Olaf Bubenzer

Olaf Bubenzer
Universität Heidelberg · Institute of Geography

Prof. Dr.
Geomorphology, Soil Geography, Geoarchaeology, Drylands

About

186
Publications
41,047
Reads
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Introduction
Olaf Bubenzer currently works at the Institute of Geography, Universität Heidelberg. Olaf does research in Geomorphology, Paleoclimatology, Geoarchaeology and Geoinformatics (GIS). Current project are part of the 'CRC 806 - Our Way to Europe' and the 'CRC 1211 - Earth – Evolution at the Dry Limit'.
Additional affiliations
April 2012 - November 2015
University of Cologne
Position
  • Professor (Full)
October 2007 - September 2012
Universität Heidelberg
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (186)
Article
Although a number of studies have pointed out the remarkable slowness of Earth surface processes in the Atacama Desert, process mechanisms under such extremely limited water availability are poorly understood, and process rates remain unknown. This paper revisits the discussion on the formation of the prominent Atacama-specific hillslope zebra (sto...
Article
Full-text available
The preservation of archaeological remains and environmental information in a sediment accumulation can vary in caves and rockshelters, depending on external climatic conditions, and the circumstances within the shelter. Several sediment stratigraphies in the Horn of Africa are characterized by erosion layers, discordances and chronological gaps, t...
Article
Full-text available
Humans constitute one of the main geomorphological agents in modern times. As an example, post mining regions represent a typical landscape of the Anthropocene. Strong relief modifications are particularly obvious with open pit mining. However, many existing mining areas are lacking detailed pre‐mining information for the quantification of anthropo...
Article
Full-text available
Speleothem deposits in nowadays arid environments are important climate archives, as they indicate phases of enhanced precipitation and can precisely be dated by uranium-series dating. So far only very few of such archives have been found in the today hyper-arid Saharo-Arabian Desert (SAD). Therefore, the study at hand fills a gap that exists for s...
Article
Full-text available
Morphologies of highly complex star dunes are the result of aeolian dynamics in past and present times. These dynamics reflect climatic conditions and associated forces like sediment availability and vegetation cover as well as feedbacks with adjacent environments. However, an understanding of aeolian dynamics on star dune morphometries is still la...
Article
Full-text available
The Last Interglacial period is important for the spread of humans from Africa to Eurasia. Significant wetter climatic conditions allowed humans to live in the present-day arid landscape in Northeastern Africa. However, not only the environment but also other parameters, such as the topography and the availability of good raw material sources, impa...
Chapter
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Pandemiebedingt musste der überwiegende Teil der Lehrveranstaltungen des Sommersemestrs 2020 und des Wintersemesters 2020/2021 auch in der Geographie in Online-Formaten stattfinden. Eine der wenigen Veranstaltungstypen, die in Präsenz durchgeführt werden konnten, waren Geländepraktika in der Physischen Geographie. Bei dieser praxisnahen Übung lerne...
Article
Full-text available
The Sodicho Rockshelter in the southwestern Ethiopian Highlands presents a unique site that contains sediments of Upper Pleistocene and Holocene occupation phases of hunter-gatherer communities. Excavations and previous geoarchaeological research provided a first 14 C chronostratigraphic framework for the last 27 ka cal BP, which supports the hypot...
Chapter
Die geoarchäologische Forschung ist in starkem Maße vom jeweiligen Naturraum und seiner geomorphologischen und klimageographischen Ausstattung abhängig. Das Kapitel betrachtet zunächst fluviale Systeme in humiden und ariden Räumen, das heißt Flusslandschaften im Hinblick auf ihre Bedeutung für die menschliche Besiedelungsgeschichte und ihre Erforsc...
Chapter
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Article
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The hyper-arid Taflilat Basin, SouthEast Morocco, is dominated by two ephemeral fluvial networks and several ergs with various dune forms from barchans to mega dunes. Especially the genesis of the star dunes remains an open research question. Therefore, a new multi-sheet geomorphological map describes the surface dynamics in the basin. Identificati...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Rock shelter and cave sites can be suitable archives for archaeological remains and environmental records if the right conditions are complied with. There are a few sediment stratigraphies in the Horn of Africa that preserved information about human occupation during the Upper Pleistocene and Holocene. Unfortunately, little is known about human set...
