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How cold is cold? The northernmost record of climate change during the Jurassic – Cretaceous transition (Sverdrup Basin, Canadian Arctic Islands)


Project Description

The >500 m thick Rollrock Section on northern Ellesmere Island, Canadian Arctic Islands, preserves the highest latitude continuous sedimentary succession spanning the Jurassic – Cretaceous boundary interval (Kimmeridgian? to Valanginian). These shallow? marine shelf mudstones contain a well preserved macrofauna including ammonites, belemnites and bivalves, which provide reliable biostratigraphical control for the latest Jurassic (Tithonian) interval. However, older and younger parts of the succession lack diagnostic macrofossils.

More than half of the succession of Kimmeridgian? to Valanginian shales contains glacial dropstones and glendonite horizons, which suggest periods of drift or sea ice, highlighting the great potential of this section in establishing a comprehensive record of high latitude climate change. The project will analyse palynomorph assemblages to develop a detailed documentation of this variability. By examining both marine (dinoflagellate cysts, micro-algae) and terrestrial (pollen and spores) palynofloras, the project aims to constrain the stratigraphical age of the section, with particular emphasis on refining the stratigraphy of the lower (Kimmeridgian?) and upper (Berriasian – Valanginian) intervals. Following this, the palynofloral record will be used to decipher the frequency and intensity of climatic fluctuations. By combining microplankton and terrestrial palynomorph proxies with major element analysis, linkages between nutrient availability, vegetation and microplankton dynamics at high latitude will be assessed.

This work will be undertaken in collaboration with an international team of scientists examining the macrofossil, foraminiferal and carbon isotope record. Integration of the palynology with these additional data will contribute to our understanding of the nature of transitional ecosystem changes during the Jurassic – Cretaceous boundary interval.

While the sample material for this project is already available, there will be opportunities for the candidate to undertake fieldwork on comparable exposures.

The successful candidate should have, or expect to have, a UK Honours Degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Geology, Earth Sciences, Physical Geography

The other supervisors on the project is Dr Simon Schneider CASP, University of Cambridge.

The start date is to be agreed with the supervisors but is expected to be as soon as possible .If a suitable candidate is found before the closing date the advert will be removed.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Geology. Formal applications can be completed online: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/pgap/login.php. You should apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Geology, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct person for processing. NOTE CLEARLY THE NAME OF THE SUPERVISOR and EXACT PROJECT TITLE. Please ensure your application is submitted by 5pm on the closing date.

Enquiries are strongly encouraged before a full application is completed. To make an enquiry please contact Professor D Jolley(), providing a copy of your detailed cv and a short covering letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ().

Funding Notes

Tuition Fees will be paid at UK/EU rates along with stipend, paid monthly in arrears (£14,443 per annum). Applications will be accepted from international students provided that they agree to cover the difference between Home/EU and overseas tuition fees (this being £10,690 pa; indicative for 2018/19 admissions)

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