UCL Earth Sciences


Palaeoceanography students newsletter article published

29 April 2016

Three undergraduate students have an article published in the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling newsletter. The students: Paul Bridger, Sinéad Lyster and Abigail Hunt discuss their experiences of using an ocean core replicate during a practical for the Palaeoceanography course (GeolGG17/M018). The core covers an interval of dramatic climate change around 55.8 million years ago, termed the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). The students studied the colour changes in the core replica, plotted percent carbonate data and answered a series of questions to determine sedimentological changes through this interval.

Palaeoceanography course (GeolGG17/M018) is one of the many courses offered to final year undergraduate and MSc Geoscience students at UCL. More information about our undergraduate and masters programmes is available on our website.

The discipline of palaeoceanography provides an insight into past climates and their applications to modern science. Oceans are the predominant control on climate and their associated climate archives provide the best records of palaeotemperature. Furthermore, oceans provide the most extensive records, with marine sediments documenting climatic changes up to 200 Ma. They document a much greater time span in comparison to other climate archives, such as lake sediments (<1 Ma), ice cores (<800 Ka), and tree rings (<10 Ka). Ocean drilling allows us to access these superior records. 

This class exercise demonstrated the vast opportunities that ocean drilling offers to palaeoceanography. The emergence of ocean drilling and associated technologies has greatly advanced scientific research, permitting access to an ever-expanding climate archive and allowing scientists to go further into deep geologic time. As a result of ocean drilling, the Cenozoic is the most thoroughly studied period of geological history, with observed climate trends facilitating understanding and interpretation of modern-day climatic patterns.

Read the full article.

Related Links: