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ICDP drilling campaign in Ohrid starts!

Since 2004 Geologists, Geophysicists and Biologists study one of the most important climate archives of the Balkans: Ancient Lake Ohrid. After years of scientific research in numerous projects, the ICDP drilling operation starts today, April 2nd!

The projects within the SCOPSCO frame focused on the tectonic evolution of this seismogenic landscape and the climatic history of the lake and the region. SCOPSCO, the Scientific Collaboration On Past Speciation Conditions in Lake Ohrid, one of the highest quality archives in Europe. Not only is Lake Ohrid the oldest continuous lake (long-term lake) of the continent, it also harbors over 200 endemic species and describes the eruption history of the italian volcanos in detail. The intramontane Ohrid basin is still seismically active.

The drilling campaign now helps to understand the tectonic, sedimentologic and climatic history of the early Lake Ohrid. Since the start of the drilling had to be postponed due to the fire on MSC Flaminia, the scientists are eager to see the first cored sections taken from the center of the lake, where the sedimentary record reaches almost 700 m thickness.

Find further information here:

Reports on recent activities

April, 1st
Today, the position of the barge was adjusted so that we are only 150 m away from the target drill site in the central part of Lake Ohrid at a water depth of 250 m. After several small modifications and adjustments of the equipment, the barge is ready to go, so are the drilling team, and everybody is excited to get started. So if the weather allows us we will have the first test run tomorrow.

March, 31st
After a long day, the anchors are set at the DEEP site. The morning hours started with a lot of rain and very calm conditions, so we were able to tow the barge with the boat of the Hydrobiological Institute in Ohrid to the main drill site. When we set the first anchor, even some sun came out. However, when the second anchor was prepared, the weather changed suddenly and a strong wind came up, which led the barge drift quiet a distance. This caused a little delay and some problems bringing the third anchor out at the intended anchoring position. Finally, in the evening hours the fourth anchor was placed and the barge was pulled with the winches as close as 250 m from the DEEP site. So there is still a bit of work to do tomorrow, but we are happy that this big step in the drilling preparation is almost done.

Our Publications within SCOPSCO

Hoffmann, N., Reicherter, K., Grützner, C., Hürtgen, J., Rudersdorf, A., Viehberg, F.A., Wessels, M., 2012. Quaternary coastline evolution of Lake Ohrid (Macedonia/Albania). Cent. Eur. J. Geosci. 4(1), 94-110, DOI: 10.2478/s13533-011-0063-x

Reicherter, K., Hoffmann, N., Lindhorst, K., Krastel, S., Fernandez-Steeger, T.M., Grützner, C., Wiatr, T. 2011. Active basins and neotectonics: morphotectonics of the Lake Ohrid Basin (FYROM and Albania). Z. dt. Ges. Geowiss 162 (2),217 -234.

Hoffmann, N., Reicherter, K., Fernández-Steeger, T. & Grützner, C. 2010. Evolution of ancient Lake Ohrid: a tectonic perspective. Biogeosciences, 7, 3377-3386. doi: 10.5194/bg-7-3377-2010


Hoffmann, N. & Reicherter, K. 2011. From Space to Ground: The seismogenic landscape of Lake Ohrid. EGU General Assembly 2011, Vienna, EGU2011-10468.

Hoffmann N., Reicherter K., Liermann A. & Glasmacher U.A. 2010. Tectonic evolution of the Lake Ohrid and Prespa Basins (FYROM/Albania). XIX Congress of the Carpathian-Balkan Geological Association CBGA 2010, Thessaloniki.

Hoffmann N. & Reicherter K. 2010. Lake Ohrid Basin (FYROM/Albania): a seismogenic landscape. XIX Congress of the Carpathian-Balkan Geological Association CBGA 2010, Thessaloniki.

Rudersdorf A., Hoffmann N., Huertgen J. and Reicherter K. 2010. Quarternary evolution of Ancient Lake Ohrid, FYROM/Albania. XIX Congress of the Carpathian-Balkan Geological Association CBGA 2010, Thessaloniki.

Hoffmann, N., Reicherter, K. & Gruetzner, C. 2010. Quaternary evolution of the delta systems and the coast line of Lake Ohrid (FYROM/Albania) revealed by shallow geophysical and drilling data. EGU General Assembly 2010, Vienna, EGU2010-10455.

