This joint project between the Department of Earth Sciences and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) aims to constrain estimates of if, how and when the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) retreated during the Last Interglacial (LIG), 130 to 115 thousand years ago.
Evidence suggests that sea level during the LIG peaked at between 6 and 9 metres higher than present, a range which necessitates at least some contribution from Antarctic Ice Sheet retreat, the WAIS being the most likely candidate. Antarctic temperatures during this time period were in line with projections for the year 2100. These figures warn of the potential for significant future sea level rise resulting from anthropogenic climate change.
Continue reading “An update on WACSWAIN: WArm Climate Stability of the West Antarctic during the last INterglacial”
Palaeontology isn’t all about adventuring into the desert to dig up rocks. Sometimes, the palaeontologists of the past managed to find so many fossil bones, they didn’t know what to do with them. These bones can lie forgotten in museum collection drawers for decades, until a PhD student comes along to study them.
Fortunately for me, some of the most commonly overlooked fossils are fragmentary, isolated bones belonging to tiny animals. As a palaeontologist who works on passerine birds, which are generally tiny (think robins and blue tits), I was very excited to go on my first museum trip to look at bird fossils. In December 2022, I visited several museums in southern Germany to poke through all the drawers that might contain some mystery bird bones.
Continue reading “Forgotten fossils: how museum collections can be a treasure trove”
Alasdair Knight, a second year PhD student in the Department of Earth Sciences, reports back from the 2022 Goldschmidt conference in the blog post below.
Alasdair can normally be found researching the chemical reactions that occur between greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere and the rocks at Earth’s surface. These reactions are thought to have been important for keeping Earth within the correct temperature range for life to exist.
Continue reading “Cambridge at the Goldschmidt 2022 Conference”
It was an emotional journey. Nose pressed to the small oval of glass as London City Airport was left far below, I smiled wistfully down at the River Thames, golden in the rising sun’s first rays, as it made its final sweeping arc to meet the sea. The cut-out shapes of the Kent marshes, and the Isle of Sheppey beyond; home to a plethora of birdlife now as ever, is a place of special significance for me. Not only was it the intended destination of my first ever birdwatching trip, aged nine, but from this same London Clay Formation laid down in the Eocene, over 50 million years ago, came the first fossilised skull of a very remarkable bird. With jaws lined with bony projections of different sizes, like lobster claws, it was unlike any bird known.
Continue reading “Birds of a feather: Katrina van Grouw on art and science”
Prof Helen Williams joined the Department of Earth Sciences in 2016 and is currently Professor of Geochemistry. She reflects on her life and work with Erin Martin-Jones.
Continue reading “In Conversation with Prof. Helen Williams”
To mark International Women’s Day (8 March), we reflect on and celebrate
the role of women within our organization.
International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on achievements and progress made, recognize challenges and focus greater attention on women’s rights and achieving equal opportunity status in all walks of life.
We look back over a year of research news and blog posts from women in our Department; from graduate students to lecturers and staff at the Sedgwick Museum. Through their stories, and in their own words, we hope to reveal the breadth of research and educational activities that women undertake across our organization.
Continue reading “Celebrating International Women’s Day 2022”
PART IV of our blog series explores how the Sedgwick Museum is challenging perceptions and changing experiences, continuing with a peak into the archives.
Sandra Freshney’s work aims to bring the archive closer to the public and challenge assumptions about what geology and geologists traditionally look like. Her work includes allowing quieter voices in the department’s history to be heard. Here she gives us a greater look into the work she is doing.
Continue reading “The Sedgwick: Museum on a mission – Part IV”
In this blog post, we bring together stories from women researchers across our Department to highlight the variety of roles within Earth Sciences.
To mark this day, we asked our researchers what pieces of equipment or items they rely on for their everyday research – whether they spend most of their time collecting data in the lab, field or via computer models.
Continue reading “Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2022”