The Section Geology, Mineralogy and Sedimentology

Our staff spends most of the time in the collections and exhibitions, occasinonally also working from home - therefore, we ask you to contact us via email!


The Section Geology, Mineralogy and Sedimentology comprises several geo-scientific research fields. Geology is the science of the earth and the variety of processes that act within the earth (e.g., earthquakes, magmatism) and on its surface (e.g., weathering, volcanism). These processes form different minerals and rocks. Sedimentology is a discipline within the field of geology that adresses the origin of sedimentary rocks. These rocks preserve evidence, for example, of ancient landscapes and climate, and help to reconstruct living environments in the geological past. The disipline mineralogy analyses the chemical composition of the earth and the conditions under which minerals and rocks form (e.g., ore deposits, gemstones, building stones).


The Geology, Mineralogy and Sedimentology section administers a variety of tasks as part of the SMNK's research program:

  • Documentation, analyses and interpretation of rocks in outcrops (e.g. quarries, mines or excavations) and drill cores.
  • Stratigraphy = age correlation of sedimentary rocks and reconstruction of the history of regional rock sequences (e.g. Upper Rhine Graben, Black Forrest).

  • Faciesanalysis = reconstruction of the origin of rocks. Metamorphic facies address the temperature and pressure conditions under which the rocks formed in the earth’s interior. Sedimentary facies characterize past depositional environments with all their componentes, such as fossils (animals, plants), climate conditions, temperature, water depth, oxyen content, ... In collaboration with paleontologists, the ancient living environment of fossil organisms can be reconstructed (e.g., excavations Unterfeld, Höwenegg, Öhningen).

  • Archiving and providing of collection and field data to the scientific community and the interested public.

  • Scientific and technical curating of the mineralogical and the geological-petrographical collections. Archiving, inventorying and digitalization of specimens, including scientific reference specimens.

  • Planning and presenting of geological and mineralogical permanent and special exhibits.

  • Support of the public relations section, e.g. with tours and talks.

  • University teaching and supervision of BSc-, MSc- and PhD-thesis.

  • Discussion and presentation of research results at conferences and workshops, as well as publications in scientific journals and books.

  • Collaboration with geological state authorities and universities.

  • Providing consultation to authorities and institutions.

  • Expert assessments and scientific reviews.