Martin Knippertz



+49 241 80-97629



Mongolia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. The country is characterised by vast steppe landscapes and mighty mountain regions with extreme, continental climatic conditions. Slightly more than half of the population lives in the capital Ulaanbaatar; in the countryside, most people lead a traditional life as sedentary or nomadic pastoralists.

The Mongolian government is pursuing an economic and political transformation process towards a socially oriented market economy with democratic structures. Mining is one of the pillars of the Mongolian economy. But environmental protection is also becoming increasingly important in the country.

For almost 30 years now, the Chair's team has been active in Mongolia with scientific projects.

Historically, the relationship between Germany and Mongolia has been characterised by long and close ties. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has been involved in Mongolia since 1990, followed by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in 1994, the year in which the first fact-finding mission to the country took place. Professor Frank Lehmkuhl and Professor Michael Walther coordinated the physical-geographical cooperation with the Institute of Geography of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences.




Due to many years of experience and an excellent network, Mongolia is a research focus at the department. Projects are regularly carried out with partners in Mongolia and numerous publications and theses have already been written on the subject. The project work and results are incorporated into the geoscientific courses of the working group. In addition to the scientific engagement, a project team of the chair supports the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the DAAD in the academic field in the development of the German-Mongolian University of Natural Resources and Technology.

More information on current and completed projects can be found under the links below.


Ongoing Projects

GMIT at night Copyright: © M. Knippertz GMIT main building at night.

Paleoclimate and landscape evolution in an extreme continental interior

Dunes as indicator of climate change in Central Asia (DUNE)

German-Mongolian Institute for Resources and Technology – Project coordination

Characterization of different landscape surfaces in arid environments by the use of Sentinel-1 SAR data


Concluded Projects

Evaluation of geomorphological findings in Central and High Asia

Geomorphological climate indicators in the Altai and the Alps

Late Quaternary glaciation, periglacial and eolian morphodynamics as a contribution to the palaeoclimatology of the high continental mountains of western Mongolia (Altai and Khangai)

Tipping points in lake systems of the arid zone of Central Asia – Q-TiP

Morphological climate indications in Western Mongolia

Late Pleistocene, Holocene and current geomorphodynamics in Gobi drainless basins (Southern Mongolia)

