Friedrich-Wilhelm-Award 2020

  Piero Bellanova with certificate Copyright: © Piero Bellanova

Dr. Piero Bellanova was awarded the Friedrich Wilhelm Award 2020 from RWTH Aachen University for his dissertation.

After completing his Master's degree in geosciences at the University of Münster in 2015, Piero Bellanova spent some time as a visiting scientist at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey before moving to the teaching and research area “Neotectonics and Geohazards” at RWTH Aachen University in 2016 as a doctoral student. In his dissertation, Dr. Bellanova researching material processes that take place during a tsunami. The work is characterized by a wide range of methods (geology, sedimentology, organic and inorganic geochemistry, micropalaeontology). The focus is not only on the tsunami sediments and their distribution, but also on the content of organic-geochemical markers. These proxies are important - partly anthropogenic - indicators in the sediments that provide information on the whereabouts, residence time, conservation, and relocation of these substances during or due to tsunamis. In this way, the pollutant potential of tsunami dimensions and their uptake or relocation can be recorded, but these substances have so far hardly been investigated at all. The intensive geological fieldwork in Japan, India, Hawaii, southern Spain and Portugal during several research stays, as well as on the RV meteor cruise M152 off Portugal, was also essential for the success of his work. For the first time, sediment samples were taken on and offshore and their organic matter content was examined. This represents a scientific novelty that so-called “on-wash” sediments are compared with “backwash” sediments. Dr. Bellanova will continue to work as a PostDoc at RWTH Aachen University and tsunami research, he will investigate tsunami sediments off Japan for a self-funded IODP project that are related to the Tohoku-oki tsunami and older events.

The Division of Earth Sciences and Geography congratulates Dr. Bellanova warmly on receiving the Friedrich Wilhelm Award.