Name: Diastrophism and geohazards
Team leader: dr hab. Justyna Ciesielczuk, prof. UŚ
dr Ryszard Chybiorz
dr Krzysztof Gaidzik
prof. dr hab. Jerzy Żaba
dr Anna Abramowicz
Topic: Tectonic activity of orogenic zones. Thermal activity of coal-waste dumps.
Proposed research, planned for three years, include two main subjects:
(1) The tectonic activity in orogenic zones, both existing and currently forming. The main objectives involve, particularly, seismic activity of fault zones and, in the case of the Andes, associated volcanic activity.
(2) The analysis and visualization of geological and environmental data in GIS systems, together with temporal and spatial characteristics of the coal-waste dumps’ thermal activity.
Name: Luminescence of minerals
Team leader: prof. dr hab. Maria Czaja
dr hab. Radosław Lisiecki
prof. dr hab. Michael Gaft
Topic: The Luminescence Properties of Minerals
The main research topic is the spectroscopic characteristics of luminescence centers in some selected minerals. The specific scientific problems have not been solved for minerals. The first problem is focused on minerals in which the main luminescence center is Mn2+. The following task was set: determination of crystal field parameters and determination of real symmetry of the crystal field, calculation of the energy of the excited levels for the model of covalent bond sharing and the low symmetry crystal fields. The calculation and analyses will be made for the following minerals: spodumene, talc, tremolite, tirodite, calcite, olmiite, genthelwite, willemite and epserite. Some preliminary results have been published in Czaja et al. (2020): Some Complementary Data about the Spectroscopic Properties of Manganese Ions in Spodumene Crystals, Minerals, 2020, 10, 554-580; doi:10.3390/min10060554.
The second task concerns the new type of luminescence centers in minerals, i.e. electron-hole centers. A new technique, i.e., femto-second excitation is gradually including in luminescence studies of minerals, identifying electron-hole centers. These centers could interact with luminescence ions and change their luminescence properties. See Czaja et al. (2019): Optical Materials, doi.org/10.1016/j.optmat.2019.109321 and Juroszek et al. (2020) doi.org/10.1016/j.saa.2019.117688. Third task will start from reducing barite and gypsum to barium and calcium sulphides, while introducing lanthanide ions as well as lanthanide ions and Mn2+ ion to check the phenomenon of long-lasting luminescence (persistent luminescence – imitating Bolognese stones). It is possible to obtain substances showing long-lasting (several minutes) glow. Positive results can be used in the production of low-energy luminous materials.
Topic: Multifaceted effects of rive regulation and exploitation
The subject of my research focuses on the functioning of natural and regulated rivers. Reconstruction of the ways of a river’s adjustment to artificial conditions imposed by channel regulation allows to predict further changes in the river’s behavior. I study the evolution of river channel dynamics and river network system under anthropogenic conditions such as: channel regulation, flow volume regulation, sediment exploitation from riverbeds and floodplains, drastic changes in the catchment morphology. In my work to date, I have discussed the following topics:
- degree of river channels stability,
- influence of the regulation methods on channel morpho-dynamics,
- impact of regulation on sediment transport methods,
- ways and rate of overbank sedimentation,
The results of my research may be used to predict the direction of changes in river channel geometry and to assess its stability.
Name: Ice and Permafrost
Team leader: dr hab. Wojciech Dobiński, prof. UŚ
mgr Mateusz Czapla
dr Michał Glazer
Topic: Global extent of permafrost
The research topic that will be implemented in the next three years will address issues related to the global extent of permafrost, which until now is the only issue in the field of Earth sciences on this scale that remains unresolved. Our team presents in this respect an original research approach, which has been successfully implemented for several years. A particularly promising empirical research direction is to understand and correctly describe the relationship of glaciers and permafrost. This research direction will be implemented in the natural environment of Spitsbergen. The second direction is the search for the last unknown sites of permafrost occurrence in the high-mountain environments of Central Europe, in order to finally determine the lower limit of its occurrence in the Carpathians. Two-way works will serve the implementation of these research directions:
a critical analysis of the findings to date regarding the global range of permafrost, which will result in a review or publications published in the highest-rated scientific journals in the world,
empirical research on the occurrence of permafrost in the Arctic regions – Hornsund, Spitsbergen, or the mountainous low Tatras,in Slovakia. In this area, preliminary studies have been carried out, which bode well for the future. The issue that will be the subject of research in the Arctic environment of Spitsbergen is, however, the recognition and characterization of the full permafrost profile between the sea shore and the mountain environment, including interactions with all the most important environmental components: sea water, glaciation and climate.
Topic: Natural and anthropogenic determinants of aeolian processes in different climatic zones
The project concerns two aspects of aeolian geomorphology: 1) recognition of the degree of quartz grain abrasion as an indicator of the intensity and duration of aeolian processes, and 2) recognition of the stages of activation of aeolian processes caused by anthropopressure in Subboreal and Subatlantic periods. The first research task will be carried out based on samples of aeolian sands collected, among others, in the Negev Desert, Western Sahara and on the Atlantic coast of the Pyrenean Peninsula. Quartz grain abrasion will be determined by the Cailleux method. The results of the research, after statistical elaboration, will be the basis for a comparative analysis of aeolian areas with different environmental conditions. The second research task aims to correlate the phases of aeolian processes with the phases of anthropopressure on the environment of the Silesia-Cracow region. Supplementary studies of selected aeolian sites are planned, including, among others, sand sampling for laboratory analysis, including charcoal from fossil soils. Radiocarbon dating will be the basis for inference about the chronology of aeolian processes against the background of diverse anthropopressure. The research results will be published in journals from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education List (Poland).
