Changes in Earth’s climate as we observe them today have a profound impact on the various spheres that make Earth a habitable planet. Isotope geochemical tools allow us to trace climate change in the geologic past and establish rates and magnitudes of global warming and changes in precipitation. Reconstructing the interplay between global climate change and mountain building allows us to establish climate change histories that may serve as templates for future climate projections.
Earth surface processes and associated biodiversity change in mountain regions are tightly coupled to these long-term climate change histories as they respond to the same systemic drivers. In brief, we use the isotopic fingerprint of climate, biodiversity and geodynamic processes to understand Earth System dynamics in the geologic past.
Prof. Dr. Andreas Mulch
Director 'Senckenberg Research Institute Frankfurt', Professor Goethe University Frankfurt
The Mulch lab at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre and Goethe University Frankfurt uses state-of-the-art isotope geochemical approaches including novel applications of clumped isotope thermometry and molecular biomarker analysis to track changes in temperature and precipitation based on geologic materials such as paleosoils, fossil teeth or minerals in the Earth’s crust that store information about near surface meteoric waters in active deformation zones of our planet.
Collectively, these data permit reconstructions of the change in elevation of mountain belts through time and their role in guiding atmospheric moisture transport over continents or provide cornerstones in establishing the interactions of biotic and abiotic drivers of speciation and evolution in the highly diverse mountainous regions of e.g. the Andes and the Himalayas.
Stable isotope paleoaltimetry
Interactions of mountains, climate and biodiversity
2015 – Present Director, Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt 2013 – 2020 Vice-Director General, Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung 2010 – Present Professor (W3), Goethe-Universität Frankfurt & Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre 2014 – 2015 Cox Visiting Professor, School of Earth Sciences, Stanford University, USA 2010 – 2017 Vice-Director, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre 2007 – 2010 Director, Institute of Geology, Leibniz Universität Hannover 2006 – 2010 Professor (W2, tenured), Leibniz Universität Hannover 2005 – 2006 Research Associate, Stanford University, USA 2004 – 2005 US-NSF Research Associate, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA 2004 Dr. ès sci. in Mineralogy/Geochemistry, Universite de Lausanne, Switzerland 1999 Diploma in Geology (Tectonics), Justus-Liebig Universität Gießen
*advised or **co-advised student; underlined = advised postdoctoral scholar
Licht, A., Dupont-Nivet, G., Meijer, N., Caves-Rugenstein, J., Schauer, A., Fiebig, J., Mulch, A., Hoorn, C., Barbolini, N., Guo, Z. (2020.) Decline of soil respiration in northeastern Tibet through the transition into the Oligocene icehouse. Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology, 560, 110016.
Methner, K., Campani, M., Fiebig, J., *Löffler, N., Kempf, O., Mulch, A. (2020) Middle Miocene long-term continental temperature change in and out of pace with marine climate records. nature Scientific Reports 10: 7989.
Vasiliev, I., Feurdean, A., Reichart, G-J., Mulch, A. (2020) Late Miocene intensification of continentality in eastern Eurasia (Black Sea basin). Int J Earth Sciences https://doi.org/10.1007/s00531-020-01832-w
Pingel, H., Strecker, M.R., Mulch, A., Alonso, R.A., Cottle, J., Rohrmann, A. (2020) Late Cenozoic topographic evolution of the Eastern Cordillera and Puna Plateau margin (NW Argentina). Earth and Planetary Science Letters https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116112
Botsyun, S., Ehlers, T.A., Mutz, S.G., Methner, K., *Krsnik, E., Mulch, A. (2020) Opportunities and challenges for paleoaltimetry in “small” orogens: Insights from the European Alps. Geophys Res Letters, 47, e2019GL086046.
Meijers, M.J.M., Brocard, G., Whitney, D.L., Mulch, A. (2020) Paleoenvironmental conditions and drainage evolution of the central Anatolian lake system (Turkey) during late Miocene to Pliocene surface uplift. Geosphere, 16. https://doi.org/10.1130/GES02135.1
*Ardenghi, N., Mulch, A., Koutsodendris, A., Pross, J., Kahmen, A., Niedermeyer, E. (2019) Temperature and moisture variability in the Eastern Mediterranean region during Marine Isotope Stages 11–10 based on biomarker analysis of the Tenaghi Philippon peat deposit. Quaternary Science Reviews, 225, 105977.
