Department S3 looks at geochronological problems and assists the "Terrestrial sediment systems" main research activity.
The "Geochronology" department undertakes geochronological investigations using the luminescence dating methods (IRSL, OSL, pulsed OSL, TL, single grain), optically stimulated exo-electrons (OSE), radiofluorescence (RF), electron spin resonance (ESR), thermion mass spectrometry (TIMS, 230Th/234U), and the 210Pb-method. The availability of this spectrum of methods, which is unique in Germany, enables the department to be involved in a wide range of applied geophysical research topics for sedimentary bodies aged between a few years to several hundred thousand years using luminescence techniques and theoretically, even up to several million years using ESR. Precise age determinations are essential to quantitatively and sequentially understand climate variations as well as landscape-changing surface processes during the youngest parts of the earth's history, at a regional and local level. They are also required to accurately evaluate the expected increase in extreme weather events by future (climate) trends.
The luminescence and ESR methods are to be combined with one another in future to determine the ages of sediments. With our chronological approach, the combined application of luminescence and ESR will create a new, innovative and reliable chronological basis for the correlation of Pleistocene terrestrial sediments in close co-operation with geophysical and geomagnetic surveys, as well as geophysical applied structural exploration methods. The development and application of these chronological methods in combination with seismic surveys, georadar, etc., allow the spatial and temporal visualisation of shallow sedimentary horizons. The four-dimensional modelling and reconstruction of shallow processes within the framework of climate and environmental research, landscape dynamics, as well as the evaluation of georisks, (sinkholes, earthquakes) are only made possible in this way.