Deep Sea Sediments –archives for ocean and climate history

Earth Science and Engineering and Energy Resources and Petroleum Engineering Graduate Seminar



The earliest investigations of modern deep-sea sediments date back into the late 19th century. Sediments were sampled from all the major oceans during the Challenger expedition (1872-1876). In the mid 20th century, Deep Sea Sediments were identified as valuable archives of climate and ocean history. Oxygen isotope records tell us about orbitally driven climate of the Ice Age and C-isotopes give insight into global C-cycling and changes in CO2 of the atmosphere. The International DSDP and IODP Ocean Drilling program (1968-2024) provided new archives for climate and ocean history of the last 140 million years.  Changes in the Calcite Compensation Depth and major fluctuations in C-and O-isotope records at the Eocene-Oligocene transition, at the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) and during Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a in the Aptian provide insight into climate and ocean history. Major warming pulses at the PETM and in the Aptian were triggered by extreme perturbations of the carbon cycle and related changes of atmospheric CO2. Deep-Sea sediments remain most important chronicles of earth’s climate and oceans in a time of rapid human-induced changer of global climate.



My main research focus in the last 20 years was in Mesozoic paleoceanography, paleoclimatology and the history of the global carbon cycle. I combine isotope geochemistry with sedimentology as my most important tools in tracing climate and life through time. I was actively involved in the Ocean Drilling Program, I was guest professor and lecturer in China, Japan, Korea and in several European countries.  I am co-founder of the IAS Summer School for PHD students (Int. Association of Sedimentologists). In Switzerland, I was Vice-President of the Academy of Sciences (2014-2016). From 2015 to 2019 I was a member of the Council of EGU (European Union of Geosciences) and I was President of the Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, Palaeontology Division at EGU (SSP) until 2019. In 2022 I was Chair of Review Panel, Natural and Engineering Sciences, Slovak Academy of Sciences.


Professor Helmut Weissert

ETH Zürich

Event Quick Information

29 Nov, 2023
11:45 AM - 12:45 PM
KAUST, Bldg. 9, Level 2, Lecture Hall 2