University of Göttingen: Big data in geochemistry for international research



Geochemistry was established as one of the central pillars of the geosciences by Victor Moritz Goldschmidt in Göttingen. It describes the formation and evolution of our planet, as well as the mass transport processes within the Earth systems. Applications of geochemistry include resource and environmental research. Large data sets are playing an increasingly important role in solving scientific questions in geochemistry. Now the University of Göttingen has inherited GEOROC, the largest geochemical database for rocks and minerals from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (Mainz). The database has been revised and modernised in its structure and made available to its global users in a new form.



The “GEOROC” database, the largest global data collection of rock and mineral compositions, currently contains analyses from over 20,000 individual publications (the oldest dating back to 1883) from 614,000 samples. Together, these data represent almost 32 million individual analytical values.



“Considering the often enormous effort that goes into collecting samples from remote corners of the world and the high costs of sophisticated analytical instruments, this database is a priceless treasure that will continue to inspire new research in geochemistry and also in related sciences,” says coordinator Dr Marthe Klöcking from Göttingen University’s Department of Geochemistry and Isotope Geology. “Global compilations of mineral and rock analyses are important not just for provenance studies in archaeometry, for example, but also in the exploration of planetary surfaces,” adds project initiator Professor Gerhard Wörner.



Among other things, this relates to the chemical composition, formation and evolution of the Earth’s crust on which we live. The basis for such research are global data on the composition of the rocks that make up our planet and their temporal evolution over the course of Earth’s 4.5 billion year history. Magmatic rocks and their included minerals, formed and crystallised deep within the Earth or during volcanic eruptions, play a particularly important role.



GEOROC will be maintained and further developed in the Department of Geochemistry and Isotope Geology of the Geosciences Centre at the University of Göttingen with support from the State and University Library Göttingen and the University’s Research and Transfer Services. In this way, geochemistry in Göttingen is making a significant contribution to national and international research data initiatives such as the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI), the “EarthChem Portal” of Columbia University in New York and the global “OneGeochemistry” network.

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