Environmental impacts of small-scale coal mining in Nalaikh, Mongolia



  • Lehmkuhl, F. (1997a): Der Naturraum Zentral- und Hochasiens. Geographische Rundschau 49:300-306.
  • Lehmkuhl, F. (1997b): The spatial distribution of loess and loess-like sediments in the mountain areas of Central and High Asia. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie, Supplementary Issues 111:97-116.
  • Lehmkuhl, F. (1998a): Quaternary Glaciations in Central and Western Mongolia. In: Owen, L.A. (Ed.). Mountain Glaciations. Quaternary Proceedings 6:153-167.
  • Lehmkuhl, F. (1998b): Ergebnisse neuerer Forschungen zur paläoklimatischen Entwicklung des Jungpleistozäns in Hochasien. Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen 142:239-247.
  • Lehmkuhl, F. (1999): Rezente und jungpleistozäne Formungs- und Prozeßregionen im Turgen-Kharkhiraa, Mongolischer Altai. Die Erde 130:151-172.
  • Batkhishig, O., Lehmkuhl, F. (1999): Soils of the Harhiraa Turgen mountains. In: Ministry of Nature and Environment, WWF, Uvs Aimag and Lake Uvs Basin SPAs Administrations (Eds.). Global Change and Uvs Nuur Sustainable development of the Altai-Sayan Ecoregion and transboundary nature conservation issues. International Conference, 6.-10.8.1999, 140-155.
  • Lehmkuhl, F., Klinge, M. (2000): Bodentemperaturmessungen aus dem Mongolischen Altai als Indikatoren für periglaziale Geomorphodynamik in hochkontinentalen Gebirgsräumen. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie, N.F. 44(1):75-102.
  • Lehmkuhl, F. & Haselein, F. (2000): Quaternary Palaeoenvironmental change on the Tibetan Plateau and Adjacent Areas (Western China and Mongolia). Quaternary International 65/66:121-145.
  • Grunert, J., Lehmkuhl, F., Walther, M. (2000): Palaeoclimatic evolution of the Uvs Nuur Basin and adjacent areas (Western Mongolia). Quaternary International 65/66:171-192.
  • Lehmkuhl, F. (2000): Alluvial fans and pediments in Western Mongolia and their implications for Neotectonic events and climatic change. Berliner Geowissenschaftliche Abhandlungen, Reihe A, 205:14-21.
  • Lehmkuhl, F., Lang, A. (2001): Geomorphological investigations and luminescence dating in the southern part of the Khangay and the Valley of the Gobi Lakes (Central Mongolia). Journal of Quaternary Sciences 16:69-87.
  • Nilson, E., Lehmkuhl, F. (2001): Interpreting temporal patterns in the late Quaternary dust flux from Asia to the North Pacific. Quaternary International 76/77:67-76.
  • Grunert, J., Lehmkuhl, F., Busche, D. (2003, Eds.): Innerasien. Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen, Themenheft (Heft 5/2003).
  • Stauch, G., Lehmkuhl, F. (2003): Der Mungun Taiga als Beispiel für die Einsatzmöglichkeiten von Landsat-7-Daten für glazialgeomorphologische Fragestellungen. Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen 147(1):4-5.
  • Lehmkuhl, F. (2003): Late Quaternary climatic change and aeolian sedimentation in the Altai region (Mongolia and Russia). Berliner Paläobiologische Abhandlungen 2:70-71.
  • Batkhishig, O., Lehmkuhl, F. (2003): Degradation und Desertifikation in der Mongolei. Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen 147(5):48-49.
  • Lehmkuhl, F., Böhner, J., Stauch, G. (2003): Geomorphologische Formungs- und Prozessregionen in Zentralasien. Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen 147(5):6-13.
  • Lehmkuhl, F., Stauch, G., Batkhishig, O. (2003): Rock glacier and periglacial processes in the Mongolian Altai. Proceeding of the 8th International Conference on Permafrost, 21-25 2003, Zürich, Vol. 1, Eds.: Phillips, M., S.M. Springman & L.U. Arenson, p. 639-644. Blankema, Lisse.
  • Klinge, M., Böhner, J., Lehmkuhl, F. (2003): Climate pattern, snow- and timberline in the Altai Mountains, Central Asia. Erdkunde 57:296-308.
  • Grunert, J., Lehmkuhl, F. (2004): Aeolian sedimentation in arid and semi-arid environments of Western Mongolia. In: Smykatz-Kloss, W. & P. Felix-Henningsen [Eds.]: Paleoecology of Quaternary Drylands: Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences 102:195-218. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
  • Ono, Y., J. Shulmeister, Lehmkuhl, F., Asahi, K., Aoki, T. (2004): Timings and causes of glacial advances across the PEP-II transect (East-Asia to Antarctica) during the last glaciation cycle. Quaternary International 118-119:55-68.
  • Yang, X., Rost, K.-T., Lehmkuhl, F., Dodson, J. (2004): The evolution of dry lands in northern China and in the Republic of Mongolia since the Last Glacial Maximum. Quaternary International 118-119:69-85.
  • Lehmkuhl, F., Klinge, M., Stauch, G. (2004): The extent of Late Pleistocene Glaciations in the Altai and Khangai Mountains. In: Ehlers, J. & P.L. Gibbard (Eds.). Quaternary glaciations extent and chronology, Part III: South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica, p. 243-254. Elsevier, Oxford.
  • Böhner, J., Lehmkuhl, F. (2005): Climate and environmental change modelling in Central and High Asia. Boreas 34:220-231.
  • Schlütz, F., Lehmkuhl, F. (2007): Climatic change in the Russian Altai, southern Siberia, based on palynological and geomorphological results with implications on climatic teleconnections and human history since the middle Holocene. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 16:101-116.
  • Lehmkuhl, F., Frechen, M., Zander, A. (2007): Luminescence chronology of fluvial and aeolian deposits in the Russian Altai (Southern Siberia). Quaternary Geochronology 2:195-201.
  • Lehmkuhl, F. (2008): The Kind and Distribution of Mid-Latitude Periglacial Features and Alpine Permafrost in Eurasia In: Kane, D. L. & Hinkel, K. M. (eds.). Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Permafrost, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, June 29-July 3, 2008, 1031-1036.
  • Grunert, J., Stolz, C., Hempelmann, N., Hilgers, A., Hülle, D., Lehmkuhl, F., Felauer, T., Dasch, D. (2009): The evolution of small lake basins in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. Quaternary Sciences 29:678-686.
