GeoLog

GeoLog

What’s on in Vienna this weekend

What’s on in Vienna this weekend

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!

Relax with Vienna’s best coffee

You can’t visit Vienna without going for a coffee and a slice of Sacher torte in one of the city’s fine coffee establishments. Try Cafe Hawelka, once a hub of Viennese artists, or Cafe Central, the legendary literati cafe.

Explore architectural wonders

Immerse yourself in Vienna’s architectural heritage with a visit to Wien Museum Karlzplatz, where you will find an exhibition of Otto Wagner’s architectural works. Follow the exhibition with a walking tour of the city to see these wonders for yourself.

Wien Museum Karlsplatz (Credit: Kbsen, Wikimedia Commons)

Get into the jungle

Step outside of the city and explore the Lobau, a national park fondly known as ‘Vienna’s jungle’. Catch a boat straight from the old city and travel in style.

Gardens, palaces and plants fairs

Enjoy the Viennese spring sunshine in the botanical gardens this weekend and while you’re there drop in on Raritätenbörse, Vienna’s exotic plant fair in the Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna. For anyone looking for a botanical souvenir of EGU, there promises to be a big range of exotic plants on sale.  For the less green-fingered, why not head to the Belvedere Palace next door and explore some of the spectacular art on display.

Design markets in the Museum Quartier

For anyone interested in design, there is an international design market (WAMP) outside the Museum Quartier on Saturday. It promises to showcase the best of local and eastern European design, accompanied by tasty street food and a lively atmosphere.

Superfly birthday night

For anyone wanting to party, Superfly radio (a Viennese radio station) is holding a 8-floor extravaganza at the Ottakringer Brauerei to celebrate its 10 year birthday, boasting international acts and all-night music. Hip Hop, Disco, Soul, Electronic beats and breaks, House and Latin music are just some of the genres on offer for those who fancy letting their hair down on Friday evening.

Strauss and Mozart Concert at the Kursalon

In the home country of Strauss and Mozart, any fans of classical music should head to the Kursalon concert hall for the traditional Viennese experience. There are concerts every evening this weekend. For those who want to treat themselves, why not book a ‘Concert and Dinner ticket’ and enjoy a gala dinner before the show in the Kursalon’s Restaurant Johann.

Schönbrunn Palace

If rooms of Baroque glory are your thing, then Schönbrunn Palace is the place to go. At the end of the seventeenth century Emperor Leopold I commissioned the architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, who had received his training in Rome, to design an imperial hunting lodge for his son, Crown Prince Joseph, later to become Emperor Joseph I. The park at Schönbrunn Palace, complete with maze, vineyard and orangery, extends for 1.2 km from east to west and approximately one kilometre from north to south. Together with the palace, it was placed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1996.

Announcing the winners of the EGU Photo Competition 2018!

The selection committee received over 600 photos for this year’s EGU Photo Contest, covering fields across the geosciences. Participants at the 2018 General Assembly have been voting for their favourites throughout the week  of the conference and there are three clear winners. Congratulations to 2018’s fantastic photographers!

 

Foehn clouds in Patagonia,’ by Christoph Mayr (distributed via imaggeo.egu.eu). A stationary cloud formed on the lee side of Mount Fitzroy. It evolved from a lenticular cloud (Altocumulus lenticularis) and turned into a funnel-shaped cloud during sunset when the photo was taken.

 

Jebel Bayda (White Mountain),’ by Luigi Vigliotti (distributed via imaggeo.egu.eu). An aerial view of the Jebel Bayda, a white volcano created by silica-rich lava (comendite) in the Khaybar region. The flank of the volcano was shaped by rain in the region during the first half of the Holocene.

 

Remains of a former ocean floor,’ by Jana Eichel (distributed via imaggeo.egu.eu). These limestone boulders characterise the landscape of Castle Hill Basin in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. The Pacific Plate collided with the Australian Plate during the Kaikoura Orogeny 25 million years ago, giving birth not only to the Southern Alps but also lifting up thick limestone beds formed in shallow ocean water.

 

Imaggeo is the EGU’s online open access geosciences image repository. All geoscientists (and others) can submittheir 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 http://imaggeo.egu.eu/upload/.

Shaking in the city

Shaking in the city

Bruce Springsteen was playing at Barcelona’s football stadium on 14th May 2016. 65,000 people were there to hear him as he launched into an encore including “Born in the USA”, “Dancing in the Dark” and “Shout”. But unknown to Springsteen, just 500 metres away, in the basement of the Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera (ICTJA), Jorde Díaz and his colleagues were also listening in via their broadband seismometer. “We have beautiful recordings of rock concerts,” says Díaz, the scientific director of the Seismic Laboratory at ICTJA, part of the Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC).

The first global seismic networks, installed in the 1960s and 1970s, were set up, not to record earthquakes, but to listen in on human activities. Their primary goal was to monitor nuclear tests during the height of Cold War tension. Since then, the same devices have been used extensively and successfully to record the Earth’s natural vibrations, allowing scientists to study earthquakes and volcanoes, as well as map the interior of the Earth in remarkable detail. But researchers are now turning their attention to human activities again; this new field of urban seismology aims to detect the vibrations caused by road traffic, subway trains, and even cultural activities.