Methner, K., Lenz, O., Riegel, W., Wilde, V., Mulch, A. (2019) Palaeoenvironmental response of mid-latitudinal wetlands to PETM climate change (Schöningen lignite deposits, Germany). Climate of the Past, 15, 1-15.
Heineke, C., Hetzel, R., Nilius, N.-P., Zwingmann, H., Todd, A., Mulch, A., Wölfler, A., Glotzbach, C., Akal, C., Dunkl, I., Raven, M., Hampel, A. (2019) Detachment faulting in a bivergent core complex constrained by fault gouge dating and low-temperature thermochronology. Journal of Structural Geology.
Fiebig, J., Bajnaj, D., *Löffler, N., Methner, K., *Krsnik, E., Mulch, A., Hofmann, S. (2019) Combined high-precision D47 and D48 analysis of carbonates. Chemical Geology, 522, 186-191.
Huang, S.1, Meijers, M.J.M.1, Eyres, A., Mulch, A., Fritz, S.A. (2019) Unravelling the history of biodiversity in mountain ranges through integrating geology and biogeography. Journal of Biogeography. Alexander von Humboldt Special Volume. 1= joint 1st authors
Dusseaux, C., Gébelin, A., Boulvais, P., Gardien, V., Grimes, S., Mulch, A. (2019) Meteoric fluid-rock interaction in Variscan shear zones. Terra Nova 2019;00:1–7. https://doi.org/10.1111/ter.12392
*Löffler, N., Fiebig, J., Mulch, A., Tütken, T., Schmidt, B.C., Bajnai, D., Conrad, A.C., Wacker, U., Böttcher, M.E. (2019) Refining the temperature dependence of the oxygen and clumped isotopic compositions of structurally bound carbonate in apatite. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 253, 19-38.
Lynch, E.A., Mulch, A., Yonkee, A., van der Pluijm, B. (2019) Hydrogen isotopes in authigenic clay minerals suggest presence of surface fluids in the evolving Sevier fold-thrust belt of ID-WY. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 513, 29-39.
Page, M., Licht, A., Dupont-Nivet, G., Meijer, N., Barbolini, N., Hoorn, C., Schauer, A., Huntington, K., Bajnai, D., Fiebig, J., Mulch, A., Guo, Z. (2019) Synchronous cooling and decline in monsoonal rainfall in NE Tibet during the fall into the Oligocene Icehouse. Geology
Schwartz, T., Methner, K., Mulch, A., Graham, S.A., Chamberlain, C.P. (2019) Paleogene topographic and climatic evolution of the Northern Rocky Mountains from integrated sedimentary and isotopic data. Geological Society of Americal Bulletin. doi.org/10.1130/B32068.1
Vasiliev, I., Reichart, G-J., Krijgsman, W., Mulch, A. (2019) Black Sea rivers capture drastic change in catchment-wide mean annual temperature and soil pH during the Miocene-to-Pliocene transition. Global and Planetary Change, 172, 428-439.
Lüdecke, T., Kullmer, O., Wacker, U., Sandrock, O., Fiebig, J., Schrenk, F., Mulch, A. (2018) Dietary versatility of early Pleistocene hominins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115, 52, 13330-13335. Paper featured as „Hominins had flexible diets“ (2019) in nature Human Behaviour doi.org/10.1038/s41562-018-0524-z
Antonelli, A., Kissling, W.D., Flantua, S.G.A., Bermudez, M.A., Mulch, A., Muellner-Riehl, A.N.M., Kreft, H., Lindner, H.P., Badgley, C., Fjeldsa, J., Fritz, S.A., Rahbek, C., Herman, F., Hooghiemstra, H., Hoorn, C. (2018) Geological and climatic determinants of mountain biodiversity. nature geoscience, 11, 718-725.
Meijers, M.J.M., Brocard, G.Y., Cosca, M.A., *Lüdecke, T., Teyssier, C., Whitney, D.L., Mulch, A. (2018) Rapid Late Miocene Surface Uplift of the Central Anatolian Plateau Margin. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 497, 29-41.
Meijers, M.J.M., Peynircioglu, A., Cosca, M.A., Brocard, G.Y., Whitney, D.L., Langereis, C., Mulch, A. (2018) Climate stability in Central Anatolia during the Messinian Salinity Crisis. Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology, 498, 53-67.
