Ruprecht-Karls-Universitšt Heidelberg

Pua Science

Mission Statement

Physics of Environmental Archives explores the climate messages left in various geological sedimentary archives such as corals, speleothems, calcareous tufa and marine sediments. We are interested in conducting high precision U-series and radiocarbon dating (the later in close cooperation with the Curt Engelhorn Centre for Archeometry ) and we focus on the cycles of trace elements and isotopes which serve to fingerprint the climate information we intent to retrieve. For more information explore our news and publications .

Scientific Projects

The scientific projects are predominantly funded through the German - Science - Foundation (DFG) where you can find abstracts and details on those at DFG - Gepris page of Prof. Norbert Frank

Further funding comes through the Heidelberg Graduate School of Fundamental Physics, supporting us through many different ways including recently a PhD fellowship. Most importantly however, the HGSFP provides an excellent environment in which young researchers can broaden their skills and feel the science.

Neoglacial (2013 - 2017)

The project was centered on the investigation of changes in deep Atlantic circulation since the last glacial maximum (LGM). The Nd-isotope composition of marine deep sea sediments was explored to trace the provenance and mixing of water masses during the past 20 thousand years. It was a joined research project between our team, the Emmy Noether Group on Quaternary Ocean Dynamics (Joerg Lippold , GEOW Heidelberg) and partners at GEOMAR, Kiel (Dr. Marcus Gutjahr, Prof. Martin Frank). The project was carried out by Patrick Blaser and was funded by the German Science foundation grant FR1341/3 as part of the SPP IODP . Several Publications and the PhD-Thesis of Patick Blaser provide the key results. Presently we are writting up the report.


Cold-water coral archives (2013 - ... )

In this project we devlop and apply geochemical tracers to investigate mid-depth water mass dynamics in the temperate east Atlantic stored in the fossil skeletons. We are most interested in the framework forming deep sea coral species L. pertusa. Radiocarbon and Nd-isotopes provide measures of the waters ventilation age and provenance as far back as 40 thousand years. U-series dating of corals yield accurate time scales as precise as several years to decades. To tackle the influence of nutrient cycles on corals Ba/Ca and Ba-isotopes are explored in cooperation with colleagues in Oxford (Prof. Gideon Henderson and his team). Freya Hemsing conducts most of this research as part of her PhD. It is a joined research project with numerous national and international partners at MARUM , Bremen (Prof. Dierk Hebbeln, Dr. Claudia Wienberg) at GEOMAR, Kiel (Dr. Marcus Gutjahr, Prof. Martin Frank), at Oxford University, UK and at Bristol University, UK (Prof. Laura Robinson) as well as with colleagues in France at GEOPS, University Paris-Saclay (Prof. Christophe Colin) and LSCE . Gif-sur-Yvette (Dr. Claire Waelbroeck and Dr. Dominique Blamart). This project is funded by the HGSFP , and the DAAD .


Project: Towards epsilon precision U-series ages

Toward epsilon-precision U-series dating. : Through this PhD project we explors the feasibility of high precision disequilibrium U-series dating of marine and continental carbonates. It is intended to push the analytical limits of modern mass spectrometry and propose new pathways of producing uniquely precise U-series chronological ages. Lastly, once established prove of concept has been achieved speleothems from high alpine caves will beplored for their growth rate variations with time at unprecendented temporal resolution. Jennifer Arps leads this project in close cooperation with some international partners (Prof. L. Edwards, Minnesota, USA and Prof. Hai Cheng, Xi'an Jiaotong University, China) and cooperates with further teams in France at LSCE (Francois Thil).


Project: 900ka of Nd-isotope changes in the deep North Atlantic

900ka of Nd-isotope changes in the deep North Atlantic : The PhD project is centered on the study of past deep water dynamics in the North Atlantic spanning the last 1 Million years. Based on core ODP site 1063 it is foreseen to generate a uniquely resolved record of past water mass provenance at the interface of North Atlantic deep water and Southern Component Water linked to major climate change, i.e. the glacial - interglacial terminations. Of particular interest is the systematic change across the terminations possibly reflecting water mass reorganization aa well as the differences between interglacials, with a focus on the MIS-11 and MIS-19 as Modern analogues. This project is conducted by Jasmin Link in cooperation with Partners at GEOMAR Kiel (Dr. M. Gutjahr, and Prof. M. Frank), GEOW Heidelberg (Dr. J. Lippold). It is funded through the DFG grant: FR1341/5)


Accomplished Projects

ETIS - Part I 2015

Funded by the Structure and Innovation fund of Baden Wuerttemberg and the DFG a new Laser - Ablation Multicollector inductiely coupled plasma source mass sprectrometer facility was established in Heidelberg. We conduct research on ultra-high precision U-series dating using these instruments and we develop isotopic tracers to determine the environmental conditions of past ocean dynamics or matter and energy transport through the climate system.

ETIS - Part II 2016

Funded by the Structure and Innovation fund of Baden Wuerttemberg and the DFG a isotope ratio mass sprectrometer with a particular multi-cup system and coupled to a Gasbench II was established in Heidelberg. We conduct research on stable carbon and oxygen isotopes in carbonates and air and the instrument is used by the teams of Dr. Tobias Kluge and Dr. Martina Schmidt to conduct clumped isotope studies of carbonates and atmospheric air isotope measurements.


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