EGU 2018 Session SC1.10/CL6.06/GM12.4/SSP2.20

We´d like to invite everybody interested in innovative and quantitative methods for continental palaeoenvironmental reconstructions to attend our short course (details below) at the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union, 8-13 April 2018.

Age Models and geochronology: An introductory course to different age-depth modelling approaches (co-organized)

Convener: Carole Nehme 
Co-Conveners: Sebastian F.M. Breitenbach , Michael Dietze , Annegret Larsen 

In an era of science that uses numerical models to better understand physical processes occurring on Earth, there is an increasing demand for robust empirical datasets to constrain these simulations. Generating robust datasets, especially data sets that express stratigraphic positions of sedimentary deposits as ages, often involves the use of multiple, independent geochronological techniques (e.g. different kinds of radioisotopic dating, magneto-, bio-, cyclostratigraphy and sedimentologic relationships along the succesion). The integration of these different kinds of geochronological information often poses challenges.

Age-depth models are the ultimate result of the integration of different geochronological techniques, and range from linear interpolation to more complex Bayesian techniques. Invited speakers Christian Zeeden and David De Vleeschouwer will share their experience in several modelling concepts and their application in a range of paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic records. The Short Course will provide an introduction to the field of (Bayesian) age-depth models and will highlight the assumptions, benefits and limitations of different model approaches. It will prepare the participants from CL, GM and SSP divisions for independent application of suitable age-depth models to their data.


We hope you will enjoy this short course.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Hope to see you in Vienna and

Merry Christmas!
Seb, Carole, Michael and Annegret

Short course page at the EGU website:

EGU 2018 Session CL1.11

We´d like to invite everybody interested in innovative and quantitative methods for continental palaeoenvironmental reconstructions to submit abstracts for our session (details below) at the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union, 8-13 April 2018.

Novel and quantitative methods for continental palaeoenvironmental reconstruction.

Convener: Jessica Oster 
Co-Conveners: Sebastian F.M. Breitenbach , Bethany Fox , Adam Hartland

In recent decades, quantitative methods have become increasingly important in the field of palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic reconstruction, due to the need for comparison between different records and to provide boundary conditions for computational modelling. Continental environmental archives (e.g. speleothems, lake sediments, ice, or land snails) are often highly temporally resolved (subdecadal to seasonal) and may provide more direct information about atmospheric processes than marine archives. The wide variety of archive types available on land also allows for intercomparison and ground-truthing of results from different techniques and different proxies, and multi-proxy reconstructions from the same archive can disentangle local and supra-regional environmental conditions.

This session aims to highlight recent advances in the use of innovative and quantitative proxies to reconstruct past environmental change on land. We welcome studies of any continental archive, including but not limited to carbonates (caves, paleosols, snails), sediments (lakes, rivers, alluvial fans), ice, and biological proxies (tree rings, fossil assemblages, plant biomarkers). We particularly encourage studies involving the calibration of physical and chemical proxies that incorporate modern transfer functions, forward modeling and/or geochemical modeling to predict proxy signals, and quantitative estimates of past temperature and precipitation amounts. We also welcome reconstructions of temperature and hydrologic variability over large spatial scales, including paleoclimate data assimilation studies. This session will provide a forum for discussing recent innovations and future directions in the development of terrestrial palaeoenvironmental proxies on seasonal to multi-millennial timescales.

We hope you will enjoy this session.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Hope to see you in Vienna and

Merry Christmas!
Seb, Beth, Jessica and Adam

Session page at the EGU website:

Workshop on palaeoclimate time series analysis and statistics in Potsdam

Last week, representatives of all QUEST collaborators met on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam for the QUEST Workshop on palaeoclimate time series analysis and statistics to disseminate our results, first among ourselves, and then to a public audience. We would like to thank all participants for their contributions and lively discussions.
The workshop was very nicely organized by Bedartha and Norbert. Beth came all the way from New Zealand, while David came from Great Britain, Inken from Mainz, and Seb and Cinthya from Bochum. We started with a short summary of ongoing work and activities in the different laboratories. An important point raised and discussed were the planned secondments (Cinthya and Inken had aleady packed for their secondments to Waikato!) and under which conditions Thomas can actively participate to QUEST. We then got quick updates from the different laboratories, all make good progress with respect to quantification of proxy data. A cosy workshop dinner in Old Town Potsdam facilitated more discussions of ideas and thoughts.
On Thursday and Friday we had several lectures and hand-on sessions, open to the public. Colleagues from as far as Australia learned about agemodeling, recurrence analysis and other innovative statistical tools developed at PIK Potsdam. Hands-on sessions gave the opportunity to discuss the complexities of unpublished data and the subtilities hidden inside the obvious.
The workshop also served as a platform to strike new collaborations and to exchange ideas how to extract a wealth of information from multi-proxy data.
The next workshop will take us to the Antipodes.

