Long road...

Bring forth what is true
Write it so it it’s clear
And defend it to your last breath

Ludwig Boltzmann
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My PhD thesis would not have been completed and much more finalized without the help of numerous people - Thanks to all of you!

First of all I would like to thank my long-standing supervisors Prof. Dr. Romain Bousquet and Prof. Dr. Roland Oberhänsli for initiating this research project within the Graduate School GRK1364 and supporting me since my early days as a student in geology.
Romain Bousquet’s inexhaustible abundance of new ideas was the source of several aspects of this study, and his support, open-mindedness, and perpetual readiness to discuss, provided the basic condition for efficient research. His positive attitude to all kind of things and his enthusiasm towards geodynamics were enormously motivating. Even in the hardest times, when problems appeared to be insurmountable, Romain still kept on saying: “Findet man eine Lösung” - a french-accented phrase, which helped always to get through tough periods during my PhD. I will always remember our first year joint fieldwork in a very small car in Kenya.
From Roland Oberhänsli I learned how to look on geology and rocks in detail, even when you run up a mountain. His unpayable field experience, interdisciplinary interest, and knowledge about volcanism always encouraged me to follow my ideas. I profited a lot during fruitful discussions, constructive reviews of the manuscripts and his always-friendly support during the last years.

My study benefited a lot from the contributions by Prof. Manfred Strecker, PhD. His profound knowledge in East African geology and its tectono-volcanic evolution were of great importance for the successful completion of my PhD thesis. His efficient work on numerous manuscripts significantly improved whatever I wrote and always within an incredible short time. This efficiency was extremely helpful during the last month while my thesis was rapidly developing. I will always remember the situation in a seminar when he pointed out the special geological situation of the Yatta Plateau and finally gave the ignition to develop my principal ideas of this thesis.
PD Dr. Martin Trauth brought the results of my thesis into a new light and always saw my work from an interdisciplinary point of view. He helped a lot to find aspects that supported my theory in many ways and shifted this project more into the center of the GRK1364 East African group.

I would like to thank Prof. Cynthia Ebinger, PhD from Rochester University (New York) and Prof. Dr. Sierd Cloetingh from the University of Amsterdam for accepting and reviewing my thesis without any hesitation.

I also would like to thank my colleague and friend Jannes Kinscher who accompanied me during the fieldwork along the Yatta Plateau in Kenya during the second year. He did a perfect job as motivator during hard and frustrating times.
I had the great luck that Ernst Hauber and Joel Ruch performed their PhD thesis at the same time like me. With both I had stimulating discussions on the rheology and emplacement of lava flows and the interpretation of satellite imagery.
Antje Musiol performed XRF-analysis in cooperation with the geochemical laboratories at the GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ). Anne Jähkel was a great help during the sample preparation. As this was really the base for my thesis their help is greatly acknowledged.
Accordingly, I thank my office mates Dr. Paolo Ballato, Heiko Pingel, Dr. Angela Landgraf, Amaury Pourteau, Michael Krause, and Dr. Dirk Scherler for their collegiality.

I am grateful to Dr. Andreas Bergner for coordinating the Graduate School GRK1364 and keeping my head free to concentrate more on scientific and less administrative work. In this respect I shall thank all the PhD students of the GRK1364 for fruitful discussion, unprecedented team spirit, funny evenings in Potsdam’s “Waschbar”, and an unforgettable time during our two excursions to Kenya and the Indian Himalaya.
I thank kindly the German Research Foundation (DFG) for funding this project over the last four and a half years and giving me the opportunity to finish my thesis within the set timeframe.

Finally, I would like to express my deep gratitude for the encouragement and infinite support in so many ways to my family. And last but not least I thank Sarah for her understanding, patience, and love.