This guest post was contributed by a scientist, student or a professional in the Earth, planetary or space sciences. The EGU blogs welcome guest contributions, so if you've got a great idea for a post or fancy trying your hand at science communication, please contact the blog editor or the EGU Communications Officer to pitch your idea.

In Vienna for the weekend? Here’s a taste of what’s on offer…

In Vienna for the weekend? Here’s a taste of what’s on offer…

The General Assembly has come to an end, with only a few hours left to go. Many of the participants will make their way home over the weekend, but if you’ve chosen to stay on for a little longer, then this list of cultural activities and things to do in Vienna might just be the ticket!

Have coffee, Vienna style

Experience the true delights of Viennese coffee at Cafe Prükel. Strong and delicious – even better with a slice of your favourite cake.

Immerse yourself in Austrian artwork

Experience the work of Gustav Klimt, one of Austria’s most famous painters in a special exhibition on his work.

Explore the city by bike

One of the best ways to see Vienna is by bike – there’s no shortage of great tours around the city. Better yet, hire your own and take a trip along the Danube.

An evening of space science

Enjoy a mega space science celebration at Vienna’s Natural History Museum. Celebrate the first human in space and 50 years since the Moon landing with a talk from ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer.

Cafe Prückel, Vienna, Austria. (Credit: Andreas.poeschek by CC-BY-SA-2.0-at via Wikimedia Commons)

Seasonal markets – Easter

Visit one of the seasonal Easter markets where you can watch artists at work, see Easter decoration from different countries and snack on Austrian specialities.

Vienna Blues Spring – a Musical Festival

Enjoy some of the best local and international blues musicians.

Discover the work of modernist female artists

“City of women” is a long overdue exhibition of the works of Viennese artists that made a significant contribution to the artistic scene in Austria between 1900 and 1938.

Pritzker winner architecture

Explore modern architectural wonders designed by Pritzker winners such as Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid and the Herzog & de Meuron duo.

By Sara Mynott, Anastasia Kokori and Maria Rubal, Press Assistants at the EGU General Assembly

Groundwater springs harbour hidden viruses

Groundwater springs harbour hidden viruses

In many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, groundwater springs are a vital, precious source of water. They are also a reservoir of disease. Research presented at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna reveals that groundwater reservoirs in Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda contain diverse communities of viruses – including those that present a risk to human health.

The work, carried out by IHE Delft in the Netherlands and a number of local universities, is the first to find such extensive virus communities in groundwater. Amongst the 25 virus families found were pox and herpes viruses, responsible for a number of skin infections. Papillomavirus, which causes several types of cancer, was also present in the water. And this is just a fraction of what’s likely to be out there – other methods are likely to reveal many more, scientists involved with the new research say.

According to the new findings, the reason for this plethora of pathogens is poor sanitation in areas where freshwater percolates down from the surface and recharges the groundwater supply. Here, the viruses persist for several years before being discharged at the surface.

The virus communities were identified by extracting DNA from the groundwater. This graphic shows how they enter the groundwater and the local population. Credit: IHE Delft

Better sanitation and safe water supplies are needed to address the issue, but there aren’t always enough resources to tackle both. In areas like Kampala (Uganda) as much as 60% of the population relies on groundwater as a source of water. Simply switching to another source is not an option – there are none available.

In Accra (Ghana) and Kampala – groundwater systems are quite confined, covering an area that closely matches the distribution of the community. This means you can use a local approach to groundwater management, and develop something that works well for the communities living there.

Hydrogeolologist Jan Willem Foppen and his team take time to learn from the community, identifying pathways for the future together – an approach called transition management. Each pathway leads to small interventions, that the team can learn from. “When you work with a community and co-create knowledge, you get beautiful and unexpected results,” says Foppen.

For Foppen, the enthusiasm of the local population towards this approach is one of the most rewarding parts of the job: “we see this being replicated in other communities in Ghana and in Kampala, that is the biggest compliment we can get.”

This is still much to uncover about these virus communities. For example, scientists don’t yet know whether the viruses are dead or alive. 70% of the DNA found in the springs was unidentifiable. What’s more there is a whole separate group of viruses – RNA viruses – that haven’t even been studied yet.

By Sara Mynott, EGU Press Assistant

Imaggeo on Mondays: Double strombolian explosions at Mt. Yasur volcano

Imaggeo on Mondays: Double strombolian explosions at Mt. Yasur volcano

The Yasur volcano located in Vanuatu archipelago is permanently active since its discovery in 1774 by Cpt. James Cook. Its activity consists mainly in moderate regular strombolian explosions within the crater. But sometimes, more powerful explosions throw ash and bombs beyond the crater rim and may represent a hazard for tourists and people living next to the volcano. Otherwise, the Mt Yasur displays regular fireworks, witness from the living Earth.

Description by Jean-Guillaume Feignon, as it first appeared on

Imaggeo is the EGU’s online open access geosciences image repository. All geoscientists (and others) can submit their photographs and videos to this repository and, since it is open access, these images can be used for free by scientists for their presentations or publications, by educators and the general public, and some images can even be used freely for commercial purposes. Photographers also retain full rights of use, as Imaggeo images are licensed and distributed by the EGU under a Creative Commons licence. Submit your photos at