Topic: Centres of action of the atmosphere of the Northern Hemispere: changes, interactions, impact on the climatic conditions of Poland and Europe
The research envisaged is a continuation of analyses of long-term change, variability and teleconnections of the Northern Hemisphere atmospheric centers of action. The results obtained so far for both the Azores and Hawaiian High (Falarz 2019), provide a good motivation to broaden and refine research on changes in location and pressure in the main baric centers influencing the climatic conditions of the entire Northern Hemisphere. Among others, indices of movement direction of each center will be examined since the beginning of the 20th century. In the three-year study period, analyses of the “responses” of various climate elements in Poland and Europe to changes observed in the centres are also planned. The first attempts will be made to study the interaction of atmospheric activity centres and sea surface temperature. The results will contribute to explaining the causes and mechanisms of climate change in the Northern Hemisphere.
Name: New minerals in pyrometamorphic rocks
Team leader: prof. dr hab. inż. Evgeny Galuskin
Prof. dr hab. Irina Galuskin, prof.UŚ
dr Dorota Środek
mgr Rafał Juroszek
mgr Arkadiusz Krzątała
lic. Katarzyna Nowak
Topic: New minerals in pyrometamorphic rocks
The general research topic is “New minerals in pyrometamorphic rock ” and covers a number of specific projects, the main goal of which is the discovery and description of new and rare minerals.
These are the following projects:
1) “Arctite group minerals”: modular structures, crystal chemistry and potentially new minerals. Elaboration of the nomenclature and classification of minerals with the hexagonal antiperovskite structure”;
2) “New ferrites, aluminates and related minerals from pyrometamorphic rocks”;
3) “Potentially new zeolites and zeolite-like minerals from paralavas of the Hatrurim Complex”;
4) “New Ba and K sulfides from basalt-like rocks of the Hatrurim Complex”;
5) “Minerals of the mayenite group as indicators of genetic processes”;
6) “New low-temperature minerals in the rocks of the Hatrurim Complex”;
7) “New garnets from pyrometamorphic rocks”;
8) “Rare and new barium minerals from paralava of the Hatrurim Complex. “
9) “High-temperature transformations of phosphorites”
High-temperature rocks are from localities in Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Russia, Germany, Bulgaria and Northern Macedonia are the research objects. Rock samples collected during field work are intensively studied and new discoveries accompany our work. The scientific interests of our team correspond to the priority research areas of the University of Silesia (POB 5): “Research of the fundamental properties of nature”. The main result of the planned research will be expanding our knowledge about the composition of the Earth.
Name: Petrochronology and experimental petrology
Team leader: prof. dr hab. Aleksandra Gawęda
dr hab. Jerzy Cabała, prof.UŚ
dr Ashley Gumsley
dr Tomasz Krzykawski
dr Krzysztof Szopa
dr Rafał Warchulski
dr Hakim Rabia
mgr Krzysztof Kupczak (PhD Student)
Topic: Chronology and petrochronology, as well as crystallization processes involving melts at the contact with host rocks/materials
The studies carried out by the research team include a wide spectrum of crystallization and melting processes, their effects, and the interaction of melts (natural and synthetic) with the surrounding rocks/materials. This includes the dating of geological and anthropogenic processes using standard and novel isotopic methods on various minerals.
The two main research sub-topics:
- Chronology and petrochronology of rocks and there petrogenesis in the vicinity of the East European Platform (Brunovistulia, Proto-Carpathians, South-European terranes) from the Neoproterozoic to Neogene, and chronology of Mesoarchean to Neoproterozoic events in southern Africa which can be linked with large igneous provinces (LIPs), climate change and paleogeography.
- Experimental investigation of pyrometallurgical slags and ceramics from southern Poland, as well as potentially toxic element (PTE) migration from slags and related wastes, to the natural environment; and finally, geochemical stability/instability of the pyrometallurgical wastes.
Name: Cryosphere and Geoinformation
Team leader: dr hab. Mariusz Grabiec, prof. UŚ
dr hab. Wojciech Dobiński, prof.UŚ
dr hab. Bogdan Gądek, prof.UŚ
prof. dr hab. Jacek Jania
dr inż. Małgorzata Błaszczyk
dr Michał Ciepły
dr Dariusz Ignatiuk
dr Michał Laska
dr Elżbieta Łepkowska
dr Agnieszka Piechota
dr Bartłomiej Szypuła
dr Andrzej Tyc
dr Kamila Banasik
mgr Katarzyna Stachniak
mgr Barbara Barzycka
mgr Kamil Kachniarz (PhD Student)
mgr Joanna Kajdas (PhD Student)
mgr Aleksandra Osika (PhD Student)
Topic: Assessment of climate change influence on the cryosphere and changes in the environment by means of geoinformatics.
The research aim of the team is an identification of present and past changes in the cryogenic environment of the Arctic, mountain regions and postglacial areas, as well as recognition of factors controlling them, in particular:
- Recognition of factors determining changes in glacier’s dynamics, extent, thermal structure, mass balance, glacier zones, drainage system and intensity of frontal ablation;
- Determination of trends in snow cover changes as well as their influence on the environment;
- Recognition of processes in precipitation-runoff transformation in the Arctic’s catchments;
- Recognition of influence of changes in high mountains’ cryosphere on slope and valley bottom morpho-dynamics and on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems;
- Landform classification and recognition of relief development using digital elevation models and quantity analysis;
- Recognition of the role of active faults in speleogenesis and morphogenesis of glaciated and postglacial areas in highlands and mountains;
- Arctic and alpine permafrost research.
