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Quaternary geology and Paleoclimate

Svalbard

Welcome to the research group in Quaternary Earth Systems!

We work with different geological processes that have occurred during the last millions years. This includes the study of marine sediments, carbonate and sediment deposits in caves, lake sediments and other deposits on the Earth’s surface. Some of this research include process studies, while others are directed towards reconstructing climate change backwards in time and to understand how past climate has varied. The research group has several major projects with focus in, and around, the North Atlantic and the group has also projects in both polar regions, in the Himalayas, and in Russia. We have access to several research vessels, advanced coring equipment for both marine and terrestrial sediments and we have several advanced laboratories, for example Uranium-series laboratory, laboratory for cosmogenic nuclides, and a national infrastructure for sediment analyses, EARTHLAB. The aim of our research and teaching activities is to develop methods and techniques to better understand the geological history mainly during the ice age period (last 2.6 million years) and transfer this to palaeoclimatic reconstructions and increased process understanding.

Climate change
Antarktis

Coupling of Southern Ocean and Antarctica during a past greenhouse

Temperature in the Southern Ocean was more tightly linked to the extent of Antarctic glaciation during past greenhouse climates than previously thought.

Demise of a glacier, uncovering a fjord

Demise of a glacier, uncovering a fjord

When the last ice age was over, a large glacier covering the 1000 meter deep Hardangerfjord collapsed. These events at the end of the ice age in Norway, resemble what we are about to witness in today’s Greenland.

Climate change
Havis

Abrupt warming caused ice collapse and sea level rise

Near the end of the last ice age, the global sea level rose 12–14 meters in less than 350 years. Most of the meltwater has been thought to have come from North America and Antarctica. A new study shows that the ice over coastal Norway and the Barents Sea may have contributed almost as much.

National Geographic article
Jostein Bakke

Climate scientists take sediment cores on Svalbard lakes

“We have been trying to do this trip for five years and we have had a lot of issues with ice,” says expedition leader Jostein Bakke, head of the Quaternary Earth Systems group at Department of Earth Science