Anke Zernack - New Postdoc

LaPaDis Project

01.06.2018 | Lara O'Dwyer Brown

ESP's Christian Tegner is part of the core staff for the Laboratory for Past Disaster Science (LaPaDiS) project, which is a physical/distributed research group anchored at the Department of Archaeology that brings together scholars interested in past disasters – the way human individuals and groups in the past responded to and coped with rapid environmental change and punctuated events. Using a wide array of analytical technique, the group investigates the relationship between past cultures and environmental events with a current emphasis on volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. 

Dr. Anke Zernack joined the group as a new postdoctoral researcher. She will be part of ‘Apocalypse Then? The Laacher See volcanic eruption (13,000 years before present), Deep Environmental History and Europe’s Geo-cultural Heritage’, an interdisciplinary project led by Assoc Prof. Felix Riede. The project focuses on the Late Pleistocene in northern Europe and aims to evaluate the potential impacts of the Laacher See volcanic eruption, which occurred during this period. Anke’s objective will be to revisit the dynamics of the Laacher See eruption as seen through its widespread tephra fallout. This will involve analysing the spatial extent and volume, isochron utility and hazard potential of the tephra fallout using modelling, geochemistry and sedimentological methods.

Originally from Koblenz, Germany, Anke obtained a Masters degree in Geology from the University of Bonn in 2003 focusing on the proximal stratigraphy and dynamics of the Middle Laacher See Tephra. She subsequently moved to Palmerston North, New Zealand and graduated with a PhD in Volcanology from Massey University in 2009. Her research aimed at reconstructing the last 200,000 years of cyclic growth and collapse of Mt. Taranaki through the stratigraphy, sedimentology and geochemistry of the produced volcaniclastic sequences in the surrounding ring plain, in particular debris avalanche and lahar deposits. During this time, Anke also participated in the scientific response to the 2007 Mt. Ruapehu crater lake breakout lahar and September eruption. Following a postdoctoral fellowship in Clermont Ferrand, France, focused on large-volume rhyolitic ignimbrites in Peru, she returned to Massey University to work on magmatic, eruptive and sedimentary processes at New Zealand’s stratovolcanoes including the 2012 Te Maari explosive eruptions of Mt. Tongariro. In the past years, Anke has worked with Maori and research organisations in New Zealand on fisheries and environmental projects and managed a multi-agency project aimed at assessing the opportunity of establishing a sustainable eel aquaculture industry in New Zealand. She is extremely excited to join the research programme at the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies and resume her work on the Laacher See eruption. 

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