Name: Environmental mineralogy & geochemistry
Team leader: prof. dr hab. Janusz Janeczek
prof. dr hab. Monika Fabiańska
dr hab. Mariola Jabłońska, prof.UŚ
dr hab. Danuta Smołka-Danielowska, prof.UŚ
mgr Barbara Liszka
mgr Mirosław Szczyrba
mgr Ewa Teper
Topic: Study of tropospheric air pollutants within the convective mixed layer, and their health and environmental impact.
Study of vertical and lateral dispersion of air pollutants using a hot-air balloon and mobile research laboratory aimed at validation of numerical models. Tropospheric dust radioactivity. Study of hazardous minerals and materials containing hazardous minerals (asbestos, radioactive waste, etc.). Investigation of minerals and rocks that may be used as geochemical barriers for immobilizing radioactive and potentially toxic metals.
Name: Solid fuel quality control and environmental studies
Team leader: dr hab. Iwona Jelonek, prof. UŚ
mgr Agnieszka Chećko (PhD Student)
dr Zbigniew Jelonek
mgr Sebastian Kuś (PhD Student)
mgr Piotr Sosnowski (PhD Student)
Topic: Creative studies of solid fuel tests and environmental samples
In the era of economic energy conversion from fossil fuels to renewable resources, despite of a phenomenon of CO2 reduction, both industry and the majority of scientists connected with the implementation of this new transformation towards the green economy, do not consider the outcomes of such changes to the environment. Due to a wide branch of RSE (photovoltaics, electro-mobility, wave and wind concentrating power), the research team will focus on aspects of solid fuels which are a product of industry specialising in biomass acquisition and processing (known as a biomass extracted as waste). In fact, this valuable raw material (woodchips, swaths etc.), is now unpredictably decomposing, and so the greenhouse effect increases. Fuels such as pellets and briquettes can be acquired from every available biomass, which is utilized in an unproductive manner up to almost 90 %. The research in this area is mainly concentrated towards creation of congruous fuel components as well as their incineration, measurement of waste gas pollution emission and quantiification of calorific values. The obtained fuels are modified in order to make green business simpler, and so as the water vapour, CO2 and methane emission are reduced under the level of the fossil fuels such as, e.g. natural gas. In order to maintain a high standard biomass research and their parameters such as gas emissions and basic compositions, the research team, aside from physical-chemical surveys, will apply an innovative evaluation method of the fuel material mentioned earlier. This consists of a petrographic method. The methodology is currently under validation studies (standards are development) in Poland and USA, and testing activities in the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Canada, China and India are ongoing.
Topic: Environmental studies of land degradation caused by historical mining
Soil contamination with trace elements in the mining area still remains an urgent research problem due to their negative environmental impact that needs to be assessed. Despite the wide application of the geophysical methods in different environmental problems, it continually remains methodologically challenging in soil contamination near waste dumps of historical mining and in assessing the success of the conducted remediation processes.
The aims of my study are: to validate geophysical measurements for detecting soil contamination by trace elements in the vicinity of the mining waste dumps; to determine the extent of soil contamination; and to analyse the physical and chemical properties of the soils affected and connecting them with the measured geophysical parameters.
Name: Climate and Climate Change
Team leader: dr hab. Ewa Łupikasza, prof. UŚ
prof. dr hab. Tadeusz Niedźwiedź
dr hab. Zuzanna Bielec-Bąkowska, prof.UŚ
dr hab. Magdalena Opała-Owczarek, prof.UŚ
dr Katarzyna Dąbrowska-Zapart
dr Artur Widawski
dr Łukasz Małarzewski
dr Quoc Bao Pham
mgr Tomasz Budzik
mgr Wojciech Pilorz (PhD Student)
mgr Dariusz Zajączkowski (PhD Student)
mgr Aleksandra Renc (PhD Student)
mgr Mohit Phulara (PhD Student)
Topic: Climate change and variability in various spatial and temporal scales
Research of contemporary climate change based on instrumental data and reconstruction of climate conditions in the Arctic, Poland and Europe, with particular attention on atmospheric circulation, precipitation and air temperature. Three scientific projects are currently executed, including: 1. Reaction of snow and rain on current changes in air temperature and atmospheric circulation, 2. Spatio-temporal changes in atmospheric circulation over Europe and The Arctic, 3. The impact of climate conditions on the annual growth of Salix uva-ursi Pursh on the SE coast of Hudson Bay. Another research area is urban climate, particularly air temperature inversions. The team is also working on the relationships between radiation balance, weather conditions and air pollution, which is important in terms of current climate change.
Name: Natural and anthropogenic radioactivity in geospheres
Team leader: dr hab. Dariusz Malczewski, prof. UŚ
dr hab. Magdalena Matysik
prof. dr hab. Jerzy Żaba
dr Maria Dziurowicz
mgr Marcin Sysło (PhD Student)
Topic: Natural and anthropogenic radioactivity in geospheres
The research issues of the proposed team include topics related to measurement and interpretation of natural and anthropogenic radioactivity levels in: (1) rocks and soils of the Sudetes, (2) minerals from global locations, (3) waters and sands of the Baltic Sea coast, and (4) fluvial riverbeds of the Vistula River. As part of the activities of the proposed team, radon exhalation measurements in selected fault zones of the Sudetes are also planned. In particular, radioactivity measurements in rocks of the Kaczawa Mountains, as well as the Table Mountains, will be performed and published.
An important element of the project, as part of international cooperation, is research of the natural radioactivity in rocks from the medieval Jeronym Mine (Western Bohemia). The Jeronym Mine was recognized as a National Heritage Site of the Czech Republic. It is a medieval, historic mine, which mainly extracted tin, tungsten, silver, bismuth and uranium ore. Geological and geophysical surveys are currently being carried out at the Jeronym Mine to securely open this facility for tourism. As part of the submitted project, in-situ gamma-ray measurements of the natural radioactivity of sands from the measurement sites located along the entire shoreline of the Polish part of the Baltic coast will also be measured. In addition, the radioactivity of the Baltic coastal water samples from the same sites as for the measurement of sands will be determined. In this scope of research, the Vistula River sediments will also be measured. Another goal assumed for the project is to conduct tests for natural beta radioactivity from metamict minerals and rocks. A new beta scintillation probe will be used for testing. The results of these studies will be the basis for applying for external funding (from the National Science Centre, Poland) to implement a larger research project.
