Geochemistry & Geobiology

Phanerozoic Earth System Evolution

MSc project of Maria Salem

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Project title

Phanerozoic Earth System Evolution: Paleozoic vs. post-Paleozoic Interactions


Bjarte Hannisdal (main supervisor), Kristian A. Haaga, David Diego, Desiree Roerdink

Project description

Geological records of seawater chemistry and marine fossil biodiversity suggest a long-term linkage between global tectonics, biogeochemical cycling, and biotic macroevolution over the last 500 million years (the Phanerozoic Eon). The major transition across the Permo-Triassic boundary 250 million years ago, which separates the Paleozoic Era from the post-Paleozoic, suggests that the nature of the coupling between key Earth system components (e.g. carbon cycling and climate, as well as the severity of biotic extinctions) may be qualitatively different after this transition. It remains unclear, however, to what extent any differences between the Paleozoic and the post-Paleozoic are supported quantitatively, and whether or not they can be disentangled from long-term preservational biases in the geological record. This project will use existing compilations of paleoenvironmental proxy records to analyze the evolving linkage between global biogeochemical cycling, aspects of long-term climate variability, and continental sediment sequestration, using novel data-driven techniques for detecting causal interactions from geological time series.