Hoffmann, N., Reicherter, K., Grützner, C., Wiatr, T. & Fernández-Steeger, T. 2009. Tectonic morphology of the Lake Ohrid Basin (FYROM, Albania). 1st INQUA-IGCP-567 International Workshop on Earthquake Archaeology and Palaeoseismology, Baelo Claudia, Spain. ISBN: 978-84-7484-217-3.

Reicherter, K., Hoffmann, N. & Fernández-Steeger, T. 2009. Active Tectonics in the Ohrid Basin (Macedonia/Albania).
EGU General Assembly 2009, Vienna, EGU2009-11385.

Hoffmann, N., Reicherter, K., Fernández-Steeger, T. & Arndt, M. 2009. Tectonic Evolution of the Ohrid Basin (Macedonia/Albania): preliminary results for a future ICDP deep drilling site. EGU General Assembly 2009, Vienna, EGU2009-7835.

QUASI project

A new project has started: Supra-regional signal pathways and long-time archives: Quaternary monsoon dynamics at the northern margin of the Tibetan Plateau (funded by BMBF).

The Gobi desert with numerous sub-basins and dune areas exhibits a high-class archive for the quaternary dynamics of landscape and climate. The reconstruction of supra-regional sediment pathways will be assessed in the context of tectonic activity and climate change.
The arid Gaxun Nur basin (or Juyan Lake basin, 40.5-42.5°N, 99.5-102° E) north of the Tibetan Plateau in Inner Mongolia (China) is the main focus of the project. The sedimentary fill comprises gravels overlaying up to 300 m of lacustrine sediments. The delta of Hei He river, the most important agent in this region, forms and shapes this basin and is divided into an active and an inactive part.
Our group will work on the assessment and evaluation of tectonic activity and the subsequent change of depocentres and influence on sediment cascades. In addition to remote sensing, geophysical methods like TEM-squid (collaboration with IFM-GEOMAR Kiel), H2V (Liège University) and GPR will be used.
For more information please feel free to ask Andreas RUDERSDORF.

CAME - Central Asia Monsoon Dynamics & Geo-Ecosystems

Reconstruction of the transregional signal transfer from sedimentological long-term archives

Georadar and LiDAR Measurements in Morocco

In the framework of SFB 806 (Our Way to Europe) we applied LiDAR and GPR to caves in northern Morocco. 3D datasets will be used to analyze sediment thicknesses and cave morphologies in order to provide the archaeologists with detailed information for their ongoing excavations. In a GIS database we combine geological and remote sensing data, topography information and archaeological findings for creating overview maps.

Prof. Dr. Reicherter
Jörg Linstädter (Archaeology)
Thomas Wiatr (LiDAR)
Christoph Grützner (GPR)
Anna Roeloffs (GIS, remote sensing and maps)
Peter Weller (GPR)
Dieter Krott (GPR)
Henrik Schreiber (GPR)

Archaeoseismology in Aachen

The research on historical earthquakes in archaeological sites is called Archaeoseismology. Aachen is situated within one of Germany's most active seismic zones - in 1992 the Roermond Earthquake caused some building damages and in 1756 several houses were destroyed by the Düren Earthquake. For finding older events we are currently investigating one of Aachen's oldest buildings, the carolingian Cathedral. Not only did we find cracks in the basement walls but also hints for intra-carolingian restauration of earthquake damages. We want to determine the causative fault, the amount of energy released and the recurrence period of large earthquake events. Another question is how modern buildings would behave in case of a moderate to major event. In addition to damage mapping we also use shallow drillings and geophysical methods for ground investigations.

Prof. Dr. Reicherter
Andreas Schaub (City Archaeologist)
Tomás Fernandez-Steeger (LIH], Engineering geology)
Christoph Grützner (Geophysik)

Schaub, A., Reicherter, K., Grützner, C. & Fernández-Steeger, T. 2009. Evidence for a medieval earthquake in the Aachen area (Germany), revealed by structural damage in the Cathedral. 1st INQUA-IGCP-567 International Workshop on Earthquake Archaeology and Palaeoseismology, Baelo Claudia, Spain. ISBN: 978-84-7484-217-3.

