Author: Simon Blondel – OGS Trieste

This June 2019, the SALTGIANT ETN met on its second workshop in Trieste, Italy. The meeting was co-organised by Angelo Camerlenghi from the Instituto Nazionale Di Oceanografia E Di Geofisica Sperimentale (OGS), Simon Blondel the local SALTGIANT PhD student, and Anna Del Ben from the Department of Mathematics and Earth Sciences at University of Trieste (UniTS). In this post, I will give you a bride overview of what happened there. I hope this will convince you to join us to present you research for our next meeting!

As part of the interdisciplinary training of the SALTGIANT fellowship, the first week was dedicated to two courses: one on geophysics, and the other on Scientific Communication. Geophysical lectures were given by researchers from the OGS and UniTS, but also myself, for the seismic data processing part. This was the first time for me as a teacher in Seismic Processing and I loved it. If you have the opportunity, I encourage you to try. I found that it is a good way to test your knowledge and practice your presentation skills. We were given the opportunity to try what seismic data acquisition on land means and when you do it for only a few hammer shots you are not taking the fun out of it yet!

The fellowhip enjoying the good weather in Trieste to acquire some seismic data outside before cooling up inside during the processing class.

On the last day of this course we played a science game where we had to buy, analyse and interpret 2D Seismic sections and make an IODP proposal presentation to staff from UniTS and the OGS. We were divided in three groups and each had to do its own interpretation. Those of us who had experience in that domain were in charge of leading and helping the others. In the end we supported our own IODP proposal to drill the Messinian succession in front of Angelo Camerlenghi (OGS) and Anna Del Ben (UniTS).

The three working groups trying to find the optimal location for an IODP proposal throught the Messinian trilogy.

The fellowship trying to convince Angelo and Anna to vote for their proposal.

The following two days, we received a training on scientific communication through social media and journalism provided by Simona Cerrato from the Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) and Eleonora Degano, Freelance science journalist and translator. We shared ideas on the benefits of using social media and how can you use them to communicate your research effectively. If you’re still reading this article right now I guess I did pretty well!

The contrasts between science, opinion and decision making.

As part of this training, we had the chance to listen to the story of the L’Aquila Trial, told by Alessandro Amato and Giulio Selvaggi, two Seismologists from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology. Following the earthquake in L’Aquila (Italy) in 2009, all the members of the Major Risks National Committee and other relevant experts were accused of manslaughter and serious injuries. Sentenced at first instance, they were then acquitted. They highlighted how important it can be to find the right words to explain science to decision makers and journalists, thus ensuring that your words won’t be distorted and your work misrepresented. This really caught my attention as this case brings into light the question of the responsibility of scientists and their work on making life-changing decisions. Now I wanted to share my opinion with you on that subject but I think there is already enough on the subject on the internet and I invite you to read the publication from Cocco et al. 2015.

During the weekend, we relaxed a little bit and we visited the karst plateau region surrounding Trieste, with guided tours of Grotta Gigante and its very own Marussi horizontal pendulums. Apparently, that tool is sensible enough to record tilts due to snowfalls in the mountains, which I personaly find amazing. If you want to know more then click here! Then we followed a guided tour through the breath-taking Škocjan caves, a UNESCO’s natural and cultural world heritage sites since 1986.

The fellowhip visiting the Timavo River resurgence (left), the Grotta Gigante cave (middle) and the Škocjan caves (right).

Vanni Aloisi, SALTGIANT Scientific Coordinator and PI of project ESR 6, presenting the project to the audience and to Luisa Marconi, the project Officer at REA (Research Executive Agency) at the European Commission.

The second week of the workshop brought together 35 Researchers PhD students and industry professionals from 17 institutions in 8 Countries who presented their work and debated on the Messinian Salinity Crisis. A few of us were given the opportunity to present their first results to the scientific community. The list of presentations id detailed below. Especially for this event, the Elettra sincrotrone Trieste opened its doors for a two hours visit after the first conference day.

Gaia Travan (ESR 13), Simon Bondel (ESR 10), Michael Dale (ESR 12), Mariam Attalla (ESR 14) and Beatriz Martinez Ruis (ESR 15) presenting their subject and their current research to the audience.

A lot has been done within this second workshop, new ideas and collaborations arise and the team spirit of the ETN SALTGIANT fellowship has been reinforced. We would like to thank all the participants who travelled to Trieste to share their ideas with us and contribute to the uncovering of the Messinian Salinity Crisis.

Thank you for all the researchers and industry partners who presented their work and shared their expertise for our research:

  • Johanna Lofi – Université de Montpellier
  • Angelo Camerlenghi – Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale
  • Vanni Aloisi – Institut de physique du globe de Paris
  • Rachel Flecker – Bristol University
  • Jens Kallmeyer – GFZ-Potsdam
  • Christopher Jackson – Imperial College London
  • Zohar Gvirtzman – The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Alberto Riva – GEPlan Consulting
  • Yasuhiro Yamada – JAMSTEC: Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology
  • Pezard Philippe – Université de Montpellier
  • Santiago Ledesma Mateo – Naturgy
  • Wout Krijgsman – Universiteit Utrecht
  • Paul Meijer – Universiteit Utrecht
  • Daniel Garcia-Castellanos – Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera (ICTJA-CSIC)
  • Eni
  • Università degli Studi di Trieste

We hope to see you numerous for the next SALTGIANT event!

The attendants during the first day of the second SALTGIANT workshop.

List of the presentations given during the second SALTGIANT scientific workshop:

Scientific Drilling. A tool to solve the controversy? The IODP and ICDP  Angelo Camerlenghi (OGS)
The “uncovering a salt giant” drilling initiative  Johanna Lofi (University of Montpellier, Angelo Camerlenghi (OGS) / Vanni Aloisi (IPGP)
“Investigating Miocene Mediterranean -Atlantic Gateway Exchange (IMMAGE) drilling initiative” Rachel Flecker (University of Bristol)
Exploration of the subsurface biosphere – Progress and challenges  Jens Kallmeyer (GFZ Potsdam)
Evaporite deposition and related salt tectonics, Santos Basin offshore Brazil  Chris Jackson (Imperial College)
The Messinian section in the deep Levant Basin and salt tectonics around the Nile deep sea fan  Zohar Gvirtzman (Israel Geological Survey)
Mesozoic evaporites in the Peri-Adriatic region: Distribution and genetic models Alberto Riva (GEPLAN)
Salt-related petroleum systems of the Mediterranean region Alberto Riva (GEPLAN)
IODP – An overview of the activities of Chikyu: the IODP Riser Drilling Platform  Yasu Yamada (JAMSTEC)
Downhole logging in evaporites  Philippe Pezard (University of Montpellier)
The Parathetis – Mediterranean connection during the MSC  Wout Krijgsman (Utrecht University)
The behaviour of land-locked seas. Insights from theory Paul Meijer (Utrecht University)
The North-Betic Strait and the MSC  Santiago Ledesma (Naturgy, former Pogesa)
The end of the Messinian salinity crisis: Looking for independent evidence for the Zanclean flood  Daniel Garcia Castellanos (CSIC, Barcelona)
Pore pressure evolution in western Mediterranean  Michael Dale (NOC, Southampton)
Topography of the Balearic Promontory during the Messinian Salinity Crisis: Isostatic response to evaporite deposition and sea level drop  Hanneke Heida (CSIC, Barcelona)
The expression of the Lago-Mare in the Western Mediterranean: Is there a need for Atlantic inflow? Federico Andreetto (Utrecht University)
From the details to the bigger picture; What can we learn from a one-dimensional water column model? Ronja Ebner (Utrecht University)
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