Seminar - Dr. Hans-Joachim Kümpel


Geosciences for a Habitable Earth 

Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Kümpel
The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Germany


Wednesday, February 4th, 2015
2:30 p.m.  

3120 Herzberg Laboratories
Carleton University  



Geologically, the Earth is experiencing a rapid and unexpected change: a growing world population its demands for more energy, food, clean water, and raw materials while climate change accounts for less CO2 emission and protection of habitats. Geosciences provide knowledge to keep the Earth habitable.

The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) is Germany’s geoscientific centre of competence within the Federal Government and part of its scientific and technical infrastructure. BGR is accountable to the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, providing independent advice and information on all issues of applied geosciences and natural resources. In particular, BGR supports the Federal Government in their following objectives:

  • Stimulating economic development
  • Long-term protection and improvement of the quality of life
  • Enhancing geotechnical and geoscientific expertise.

BGR applies and develops exploration methods and strategies in the run-up of industrial activities, in particular in marine frontier zones and on unconventional energy resources. We work in the Arctic realm to get knowledge on the geodynamic evolution of structures and sedimentary basins potentially bearing unexplored hydrocarbons. BGR continuously analyses and evaluates global energy and mineral resource potentials and markets for metals, non-metals, and industrial minerals. It also develops new exploration methods and strategies in the run-up to industrial activities, in particular for high-tech metals known as "critical resources" and selected industrial minerals. BGR develops scientific methods for improving groundwater management. Together with other institutions from Germany, Europe and overseas, BGR works on improved regional groundwater information systems. We support national and international legislative and development policy measures for securing groundwater resources and contribute to integrated water resource management. We collect and evaluate data on soils necessary for decision support instruments on soil use, soil protection and sustainable land management. Soil is a valuable, yet finite resource, subject to degradation due to natural and anthropogenic processes. BGR advises the Federal Government in all geoscientific and geotechnical issues concerning the use of the geological subsurface including the permanent disposal of radioactive waste. This applies to the geotechnical safety of subsurface structures and cavities as much as to options of geological storage of CO2 or the reconnaissance and development of deep geothermal resources (geothermal energy). BGR is one of Germany’s implementation organizations for technical cooperation with developing nations. Projects are carried out in capacity building in the fields of mining, resources evaluation, sustainable use of groundwater and soil, assessment of georisks, geological mapping, and environmental protection. BGR fulfils Germany's obligations with regard to the international Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), on behalf of the Federal Government. It operates the national CTBT data centre, where seismic signals from suspected nuclear weapons’ test explosions are detected and recorded. In addition, BGR monitors global earthquake activities by its national seismological observatory. Last-but-not-least, BGR organizes geoscientific expeditions to Antarctica thereby assisting the Government to maintain Germany’s consultative status within the Antarctic Treaty System. Most important, all these activities would not be possible without excellent partners in sciences, education, politics, industry and authorities, both national and abroad.