Research

2.1 Palaeoclimate reconstruction using groundwater as an archive
2.2 Radiocarbon dating of aquiferic waters on Great Plain
2.3 Novel and alternative age dating methods of subsurface water (Ar-39, Kr-85)
2.4 Examination of thermal water and thermal springs for their sustainable utilization
2.5 Palaeomorphology of ancient riverbanks

3.1 Atmospheric aerosols
3.2 Sudying the crystalline basement of the Great Hungarian Plain
3.3 Studying upper mantle rocks
3.4 Volcanological studies in the Ciomadul, East Carpathians
3.5 Applied research in geochemistry

1. – CLIMATOLOGY-PALAEOCLIMATOLOGY

1.1

Carbon in the atmosphere (greenhouse gases and aerosol)

Carbon-bearing components of atmospheric gases are studied. Besides CO2, other components like carbon monoxide, methane and aerosol will be investigated focusing on the 13C and 14C isotope composition. High temporal resolution and long term observation will be done in urban areas as well as a background rural site. Using isotope analyses, the source distribution of these greenhouse gases can be revealed in a state-of-the-art manner.

1.2

Treerings as archives

High precision carbon isotope analyses of tree rings sequences of thousands of years are used to understand long and short term changes in the global carbon cycle, biosphere and vegetation. As a partner group, we join an international research targeting to reveal the extreme galactic cosmic ray (GCR) events occurred in the past 2500 years. The research focuses on the polar region when searching for tree rings as archives of sudden changes of GCR. Trees from the southern hemisphere will be used to study the spatial distribution of the effect of GCR events.

1.3

Reconstruction of palaeoenvirnomental processes by analysis of lacustrine sediment and peat sequences

The aim of this projec is the reconstruction of climatic events and human impact in the past 15 kyr preserved by the sediments, accumulated in high mountain lakes. These lakes are sensitive to the environmental changes. Environmental events occured on the catchment area may result signals in the elemental and isotopic composition of sediments. Changes in water level, in soil forming processen around the lake, landslides, avalanches, tephra layers of vulcanic eruptions are the common events, could be detected by the chemical and isotopic analysis of sediments. High mounain lakes were selected for the study from the Carpathians. In the case of these lakes the results of pollen analysis and radiocarbon dating are still available, and the vegetation history of the area is intensively investigated. Other set of lakes are in less known areas of the Balkans. Peat bogs will be also investigated in frame of this study. One important site will be the Mohos (East-Carpathians, Romania), where the large peat deposit preserved the environmental history of the past 10 kyr.

1.4

Isotope geochemistry and thermometry from carbonate deposits

One of the research directions in this topic will be clumped isotope thermometry on freshwater carbonate deposits (tufa). In addition, biogenic carbonates will be a novel field of application. For instance, clumped isotope analysis of fossil otoliths will help to achieve the first quantitative water temperature reconstruction for the late Miocene Pannonian Lake. Further investigations include the examination of shells of marine and freshwater bivalves, which can be used to examine seasonal events over a period of 100 years. Based on trace elements (eg. Sr, Ba, Fe) and isotopic (eg. 87Sr / 86Sr) records from biogenic carbonates of long-lived Glycymeris glycymeris shells from the subtropical Atlantic the temperature and the intensity of terrestrial erosion variations will be evaluated.

1.5

Paleoclimate analysis of carbonate formations from caves

The investigation primarily intends to reveal past climate conditions (temperature, precipitation, vegetation change, particular events, etc.). The laser ablation MC-ICP-MS technique will provide possibility to obtain a higher spatial resolution of age-definition of the studied samples.This technique along with clumped isotope measurements and with fluid-inclusions analysis provides unexplored possibilities in the reconstruction of paleoclimate parameters and the identification of precipitation transport direction in the past.

1.6

Analysis of detrital materials from cave ice deposits and polar ice cores

Elemental concentration (Sr, Cr, Cu, Pb, Zn) measurements and isotopic analyses (e.g. Sr, Pb) are going to be done for the first time on cave ice sections (e.g. Porcika-cave, Bihar Mountains, Romania) located close to historically important industrial centers, which may help in identifying source regions or changes in processing technologies. Using water stable isotopic data, beyond the trace elements, past climate changes and first of all the regional-scale variations of atmospheric circulation can be tracked. Analysis of ice core samples is aimed, on the first place, at constraining source regions of dust accumulated on Greenland during the Last Glacial Maximum. For this to achieve, further characterization of potential sources in terms of clay mineralogy and isotope geochemistry (Sr, Nd and Hf) is required, together with new measurements on mineral dust recovered from ice core, focusing first of all on Hf isotopic compositions using the new MC-ICP-MS instrument.

1.7

Exposure age dating of rock surfaces using in-situ produced cosmogenic C-14 nuclide for a better understanding of past landscape evolution and laboratory development

The research will focus on the paleoclimate reconstruction using in-situ produced cosmogenic C-14 for the exposure age determination of glacial landforms and methodological development for the extraction and measurement of in-situ produced cosmogenic C-14 from quartz. Main objectives of the research: (1) Launching an in-situ produced cosmogenic C-14 laboratory in Hungary. (2) A better understanding of the Late Quaternary glaciations in the Southern Carpathians, with major emphasize on the deglaciation process and climate change following the last glacial maximum. For a more robust chronology, in-situ produced cosmogenic C-14 data will be combined with in-situ cosmogenic Be-10 measurements.

1.8

Research on buried paleosoils

Major goal of this research is the reconstruction of climatic and environmental changes occurred during/around the termination of the last glacial period and early Holocene. Resolution of soil profiles to be investigated is on the order of 10 years, thus can be compared to global records. Sedimentological, pollen analytical, macro-botanic, anthracological and malacological investigations will be undertaken on samples collected. Furthermore, the absolute ages of samples are planned to be determined by measuring 14C content of fossil material, including mollusk shells and peat material. The clumped isotope method is going to be used on selected secondary carbonates. One of the key questions to be addressed is whether the Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) cycles and Heinrich events were recorded in the upper, youngest part of the loess sequences. This way the reconstruction of the climatic and environmental history of the Carpathian Basin for the last 120 kyr will reach an international level, and the model of local climatic and environmental changes on the regional scale and also for the whole basin can be established.

1.9

Investigating Late Quaternary megafauna extinction in the Carpathian basin

Megafauna elements gradually disappeared from the Carpathian Basin during the last glacial maximum and in the subsequent Late Glacial period. The aim of this project is to apply AMS 14C dating on Late Weichselian bone collections of large Hungarian museums and this way clarify possible extinction times of the megafauna members. The second aim is to compare extinction times with coincident paleoenvironmental and paleoclimate changes in the Carpathian Basin inferred from the paleoecological study of lake sediments. In addition to radiometric dating, animal bones will be subjected to stable isotope measurements (d18O, d13C, d15N) that will be used to reconstruct temperature changes between 12 000 – 30000 cal yr BP, and make inference for the diet requirements of the megafauna elements and their yearly migration between regions. Using both biogenic (ostracod shells, chironomid head capsules, cladocera remains and diatom valves) and abiotic (biogenic carbonate)components of lake sediments dated between 12 000 – 30000 cal yr BP, the project will also study stable isotope compositional changes and make inferences for temperature, paleohydrological, available moisture and moisture source region changes during the Late Pleniglacial.

1.10

Climate change in the Mesozoic

During the Mesozoic the mainly greenhouse climate was divided by a number of short and rapid climatic changes, mainly warming events. From six Hungarian outcrops after high resolution sampling of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous marine sediment successions, using geochemical proxies we can reconstruct the changes in the Tethys Ocean. Our aim is to understand the processes of the geological system from the Late Triassic to the Early Cretaceous, an about 80 million years interval where six main events took place (Norian-Rheatian, Rheatian-Hettangian, Late Sinemurian, Pliensbachian-Toarcian, Early Toarcian, Valanginian). Due to the high resolution geochemical datasets we could understand more the past climate and environmental changes and reveal their effects on the biota.

2. – HYDROLOGY-PALAEOHYDROLOGY

2.1

Palaeoclimate reconstruction using groundwater as an archive

The only diect way to reveal palaeotemperatures is the calculation of solubility temperatures from noble gas concentrations dissolved in groundwater. To better understand how temperature has changed during the transition of Pleistocene/Holocene, we intend to broaden our view outside the Carpathian Basin. The following aquifers will be studied in the upcoming research period: Fratesti Aquifer, Romania; Pontian Aquifer, Bulgaria; and Turonian Aquifer, Morocco.

2.2

Radiocarbon dating of aquiferic waters on Great Plain

Numerous radiocarbon content and dating studies were carried out on drinking water bases of Great Plain in the past 20-30 years. Millions of cubic meter water were pumped out from these aquifer layers since then.

The goal of this study to find out how has the age distribution of the investigated water bodies changed as a result of production and how does it influence the maintainable utilization of the most significant water resources.

2.3

Novel and alternative age dating methods of subsurface water (Ar-39, Kr-85)

Adaptation of novel age dating methods: The half-life of Argon-39 is 269 years which makes it possible to load the application range between the tritium and radiocarbon water age dating methods. In spite of complicated measurement technology, there is a huge demand for it not only in the scientific community but also in the field of sustainable use of water resources. Only one or two laboratories are able to carry out such measurement method routinely in the World (Bern, Chicago, Heidelberg). The purpose of this development to construct gas proportional counter tubes which are able to precise and accurate measurement of Argon-39. The system will be installed in the subsurface National Laboratory of Gran Sasso (www.lngs.infn.it). Beside of Argon-39 measurement the device is also capable to determine the content of Krypton-85 of the investigated samples, which allow of the age dating of young waters (<60 years).

2.4

Examination of thermal water and thermal springs for their sustainable utilization

The understanding of natural processes connecting to thermal waters are essential for their sustainable utilization. During the research the recent and geologically preserved manifestation and precipitation connected to thermal water are examined in paralell for their comprehensive diagnosis. The evaluation  of recent processes and sampling are carried out in spring caves, wells and in-situ experiments.

2.5

Palaeomorphology of ancient riverbanks

The planned research aims a wide range of investigations in the topics of geomorphology and the water supply of oxbows along the River Tisza and its tributaries. The primary aim is to determine the age of the river beds and the deposited sediments based on the pace and characteristics of lateral erosion of rivers. Besides, we also focus on the spatial distribution and temporal intensity of floodplain using isotope geochemical techniques. Furthermore, the trends of natural floodplain development, scenes of erosion-accumulation processes and, the determination of the speed of surface leveling as well, are also the part of the project.

3. – GEOCHEMISTRY-ENVIRONCHEMISTRY-GEOLOGY

3.1

Atmospheric aerosols

Identification and characterization of atmospheric aerosol sources and their contributions. The main objectives of the project are to determine the sources and source contributions of particulate matter pollution in urban, village and remote sites, to characterize the short and long term tendencies, to establish the dependence of source contributions on local meteorological parameters, natural processes and human activities, and to develop adequate analytical techniques for these purposes.

Further objectives are to identify and characterize the local, regional and transboundary aerosol sources, to determine the potential source areas of particluate matter pollution.

3.2

Studying the crystalline basement of the Great Hungarian Plain

Crystalline basement geology: The purpose of this project aims to study the subsidence and exhumation history of the crystalline basement of the Great Hungarian Plain, which is essential in the research for unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs. Within the frame of the project, the 40Ar/39Ar radiometric age dating method, determination of the Cl/I/Br ratios in fluid inclusions, as well as the fission track methods will be established in our institute. Introduction of the new methods will facilitate us to conduct volcanological, sedimentological and economic geology related research projects in, as well.

Identification and characterization of atmospheric aerosol sources and their contributions. The main objectives of the project are to determine the sources and source contributions of particulate matter pollution in urban, village and remote sites, to characterize the short and long term tendencies, to establish the dependence of source contributions on local meteorological parameters, natural processes and human activities, and to develop adequate analytical techniques for these purposes.

Further objectives are to identify and characterize the local, regional and transboundary aerosol sources, to determine the potential source areas of particluate matter pollution.

3.3

Studying upper mantle rocks

The major goal of this project is to unravel the small- and large-scale heterogeneity and temporal change of Earth’s mantle by use of fluid inclusions. Determination of the volatile content (C, O, H, N, He) and isotopic composition of mantle fluids, relying on fluid inclusion petrography, will provide better understanding of the origin and evolution of volatiles in the upper mantle.

3.4

Volcanological studies in the Ciomadul, East Carpathians

Isotope ratios of mineral phases (e.g., 87Sr/86Sr in plagioclase and Hf isotope ration in zircons) in the dacitic volcanic product of Ciomadul are used to constrain the origin (mantle and/or curstal sources) of the magmas and reconstruct the magma mixing processes in the crustal magma reservoir. The inner compositional variation of the crystals provides information about the timescale of the reactivation of the crystal mush. Regular analysis of the isotope composition and the flux of the emitted CO2-rich gases are used to infer about the origin of the gases.

3.5

Applied research in geochemistry

3.5.1 Studying the chronology of melting events in meteorites using Pb isotopes

3.5.2 Iron minerals in soil: complex petrographic, mineralogical and chemical evaluation of iron precipitations formed in wet soil