new-fossil

Reef built by animals 550 million years ago discovered.

The animals – called Cloudina – were the first in the world to have a hard shell and are believed to have built the reefs to protect themselves from predators, or to get a competitive advantage in acquiring food or living space. More...

Ron Cohen Award

Prof Ron Cohen receives international award

Prof Cohen received the International Award of Ferroelectric Materials and Their Applications of 2014 in Kyoto, Japan at the 31st meeting on Ferroelectric Materials and Their Applications (FMA) “For contribution to the progress in knowledge of ferroelectric materials through first principles research”.Prof. Cohen has worked on ferroelectrics since the 1980’s, his 1992 cover article in Nature being critical work on why some perovskites are ferroelectric. During his trip Prof. Cohen presented at seminars and spoke with students at the University of Tokyo and at Waseda University, and met with scientists from Kyoto University. More...

News from the Earth Sciences

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Precambrian Research Group


The Precambrian is the informal name for the first 90% of Earth history during which life began its incredibly long journey towards biological complexity. 


This journey culminated in the appearance and diversification of animals between about 750 and 540 million years ago. Sedimentary rocks become increasingly scarce the further back in time one looks. For this reason, Precambrian studies are multidisciplinary by necessity, piecing together clues from a range of fields: geochemistry, palaeobiology, biochemistry, sedimentology, genetics and a range of earth system models (atmospheric, ocean circulation, climate and biogeochemical).

Our research group primarily uses the chemical, mineral and isotopic composition of sedimentary rocks to reconstruct earth system evolution during the two billion year interval from the end of the Archaean Eon (about 2500 million years ago) to the beginning of the Phanerozoic Eon (about 540 million years ago). During this Proterozoic Eon, extraordinary perturbations occurred to our planet’s surface environment. Some disturbances were extreme but transient, such as the ‘Snowball Earth’ intervals of global glaciation. Others caused irreversible changes that shaped the modern earth system, such as the ‘Great Oxidation Event’ and the ‘Neoproterozoic Oxygenation Event’ without which we would not be here today.