Boles, A. Mulch, A., v.d. Pluijm, B. (2018) Near-surface clay authigenesis in exhumed fault rock of the Alpine Fault Zone (New Zealand); O-H-Ar isotopic, XRD and chemical analysis of illite and chlorite. Journal of Structural Geology, 111, 27-41.
Mulch, A., Chamberlain, C.P. (2018) Stable isotope paleoaltimetry: Paleotopography as a key element in the evolution of landscapes and life. in: Mountains, Climate and Biodiversity, Hoorn, C., Perrigo, A. & Antonelli, A. (eds.) Wiley, 81-94.
Mosbrugger, V., Favre, A., Muellner-Riehl, A., Päckert, M., Mulch, A. (2018) Cenozoic evolution of Geo-Biodiversity in the Tibeto-Himalayan region. in: Mountains, Climate and Biodiversity, Hoorn, C., Perrigo, A. & Antonelli, A. (eds.) Wiley, 429-448.
**Hellwig, A., Voigt, S., Mulch, A., Bartenstein, A., Pross, J., Gerdes, A., Voigt, T. (2018) Late Oligocene-early Miocene increase in seasonality of precipitation in Central Asia recorded in terrestrial sequences from the Ili Basin (SE Kazakhstan), Sedimentology, 65, 2, 517-539.
Linnemann, U., Su T., Kunzmann, L., Spicer, R.A., Spicer, T.E.V., Zieger, J., Hofmann, M., Moraweck, K., Gärtner, A., Ding, W., Zhang, S.-T., Gerdes, A., Marko, L., Mulch, A., Mosbrugger, V., Zhou, Z.-K. (2018) New U/Pb dates show a Paleogene Origin for the modern Asian biodiversity hotspots, Geology, 46, 1, 3-6.
*Ardenghi, N., Mulch, A., Pross, J., Niedermeyer, E.M. (2017) Leaf wax n-alkane extraction: An optimised procedure. Organic Geochemistry. 113, 283-292.
*Schemmel, F., Niedermeyer, E.M., Koutsodendris, A., Pross, J., Fiebig, J., Mulch, A., (2017) Paleohydrological changes in the Eastern Mediterranean region during the early Holocene recorded in plant wax n-alkane distributions and d13CTOC – new data from Tenaghi Philippon, NE Greece. Organic Geochemistry, 110, 100-109.
Licht, A., Coster, P., Ocakoglu, F., Campbell, C., Metais, G., Mulch, A., Taylor, M., Kappelman, J., Beard, K.C. (2017) Tectono-stratigraphy of the Orhaniye Basin, Turkey: Implications for collision chronology and Paleogene biogeography of central Anatolia, Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 143, 45-58.
Gébelin , A., Jessup, M., Teyssier, C., Cosca, M.A., Law, R.D., Brunel, M., Mulch, A. (2017) Infiltration of meteoric water in the South Tibetan Detachment (Mt. Everest, Himalaya): When and Why? Tectonics, 36, doi:10.1002/2016TC004399.
Barnosky, A.D., Hadly, E.A., Gonzalez, P., Head, J., Polly, P.D., Lawing, A.M., Eronen, J.T., … Mulch, A., … Zhang, Z. (2017) Merging paleobiology with conservation biology to guide the future of terrestrial ecosystems. Science, 355, eaah4787.
Badgley, C., Smiley, T.M., Davis, E.B., DeSantis, L.R.G., Fox, D.L., Hopkins, S.B., Jezkova, T., Matocq, M.D., Matzke, N., McGuire, J.L., Mulch, A., Riddle, B.R., Roth, L., Samuels, J.X., Strömberg, C.A.E., Terry, R., Yanites, B.J. (2017) Biodiversity and topographic complexity: Modern and geohistorical perspectives, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 32, 211-226.
Panait, A., Diaconu, A., Galka, M., Hutchinson, S.M., Hickler, T., Lamentowicz, M., Mulch, A., Tantau, I., Werner, C., Feurdean, A. (2017.) Hydrological conditions and carbon accumulation rates reconstructed from a raised mountain bog in the Carpathians: a multi-proxy approach. Catena 152, 57-68.
**Rohrmann, A., Sachse, D., Mulch, A., **Pingel, H., Tofelde, S., Alonso, R.N., Strecker, M.R. (2016 Miocene orographic uplift forces rapid hydrological change in the southern central Andes. nature Scientific Reports 6, 35678.
