Archive | March, 2011

Petrified Wood Exhibit at EGU GA 2011

31 Mar

This year at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly there will be an exhibit of petrified wood. It is located in Poster Hall Y of area XY near to the entrances to rooms 10 and 11 on the Blue (Basement) level, a pdf plan can be found here. The exhibition organiser Peter Huber will be at the exhibit each day from 17:30 to 19:00. Preview images can be found on Peter Huber’s Facebook Album or Foto Community pages. He writes about the exhibit:

Petrified wood is not really a rare fossil. Even the small country Austria has about 170 reference points where petrified wood occurs. And yet “good” pieces, such as completely preserved branches or rare species, are rare. The often perfect preservation of anatomical structures in petrified wood is another special feature of fossil wood. Unfortunately, scientific work with petrified wood is extensive. In order to make identifications, thin sections have to be made and evaluated comprehensively. Most research in paleobotany is now focusing on palynology.

The interest in palynology as the primary focus of today‘s paleobotany is due to several factors. Petrified wood in the fossil record is heavily biased by riparian species because stream valleys are the most usual sites for conditions promoting wood petrification. Palynology, on the other hand can give a credible statistical sample of pollen grains – thousands in a single shovelful in some cases. These statistical samples do not have the built-in bias of riparian species and have the added attraction of providing an indication of annual plants as well as perennial plants for a more accurate view of paleoclimate and paleogeographic conditions. This has made the study of petrified wood a rare branch all over the world.

This exhibit – and the book documenting the exhibit – shows the story of nearly 400 million years of wood and the development of trees, As the pictures show, it is a very aesthetic topic! Wood, as a “mineral collector” has as a fossil all the colors of the rainbow, agates fill cavities, and even feeding tunnels are preserved in detail. The pieces presented here are all from my own collection. I started collecting petrified wood as a child, meanwhile I have been collecting over 45 years! The collection includes many pieces I found myself. Here a trained eye helped a lot for the good success in collecting, but for the most part the pieces are from purchases. The internet has greatly contributed to expand the collection with sites from all over the world.

I hope you enjoy my selection. And maybe I can still infect the one or the other with the “Virus Xyloxylon”!

Mag. Peter C. Huber

The abstract for the exhibit is:
400 million years ago plants started their conquest of the land masses. At the beginning, the stems grew more horizontally and just small segments grew vertically. But in the quest of following light, the idea „tree“ was born. It did take several million more years for real wooden trunks to evolve, but sometime around the Carbon Period true forests had developed. And starting with the Carbon Period structural fossils of trees have been preserved, often showing cell for cell the wood anatomy of the former tree. The special exhibition for the EGU 2011 shows the development of trees starting sometime around the Carbon Period to the most recent geological time. A part of the exhibition will present special finds from Austria and Hungary.

Union Wide Events at the EGU General Assembly 2011 (Part II)

30 Mar

This post is the partner of Union Wide Events at the EGU General Assembly 2011 (Part I).

Townhall Meetings (TM)
Townhall meetings are on a variety of topics this year including careers, research and women in Geosciences (TM9). They’re an opportunity to discuss topics in a bit more depth than the oral session question times allow. TM10 is associated with the late breaking session on the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (US05).

Splinter Meetings (SPM)
There are two sorts of Splinter meetings at EGU General Assemblies:public and private. SPM1.X are the public splinter meetings that anyone can attend. This year they include presentations on research projects, networking events for young researchers and the Earth Science Women’s Network, sub-division meetings, an outreach panel and more. Some splinter meetings complement specific sessions, these are listed

Europe in Geosciences (EG)
Are a variety of sessions that have a pan-Europe outlook.

Educational and Outreach Symposia (EOS)
These are sessions focussed on Education and Outreach, some related specifically to programme groups (e.g. NH, OS etc.) and includes EOS01 “Geosciences Information for Teachers (GIFT) workshop” which is a long-running event for high-school teachers and has an exciting oral programme, open to anyone who would like to attend the oral talks Monday to Wednesday in Room 29. There are also poster sessions for theses EOS sessions.

