Tracing the oceans chemical composition through geologic time – University of Copenhagen

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UK IGN > News > 2015 > Base line earth

22 April 2015

Tracing the oceans chemical composition through geologic time

Evolution of seawater

European Training Network seeks better understanding of global biogeochemical cycles and their impact on the Earth's climate

Modern brachipods in their natural marine environment

Modern brachipods in their natural marine environment

Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management at the University of Copenhagen is an official partner in the BASE-LiNE Earth project. An Innovative Training Network funded by the European Commission with EURO 3,75 million.

Reconstructing the elemental and isotope evolution of seawater through geological time is one of the main research objectives of the earth system sciences, with implications for our better understanding of the present global biogeochemical cycles and their impact on the earth's climate as well as economically important aspects like the formation of submarine hydrocarbon oil and gas resources.

Although the chemical conditions in the ancient seawater cannot directly be measured anymore, they can be reconstructed from the measurement of certain trace element and isotope ratios that serve as chemical indicators (proxies) retained in suitable geological archives such as preserved marine carbonates (corals, foraminifera, brachiopods).

Modern Pecten (a bivlave), cut into growth segments for geochemical analyses

Modern Pecten (a bivalve), cut into growth segments for geochemical analyses

Professor Robert Frei, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management is the work package leader of WP7 in the BASE-LiNE Earth project which aims at using chromium and uranium stable isotopes in brachiopods, corals etc. to reconstruct past redox changes in the ocean system, and eventually link these to potential causes on land, particularly the fluctuation of oxygen in the atmosphere through geologic time.

The WP7 comes with a full funded Ph.d. grant, for which applications are currently collected.  Full job description

Contact: Robert Frei, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, e-mail: robertf@ign.ku.dk, Telephone: +45 35 32 24 50

BASE-LiNE Earth is an Innovative Training Network funded by the European Commission within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in Horizon 2020 'European Union Funding Programme for Research and Innovation' (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2014; REA Grant Agreement No. 643084) with EURO 3,75 million. The project started on January 1st, 2015 and will run until December 31st, 2018.

 

BASE-LiNE Earth will gain knowledge:

  • On the link of Brachiopod shells (fossil and recent ones) with marine ecology and biomineralization processes
  • On pathways and processes of diagenetic alteration
  • On reliable time series on trace element ratios (Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, Li/Ca, Ba/Ca, B/Ca, U/Ca) and their isotope systems (e.g. δ26Mg, δ44/40Ca, 87Sr/86Sr, δ88/86Sr, δ53Cr, δ7Li, δ11B )  for the Phanerozoic Ocean.