The measurements will be carried out in situ and in the laboratory using apparatus from the Laboratory of Natural Radioactivity (Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Silesia), consisting of: a GX4018 and GX3020 gamma-ray semiconductor detectors, a RAD7 radon detector and a gamma and beta scintillation probe.
Name: Reconstruction of environmental changes
Team leader: prof. dr hab. Ireneusz Malik
dr hab. Jolanta Burda, prof.UŚ
dr hab. Maria Fajer, prof.UŚ
dr hab. Tadeusz Molenda, prof.UŚ
dr hab. Łukasz Pawlik, prof.UŚ
dr hab. Małgorzata Wistuba, prof.UŚ
dr hab. Maciej Waga
dr Albert Ślęzak
dr Beata Woskowicz-Ślęzak
dr hab.Krzysztof Wójcicki
mgr Katarzyna Sitko
Topic: Environmental change reconstruction
We use a range of research methods to reconstruct environmental changes, including geomorphological, sedimentological, palaeobotanical, geochemical, and geophysical methods, dendrochronology, LiDAR data and GIS. We mainly study:
- relief evolution,
- past activity of geomorphological processes,
- landslide activity and triggering factors,
- environmental record of human activity,
- air pollution in the past and in the present.
Our reconstructions are the basis for early warning and protection systems against the adverse effects of environmental changes. We focus on mapping hazards and risks related to landslides, debris flows, avalanches and floods.
Name: Organic and Environmental Geochemistry Team (GOŚ)
Team leader: prof. dr hab. Leszek Marynowski
prof. dr hab. Monika Fabiańska
dr hab. Aniela Matuszewska
dr hab. Magdalena Misz-Kennan, prof. UŚ
dr Maciej Rybicki
dr Justyna Smolarek-Łach
dr Ewa Szram
dr Adam Nadudvari
mgr Magdalena Goryl
mgr Marzena Barczyk
mgr Dorota Staneczek (PhD Student)
Topic: Genesis and occurrence of organic compounds in sedimentary rocks, anthropogenic wastes and products of caustobiolite combustion.
The team’s main scientific goal is to study immature organic matter from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic formations (from southern Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary), in the context of identifying rare and unknown organic compounds of biological origin (biomarkers and biomolecules). An important aspect of the research is to determine the genesis of such compounds, and their diagenetic transformations, from the starting compound (biomolecule) to the geochemical structure (biomarker). In addition, the purpose of the research is to obtain palaeoecological information based on the genesis and concentration of identified biomarkers. The research will also be conducted on objects of anthropogenic origin (post-mining dumps), where, in addition to the primary compounds found in coal and coal-bearing rocks, the entire spectrum of secondary compounds occurs. Due to self-heating of dumps in high temperatures, carcinogenic and mutagenic compounds (e.g., PAH, phenols, etc.) can formed and migrated. In addition, the team plans to conduct burn test studies and aqueous pyrolysis of immature organic matter. As a result of the experimental methods application, the presence of individual organic compounds and their transformations in the rocks and environment can be predicted.
Topic: Natural and anthropogenic seismicity
The seismological research of the team covers analyses of seismic events occurring in the Upper Silesian Coal Basin (USCB), as well as, in the Pannonian-Carpathian region. The origin of seismic events is different for different areas, but seismic effects on the surface – always the same – cause a negative influence on the surface, infrastructure, nature and humans.
Research on natural seismicity will focus on the geodynamics of the USCB block in the context of tectonic influence from the Alps and the Carpathians. The subject of this seismological research is associated with the ongoing PACASE project and the planned AdriaArray. These projects are so-called passive seismic experiments based on ambient seismic noise or earthquake records which are in general the natural vibrations of the lithosphere. These records will be used to model three-dimensional layers deep in the Earth’s interior, the properties of anisotropy, the properties of elastic rocks, and to find boundaries of discontinuity. Results will show the geodynamics of Central Europe and minimize the effects of earthquakes. The seismic apparatus of the University of Silesia in Katowice is been involved in these seismic experiments. This infrastructure consists of a portable seismometric network which contains seven broadband seismometers with accessories.
Another topic, realized during seismological research, is the analysis of dynamic phenomena caused by mining. This research is focused on the estimation of mining tremor mechanisms, analysis of seismic event origin: induced or triggered. Moreover, an attempt to forecast strong high-energy phenomena will be also made. This prediction will be based on the assumption of a “critical-to-point model” which uses the study of the variability of the rate of release of seismic energy/Benioff strain/seismic moment before a strong tremor. Furthermore, in 2020 and the following years, it is planned to continue work on the effectiveness of torpedo blasting and further analysis of seismic hazard in the hard coal mines in the Upper Silesian Coal Basin.
Name: Landscape research team
Team leader: dr hab. Urszula Myga-Piątek, prof. UŚ
dr hab. Jerzy Nita
dr Katarzyna Pukowiec-Kurda
dr Michał Sobala
dr inż. Anna Żemła-Siesicka
Dr Michał Apollo
Topic: Directions, dynamics and perspectives of transfomation of Polish landscapes in light of retrospective cartographic analyzes and monitoring of contemporary natural and socio-economic processes against the background of selected regions of the world.