Article
Full-text available
The effect of anthropogenic impact on groundwater resources in Southeast Asian countries is subject to scientific debate, since it is increasingly considered a contributor to the observed contamination of groundwater with arsenic. It can be diverse, and range from direct pollution, through alteration of hydraulic conditions to indirect effects on g...
Article
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Gullies are landforms with specific patterns of shape, topography, hydrology, vegetation, and soil characteristics. Remote sensing products (TanDEM-X, Sentinel 1 and Sentinel 2) serve as inputs into an iterative algorithm, initialized using a micro mapping simulation as training data, to map gullies in the northwestern of Namibia. A Random Forest C...
Poster
Full-text available
Als “Bergstraßenneckar” (BSN) wird der ehemalige Verlauf des Neckars zwischen Heidelberg und seiner früheren Mündung in den Rhein bei Trebur bezeichnet. Bisher ungeklärt ist, welche natürlichen und/oder anthropogenen Prozesse die Verlagerung der Neckarmündung in den Rhein bei Mannheim und die Verlandung des BSN kontrollierten. Neben Befunden zur fl...
Article
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In this report, we present the contributions, outcomes, ideas, discussions and conclusions obtained at the PaleoMaps Workshop 2019, that took place at the Institute of Geography of the University of Cologne on 23 and 24 September 2019. The twofold aim of the workshop was: (1) to provide an overview of approaches and methods that are presently used...
Conference Paper
The hyperarid parts of the Atacama Desert, N Chile, are among the driest places on Earth, and a number of studies have emphasized the remarkable slowness of Earth surface processes since the late Tertiary. Despite episodic overland flow or flash flood activity, salt-driven shrink-swell processes, dust deposition, and seismic shaking have significan...
Article
Full-text available
The article reviews the state of knowledge about distribution, sizes, dynamics, and ages of all sand seas (N = 6) and dune fields (N = 10) in Egypt (1,001,450 km2). However, chronological data (Optically Stimulated Luminescence, Thermoluminescence), used in the INQUA (International Union for Quaternary Research) dune database, only exists from thre...
Chapter
Geomorphologie: Aolische Prozesse und Formen im Überblick.
Chapter
Rolle von Wüstenrändern. Chancen und Probleme für Natur und Kultur.
Chapter
10 Hauptbodenprobleme im geographischen Überblick: Bodenerosion, Änderungen im Gehalt an organischem Kohlenstoff, Nährstoffungleichgewichte, Bodenversalzung, Versiegelung und Flächenverbrauch, Verlust an Biodiversität, Kontaminationen, Versauerung, Verdichtung, Staunässe.
Article
Full-text available
Leben wir in einem neuen, vom Menschen bestimmten Erdzeitalter? Diese Frage wird intensiv und kontrovers innerhalb und außerhalb der Geowissenschaften diskutiert. Während Geowissenschaftler nach eindeutigen Markern in Eisbohrkernen, Sedimentschichten und Böden suchen und dem „Golden Spike“ auf der Spur sind, der den Beginn des sogenannten Anthropo...
Article
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This study investigates synthetic aperture radar (SAR) time series of the Sentinel-1 mission acquired over the Atacama Desert, Chile, between March 2015 and December 2018. The contribution analyzes temporal and spatial variations of Sentinel-1 interferometric SAR (InSAR) coherence and exemplarily illustrates factors that are responsible for observe...
Article
Geological records indicate that the hyper-aridity in the Atacama Desert has prevailed since at least the Mid-Miocene. The 7-metre accumulation of colluvial sediments at the Salar Grande (21°S/70°W) studied here provides a fundamental palaeoclimate record to understand hillslope dynamics and its relation to humid periods. While 10Be surface exposur...
Article
Hillslopes represent areas of predominant denudation and constitute the transition and trajectory to floodplains; they play a crucial role in understanding the long-term landscape evolution of desert environments. However, although hillslope processes are known to be very slow or even stagnant in (hyper-) arid environments, process mechanisms under...
Article
Full-text available
During this study, the recent relations between the hydrological systems and the distribution of archaeological sites and obsidian raw material outcrops within the catchment of the Bisare River, around Mt Damota, and around Mt Sodicho in the southwestern Ethiopian Highlands were investigated. To do so, we combined geomorphological–hydrological anal...
Conference Paper
Hillslopes represent areas of predominant denudation and constitute the transition and trajectory to floodplains; they play a crucial role in understanding the long-term landscape evolution of desert environments. However, although hillslope processes are known to be very slow or even stagnant in (hyper-)arid environments, process mechanisms under...
