SEMINAR: Archaeology Seminar/Earth Sciences
|Archaeology Seminar/Earth Sciences : The record of past climates in tsunami deposits
Professor Christophe Lécuyer received his PhD in petrology and geochemistry from the University of Rennes France) in 1989, and also obtained a position at CNRS. He has worked as a Research Associate at the University of Michigan (1990-1991) where his research began on past global climate change. In 1996, he obtained his ‘Habilitation’ at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon. He became Professor at the University of Lyon in 1999 where he managed the Department of Earth Sciences until 2010. Christophe is now a member of the Institut Universitaire de France and leads the stable isotope geochemistry team at the University of Lyon. His current research interests include stable isotope studies of palaeo-meteoric and marine waters to reconstruct
climate and water cycles from the geological record.
Earthquakes and explosive eruptions generate tsunami waves at the origin of thick and chaotic coastal sediments. These commonly fossiliferous deposits are formed instantaneously within historical or geological timescales, and therefore have the potential to provide snapshot records of past climates. In Crete, near Palaikastro, a thick sedimentary layer (1 to 9m) was deposited by huge tsunami waves (~10m). Volcanic ash, the geometry, and archaeological and faunal contents of the sedimentary deposit along with radiocarbon
dating indicate that the tsunamite was coeval with the Minoan Santorini (Thera) eruption 3,350 years BP. The
devastating tsunami wave deposited large rocky blocks and a muddy matrix containing diverse faunas (marine molluscs, cattle skeletons) and artefacts from the Minoan civilization. Oxygen isotope measurements of both marine shells and terrestrial vertebrate teeth and bones revealed that sea surface and air temperatures were higher than today (~2°C), but with similarly warm summers (26°C) and much milder winters (16°C). The eruptions and tsunami events are also discussed in the context of the fall of the Minoan civilisation.
Professor Christophe Lécuyer
Woolnough Lecture Theatre (1.07), Geography and Geology Building
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 16:00
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 17:00
Karen Eichorn <[email protected]>
Tue, 15 Mar 2016 16:11
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