“Our motivation for installing this station was mainly for outreach,” Díaz says, “to show [people] how a seismometer works.” But Díaz soon realised that there might be useful information buried within the seismic noise at this new station. “We identified a number of signals and we wanted to know the origin of these signals. Some of them are quite amusing,” he recalls.

Some of these less conventional signals were so-called “foot-quakes”, tremors associated with goals scored at the Barcelona football stadium. “We can get information every time there is a goal,” says Díaz. “Or at least every time there is a Barcelona goal. Not the other side! People jump and then the shaking is recorded at our instrument.” Indeed, ever since the famous Gol del terremoto, Earthquake’s Goal, in Argentina in 1992, we have known that football fans could be picked up by seismometers.

Springsteen’s concert was another of the less orthodox events that the seismologists were able to study. As well as a simple seismogram of the whole four-hour show, which shows the magnitude of the shaking through time, Díaz also plots his data on a spectrogram. The spectrogram reveals the different frequencies present in the vibrations and how they change over time.

Seismic record captured by the seismometer during the Bruce Springsteen concert. The upper panel shows the seismogram, while the lower panel shows the spectrogram where it is possible to see the distribution of the energy between the different frequencies. (Image Credit: Jordi Díaz)

The colour on this diagram then corresponds to the amplitude of the shaking. “You can see that every single song has a particular pattern,” explains Díaz, “and you can even define from the seismic data when we are moving from one song to another.” The vertical stripes in Díaz’s spectrogram correspond to the different songs, whilst the horizontal, red stripes indicate the main frequencies that are present in each track. “In the goal celebrations… the energy is distributed all over,” says Díaz, “while here [at the concert] you can see what we call harmonic structures. You have energy localised at precise [frequencies]. This is because people are dancing, moving in a coordinated way.”

As Díaz explains in his paper, published last year in Scientific Reports, the harmonic structures are likely to be because of a phenomenon known as the Dirac comb effect. As the audience dance to a track with a specific beat, they create a series of equally-spaced pulses in time. This then transforms to a series of “evenly spaced harmonics in the frequency domain,” which is the series of horizontal stripes for each track. Furthermore, faster songs tend to produce higher frequencies.

Rock concerts in a football stadium might sound light-hearted, but Díaz’s work is not without important applications. The majority of the concert vibrations are in the range of 1.8 to 2.5 Hz. Meanwhile, building codes suggest that, structures should not be built with resonant frequencies higher than around 6 Hz. As Díaz and his team have demonstrated, the precise vibrations that the stadium experiences vary depending on the activity occurring. But some of the higher harmonics at the rock concert are close to the suggested building limit such that, if structures were to have resonant frequencies close to this limit, then there might be the potential for damage to the building. “Additional work, following a more engineering approach, is required to know if structure excitation has a significant contribution to the total shaking,” says Díaz.

The shaking in the city that Díaz and his colleagues have been observing is not only good fun, but also potentially of significant importance for civil engineers.

By Tim Middleton

At the Assembly 2018: Friday highlights

At the Assembly 2018: Friday highlights

The conference is coming to a close and there’s still an abundance of great sessions to attend! Here’s our guide to getting the most out of the conference on its final day. Boost this information with features from EGU Today, the daily newsletter of the General Assembly – pick up a paper copy at the ACV entrance or download it here.

Union Sessions

The final day of the conference kicks off with the last Union session, Scientific research in a changing European Union (EU): where we stand and what we aim for (US5). Panelists will explore some of the challenges and potential threats to academics in the EU and how these issues can be addressed and overcome. The session will also outline some of the advantages of the EU, funding programmes that are currently provided and how the European Union can continue to develop and nurture its researchers.

Medal Lectures

Be sure to also attend the last two medal lectures of the assembly:

Short Courses

The last leg of short courses offers insight into new technologies, tips for publishing your work, and advice on how to develop your career. Here are a few of the short courses you can check out today:

Scientific Sessions

The three final interdisciplinary events also take place today. Early in the morning a series of talks will discuss biogeomorphology: conceptualising and quantifying processes, rates and feedbacks. Another session will explore medical geology, an emerging field of science that is dealing with the impact of natural geological factors, process and material on humans and animals health. Our final interdisciplinary event will explore sea-level changes from minutes to millennia, highlighting proxy records for constraining our understanding of present and future sea-level change

It’s your last chance to make the most of the networking opportunities at the General Assembly, so get on down to the poster halls and strike up a conversation. If you’re in the queue for coffee, find out what the person ahead is investigating – you never know when you might start building the next exciting collaboration! Here are some of today’s scientific highlights:

Today we also announce the results of the EGU Photo Contest! Head over to the EGU Booth at 12:15 to find out who the winners are.

What have you thought of the Assembly this week? Let us know at www.egu2018.eu/feedback and help make EGU 2019 even better.

We hope you’ve had a wonderful week and look forward to seeing you in 2019! Join us on this adventure in Vienna next year, 7–12 April 2019.