Dynamics of the Ocean Floor

The Research Division Dynamics of the Ocean Floor has two Research Units: Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems and Marine Geodynamics.


Head of the Research Division:

Prof. Dr. Heidrun Kopp
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
East shore campus
Wischhofstr. 1-3 
D-24148 Kiel

Phone: +49-431-600-2334
Fax: +49-431-600-2922
e-mail: hkopp(at)geomar.de

Personal Assistent/Office Management:
Jasmin Mögeltönder
Phone: +49-431-600-2271
e-mail: jmoegeltoender(at)geomar.de

Anne Völsch
Phone: +49-431-2271
e-mail: avoelsch(at)geomar.de



The research focus is on the geological-geophysical survey of the ocean floor and the margins of the ocean basins. The core topics include processes of formation, development, alteration and subduction of the oceanic lithosphere and the associated effects on the environment, for example on the climate and the emergence of natural hazards.

These research topics are addressed in three geotectonic areas:

  • Divergent plate margins: Formation of the ocean floor and the ocean basins
  • Convergent plate margins: the subduction engine
  • Tectonic and magmatic processes in the intraplate zone: Conversion of oceanic plates

Significant research emphasis is placed on:

  • Marine natural hazards: earthquakes, volcanoes, slope stability, submarine landslides, and tsunamis
  • Seafloor resources: Gas hydrates and polymetallic massive sulphides
  • Introduction of volatiles into the atmosphere and hydrosphere

RD4 News

Schematic diagram of a subduction zone. Graphics: C. Kersten, GEOMAR.

The search for the earthquake nucleus

Are calcareous sediments weak points in seismogenic zones?


Looking ahead by reading climate records from caves

Dripstones reveal how meltwater from the ice sheets disturbed the climate in north-western Africa and north-western Europe 10,000 years ago