Article
Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT), a non-destructive geophysical method, which aims at detecting sediment conductivity and its distribution including e.g. stratification, has been used in man-ifold research topics, for example in sedimentology, hydrology, and geoarchaeology. However, ERT is mostly used in humid to semi-arid environments, wher...
Article
Full-text available
Arid zone geomorphology has been a widely followed discipline for decades in historical and modern physical geography. The german Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie (Annals of Geomorphology) reflected these research efforts in 13 Special Issues, published between 1970 and 2006. After 13 years, this editorial introduces a 14 th Special Issue dedicated t...
Article
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Namibia is a dry and low populated country highly dependent on agriculture, with many areas experiencing land degradation accelerated by climate change. One of the most obvious and damaging manifestations of these degradation processes are gullies, which lead to great economic losses while accelerating desertification. The development of standardiz...
Article
Full-text available
The dynamic and tempo-spatial development of land cover changes focussing on vegetation development as a result of extraordinary rainfalls in the hyper-arid southern Namib Desert in 2006 is analysed through the use of mid-scale remote sensing satellite imagery (Landsat 5) and the derivation of two vegetation indexes (NDVI & MSAVI2). Interpretation...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Complex mega dune forms (esp. star dunes), representing the surface expression of highly multivariate systems, are still poorly investigated and understood. Yet their shape and sedimentological record display aeolian dynamics in past and present times, for example wind dynamics, sediment availability, sediment supply, as well as moisture and vegeta...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Ethiopia, a key area for hominin evolution and migration in Africa, experienced intensive tectonic, volcanic and climatic induced impacts through time. Prehistoric hunter-gatherer might have struggled but also coped with these environmental changes. One solution might have been the rescue into high-altitude areas during hyper arid phases, in accord...
Chapter
Full-text available
Age and origin of ancient famous Karez water systems in the oases of the Turpan Basin are open questions in geoarchaeological and historical research. Four hypotheses exist: (a) invention during Han dynasty more than 2000 years ago, (b) transfer of technology from Persian Qanat’s more than 3000 years ago, (c) independent invention of local Uyghur p...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Complex mega dune forms (esp. star dunes), representing the surface expression of highly multivariate systems, are still poorly investigated and understood. Yet their shape and sedimentological record display aeolian dynamics in past and present times, for example wind dynamics, sediment availability, sediment supply, as well as moisture and vegeta...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The hyperarid parts of the Atacama Desert, N Chile, are among the driest places on Earth, and a number of studies have emphasized the remarkable slowness of earth surface processes since the late Tertiary. Nevertheless, geomor-phic processes such as overland flow or flash flood activity, salt-driven shrink-swell processes, dust deposition, or seism...
Article
The recent discovery of Late Acheulean sites from Mount Dendi/Ethiopia (3270 m a.s.l.) questions the general assumption that high altitude mountain habitats (> 2500 m a.s.l.) are unfavorable for human occupation and that a late colonization of such areas has to be assumed. A total of 52 archaeological sites from all Stone Age periods were found on...
Poster
Full-text available
Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT), a non-destructive geophysical method, which aims at detecting sediment conductivity and its distribution including e.g. stratification, has been used in manifold research topics, for example in sedimentology, hydrology, and geoarchaeology. However, ERT is mostly used in humid to semi-arid environments, where...
Article
Full-text available
From ancient times, access to water in arid and hyper-arid regions has been crucial for life. Increased knowledge about groundwater conditions is therefore extremely important for the future development of desert areas. Gebel Duwi, a limestone ridge, sited in the today hyper-arid Eastern Desert of Egypt, was chosen for testing current hypotheses co...
Article
Desert oases are fragile agrarian areas, very vulnerable to sand encroachment by wind. Ensuring their conservation highly depends on our capacity to identify sand encroachment patterns, e.g. the origin of sand and its spatial distribution in the irrigated plots. Here we show how to tackle this issue using the case study of Erg Chebbi (Morocco), whe...
