Research Center Geodynamics - Geomaterials


Dr. Michael Meyer (Department of Geology)

Deputy Head

ao. Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Peter Tropper (Department of Mineralogy and Petrography)

Research Objectives

Our research center explores the interactions between geomaterials and geodynamic and environmental processes on a wide range of spatial, temporal as well as pressure and temperature scales. We investigate the chemical and physical properties of rocks, minerals and artificial rock-like materials and reconstruct long and short-term earth surface and subsurface processes that can span from today many millions of years into the past. Geomaterials directly control geological and geodynamical processes, and can record climate and environmental change as well as time. Hence, research into these materials and Earth processes provides us with unique insights into our planet's history and its mineral resources that also have societal relevance.

The research center bundles expertise in the following areas:

  • Quaternary geology and palaeoclimate: Based on geological archives (caves, lakes) the Quaternary climate history in particular of the Alps is reconstructed at high resolution; in addition, methodological research is performed in isotope geochemistry. Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating allows Quaternary deposits and processes to be accurately constrained.
  • Tectonometamorphic evolution of orogens: Based on structural field mapping and assisted by data on geothermobarometry and geochronology tectonic and geodynamic models are developed.
  • Process-oriented sedimentology and stratigraphy: Sediments are the product of processes largely controlled by tectonics and climate and also act as archives for paleoenvironmental and evolutionary change, and the occurrence of natural hazards. The dynamical change of sediments and sedimentary environments through space and time is investigated via a range of field and laboratory techniques.
  • Minerals,fluids and melts at high-temperature and/or high-pressure conditions: High-temperature and/or high-pressure devices allow to conduct experiments simulating conditions of up to 400 km depth in the Earth's interior Geomaterials synthesised in these experiments are analysed with microanalytical techniques.
  • Georesources: Mineral deposit studies are carried out focusing both on the alpine realm and elsewhere. Through combining various geoscientific methods, we aim to understand the formation of metallogenic systems, support archaeological projects, and contribute to the sustainable supply of mineral resources.
  • Archaeomaterials and Geoarchaeology: Archaeological materials are investigated via a range of analytical methods and results linked with the socio-economic context of the artefact find. Furthermore, syn- and post-depositional processes that affect archaeological site formation are investigated from a geoarchaeological point of view. These archaeometrical and geoarchaeolgical research strands are carried out in collaboration with archaeologists and paleoanthropologists and allow for more sophisticated archaeological model building and hypothesis testing.

Apart from worldwide collaborations the prime target area are the Alps, where the research center benefits from its unique location in the heart of the Alps and has established a high reputation in Alpine research. Moreover, we substantially contribute to the University's research focus „Mountain Regions“.

  Interview with former head Bernhard Fügenschuh (Video)

Affiliated Organisational Units

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