AEON Project Archive

This site is an archive of a project of AEON

Science Infrastructure and Management


4.1 Data Repository and Data Management
4.2a New Tools for New Tasks - Research Ships: Amphibian Experiments around Tristan da Cunha hotspot
4.2b New Tools for New Tasks - AEON Earth Time Laboratory to calibrate 3600 million years of Earth History


Project Descriptions

Project 4.1:   Data Repository and Data Management

Participants (* indicates project coordinator)

GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ) J. Klump*
J. Wächter
R. Bertelmann
University of Cape Town, AEON Christien Thiart*
Maarten de Wit


The goal of this project is to raise awareness for data stewardship and facilitate a transfer of skills and technology for data stewardship to the participating institutions.

Already in Phase I of Inkaba yeAfrica the participating sub-projects produced a great wealth of new research data. Some of these data have since become the basis of scientific publications, others still remain unpublished. While the interpretations of the data have been published in the scientific literature, most of the data sets themselves are not available outside of the respective sub-projects. This is an obstacle to interdisciplinary or synoptic interpretation of data across sub-project boundaries and may result in unnecessary duplication of work. The complex nature of Inkaba yeAfrica calls for innovative data management strategies.

The value of data sharing is widely recognised, systematic data management is still additional work on the scientists for which they do not receive the necessary recognition. Therefore, scientists are not inclined to invest much of their time in any work related to this task, since data curation is not at the focus of their scientific work. In addition, scientists need incentives to share their data. A possible incentive may be to make data sharing a citeable scientific publication. This project sets out to facilitate the need in an efficient manner, to benefit all Inkaba yeAfrica collaborators and beyond.

Back to Project List

Project 4.2a:

New Tools for New Tasks - Research Ships: Amphibian Experiments around Tristan da Cunha hotspot

Participants (* indicates project coordinator)

GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ) Michael Weber*
Y. Xiaohui
University of Cape Town (UCT), AEON Maarten de Wit*
Council for Geoscience, Bellville Luc Chevallier
Alfred Wegener Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung Wilfried Jokat
University of the Western Cape Reginald Domoney
Leibniz Institut für Meereswissenschaften (IFMGEOMAR) M. Jegen Kulcsar*


Presently there is a controversial discussion about the deep-Earth processes leading to extension and breakup of the continents and further development of the new ocean basins and passive margins. The hypothesis that mantle plumes govern the dynamics of continental breakup is still under debate, since results of geophysical imaging of extended crust are ambiguous. This is especially true concerning the question of melt generation in the upper mantle, and melt emplacement in space and time by magmatic underplating.

Back to Project List

Project 4.2b:

New Tools for New Tasks - AEON Earth Time Laboratory to calibrate 3600 million years of Earth History

Participants (* indicates project coordinator)

AEON, University of Cape Town Maarten de Wit*
GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ) R. L. Romer*


Southern Africa has one of the best, longest and most continuous stratigraphic records on Earth. This provides a classic window into Earth history. Reading this record correctly is fundamental to the science of geology. To-date this history of southern Africa has not been systematically calibrated using modern technology.

There is no laboratory in Africa that can calibrate geologic time scale with the precision and accuracy that is needed to resolve important past events, for example formation of ore deposits, palaeo-climate fluctuations, mass-extinctions, bio-diversity blooms, and the evolution of earth and life systems.

As a first step for plans to develop a strong technology partnership between GFZ and AEON, and to strengthen further our existing scientific collaborations, we seek to improve the calibration of the magneto-stratigraphic and chemo-stratigraphic records through integration with geochronology and astrochronology, and help establish the EarthTime Laboratory at the Africa Earth Observatory network – AEON - as an internationally recognized laboratory of excellence in geochronology and stratigraphy, where local earthtime events can be correlation with European and global key stratigraphic sequences, type localities and, for example, well known Lagerstätten.

Here we propose to use German expertise, through employment of a young German Post- Doctoral scientist to develop the noble gas laboratory at AEON, and to mentor a local counterpart in RSA to run this laboratory at the end of a five-year training period.

Back to Project List


User Logon