UCL Earth Sciences


GEOL0044 Palaeoceanography

Palaeoceanography provides an overview of ocean and climate history through time, including an introduction to the main proxies (geochemical and palaeontological) used to reconstruct past ocean environments. 

Coordinator: Prof. Bridget Wade

Module details
UG CodeGEOL0044
CoordinatorProf. Bridget Wade
Other ContributorsVarious
Credit15 credits
Written Exam60%
Maths & Stats Content and Requirement 
Total Number of Hours of Student Work188 hours
Hours of Lectures/Seminars40 (4 hours per week) hours
Hours of Practicals/Problem Classes20 hours
Hours of TutorialsAs needed for the practical assignments
Days of Fieldwork0
Categorizing Student Performance Levels

Ocean basin structure and marine sediments; General circulation of the oceans; wind driven and thermohaline circulation; Primary production, nutrients and the marine carbon cycle; Life in the oceans; Micropalaeontological and geochemical proxies for temperature, productivity, weathering and circulation; Pre-Cenozoic palaeoceanography, including 'oceanic anoxic events'; K/T boundary; Early Cenozoic warmth and hyperthermals; the transition from the Greenhouse to the Icehouse world,'; fluctuations in climate and ice volume in the Neogene; the glacial world.


To introduce key principles of oceanography, the proxies used for palaeoceanography and the history and evolution of Cretaceous to Recent oceans, through case studies.


Knowledge of:

  • temperature and productivity of the oceans;
  • controls on biogenic sedimentation;
  • the development and history of oceanic circulation;
  • understanding of analytical techniques used to obtain that knowledge.