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Minerals under high pressure - a journey into the earth's interior

Begin: End: Location: Lecture Hall Building II, Lecture Hall 1 and 2
Event type:
  • Brötchen-und-Borussia
Portrait of Max Wilke © Max Wilke (privat)

Lecture in the series "Brötchen und Borussia" by Prof. Dr. Max Wilke (Institute for Earth Sciences, Universität Potsdam)

We encounter high pressure in life when we inflate a racing bike tire or when diving into great depths of water. Very high pressure occurs when an elephant wears stilettos with spiked heels. Compared to the earth's surface, the maximum pressures inside the earth are up to 3,500,000,000 times higher. The minerals of the Earth's crust, mantle, and core respond to the increase in pressure at depth with structural transformations to achieve increasingly dense packing of their atoms. These superdense minerals govern flow processes in the Earth's interior, which eventually lead to continental drift and plate tectonics in the Earth's crust and cause earthquakes and volcanism in many regions of the Earth.

This talk will explain how pressure is created at depth, how extreme pressures are created in the laboratory to synthesize and measure minerals, and how these synthetic minerals give us insights into the internal structure of the Earth.

We will demonstrate how pressure is created live in the lecture hall.

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Location & approach

The campus of the Technical University of Dortmund is located near the freeway junction Dortmund West, where the Sauerland line A45 crosses the Ruhr expressway B1/A40. The Dortmund-Eichlinghofen exit on the A45 leads to the South Campus, the Dortmund-Dorstfeld exit on the A40 leads to the North Campus. The university is signposted at both exits.

The "Dortmund Universität" S-Bahn station is located directly on the North Campus. From there, the S-Bahn line S1 runs every 20 or 30 minutes to Dortmund main station and in the opposite direction to Düsseldorf main station via Bochum, Essen and Duisburg. In addition, the university can be reached by bus lines 445, 447 and 462. Timetable information can be found on the homepage of the Rhine-Ruhr transport association, and DSW21 also offer an interactive route network map.



One of the landmarks of the TU Dortmund is the H-Bahn. Line 1 runs every 10 minutes between Dortmund Eichlinghofen and the Technology Center via Campus South and Dortmund University S, while Line 2 commutes every 5 minutes between Campus North and Campus South. It covers this distance in two minutes.



From Dortmund Airport, it takes just over 20 minutes to get to Dortmund Central Station by AirportExpress and from there to the university by S-Bahn. A wider range of international flight connections is offered by Düsseldorf Airport, about 60 kilometers away, which can be reached directly by S-Bahn from the university's train station.

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The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".

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