  • Hülle, D., Hilgers, A., Radtke, U., Stolz, C., Hempelmann, N., Grunert, J., Felauer, T., Lehmkuhl, F. (2010): OSL dating of sediments from the Gobi Desert, Southern Mongolia. Quaternary Geochronology 5:107-113.
  • Lehmkuhl, F., Hilgers, A., Fries, S., Hülle, D., Schlütz, F., Shumuilovskikh, L., Felauer, T., Protze, J. (2011): Holocene geomorphological processes and soil development as indicators for environmental change around Karakorum, Upper Orkhon Valley (Central Mongolia). Catena 87:31-44.
  • Lehmkuhl, F., Klinge, M., Stauch, G. (2011): The extent and timing of Late Pleistocene Glaciations in the Altai and neighbouring mountain systems. In: Ehlers, J., Gibbard , P.L. & P.D. Hughes (Eds.). Developments in Quaternary Science Extent and Chronology A Closer Look, Vol. 15, 967-979.
  • Felauer, T., Schlütz, F., Murad, W., Mischke, S., Lehmkuhl, F. (2012): Late Quaternary climate and landscape evolution in arid Central Asia: a multidisciplinary research of lake archive Bayan Tohomin Nuur, Gobi Desert, southern Mongolia. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences 48:125-135.
  • Lehmkuhl, F. (2012): Holocene glaciers in the Mongolian Altai: an example from the Turgen-Kharkhiraa-Mountains. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences 52:12-20.
  • Lehmkuhl, F., Hülle, D., Knippertz, M. (2012): Holocene geomorphic processes and landscape evolution in the lower reaches of the Orkhon Valley (northern Mongolia). Catena 98:17-28
  • Stolz, C., Hülle, D., Hilgers, A., Grunert, J., Lehmkuhl, F., Dasch, D. (2012): Reconstructing fluvial, lacustrine and aeolian process dynamics in Western Mongolia.  Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie 56:267-300.
  • Klinge, M., Lehmkuhl, F. (2013): Geomorphologic Map of Tsetseg Nuur Basin, Mongolian Altai –lake development, fluvial sedimentation and aeolian transport in a semi-arid environment. Journal of Maps 9(3):361-366.
  • Lehmkuhl, F. (2014): Aeolian dust in mountains areas of Tibet and Mongolia. Conference Proceedings: 1st International Conference on Atmospheric Dust DUST 2014. ProScience 1:44-50.
  • Rother, H., Lehmkuhl, F., Fink, D., Nottebaum, V. (2014): Timing of late Pleistocene glaciations in the Khangai Mountains of Mongolia: Evidence for a MIS 3 glacial maximum. Quaternary Research 82:297-308.
  • Lehmkuhl, F. (2014): Physisch-geographische Höhenstufen in der Mongolei und ihre Bedeutung für den wirtschaftenden Menschen. In: Walther, M. (Hrsg.). 20 Jahre mongolisch-deutsche geowissenschaftliche Zusammenarbeit in 40 Jahren diplomatischer Beziehungen zwischen der Mongolei und der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Ein Begleitheft zur Ausstellung in der Deutschen Botschaft der Bundesrepublik Deutschland im Oktober 2014 in Ulaanbaatar. Eine Ausstellung zum Ergebnis von 20 Jahren gemeinsamer geo- und umweltwissenschaftlicher Forschungen, Ulaanbaatar, 52-66.
  • Lehmkuhl, F., Klinge, M., Rother, H., Hülle, D. (2016): Distribution and timing of Holocene and Pleistocene glacier fluctuations in western Mongolia. Annals of Glaciology 57(71):169-178.
  • Lehmkuhl, F. (2016): Modern and past periglacial features in Central Asia and their implication for paleoclimate reconstructions. Progress in Physical Geography 40:369-391.
  • Knippertz, M., Lehmkuhl, F. (2016): Rehabilitation und Nachsorge von Bergbaufolgelandschaften. Entwicklung von ökologisch und sozial verträglichen Alternativen. In: Kompetenzbereich Rohstoffe und Recycling. RWTH Themen Berichte aus der Rheinisch-Westfälischen Technischen Hochschule Aachen, Ausgabe 2/2016:16-19.
  • Klinge, M., Lehmkuhl, F., Schulte, P., Hülle D., Nottebaum, V. (2017): Implications of (reworked) aeolian sediments and paleosols for Holocene environmental change in western Mongolia. Geomorphology 292:59-71.
  • Pipaud, I., Lehmkuhl, F. (2017): Object-based delineation and classification of alluvial fans by application of mean-shift segmentation and support vector machines. Geomorphology 293:178-200.
  • Yu, K., Lehmkuhl, F., Diekmann, B., Zeeden, C., Nottebaum, V., Stauch G. (2017): Geochemical imprints of coupled paleoenvironmental and provenance change in the lacustrine sequence of Orog Nuur, Gobi Desert of Mongolia. Journal of Paleolimnology 58:511-532.
  • Lehmkuhl, F., Grunert, J., Hülle, D. Batkhishig, O., Stauch, G. (2018): Paleolakes in the Gobi region of southern Mongolia. Quaternary Science Reviews 179:1-23.
  • Lehmkuhl, F., Nottebaum, V., Hülle, D. (2018): Aspects of late Quaternary geomorphological development in the Khangai Mountains and the Gobi Altai Mountains (Mongolia). Geomorphology 312:24-39.
  • Yu, K., Lehmkuhl, F., Schlütz, F., Diekmann, B., Mischke, S., Grunert, J., Murad, W., Nottebaum, V., Stauch G., Zeeden, C. (2019): Late Quaternary environments in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia: Vegetation, hydrological, and Palaeoclimate evolution. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 514:77-91.
  • Nottebaum, V. Walk, J., Knippertz, M., Karthe, D., Batbayar, G., Pötter, S., Lehmkuhl, F. (2019): Arsenic distribution and pathway scenarios for sediments and water in a peri-urban Mongolian small-scale coal mining area (Nalaikh District, Ulaanbaatar). Environmental Science and Pollution Research.
  • Van der Wal, J.L.N., Nottebaum, V.C., Gailleton, B., Stauch, G., Weismüller, C., Batkhishig, O., Lehmkuhl, F., Reicherter, K. (2020): Morphotectonics of the northern Bogd fault and implications for Middle Pleistocene uplift rates in southern Mongolia. Geomorphology 367:107330.
  • Klinge, M., Schlütz, F., Zander, A., Hülle, D., Batkhishig, O., Lehmkuhl, F. (2021): Late Pleistocene lake level, glaciation and climate change in the Mongolian Altai deduced from sedimentological and palynological archives. Quaternary Research 99, 168-189.
  • Van der Wal, J.L.N., Nottebaum, V.C., Stauch, G., Binnie, S., Batkhishig, O., Lehmkuhl, F., Reicherter, K. (2021): Geomorphological evidence of active faulting in low seismicity regions examples from the Valley of Lakes, southern Mongolia. Frontiers in Earth Science 8, 589814.