Now in it’s second year the GeoCinema (in the GeoCinema room on the Ground Floor) runs Monday to Friday 10:30 to 19:00. There are over 30 films in this year’s programme, ranging from less than five minutes to 90 minutes long. The schedule is online here. This includes Home, A Film by Yann Athus-Bertrand, which is showing twice, including on Friday afternoon from 17:30 to 19:00. A pdf with details of the films, including links to view them online (where possible) is available.

Webstreaming at EGU General Assembly 2011

29 Mar

As with previous years, selected sessions along with all press conferences (see EGU Media Portal) will be live-streamed during the General Assembly 2011 and are will also be available on demand after the conference. Please enter the general EGU Webstreaming site. The webstream portal contains events from General Assemblies in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The 2011 programme includes:
Monday, 4 April 2011
13:30–15:00 US1 A Planet Under Pressure

Tuesday, 5 April 2011
12:15–13:15 ML1 Alfred Wegener Medal Lecture – Understanding the drivers of environmental changes in West Africa from sedimentary deep-sea records by Gerold Wefer
13:30–15:10 US2 The Future of Water Cycle Earth Observing Systems
15:30–17:00 GDG1 How will Europe face the raw materials crisis?

Wednesday, 6 April 2011
12:15–13:15 ML3 Jean Dominique Cassini Medal Lecture – Highlights of ESA’s Planetary Sciences Programme Achievements and a Glimpse into the Future by Jean-Pierre Lebreton
13:30–15:00 UMC1
What are the unresolved questions and future perspectives for palaeoclimate research? An EGU Masterclass by André Berger and Wolfgang H. Berger
17:30–20:00 US0 EGU Award Ceremony

Thursday, 7 April 2011
08:30–10:15 US4 The 22 February 2011 Christchurch Earthquake
11:00–12:00 Press Conference 1:The 22 February 2011 Christchurch Earthquake
12:15–13:15 ML2 Arthur Holmes Medal Lecture – Three grand challenges in geomorphology: rock, climate, and life by William E. Dietrich
12:30–13:30 Press Conference 2: sunami impact and Tsunami Early Warning Systems
13:30–15:10 US3 How Science Can Aid Society in Tackling Emerging Risks

Friday, 8 April 2011
08:30–10:00 US5 The 11 March 2011 Tohoku (Sendai) Earthquake and Tsunami

Navigating Vienna

29 Mar

Getting to the EGU General Assembly Venue
The Austria Center Vienna (ACV), the venue for the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2011, is located next to the station “Kaisermühlen/Vienna Int. Centre” on subway line U1 running from the city centre (Stephansplatz) to Leopoldau. A Vienna metro plan (in pdf) can be found here and a travel planner for Vienna on Wiener Linien’s site (including how to get to and from the airport). A google maps of the Austria Centre Vienna is here and below. The Austria Center Vienna  is also reachable via the Airport Bus (Timetable, PDF) running to the station “Wien Kaisermühlen/VIC” close to the ACV.


Getting from Vienna Airport to Vienna City
Vienna’s international airport is at Schwechat, 19 kilometers from the city centre. To get to Vienna city, you can take the City Airport Train (CAT), Suburban railway, buses or a taxi cab. Details are summarised below and available on the airport’s website.

The City Airport Train (CAT) takes 16 minutes from the Airport to Wien Mitte station. Fares are from €10 single (cheaper if brought online). Trains leave every 30 minutes from 06:05 until 23:35.

The S-bahn (S7) takes 24 minutes from the Airport to various stations in Vienna centre (Rennweg (change for Sudbahnhof), Mitte, Praterstern, Traisengasse, Handelskai and Floridsdorf), a timetable is available online with trains leaving approximately every 30 minutes. Trains leave from 04:54 until 00:18. Fares are from €3.60.

There are various bus connections from the airport to the city, taking between 20 and 45 minutes. Buses go through the night and cost from €7 for a single.

Taxis are also available at the airport.


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