Research Division 4: Dynamics of the Ocean Floor


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

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

Dr. Morelia Urlaub during a land excursion on Mount Etna. Photo: Marc-Andre Gutscher/CNRS

Dr. Morelia Urlaub from GEOMAR gives Gauss Lecture at the EGU

Geoscientist informs about the causes and hazard potential of volcano flank collapses

Synopsis of 3D seismic data and information from a borehole into a basaltic basement. Figure courtesy by P. Carlevaris using PaleoScan software

Opening of the Core-Log-Seismic Integration Research Centre

Three Helmholtz Centres team up for a virtual facility for geological and geophysical data