Article
Full-text available
Dünenlandschaften sind häufig in Kernräumen von Trockengebieten anzutreffen. Sie wirken faszinierend und beängstigend zugleich. Heidelberger Geographinnen und Geographen untersuchen Sand und Dünenformen, um deren Entstehung und Entwicklung zu verstehen, aber auch, um Gefährdungs- und Nutzungspotenziale für den Menschen abzuschätzen. Ruperto Carola...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The question of Anatomically Modern Human (AMH) dispersal from Africa to Europe during the late Pleistocene is one major topic in Paleolithic research, where the use of GIS-techniques and integration of paleoenvironmental data, paleoclimate models and DEM´s has highly increased. However, the challenge remains to integrate data which exists often on...
Poster
Full-text available
Introduction and Presentation of a new key study site for star dune development
Book
This book focusses on new technologies and multi-method research designs in the field of modern archaeology, which increasingly crosses academic boundaries to investigate past human-environmental relationships and to reconstruct palaeolandscapes. It aims at establishing the concept of Digital Geoarcheology as a novel approach of interdisciplinary c...
Chapter
Full-text available
Modern archaeology increasingly crosses academic boundaries by combining different new methodologies in order to answer research questions about ancient cultures and their remains. Above all, the geosciences became an indispensable counterpart of archaeology and cultural heritage management. As to the investigation of past archaeological landscapes...
Chapter
Due to today’s broad and often free availability of detailed satellite data, it became possible to examine desert areas on a large scale and, ideally, down to tiny details for old trans-Saharan route systems, which are abandoned since centuries or even thousands of years ago. Additionally, digital elevation models (DEMs) can be used to evaluate the...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While rates of hillslope processes and soil formation are known to be typically very low or stagnant under the hyper-arid conditions of the Atacama Desert, information on process rates and the influence of protective gypsum crusts on hillslope morphodynamics is scarce. Within the framework of the DFG-funded CRC 1211 "Earth-Evolution at the dry limi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The DFG-funded Collaborative Research Centre 1211 (CRC 1211) "Earth-Evolution at the dry limit" pioneers the research on the mutual evolutionary relationships between earth surface processes and biota in arid and hyper-arid areas of the Earth. In the Atacama Desert, a number of studies have pointed out the remarkable slowness of earth surface proce...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Sodmein Cave in the Red Sea Mountains in Egypt is one of only two archaeological sites (alongside Haua Fteah Cave in Libya) in Northeast Africa that document stratified deposits of human occupation from the Middle Stone Age to the Neolithic. The research in the Eastern Desert of Egypt investigates the dispersal of Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH) f...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Southwestern Highlands of Ethiopia play a major role for the evolution and migration of Anatomic Modern Humans across Africa and beyond. The Collaborative Research Centre 806 (CRC 806-"Our Way to Europa") focuses on this research to interpret and verify push and pull factors. Subproject A1-where this doctoral research is integrated-aims to reco...
Article
Full-text available
The area in the Central Eastern Desert at the limestone hogback of Gebel Duwi near Wadi Sodmein is currently under investigation in the Collaborative Research Centre 806 “Our Way to Europe”, (University of Cologne) in collaboration with the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA). In a joint fieldtrip in 2017 from CRC 806 and EMRA at Wadi Sodme...
Poster
The detection, quantification and monitoring of human induced relief changes is of particular interest for the debate about the “Anthropocene”. Mining activities are thereby an example, which have a massive impact. The Lower Rhenish lignite district in the Cologne-Aachen region has produced substantial relief changes with large open mining pits dur...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The importance and discussion about scales in Geoarchaeology is as old as its subject itself. Gladfelter (1977) was one of the first, who described the Micro-, Meso-and Macroscale context of archaeological features in a given environment related to a site. More recently, Butzer (2008) continues these tripartite approach, as he defines the Microscal...
Article
Full-text available
Holocene landscape evolution under human impact in the middle part of the Upper Rhine Graben area in southwestern Germany has not been investigated systematically. This is all the more surprising, as from the neighbouring loess covered Kraichgau area, human impact on the landscape and corresponding landscape changes have been documented since prehi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Seif dunes – which develop in the absence of vegetation and elongate in the resultant sand transport direction – are the prevailing dune type in many deserts of Earth and Mars and display a meandering shape that has challenged geomorphologists for decades. Understanding the factors controlling seif dune morphology may have impact for a broad range...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Linear Dunes, which align longitudinally to the resultant wind vector, are the prevailing type of the south-north trending and partially vegetated dunes in the Strzelecki Desert, Australia. However, particularly on the Cooper Creek floodplain near Innamincka, striking complex dune features consisting of transversely oriented east-west trending dune...