Free University Berlin – Institute of Geological Sciences

At the Institute of Geological Sciencies one working group is currently focusing on sedimentary geology.
Our research focuses on how sediments and sedimentary rocks record Earth-surface processes across a broad range of temporal and spatial scales. The ultimate goal is to discover how marine clastic sedimentary successions relate to past tectonic activity, climatic perturbations, sea-level changes, oceanic conditions, and intrinsic controls of the depositional system. Understanding the extent to which erosional landscape evolution influences the evolution of its linked depositional system at various spatial and temporal scales is crucial for comprehending and predicting:
1. timing, magnitude, and spatial extent of erosion and deposition of clastic sediment;
2. present and past transport of sediment, pollutants, nutrients, and organic carbon from the continent to the ocean sink and its response to extreme events (e.g., earthquakes, storms, monsoonal pulses);
3. the informed interpretation of ancient sedimentary successions;
4. geohazards (e.g., seafloor infrastructure, location/ magnitude of submarine mass wasting events (tsunami prediction), paleoseismological archives); and
5. the development and exploration of hydrocarbon systems;
There is a paucity of analyses of entire natural sediment dispersal systems, including their terrestrial and submarine components, over geomorphologically significant time scales.

Currently the following research topics are covered at the Free University of Berlin:

  • Sedimentology, characterization and temporal development of continental and marine sedimentary systems
  • Earth Surface Processes
  • Sediment budgets
  • Submarine sediment transport and depositional processes
  • Submarine mass movements
  • Paleoseismology using sedimentary archives

Analytical equipment in the field of sedimentary geology:

  • Sedimentary laboratory (sample preparation – loose sediment)
  • Experimental laboratory for analogue modeling of sediment-transport and depositional  processes
  • Rock saw and thin-section laboratory
  • DJS Phantom camera drone for three-dimensional outcrop models
  • Software: Schlumberger Petrel, IHS Kingdom Suite, Agisoft Photoscan Professional

Regional focus of sedimentary geology research Alps (Molasse Basin), Chile, West SumatraStudy offerB.Sc. and M.Sc. in Geological Sciences ServiceThin-section preparation, sedimentary characterization of hydrocarbon reservoirsContact:

Prof. Dr. Anne Bernhardt        
Institut für Geologische Wissenschaften     
Freie Universität Berlin   

Context Column

Submarine canyon on the continental shelf offshore the Biobío River, Chile.


Brief descriptions of institutes doing research and training in the field of sedimentology.
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