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ESR 15

Maddalena´s 3-month secondment at MARUM, Bremen | 2019-09-24

Maddalena’s 3-month secondment at Marum, Bremen

maddalena sammartini (ESR15) | @ marum bremen, germany (june - august 2019)

One year after my short visit to MARUM (see previous report), I returned back to Bremen, this time for a three-month secondment. After opening some Lake Lucerne cores in Innsbruck, and performing  on them the basic tests, such as water content, fall cone test, vane shear, granulometry analysis, and Atterberg limits, I moved (with my cores) to Bremen for a more advanced geotechnical analysis.  Between June and August I dealt with oedometric tests, pycnometer measures and ring shear tests, with the main aim of characterizing both basin and slope sediments in Zinnen and Kastanienbaum area. Oedometric test:  used for measuring the sediment's consolidation status and compressibility properties. An undisturbed sample of sediment is put inside the consolidation cell, and subjected to increments of effective vertical stress. Each application last for 24h and the vertical displacement of the sample is measured in time. The load is doubled at each increment. After reaching the maximum load needed, the sample is subjected to an unloading phase, during which the swelling properties of the sediment are recorded.  For my tests, I applied the following effective vertical stresses: 2.5, 5, 10, 20, 40, 80, 160, 320 kPa. For the unloading phase: 80, 20, 5 kPa. Each test lasted for 11 days. Pycnometer test: used for measuring the solid density. After measuring the water content, the dry sample is put in a beaker of known density and then inside the machine, which calculates, in few minutes, the density of the solid. This device has been very useful for my oedometric test analysis. Knowing the density of the solid, and the initial and final water content of the sample, it is possible to express the vertical displacement at each loading step in terms of void ratio change. Ring shear test: used for measuring the residual shear strength of soil. A remolded sample of sediment is put inside the ring shear apparatus. The soil, subjected to different vertical stresses, is sheared by rotating the bottom of the ring shear apparatus until it reaches 3 mm of displacement. The shearing velocity is constant during the test, and it has to be carefully selected, based on the kind of sediment, in order to avoid the formation of excess pore pressure.  For my tests I used a shearing velocity of 0.033 µm/s and the following vertical stresses: 2, 5, 10, 17, 32, 64, 125, and 247 kPa. Each test lasted for 19 days. The biggest challenge during my stay at MARUM, has been recreating, in laboratory, the in situ conditions of my sediments. These geotechnical devices are built to work with the high vertical stresses of marine investigations, with lever arm that multiplies x5 or x10 the weight you put. In my case, I work on superficial lake sediments, which are subjected to an in situ vertical stress of ~2-5 kPa. Therefore, I had to start all my tests with the minimum weight allowed (0.1 kg). With this low weight, the machines are very sensible and just an accidental hit to the working table can ruin the measure and therefore the entire test.  After a first month spent in getting familiar with the all the devices and the technics, and in performing some empty tests for measuring the "machine noise", I was able to perform 11 oedometric tests and 4 ring shear tests. Thanks to this secondment in Bremen I was not only able to get more interesting data for my Lake Lucerne investigation, but also I developed geotechnical skills, which could be very useful for future career. Location
  • MARUM Bremen, Germany
Oedometric cell
Oedometric cell
Oedometric table
Oedometric table
Getting familiar with German food
Getting familiar with German food
Schnoor, Bremen
Schnoor, Bremen
Impressions from the EGU 2019
@ Vienna, Austria (07 – 12 April 2019) | 2019-07-23


ESR1, ESR 2, ESR 3, ESR 4, ESR 5, ESR 6, ESR 7, ESR 8, ESR 9, ESR 12, ESR 13, ESR 14, ESR15 | @ VIENNA, AUSTRIA (7-12 April 2019)

“The EGU General Assembly 2019 was a great success with 5,531 oral, 9,432 poster, and 1,287 PICO presentations that were attended by 16,273 scientists from 113 countries” (Copernicus Meetings, 2019).