  • Klinge, M. (2000): Glazialgeomorphologische Untersuchungen im Mongolischen Altai als Beitrag zur jungquartären Landschafts- und Klimageschichte der Westmongolei. Dissertation an der mathematisch-naturwissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Georg-August-Universität Göttingen; Juni 2000. Aachener Geographische Arbeiten 35 (2001), 125 p.
  • Knippertz, M. (2005): Analyse von Rehabilitationspotenzialen kupferbergbaulich beanspruchter Flächen in Zambia und der Mongolei. Dissertation an der Fakultät für Georessourcen und Materialtechnik der RWTH Aachen, November 2005. Aachener Geographische Arbeiten 40 (2005), 125 p.
  • Jansen, A. (2010): Modellierung von Klimaparametern zur Bestimmung von charakteristischen Gletscherkennwerten für das Turgen-Kharkhiraa-Gebirgsmassiv (Mongolei). Dissertation an der Fakultät für Georessourcen und Materialtechnik der RWTH Aachen, Dezember 2010. Online Veröffentlichung der RWTH Aachen:
  • Hempelmann, N. (2010): Aeolian geomorphodynamics in endorheic basins of the Mongolian Gobi Desert. Dissertation am Fachbereich Chemie, Pharmazie und Geowissenschaften der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
  • Felauer, T. (2011): Jungquartäre Landschafts- und Klimageschichte der Südmongolei. Dissertation an der Fakultät für Georessourcen und Materialtechnik der RWTH Aachen, Juli 2011. Online Veröffentlichung der RWTH Aachen:
  • Hülle, D. (2011): Lumineszenzdatierung von Sedimenten zur Rekonstruktion der jungquartären Landschaftsentwicklung in der Mongolei. Dissertation an der Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Universität zu Köln.
  • Murad, W. (2011): Palynological studies on the late Quaternary Palaeoecology of the Gobi desert in Mongolia. Dissertation an den Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftlichen Fakultäten der Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.
  • Yu, K. (2016): Paleoclimatic implication from late Quaternary terrestrial archives in the Gobi desert: Examples from the Ejina Basin and the Orog Nuur Basin. Dissertation an der Fakultät für Georessourcen und Materialtechnik der RWTH Aachen.