Wildfires in Greece

Wildfires are a common hazard in Greece. Infrastructure, crops, roads, and houses are devastated by fires almost every year. Due to the large amount of aerosols and the destruction of carbon sinks, wildfires contribute to the greenhouse effect. Furthermore, they threaten biodiversity and produce desertification, denudation and increased erosion. Since spring 2009 our team is investigating the wildfires that occured on the Peloponnesus in 2007 and in Attica (2009). LiDAR is used for monitoring the areas in high resolution, geophysical methods are applied to visualize the subsurface conditions. Geotechnical analyses on soil samples will give further information on the effects that lead to mass wasting processes.

Contact Thomas Wiatr for more information.

LiDAR-Measurements for fault scarp analysis in Greece

High-resolution LiDAR images are used to investigate hardrock scarps of active faults in Greece. We plan to get an idea on the earthquake history of the faults by analysing the roughness of the scarp surface. With this information we hope to be able to identifiy single events and to give a relative dating. In comparison with existing OSL dates, it will be possible to better understand the fault mechanism.

Wiatr, T., Reicherter, K. & Papanikolaou, I. 2009. Terrestrial laser scanning of an active fault in Greece: Kaparelli Fault. 1st INQUA-IGCP-567 International Workshop on Earthquake Archaeology and Palaeoseismology, Baelo Claudia, Spain. ISBN: 978-84-7484-217-3.

Wiatr, T. 2009. Untersuchung von Massenbewegungen und Störungsflächen mit terrestrischem Laserscanning. 8. Oldenburger 3D-Tage.

Contact Thomas Wiatr for more information.

Tracing tsunami deposits in the Thermaikos Gulf, Northern Greece. Implications for seismic and tsunami hazard and archaeology

DAAD-sponsored, IKYDA-project


This project aims to the extraction and study of sediment cores from coastal deposits of the Thermaikos Gulf in Northern Greece, in order to identify tsunami deposits and correlate them to the activity of faults from the North Aegean Basin. Based on the Herodotus reports in 479 B.C. during the Greek-Persian war, a series of large sea waves and water sea withdrawals occurred that could represent a tsunami generation, partly destroyed the Persian Fleet in Potidaea, western Chalkidiki peninsula. We, hence, try to contribute to the seismic hazard assessment in coastal areas of Northern Greece.

Prof. Dr. Klaus Reicherter
Dr. Margret Mathes-Schmidt
Dipl. Geophys. Christoph Grützner

Prof. Dr. Dimitris Papanikolaou, Universität Athen (Natural Hazards)
Prof. Dr. Georgios Stamatis, Universität Athen (Bodenkundelabor)
Dr. Ioannis Papanikolaou, Universität Athen und UCL London

First description of a tsunami of Herodotus (479 BC), after leaguering Potidaea on Cassandra (Chalkidiki, Greece). From: Herodotus, Histories, Urania (book 8), 129
(129. He then in such a manner as this had been discovered; and when three months had gone by while Artabazos was besieging the town, there came to be a great ebb of the sea backwards, which lasted for a long time; and the Barbarians, seeing that shallow water had been produced, endeavoured to get by into the peninsula of Pallene (Chalkidiki), but when they had passed through two fifth-parts of the distance, and yet three-fifths remained, which they must pass through before they were within Pallene, then there came upon them a great flood-tide of the sea, higher than ever before, as the natives of the place say, though high tides come often. So those of them who could not swim perished, and those who could were slain by the men of Potidaia who put out to them in boats. The cause of the high tide and flood and of that which befell the Persians was this, as the Potidaians say, namely that these same Persians who perished by means of the sea had committed impiety towards the temple of Poseidon and his image in the suburb of their town; and in saying that this was the cause, in my opinion they say well.)

Rössler S., Reicherter K., Papanikolaou I., Roger J.
and Tsunami Group: In search of the 479 BC Tsunami and its sediments in the Thermaikos Gulf area (northern Greece). 2nd International Tsunami Field Symposium Puglia (Italy)- IGCP Project 495

A poster (A0) with the best pictures can be downloaded here. Download (4.3Mb)

Contact Maggie Mathes-Schmidt for more information.


Since 2008 we are investigating various landslides with LIDAR on the volcanic Madeira Island (Portugal). The work is carried out together with Prof. D. Rodriguez (Univ. Madeira) and Dr. Tomás Fernández-Steeger (LIH, Aachen).

Wiatr, T., Reicherter, K., Fernández-Steeger, T., Rodrigues, D. 2009. Mass movement monitoring by Terrestrial Laser Scanning on Madeira Island (Portugal). EGU General Assembly 2009, Vienna, EGU2009-9006.

Contact Thomas Wiatr for more information.