The research topic of the main title: Directions, dynamics and perspectives for landscape transformation (Poland and selected regions of the world) in light of retrospective cartographic analyzes and monitoring of contemporary natural and socio-economic processes is aimed at a model of landscape transformation elaboration in regions subject to diverse anthropopressure. Research is conducted in relation to the main scientific approaches (structural-functional, physiognomic, genetic, evolutionary, axiological, methodical, etc.). As part of this overarching theme, work is underway on:
- updating the typology of Polish landscapes, identification and delimitation of new landscape types;
- the structure, texture and physiognomy of metropolitan landscapes, the diversity of landscapes on the scale of the Silesia Voivodship, the processes of landscape transformation (including in particular mountains and uplands areas), the forecast for the development of selected landscape types (in regional and typological approaches);
- methodology of landscape research – analysis of the usability of spatial data sources used in landscape research, development of new indicators and indexes for assessment of the degree of landscape transformation, and development of new methods of landscape interpretation;
- assessment of the scale of tourist anthropopressure in sensitive areas in terms of natural (e.g., national parks) and socio-cultural (cities).
Topic: Sedimentological classification of slope sediments and a stratigraphic interpretation of slope covers occurring in the mountains and uplands of southern Poland.
The subject of research is slope sediments in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, the Flysch Carpathians, the Sudetes and the Southern Polish Uplands. The aim of the research is to develop a universal classification of land slope sediments based on unambiguous lithological features and precise determination of the mechanism of deposition processes. In order to fully recognize the textural and structural features of the sediments, a micromorphological method is used in addition to macroscopic observations. In addition, the stratigraphy of slope cover is planned to be determined on the basis of the lithostratigraphic method and dating of the absolute age of the sediments.
Nazwa zespołu: Zespół badawczy Biomorfodynamiki Geoekosystemów Górskich
Team leader: dr hab. Łukasz Pawlik, prof. UŚ
dr Albert Ślęzak
Mgr Janusz Godziek – doktorant
Topic: Dynamics of biogeomorphological and weathering processes and their impact on the development of land relief at various spatial and temporal scales
Members of the Biomorphodynamics of Mountain Geoecosystems Research Team focus on the following scientific problems:
- biomechanical and biochemical weathering of bedrock caused by tree roots, rhizospheric bacteria, and mycorrhizal fungi
- geohazards in forested landscapes
- hillslope biomorphodynamics within windthrow areas
- impact of biogenic factors and geomorphology on forest ecosystems development in montane regions
- studies of deep weathering profiles and their meaning in long-term landscape evolution.
We focus on factors and mechanisms responsible for the activity and effectiveness of biogeomorphic processes. These processes are initiated and modified by biotic agents (living organisms). The aim of our research is also an evaluation of the intensity of short- and long-term consequences of living organisms’ impact on the circulation of matter and energy on the hillslope, river valley, and channel geomorphic domains. The main processes under our investigation comprise bioweathering, biotransport, and bioaccumulation and related with it soil, ecological and biological processes.
Name: Evolution of the Biosphere and Global Events
Team leader: prof. dr hab. Grzegorz Racki
dr hab. Paweł Filipiak, prof.UŚ
dr Agnieszka Pisarzowska
dr hab. Michał Rakociński
mgr Marcelina Kondas (PhD Student)
mgr Krzysztof Pawełczyk (PhD Student)
mgr Zuzanna Wawrzyniak
Topic: The history of the Phanerozoic biosphere , with emphasis on global events and mass extinctions
Starting from the general principle “the present cannot be understood and the future cannot be predicted without a deep knowledge of the past”, the general research topics include the evolution of the biosphere in the Phanerozoic, with particular emphasis on crucial global events and mass extinctions. A more complete understanding of the conditions for the development of fossil biota will be based both on the systematics and paleoecology of selected groups of fossils, as well as on interdisciplinary studies of key successions in the biofacies, sedimentological and geochemical (both isotopes and trace elements) contexts.
Detailed research issues for 2020 mainly result from four recently finalized or ongoing grants dedicated to the Devonian deep-sea environments as a key to understanding global perturbations (headed by G. Racki), Early Devonian flora from the Holy Cross Mountains (P. Filipiak), environmental changes in Givetian and Frasnian sediments in the light of palynological and isotopic studies (M. Kondas), and affinities and environmental significance of the Middle Paleozoic carbonate microfossils (G. Racki). Additional research comprises, among others, Ordovician microflora from the Holy Cross Mountains, as well as the completion of the Ph.D thesis “Late Triassic flora of southern Poland” by Z. Wawrzyniak.
Team leader: prof. dr hab. Oimahmad Rahmonov
dr hab. Małgorzata Nita, prof. UŚ
dr hab. Artur Szymczyk
dr Dorota Środek
mgr Sylwia Skreczko
Topic: Ecological and geochemical aspects of ecosystems changes.
The team’s research interests include issues related to understanding and determining the mechanism of relationships between vegetation and soil cover at different stages of ecosystems succession against biocenotic, pedogenic, geochemical, paleopedological, paleobotanic and paleoecological changes, which occurs in soil under the influence of natural and anthropogenic factors. The research involves the influx of macro- and microelements in the soil-vegetation system, determining the course of geochemical and mineralogical changes in mineral and organic soils, environmental conditions leading to the formation of soil and algae crust soil in sandy areas and their impact on the formation of initial soils and elements release to the pedosphere and the role of primary and secondary minerals in soil processes at its initial development stage. The research is conducted in natural ecosystems (juniper forest of the western Pamir – Alay massif, Fans Mountains, Tajikistan) and transformed grounds (southern Poland). The result of the research will be the expansion of knowledge of the functioning of ecological systems in various climatic conditions in the contemporary and historical aspect and their ecosystem services. The results can be used in the ecosystem plans (for forests, peat bogs), spatial development and in the next editions of the Polish Soil Systematics.
