Projects completed

Regarding the project: Eifel volcanism during the Weichselian Glaciation

Person in charge:
Phd Thomas Lange 

Due to its multitude of Maar volcanoes and cinder cones the Eifel is a morphologically exceptional region within Germany. In this project the focus is on the late quaternary Eifel volcanism around Gillenfeld and Strohn. Here the formation of the Wartgesberg Volcano Complex (WVC) almost 34 ka ago and the promotion of two lava flows provided a complete valley closure. The resulting genesis of glacial archives and the preservation of the land surface allow unique insights into the valley development of the Eifel during the last major ice age.

Figure 1: View into the almost completely mined WVC. Nearly 34 ka ago several eruption centers were formed at the eastern slope of Alf valley. The digested slags, agglutinates and lavas piled up to a barrier of up to 80 m height and led to the complete closure of the valley (photo © T. Lange 2016).


Project Transaqua - Hydrochemical and/or microbial impact on the transfer of radionuclides in groundwater

Person in charge:
M. Sc. Katja Burow

Radionuclides are released through water/rock interactions getting finally to drinking and surface water. Up to now, there is little known on the role of microbes in this process of release and transport. This subproject of the KVSF-network TransAqua focusses on the understanding of release, transport and immobilization of radionuclides in the system rock/water considering hydrochemical and microbial processes. Further information about this project can be obtained on the TransAqua website:

Prof. Dr. Georg Büchel (Friedrich Schiller University, Jena)
Prof. Dr. Erika Kothe (Friedrich Schiller University, Jena)

06/2013 – 11/2017


[Translate to Englisch:] Grundwassermessstelle Werra-Kali-Gebiet
[Translate to Englisch:] Kreuznacher Rhyolit
[Translate to Englisch:] Schwarzschiefer und Präzipitate Morassina

Fluxes and mechanisms of heavy metal uptake by plants from contaminated soil with special emphasis on rare earth elements

Project leadership: 
Dr. Dirk Merten, PD Wolf von Tümpling

Geosphere, Hydrosphere and Biosphere are closely connected to each other and interact in manifold ways, which are not yet fully understood. The quality and quantity of soil and soil water has a strong influence on the growth of plants and biodiversity as well as on the ecological balance of a landscape. Pollutants can be bound and stabilized in the soil substrate for many years, however can also be released from soil under changing environmental conditions such as decreasing pH or changing redox potential.

Some plant species are known as bioindicators and can give a first impression about environmental conditions of a chosen habitat without former analysis. Several examples for the hyperaccumulation of one ore more elements in different plant species (e.g. fern species) are described in the literature. Other investigations have shown that some other species can accept high concentration of contaminants in the soil without accumulation. Excluder plants are used for phytostabilisation minimizing the emission into the surface- and groundwater and the particle bound transport via atmosphere. Accumulator plants can be used to extract metals from the contaminated soil. Phytoremediation can also be combined with the refinement of biomass into energy.

Funding period:
01.01.2010 bis 31.12.2012

Helmholtz Interdisciplinary Graduate School for Environmental Research


Kontrolle biologischer Untersuchungen bei der Dekontamination heterogener, schwach radioaktiv kontaminierter Geosubstrate für die Strahlenschutzvorsorge (KOBIOGEO)

Project leadership:
Prof. Dr. Georg Büchel, Dr. Dirk Merten

Schwach radioaktive, heterogene Geosubstrate können durch Phytoremediation biologisch dekontaminiert werden, so dass ein Beitrag zur Strahlenvorsorge geleistet wird. Durch Identifizierung der für die Phytoremediation relevanten Prozesse im Labormaßstab mit der innovativen Methode der Seltenen Erden Element (SEE)-Fraktionierung und der Übertragung auf natürliche Bedingungen wird eine Effizienzsteigerung gegenüber bisherigen, empirischen Ansätzen und Erfahrungen der Dekontamination schwach radioaktiver Geosubstrate erreicht. Es werden die natürlich vorkommenden Seltenen Erden Elemente und ihre Verteilung zur Prozesskontrolle und Optimierung bei der Aufnahme von Schwermetallen/Radionukliden aus geogenen Materialien in Pflanzenmaterial genutzt. Damit besteht die Möglichkeit, durch unterschiedliche Fraktionierungsmuster der SEE biologische und/oder physikalisch/chemische Prozesse zu identifizieren, welche bei der selektiven Aufnahme von Radionukliden und Schwermetallen auftreten. Somit kann auf wirksame Transportprozesse beim Transfer zurück geschlossen werden. Über die Identifizierung sowie Kontrolle hinaus lässt sich eine Optimierung der biologischen Dekontaminationsverfahren erreichen.

Funding period:
01.10.2004 bis 31.10.2008

Funding code: