda of the ICDP. Subduction-induced volcanism in Unzen Volcano (Southern Japan), the Phlegraean Fields of Italy as well as plume-related volcanism on Iceland and Hawaii were studied to understand the evolution of volcanoes and their potential to generate disasters.