Name: Paleoenvironment and Chemostratigraphy
Team leader: dr Michał Rakociński
mgr Daria Książak (doktorantka)
Mgr Jakub Kucharczyk (doktorant)
Topic: Paleoenvironmental reconstructions of the global changes recorded in ancient marine sedimentary rocks in light of integrated geochemical, paleoecological and facial investigation
The main scientific goal of the group is the detailed reconstruction of the paleoenvironmental conditions and changes, especially inter-regional and global events, which are recorded in the ancient marine sedimentary rocks based on multiproxy records. The research of global events during Earth history (Phanerozoic), are the main topic in the development of the Earth Sciences, which have very important implications to understanding modern and the future climatic and biotic changes. Recently, the main scientific goal our group is the detailed reconstruction of the paleoenvironmental conditions during sedimentation of the Lower Carboniferous black shale and radiolarites representing the Lower Alum Shale Event (LASE) in the Holy Cross Mountains (Poland), Rhenish Massif (Germany), Montagne Noire (France) and Carnic Alps (Austria). Additionally, there are topics in palaeoecology of the marine invertebrates in terms of deciphering paleoenvironmental changes.
Topic: Processes shaping water quality in different climate zones in the context of local and global spreading of pollution
Environmental pollution is a global problem that finds particular reflection in hydrology by changing the quality of circulating waters. The study of environmental pollution is also a tool for studying physical and chemical processes occurring in hydrology (marker function).
Factors affecting the state of the environment include geographical location and local physical and geographical conditions, as well as the presence of sources of pollution within and outside it. Considered issues of the spread of pollution require an interdisciplinary approach and consideration of multi-faceted processes. The goal of the study will be to identify processes that significantly change the water quality of areas located in different places and the interactions between them. During the conducted research, selected methods and techniques will be used to thoroughly examine the environment in terms of water quality. This is one of the first studies of this type of multi-faceted topic on the spatial scale.
Name: Hydrology and water management
Team leader: prof. dr hab. Mariusz Rzętała
dr hab. Martyna Rzętała, prof.UŚ
dr Robert Machowski
dr Maksymilian Solarski
Topic: Trend of changes in hydrological conditions and water management in areas with varying degrees of anthropogenic transformation
The purpose of research carried out in the hydrology and water management team is to assess natural and anthropogenic changes in the aquatic environment, in particular – surface waters. The main directions of research include: (a) assessment of changes in the quantity and quality of water in industrialised and urbanised areas (e.g., changes in the small water cycle, building of so-called small retention, high and low waters, water quality), (b) assessment of the functioning of lakes and water bodies in conditions of varied anthropogenic pressure using as a case study selected limnic processes (e.g., water exchange, thermal and oxygen conditions, ice phenomena, eutrophication, alkalisation, bottom sediments), (c) assessment of the presence of toxic metals in the bottom sediments of aquatic ecosystems, (d) assessment of land and water management in areas of varying degrees of anthropogenic pressure (hypsometric changes, land management, occurrence and management of water). Field work is carried out in Poland and abroad. The obtained research results are of cognitive, methodical and application significance, e.g., in the development of land reclamation concepts, environmental impact assessments and optimisation of the management of water bodies.
Name: Axonomy, ecology and evolution of daylilies (Crinoidea)
Temat: Charakteryzacja taksonomiczna i paleoekologiczna liliowców.
In the near future it is planned to characterize, taxonomically and paleoecologically, crinoids (Crinoidea, Echinodermata) of the Czech Republic (Jurassic and Cretaceous; Outer Carpathians) and Ukraine (Jurassic and Cretaceous; the Carpathian Foredeep). It is also planned to start taxonomic observations of Early Carboniferous crinoids of Poland. So far, only Carboniferous columnals/pluricolumnals from southern Poland have been characterized. The author of this project has several complete forms and plans to acquire more. Parallel to the above, research on the body size changes of Palaeozoic crinoids on a macro-evolutionary scale will be conducted. If it turns out that crinoids have changed their size, an attempt will be made to answer the question whether the size trend (depending on what will be observed), resulted from neutral evolutionary drift or rather was induced by active selection. Particular emphasis will be placed on the Ordovician/Silurian and the Middle Permian. The author of the application considers the research of modern crinoids that will be observed in their natural environment in the Caribbean Sea. On the one hand, the research initiated by Prof. Baumiller describing the predator-prey interactions will be continuing, and on the other hand, it is planned to study the traces left on the bottom surface by the crinoids. This image will be supplemented with fossil data, which are partly already in the applicant’s possession.
Topic: Sedimentological record of environmental changes in the Pleistocene
The main goal of the project is the reconstruction of various sedimentary environments existing in the Pleistocene, especially during the development and decay of glaciations. It will allow us to recognize the conditions for the development of these environments and the main factors determining their nature. One of the most important factors was climate characterized by a very large amplitude of cyclical fluctuations. Therefore, the study of the sedimentary succession recording environmental changes in the Pleistocene allows not only a detailed understanding of the nature of the sedimentary environments themselves, but in the longer time perspective, also provides the possibility of a more complete understanding of the relationships that exist between the lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, which seems particularly important in the light of observed current and predicted climate changes. The topic being implemented includes a number of more specific research objectives, such as: Geological record of the development of subglacial drainage as a result of catastrophic flood flows; Research on glacial sediments in the light of the dynamics of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet; Specificity of outwash plain development in north-eastern Poland; Pleistocene river evolution.
Topic: Mineralogy and geochemistry of peatlands
Geogenic and anthropogenic dust deposition in peatlands. Characterization of inorganic particles in peat and their application in tracking past pollution sources, mainly from large-scale fossil fuel combustion. Peatland biogeochemistry and seasonal variations in trace metals cycling. Biogenic metal sulfide formation in polluted peatlands.
