The working group Crustal Dynamics analyzes processes, which markedly influenced the build-up and evolution of the Earth´s crust. Even today, these processes influence life on Earth in profound ways. Witnesses telling us of past and present processes are manifold in the form of the different rocks. In order to read the stories these rocks tell, scientists develop ever more sophisticated translations for the "rock code". This is the area in which the Crustal Dynamics working group at the JGU Mainz works.
The group follows the promising concept of "Micro-Geochemistry". It analyzes the trace element inventory of the minerals and integrates it with the information from the micro-structure of the rocks. These studies are possible due to the excellent infrastructure at JGU Mainz with its state of the art analytical instruments. In particular, the LA-ICP-MS and the Electron- -Microprobe are invaluable.
Key research aspects of the group are the processes at subduction zones, especially the behavior of fluids in subducting ocean plates. We study minerals of such rare rock types as eclogites and blueschists from all parts of the world, i.e., the Alps, Turkey, California or the German Erzgebirge. These rocks are very interesting, because geological processes transported them deep into the Earth, only to haul them back to the surfaces from depths of up to 100 kilometers. As such, they are valuable witnesses to the whole subduction process.
A further key research area is the paleogeographic reconstruction of Eurasia using heavy minerals (mostly rutile and zircon) from sediments dating back to the Paleozoic (250 - 540 million years ago). Thus the group fosters a better understanding of crustal dynamical processes over time. Furthermore, the group develops and improves upon analytical methods of microgeochemistry. It has already completed fundamental studies on the geochemistry and geochronology of rutile, which will enable innovative approaches for a greater understanding of crustal dynamics in current and future research projects.