Study geochronology in one of Switzerland’s most spectacular landscapes

· by Markus Egli · in Teaching and studying, What's new

How can we determine when certain landscape changes took place? What are appropriate dating techniques? How should the results be interpreted in terms of landscape history? And what does this mean for reconstruction of past climates? These were some of the guiding questions of the 14th edition of the Geochronology Summer School, which took place in Morteratsch in the Upper Engadine from August 27 to September 2, 2023.

Sawing into a large boulder to take rock samples, analysing tree rings and digging soil profiles: These are just a few examples of the many activities that took place during the week, as indoor lectures and outdoor exercises. Excursions led the twenty participants to the Morteratsch Glacier and the Val Bever to gain a deeper insight into the history of the landscape, glacier dynamics and permafrost – as well as the associated risks and dangers.

The «scenery», the hotel, the catering and the facilities were met with real enthusiasm by the participants. We received frenetic applause at the end for the successful program and the informal atmosphere, which is a great motivation for us organize it again next year.


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The Summer School is primarily aimed at PhD students and postdocs. Only a small proportion of participants usually come from Switzerland. This year’s participants came from all over Europe, but also from India and South Africa. Our aim is to offer this summer school at affordable prices and also to provide some financial support for people from low-income countries. We are therefore very grateful for the generous support of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Zurich.

Dating Techniques in Environmental Research
The Geochronology Summer School was held for the 14th time this year and the next one is already being planned. It takes place every year for one week in the Alpine region, so far at various locations such as Anzonico, Bergün, Klosters or Morteratsch
Next Geochronology Summer School: 1 – 6 September 2024

Markus Egli

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