SLATE was well represented with 12 PhD candidates, PIs (Achim Kopf, Michael Clare, Carl Harbitz, Finn Lovholt, Michael Strasser) and Aggeliki Georgiopoulou from the advisory board presenting their work.

12 ESRs coming from all over Europe to the EGU General Assembly 2019
Get your patch and let’s get started. Presenting our work

Rachel, Jonathan, Tugdual, Shray, Kate, William and Matthias drew crowds of people into the lecture rooms with their amazing presentations. They spoke on a variety of topics; covering different aspects of turbidites and their evolution, contourites and submarine landslides.

“I was very happy to be able to present my work at this conference, as it gives an occasion to present our work in front of a wide audience with very diverse backgrounds. I came out with very good feedback and advice for my work.” (Tugdual Gauchery, ESR 3)

„It was my first time at the EGU and it was overwhelmingly large. I had the opportunity to talk to several researchers after my talk – it is always good to get feedback on both the positive and negative parts of ones research.” (Shray Badhani, ESR 4)

Davide, Ting-Wei, Stefano, Ricarda and Maddalena presented their work in the poster sessions and attracted a lot of people.

“Presenting a poster at a conference like EGU is a great learning opportunity for any early career scientist. On one hand, I had the chance to discuss my research with people working in the same research field and to meet scientists I had only known from reading their papers. What surprised me the most, however, were the questions I got from scientists specialized in completely different fields, looking at my project from a prospective I do not usually consider. People who were just randomly walking around posters asked me the most challenging questions, highlighting issues that I never considered before, but that helped me to have a more complete understanding of what I am studying.” (Davide Mencaroni,  ESR 6)

And learning new things

Apart from presenting our own work, we took the opportunity to learn more about work from outside our own fields. Alongside the traditional poster and oral presentations, EGU also hosts so called “PICO” presentations (Presenting Interative COntent) and short courses on more general topics in science.

“One thing that I really enjoyed about EGU were the PICO sessions. PICOs start with quick-fire two minute presentations from each researcher to briefly introduce their topic and state their main conclusions. After, everyone moves across to the interactive area, where each presenter has their own workstation and large screen. This really facilitates discussion and allows for more flexibility that a standard poster or talk. For me, the PICO sessions are a great way to be introduced to an unfamiliar area, because the results are presented up front and you get to see a rapid cross section of the state-of-the-art in a particular field.” (Jonathan Ford, ESR 2)

 “It was a great opportunity to get some insights from overlapping, but vastly different, fields. For instance to see what the current state of research in Powder Snow Avalanches is, or to get some background knowledge on numerical modelling in turbidity currents as preparation for my secondment at NGI.” (Kate Heerema, ESR 5)

“One of the most exciting sessions I attended was on the recent tsunami events in Sulawesi and West Java (Krakatao), Indonesia (Blog). Although most of the group seemed to agree that these tsunami events were, in fact, submarine landslide-related, there was some surprisingly lively pushback from at least one seasoned researcher. I think the overall tsunami community seems to be experiencing a small paradigm shift in how they think about tsunami hazards. I also enjoyed stopping by different poster sessions related to tsunami hazards and had some great networking conversations with a group of researchers from Singapore about their work and how it relates to some tsunami survey work that I previously did as a master’s student” (William Meservy, ESR 12)

“I went to three courses, of which I especially liked the “Visualizing Science” course. I think we often forget how important it is to present our research to other scientists, as well as to the general public.” (Ricarda Gatter, ESR 9)

“The quantity and variety of soft skill courses available at the EGU undoubtedly adds value to the conference. I attended a course about communicating science with the general public and enjoyed hearing different perspectives about what effective communication looks like, and how that can take different forms. One point that stood out was the value of knowing when it is worthwhile to get the assistance of people who are trained in communication, such as journalists, to communicate significant results.” (Rachel Barrett, ESR 1)

Need help to find your way around? - use the EGU App

Finding your way around a big conference such as EGU can be difficult. Luckily, there was an app available in which you could find all the contributions and put together your personal programme. In addition, we kept everybody up to date with our own contributions via Twitter.

Floor plan modified from