Lab meeting at JGU Mainz

Adam is currently visiting the JGU Mainz lab, testing various fluid compositions (see proof in figure). Denis and (now Dr.) Max were very helpful in explaining the artificial cave and issues related with precipitating carbonates.

Seb and Matthias joined from RUB to discuss experiments that Matthias will conduct during his MSc thesis in Mainz and to plan the field and lab work in New Zealand later this year. Cinthya, Inken, and Max will visit Waikato in winter and perform experiments in Adam´s lab, take care of the monitoring and to take samples from speleothems.

A very long, but productive day was concluded with dinner and beer at the Main terraces.

Adam and Deniz during fluid testing.

Adam and Denis during fluid testing.

QUEST at EGU 2017

With several poster and oral presentations the QUEST team has presented its work at the general assembly of the European Geoscience Union in Vienna, April 24–28, 2017.


Sebastian explaining the poster “Quantitative Palaeoenvironments from Speleothems (QUEST): magnetic properties of two New Zealand speleothems” at the EGU conference 2017.

Meet QUEST at EGU 2017

We will present our work at the EGU conference in Vienna:

Monday, 24 April

  • D. Eroglu, N. Marwan: Multiplex Recurrence Networks
    17:30–19:00, Hall X4, Poster session NP4.1

Tuesday, 25 April

  • I. Heidke, S. A. Mischel, D. Scholz, T. Hoffmann: Analysis of lignin oxidation products in a stalagmite from the Herbstlabyrinth-Adventshöhle in Germany and comparison with δ13C and other vegetation proxies
    8:45-9:00, Room F2, Talk CL1.13

  • B. Fox, I. Lascu, S. Breitenbach, A. Hartland: Quantitative Palaeoenvironments from Speleothems (QUEST): magnetic properties of two New Zealand speleothems
    17:30-19:00, Hall X5, Poster session CL1.13
  • S. Riechelmann, S.F.M. Breitenbach, A. Schröder-Ritzrau,  A. Immenhauser: High resolution pCO2 monitoring reveals ventilation of Bunker Cave (NW Germany) and its impact on speleothem growth
    17:30-19:00, Hall X5, Poster session CL1.13

  • M. Magiera, A. M. Erhardt, A. Hartland, O. Kwiecien, H. Cheng, A. Immenhauser, A. Turchyn, S.F.M. Breitenbach: Indian Summer Monsoon dynamics during Termination II and MIS 5e
    17:30-19:00, Hall X5, Poster session CL1.13
  • C. Nehme, S. Verheyden, S. F. M. Breitenbach, D. P. Gillikin, A. Verheyden, H. Cheng, L. Edwards, J. Hellstrom, S. R. Noble, A. R. Farrant, D. Sahy, T. Goovaerts, G. Salem, P. Claeys: Climatic variability during the penultimate interglacial (MIS 7) and glacial (MIS 6) periods recorded in a speleothem from Kanaan cave, Lebanon (Central Levant)
    17:30-19:00, Hall X5, Poster session CL1.13
  • M. Weber, D. Scholz, J. A. Wassenburg, K. P. Jochum, S. Breitenbach: Application of LA-MC-ICP-MS for analysis of Sr isotope ratios in speleothems
    17:30-19:00, Hall X5, Poster session CL1.13

QUEST in the Arctic

Norbert contributed to the Sydney Chapman Chair Seminar series “Complex Systems Science Meets Arctic Science” at the University of Fairbanks, Alaska, 28 Feb 2017 and 2 March 2017: One lecture on recurrence plot analyses for the scienific experts and one lecture on “Caves as scientific archives” for the non-expert audience, but both related to research performed within QUEST.

There was opportunity to visit the one and only permafrost tunnel of the world.

Ice wedge in the permafrost tunnel.

QUEST at the German Cavers Association Annual General Assembly (VdHK)

Seb presented QUEST in an invited public lecture on the 6th of May 2016 at the VdHK General Assembly in the Harz Mountains. The lecture on “Climate reconstructions from caves and the importance of climate monitoring in caves” appealed to the German speleologists to support scientific monitoring efforts in caves. A lively questioning-answering session helped to explain the importance of monitoring and the roles non-scientists can play in scientific projects. The talk and discussion got great feedback from the community.