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

Map of the seismic gap in northern Chile. Graphic: GEOMAR, based on GEBCO world map, www.gebco.net

Earthquake rupture halted by Seamounts

German-Spanish team of geologists presents explanation for smaller than expected tremor during the April 2014 Iquique earthquake

Preparations for a dive the AUV ABYSS. The device deliveres accurate maps and photos of the more than 4000 m deep seafloor. Photo: Bastian Barenbrock.

Fascinating photo mosaic from the seafloor in 4000 m depth

Expedition to manganese nodule fields in the eastern Pacific successfully concluded