Topic: Glacier surges and glacial floods – the rate and characteristics of deglaciation of contemporary and former glaciated areas (in the light of geomorphological and geospatial analyses)
Glacier surges and the accompanying floods are violent phenomena concerning glaciers and their forefields occurring today (e.g., Spitsbergen, Iceland) and at the end of the Pleistocene (e.g., in the Polish Lowland). They intensify especially during periods of global warming, when an intensive recession of glaciers progresses, and thus the deglaciation processes. In addition, the relief of the area as an important local factor is considered forcing the nature of the ice cover and the evolution of the glacial drainage system.
- determining the impact of the dynamics of Spitsbergen glaciers on the relief of marginal zones and its changes during the deglaciation period;
- studying the morphometry of the frontal zone of tidewater from Spitsbergen glaciers to predict the phenomenon of glacier surge;
- determination of the influence of morphometry of the Spitsbergen valleys on the nature of ice cover and deglaciation processes;
- estimation of the melting rate of the buried blocks of dead glacial ice, detached from the glacier edge during the glacier floods in Pomerania in the light of similar studies for Icelandic forms.
Topic: Tectonic and geomorphological processes research based on the analysis and dating of cave deposits
Caves, as an environment shielded from external erosive factors, favor the preservation of sediments and structures resulting from processes after which traces on the surface have been obliterated. This is particularly important in the mountains, where the last glacier has eroded the marks left by previous ones. An additional advantage of the caves are deposits which are perfectly suited for dating. For precipitates, U-series dating has a resolvable age range of up to 550 ka. The cosmogenic nuclide method (10Be and 26Al) allows us to constrain the burial age of clastic sediments that can be determined between 0.3 and 5 Ma. Combining these two cave assets (preservation potential and dating), I investigate tectonic processes (such as quaternary fault activity, paleoseismology, uplift rate) and geomorphology (gravitational processes, the valley incision rate in mountainous areas in response to Quaternary climate change).
Topic: Research on rare, critical and ore minerals with particular emphasis on pegmatite minerals
The main objects of my research are Nb, Ta, Sc, Y, rare earth elements (REE), U, Th, Sn, Ti, Zr, Cs, Li, Be minerals of granite pegmatites from the Sudetes area and their surrounding vicinity (Góry Sowie block, Strzegom-Sobótka massif, Karkonosze massif). Since 2008, I am also part of the research team headed by Prof. Adam Pieczka (AGH, Kraków), which also includes scientists from Wrocław and Warsaw universities. We began our cooperation with research on pegmatites from the amphibolite and migmatite mine in Piława Górna.
In addition, I deal with the use of ore microscopy and scanning microscopy in the study of critical element deposits, mainly REE (Lugin Gol, Mongolia) and Co (Przecznica, Poland).
I also deal with topomineralogy and collecting of Polish minerals.
Name: Geology of ore deposits and mining and post-mining areas
Team leader: prof. dr hab. Lesław Teper
dr hab. Jerzy Cabała, prof.UŚ
dr hab. Sławomir Kędzior, prof.UŚ
dr Katarzyna Sutkowska
mgr Marcin Dreger (PhD Student)
mgr Dariusz Nawrocki (PhD Student)
Topic: Mining and post-mining areas – space of threats and opportunities
Relationships between hazards (seismicity, methane emission, heavy metal migration in soils and sediments resulting in contamination), and both geogenic and anthropogenic processes will be laid down in the areas of long-lasting coal and ore mining and processing.
Structural, tectonic and seismotectonic analyses will be performed. Spatial distribution of methane content and temporal distribution of gas emission will be assessed. Heavy metal behaviour will be traced using XRD, SEM-EDS, AAS, ICP-MS, EPMA and MC-ICP-MS (isotope fractionation) methods.
Tectonophysical results open up opportunities for more effective protection against seismicity related risks. A reliable account of methane-bearing capacity may stimulate activities aimed at reducing gas emission to the atmosphere and alternative use of coal-seam related hydrocarbons. Establishing characteristics and distribution of pollutants enable spatiotemporal source apportionment.
Name: Risk and protection of the soil and water environment
Team leader: dr hab. Andrzej Witkowski, prof. UŚ
dr Dominika Dąbrowska
dr Sabina Jakóbczyk-Karpierz
dr hab. Inż. Jacek Różkowski, prof. UŚ
dr Sławomir Sitek
dr inż. Marek Sołtysiak
mgr Kinga Ślósarczyk
mgr inż. Wojciech Rykała (PhD Student)
Topic: Qualitative and quantitative research on groundwater and its protection
- Determining resources and groundwater management, among others, in urban and industrial areas
- Hydrogeological cartography and regional hydrogeological studies
- Groundwater vulnerability to anthropogenic and geogenic pollution stimulated by anthropopressure and assessment of their risk degree from various pollution sources.
- Protection and qualitative and quantitative monitoring of groundwater in the Upper Silesia region and its peripheries, with particular emphasis on fracture-karst aquifers. The use of artificial intelligence to analyze monitoring data
- Multi-scale pollutant leaching studies (static, dynamic and lysimeter research)
- Groundwater flow and pollution migration modeling.
- Hydrological modeling in the catchment.
- Research on the environmental effects of using industrial waste in remediation work.
- The study of the chemical composition and assessment of groundwater quality.
- Research on the occurrence and sources of so-called emerging contaminants in groundwater and their migration in the soil and water environment.
- Identification of geochemical processes, pollution sources and groundwater residence time as well as their anthropogenic transformation using environmental markers, isotope studies and standard chemical composition studies.
