Past Lectures 2018

The ‘Freiberg Colloquium’ is a series of lectures of the Saxon State Office for Environment, Agriculture and Geology, of the Saxon Mining Authority, of the Geokompetenzzentrum Freiberg. e.V., of the Saxon State Archives/Mining Archives, of the Technical University of Freiberg and of the terra mineralia.

Thursday, 25 January 2018, 7.30 pm

Life in the Endless Ice – A Wintering Report

Dr Sissy Kütter, geophysicist, Gotha
160th Freiberg Colloquium, venue: Lecture hall terra mineralia, Freudenstein Castle

Every year just before Christmas, nine new technicians and scientists set out for Neumayer-Station III in Antarctica to relieve their predecessors and look after the station for the coming winter. Over the Antarctic summer from the end of November to the middle of February, the Neumayer-Station, at this stage housing around 50 scientists and technicians, is a hive of activity and the base for numerous projects. Then, when the last aeroplanes have set off on their journeys towards the warm north by the end of February, things get calmer but by no means less exciting. It’s at this point that the stormy season starts, the days get shorter, the temperature falls from a summery -5 to as low as -50°C, and all around the shelf ice several hundred metres thick the sea ice begins to extend. The polar night, during which the sun ceases to rise above the horizon at NMIII for more than 50 days, is also the time of starlit skies, polar lights and the breeding season for Emperor Penguins. Living and working in this setting is a unique experience and forms the subject of this lecture.

Thursday, 1 March 2018, 7.30 pm

291-Million-Year-old Ground: Habitat and Climate Record of
the Chemnitz Fossil Deposits

Prof. Ronny Rößler, Museum für Naturkunde, Chemnitz
161st Freiberg Colloquium, venue: Lecture hall terra mineralia, Freudenstein Castle

The petrified forest of Chemnitz is also called the "Pompeii of the Permian". 291 million years ago, a very explosive volcanic eruption took place there. Under the ember ash cloud not only a spectacular fossil deposit has been preserved, but an entire ecosystem of plants and animals and their interactions has been conserved on the spot. Spectacular finds tell about the life and death of a tropical oasis, about the destructive power and conservation of volcanic activity. A paleo-ground of the ancient forest ecosystem plays a key role in the analysis and research of the fossil deposit. In a cave a few centimeters below the earth's surface in the tree root network even impressions of scorpions were found. In one case, a male and a female specimen in close spatial relationship. The coronation of indiscretion is shown in the lecture.

The speaker is director of the Museum of Natural History in Chemnitz, Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Ronny Rößler. Prof. Rößler is Visiting Professor of Paleobotany at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg.

Reconstruction of the habitat with a prehistoric scorpion © Dr. Frederik Spindler, Freiberg

Thursday, 22 March 2018, 7.30 pm

Pre-Cenozoic Indications of Mineralisation in the Bitterfeld-Delitzsch Region and Their Relation to Magmatic Activities

Dr Bodo-Carlo Ehling, Director of Saxony-Anhalt Geological Service Department
162nd Freiberg Colloquium, venue: Lecture hall terra mineralia, Freudenstein Castle

In the north-west of Saxony, close to the border with Saxony-Anhalt, beneath approximately 100m of thick unconsolidated rock, including clay, sand and lignite, lies one of the most geologically spectacular regions of Central Europe. The geology of the region, which is only known from boreholes, is made even more difficult to understand due to a range of faults with displacements of several hundred metres. Earthquakes still occur in the Vogtland today, due to the ongoing southward movement of the large-scale tectonic structure. During various epochs of geological history, tectonic and magmatic events occurred here, leading to the formation of a wide range of signs of mineralisation. The youngest geological magmatism is of particular significance. Here, a very rare form of intensive volcanism occurred, roughly 70 million years ago. The rock consists of carbonate, and not the usual silicate. Across the globe, as it is here, rare earth element enrichment can be observed in this “carbonatite” rock. Geology doesn’t end at state borders, so the regional authorities in Saxony Anhalt and Saxony have launched a research project that focuses on the region, in the form of various activities. Dr Bodo-Carlo Ehling’s lecture will draw your attention to the significant potential of the deposits of the Delitzsch region.

