SGS Field Camp 2011

(by Aurelian)

In August 2011, SGS organized a three-day summer field camp in cooperation with Berlin Underworlds and high school students from Askanian Secondary School Berlin Tempelhof in Humboldthain Public Park in Berlin. All in all, nine SGS members, three representatives of Berlin Underworlds and 22 high school students as well as their physics teacher participated in this project.

The collaboration with high school students was a special motivation for us because we had to present our fields of study to young people without any geophysical background in an interesting and comprehensible but still scientifically correct manner. In the course of academic studies and especially after graduation either in academia or industry, the pleasant presentation of scientific topics or results belongs to the absolute basics of any geoscientist's day-to-day tasks. For many geoscientists, this becomes an especially heavy challenge if they have to present potentially complex scientific topics to people without any background in those topics. This is the reason why we have to praise the effors of our SGS Berlin & Potsdam members who did a great job in imparting their knowledge and in sparking interest among the high school students.

Humboldthain Public Park was created between 1869 and 1876 in honor of German naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt. It has seen an intense history with many bright but also some dark chapters. During World War II, a flak tower was constructed in Humboldthain Public Park which was composed of the actual flak tower in the northen part of the park and a second tower in the southern part. To the end of the war, the flak tower was also used as a bunker for up to 40,000 people. While the southern tower was completely destroyed by the Allies after World War II, they decided to destroy only the southern half of the flak tower because of the nearby railway routes in the north. Even today, the northern half of the flak tower is used as a lookout for locals and tourists as well as a starting point for guided historic tours of Berlin Underworlds.

The target of our geophysical measurements was an escape tunnel which connected the two towers. While the southern part of this tunnel was mapped by former measurement campaigns, there are still many open questions about the course of the northern part as well as about its condition and accessibility. In order to map the northern part and introduce the high school students to all the relevant methods of applied geophysics, we used geomagnetic, geoelectric and seismic measurement techniques. The processing and interpretation of the data was done on the third day of the summer field camp at the Institute of Geological Sciences on GeoCampus Lankwitz.

The SGS Field Camp 2011 was a memorable experience for all its participants because beside the scientific and didactic aspects we wanted to achieve, it was a lot of fun! We would like to express our gratitude to Berlin Underworlds and Mr. Stutenbecker from Askanian Secondary School for their great support and we are certainly looking forward to many future joint projects!

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