- Research the interaction of surface water and groundwater and the study of bottom sediments.
- Managed aquifer recharge
- Assessment of geological and engineering conditions in selected areas in the Upper Silesia region and its periphery.
Name: Paleoecology and Taphonomy
Team leader: prof. dr hab. Michał Zatoń
dr Grzegorz Sadlok
dr Dawid Surmik
dr Tomasz Wrzołek
mgr Jakub Słowiński (PhD Student)
Topic: Paleobiology of marine and terrestrial ecosystems
Our research group is interested in wide aspects of paleobiology. Although paleoecology and taphonomy are leading themes, we deal with systematic paleontology and ichnology (trace fossils) as well, also in the paleoenvironmental context. Our specialities are:
1) paleoecological and systematic research of hard substrate biotas and their symbiotic relationships (Michał Zatoń, Tomasz Wrzołek, Jakub Słowiński);
2) systematics and taphonomy of Paleozoic arthropods (Krzysztof Broda, Michał Zatoń);
3) systematic paleontology of the rugose corals (Tomasz Wrzołek);
4) Mesozoic sedentary polychaetes (Jakub Słowiński);
5) ethological, taphonomic and paleoenvironmental analysis based on marine and terrestrial trace fossils (Grzegorz Sadlok);
6) taxonomy, paleopathology and taphonomy (including molecular) of fossil vertebrates (Dawid Surmik).
Topic: Thermal maturity of flysch sediments of the Grajcarka unit (Pieniny Klippen Belt, Poland)
The intricate geological structure of the Grajcarek Unit’s succession causes a variety of its interpretations in the context of the tectonic structure. The Grajcarek Unit is described as an oceanic suture zone, a flower structure associated with oblique-slip faults between the Magura Unit and the PKB (Pieniny Klippen Belt), or as a group of tectonic windows of the Magura unit within the PKB. The thermal maturity analyzes and erosion calculations of the Grajcarek flysch succession can be used to obtain the dynamics of development of the southern part of the external Carpathian sedimentary basin and help to solve the complexity of the structural interpretation of Grajcarek Unit.
The tasks are planned in two stages. The first stage is covered by field work in Czorsztyn – Szczawnica-Jaworki area, to collect about 40-50 samples from the following Jurassic-Cretaceous lithostratigraphic formations: the Skrzypny Formation (Fm), Szlachtowa Fm, Opaleniec Fm and the Kapuśnica Fm.
The second stage includes the analytical research such as: vitrinite reflectance (VR) measurements, the quality and quantitative determination of organic matter maceral composition, as well as comparative assessment of the Tmax burial and calculation of maximum erosion values using both Tmax and geothermal gradient.
Team leader: dr hab. Bogdan Żogała
prof. dr hab. Adam Idziak
dr inż. Krzysztof Jochymczyk
dr Jolanta Pierwoła
dr hab. Prof. UŚ Iwona Stan-Kłeczek
Topic: Geophysical surveys of geohazards
The scope of conducted research concerns geohazards occurring in a shallow geological base, including those resulting from mining exploitation.
Shallow geophysical reconnaissance connected with geodetic measurements allows us to study, among others areas designated for investment, including the detection and monitoring of landslide threats, the location of voids and zones of rock mass relaxation of both natural (karst) and anthropogenic (mining) origin, as well as for the identification of aquifers and the location of contamination. The diagnosis will be carried out by geoelectric, electromagnetic and seismic methods.
One of the significant negative impacts on the environment is the occurrence of seismicity in mining areas. To this day, the genesis of the strongest shocks and their connections with geology and mining has not been clearly explained. It is now recognized that induced seismicity is associated with two mechanisms that are reflected in bimodality of shock energy distributions. Low-energy seismic phenomena are considered a direct result of mining activities, while high-energy phenomena indicate the relationship of seismicity with the geological structure. The planned research will shed new light on the questions posed and resolve some of the controversies regarding the causes of strong shocks.
The established research team has extensive experience in the presented field of research, documented by publications and cooperation with other scientific and research centers as well as industry. The research will be conducted in cooperation with the Central Mining Institute, KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. and the Institute of Geonica of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
Nazwa zespołu: Hydrosfera
Lider zespołu: dr hab. Damian Absalon, prof. UŚ
dr hab. Magdalena Matysik
mgr Radosław Droździoł doktorant
mgr Natalia Janczewska doktorantka
mgr Łukasz Pieron doktorant
mgr Robert Urbaniak doktorant
Temat: Hydrosfera – hydrologia i gospodarka wodna w warunkach zróżnicowanej antropopresji i zmian klimatu.
Opis podejmowanych badań:
Zespół prowadzi badania w kilku nurtach obejmujących:
- zmiany odpływu i jakości wody w warunkach silnej i zróżnicowanej antropopresji;
- zmiany odpływu i jakości wody wywołane przez działalność górniczą;
- ekstremalne zdarzenia hydrologiczne i ich skutki środowiskowe;
- możliwości wykorzystania antropogenicznych zbiorników wodnych do łagodzenia skutków zmian klimatu;
- powodzie i susze,
- przyczyny i skutki likwidowania zapór i zbiorników zaporowych w Polsce i na świecie;
- opracowanie metodyki numerycznej oceny oddziaływania przedsięwzięć na środowisko wód powierzchniowych na poziomie wskaźników jakości dla elementów kwalifikacyjnych w oparciu o modele matematyczne,
- nowoczesne metody monitoringu opadów atmosferycznych oraz ilości i jakości wód w aspekcie zagrożenia środowiskowego i bezpieczeństwa ludzi,
- opracowanie metodyki ewidencji śródlądowych wód powierzchniowych
z wykorzystaniem metod teledetekcyjnych i narzędzi GIS.