The SES 1/2012 borehole Storkwitz, bored through the rare earth-bearing carbonatite breccia body.

Thursday, 26 April 2018, 7.30 pm

The Electric Impulse Process: Development Journey of a new Drilling System

Franziska Lehmann (Engineering, TU BAF), Erik Anders (Engineering, TU Dresden)
163rd Freiberg Colloquium, venue: Lecture hall terra mineralia, Freudenstein Castle

If you took a walk through the TU Bergakademie Freiberg campus between mid-August and mid-October of last year, you might have come across a roughly 12m-high drilling tower near Gustav-Zeuner-Straße. What was that all about? A Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)-sponsored partnership between the Institute of Drilling Engineering and Fluid Mining (TU Bergakademie Freiberg), the Institute of Fluid Power (TU Dresden), the Institute of High Voltage Engineering (TU Dresden) and partners from the industry is developing a new drilling process for the pulverisation of hard rock. The new technique is based on the so-called electro-impulse process (EIP). Within one second, around 25 bolts at a voltage of 500,000 volts are generated. They “blast” the rock at the base of the borehole. Since this process, unlike conventional boring methods, is non-contact and works without any moving parts at the head of the drill, there is no need for the constant, expensive removal and reinsertion of the drill pipe – which is usually several kilometres long – to change blunt drill bits. Just the lower cost of drilling enabled by this process –a fraction of what it was before – means that this process offers enormous potential in the field of deep geothermal energy. Until now, high costs hindered it from making a widespread breakthrough into the energy market. With the new drilling process, costs for deep geothermal drilling in hard rock – as is found in the Erzgebirge in Saxony for example – are expected to drop to the point where utilising geothermal energy to produce environment-friendly heating and electricity will become economical. This could signify a major step forward in the transition towards sustainable energy.

The test drilling in autumn last year was the climax of 10 years of research work. Find out more about the development of this innovative drilling process and trace the history of an idea from a laboratory-based feasibility study, through the development of a new drill head, to the in-situ trial of the electro impulse drilling system at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg campus test site.

Thursday, 31 May 2018, 7.30 pm

‘… for there was nothing to see but suffering …’ –
Shaft Collapse at the Neue Fundgrube in Lugau, 1867:
Causes and Effects of one of Germany’s Worst Mining Disasters

Heino Neuber, Oelsnitz Mining Museum
164th Freiberg Colloquium, venue: Lecture hall terra mineralia, Freudenstein Castle

"The first of July, 1867, promised to be a beautiful day. The sun had come up in the cloudless sky, the dew-fields of the meadows were twinkling in their golden glow, the seed-fields were swaying. Soon it was alive in the corridors, because from all sides came the miners in the area to shift. Did the Creator want to show nature once more in fullest glory to those who were to journey for the last time? "

For 101 miners of the "New Treasure Trove" of the Zwickau-Lugauer Coal Mining Association, the site of their heavy and dangerous work on that day meant a deadly trap. A shaft fracture sealed the only day's exit of the mine in Lugau, western Saxony. Rescue attempts were unsuccessful. 45 women with 137 children lost the man, the father - the breadwinner.

This mine catastrophe, one of the heaviest in Germany, had a hitherto unknown dimension in terms of the potential dangers of coal mining and the resulting human suffering. In no time, the nascent Lugau-Oelsnitzer district gained national attention. Saxony's hard-coal mining industry, which was emerging in the course of industrialization, became a focal point of legal, political and economic, as well as collective and social issues.

At the same time, the documentation produced using a variety of source material, which has just been preserved in the holdings of the Bergarchiv Freiberg, illustrates the importance that it holds within the mining industry as well as directly with regard to occupational safety and legal protection of the workers.

Based on a snapshot of the events of the summer of 1867, the lecture between individual destiny and the mass movement traces those developments that represented a significant step in the transformation of working and living conditions on the way to modern industrial society.