Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Oldest European lake reveals its secrets


In a recently published Nature article, an international research team with LIAG participation unlocks the secrets of Lake Ohrid that is located between Northern Macedonia and Albania. With an age of 1.4 million years, Lake Ohrid is not only the oldest lake in Europe, but also an ideal witness of Mediterranean climate history. The drilling took place within the framework of the ICDP (International Continental Scientific Drilling Program). The research team discovered pronounced low-pressure areas with intensive rainfall during interglacial periods. Similar phenomena could occur again in the future, as a result of man-made climate change.

In 2013, the international research team with LIAG participation began its investigations on Lake Ohrid between Macedonia and Albania. Researchers from various European countries drilled 568 metres into the sediment layers below the lake.

The drilling platform lay on Lake Ohrid for several weeks. An international research team carried out various drillings and measurements.


Preparations of a drill core that the researchers have recovered from the 293-metre-deep lake.


Five more years and various geological, chemical and physical analyses were needed to unlock the secrets of the sediments at the bottom of Lake Ohrid. Now, the research team was able to publish its results within the scientific journal “nature”.

Lake Ohrid is exactly 1.36 million years old and has experienced several warm and ice ages. Geochemical data and pollen findings show that it rained more heavily in the northern Mediterranean during the warm periods. The intensive rainfall occurred mainly in autumn. Due to the warm sea surface and the influx of humid Atlantic air masses, pronounced low-pressure areas developed in the northern Mediterranean.

These phenomena may be repeated in the Mediterranean region in the face of man-made climate change. In its regular reports, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) not only summarizes the state of scientific knowledge on climate change, but also forecasts the consequences of global warming for individual areas.

The IPCC's forecasts for the Mediterranean region do not provide a clear picture. With the findings from drilling in Lake Ohrid, researchers are now able to calculate more reliable scenarios for the Mediterranean region.

"What is special about Lake Ohrid is that it has hardly been disturbed by external influences in the last 1.4 million years," says Dr. Thomas Wonik, department head at LIAG and part of the international research team. The lake has never completely dried up, nor have catastrophic events distorted the geological picture.

That's why the researchers can reconstruct the local climate history very precisely. One approach is to compare the natural radioactivity of sediments with global climate reference curves. These curves show the cyclical climate history of the last five million years.

The sediments from Lake Ohrid highly correlate with the results of the global climate reference curve and show the same variations between ice ages and interglacial warm periods. "Rarely in geophysics can we read the dynamics of warm and cold periods so precisely from physical borehole measurements as in the case of Lake Ohrid," says Wonik.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Dr. Thomas Wonik
0511-643 3517


Weitere Informationen: (view-only version of the paper)

Katharina Maaß | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA, NOAA analyses reveal 2019 second warmest year on record
16.01.2020 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht New assessment of gas locked in ice in European waters
16.01.2020 | University of Southampton

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Miniature double glazing: Material developed which is heat-insulating and heat-conducting at the same time

Styrofoam or copper - both materials have very different properties with regard to their ability to conduct heat. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz and the University of Bayreuth have now jointly developed and characterized a novel, extremely thin and transparent material that has different thermal conduction properties depending on the direction. While it can conduct heat extremely well in one direction, it shows good thermal insulation in the other direction.

Thermal insulation and thermal conduction play a crucial role in our everyday lives - from computer processors, where it is important to dissipate heat as...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IAF establishes an application laboratory for quantum sensors

In order to advance the transfer of research developments from the field of quantum sensor technology into industrial applications, an application laboratory is being established at Fraunhofer IAF. This will enable interested companies and especially regional SMEs and start-ups to evaluate the innovation potential of quantum sensors for their specific requirements. Both the state of Baden-Württemberg and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are supporting the four-year project with one million euros each.

The application laboratory is being set up as part of the Fraunhofer lighthouse project »QMag«, short for quantum magnetometry. In this project, researchers...

Im Focus: How Cells Assemble Their Skeleton

Researchers study the formation of microtubules

Microtubules, filamentous structures within the cell, are required for many important processes, including cell division and intracellular transport. A...

Im Focus: World Premiere in Zurich: Machine keeps human livers alive for one week outside of the body

Researchers from the University Hospital Zurich, ETH Zurich, Wyss Zurich and the University of Zurich have developed a machine that repairs injured human livers and keep them alive outside the body for one week. This breakthrough may increase the number of available organs for transplantation saving many lives of patients with severe liver diseases or cancer.

Until now, livers could be stored safely outside the body for only a few hours. With the novel perfusion technology, livers - and even injured livers - can now...

Im Focus: SuperTIGER on its second prowl -- 130,000 feet above Antarctica

A balloon-borne scientific instrument designed to study the origin of cosmic rays is taking its second turn high above the continent of Antarctica three and a half weeks after its launch.

SuperTIGER (Super Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder) is designed to measure the rare, heavy elements in cosmic rays that hold clues about their origins...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

„Advanced Battery Power“- Conference, Contributions are welcome!

07.01.2020 | Event News

Latest News

A new 'cool' blue

17.01.2020 | Life Sciences

EU-project SONAR: Better batteries for electricity from renewable energy sources

17.01.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Neuromuscular organoid: It’s contracting!

17.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>