Mancktelow, N., Zwingmann, H., Mulch, A. (2016) K-Ar dating of fault gouge from the Naxos detachment (Cyclades, Greece). Tectonics, 35, 2334-2344.
Haines, S., Lynch, E., Mulch, A., Valley, J.W., van der Pluijm, B. (2016) Meteoric fluid infiltration in crustal-scale normal fault systems as indicated by d18O and d2H geochemistry, and Ar dating of neoformed clays in brittle fault rocks. Lithosphere, 8, 587-600.
Fritz, S.A., Eronen, J.T., Schnitzler, J., Hof, C. Janis, C.M., Mulch, A., Böhning-Gaese, K., Graham, C.H. (2016) Humans dissolve a 20-million-year link between productivity and mammalian diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi/10.1073/pnas.1602145113
Nieto-Moreno, V., **Rohrmann, A., van der Meer, M.T.J., Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., Sachse, D., Tofelde, S., Niedermeyer, E.N., Strecker, M.R., Mulch, A. (2016) Elevation-dependent changes in n-alkane dD and soil GDGTs across the South Central Andes. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 453, 234-242.
*Lüdecke, T., Mulch, A., Kullmer, O., Sandrock, O., Thiemeyer, H., Fiebig, J., Schrenk, F. (2016) Stable isotope dietary reconstructions of herbivore enamel reveal heterogeneous wooded savanna ecosystems in the Plio-Pleistocene Malawi Rift. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 459, 170-181.
*Methner, K., Mulch, A., Fiebig, J., Wacker, U., Gerdes, A., Graham, S.A., Chamberlain, C.P., (2016) Rapid Middle Eocene temperature change in western North America. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 450, 132-139.
Niedermeyer, E.N., Forrest, M., Beckmann, B., Sessions, A.L., Mulch, A., Schefuß, E. (2016) The stable hydrogen isotopic composition of sedimentary plant waxes as quantitative proxy for rainfall in the West African Sahel. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, 184, 55-70.
Lagomarsino, L.P., Condamine, F.L., Antonelli, A., Mulch, A., Davis, C.C. (2016) The abiotic and biotic drivers of rapid diversification in Andean bellflowers (Campanulaceae). New Phytologist 210, 1430-1442.
Meijers, M.J.M., Strauss, B., Özkaptan, M., Feinberg, J.M., Mulch, A., Whitney, D.L., Kaymakci, N. (2016) Age and paleoenvironmental reconstruction of partially remagnetized lacustrine sedimentary rocks (Oligocene Aktoprak basin, central Anatolia, Turkey). Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst. 17, doi:10.1002/2015GC006209.
*Methner, K., Fiebig, J., Wacker, U., Umhoefer, P., Chamberlain, C.P., Mulch, A. (2016) Eo-Oligocene proto-Cascades topography revealed by clumped (D47) and oxygen isotope (d18O) geochemistry (Chumstick Basin, WA, USA). Tectonics, 35, doi: 10.1002/2015TC003984.
**Pingel, H., Mulch, A., Alonso, R.A., Cottle, J., Hynek, S.A., Poletti, J., **Rohrmann, A., Schmitt, A.K., Stockli, D.F., Strecker, M.R. (2016) Surface uplift and convective rainfall along the southern Central Andes (Angastaco Basin, NW Argentina). Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 440, 33-42.
*Schemmel, F., Niedermeier, E.M., Schwab, V.F., Gleixner, G., Pross, J., Mulch, A. (2016) Plant wax dD values record changing Eastern Mediterranean atmospheric circulation patterns during the 8.2 kyr B.P. climatic event. Quaternary Science Reviews, 133, 96-107.
Mulch, A. (2016) Stable isotope paleoaltimetry and the evolution of landscapes and life. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Invited Frontiers Article 433, 180-191.
*Lüdecke, T., Schrenk, F., Thiemeyer, H., Kullmer, O., Bromage, T.G., Sandrock, O., Fiebig, J., Mulch, A. (2016) Persistent C3 vegetation accompanied Plio-Pleistocene hominin evolution in the Malawi Rift (Chiwondo Beds, Malawi). Journal of Human Evolution, 90, 163-175.
Olaka, L., Wilke, F.D.H., Olago, D., Odada, E., Mulch, A., Musolff, A. (2016) Groundwater fluoride enrichment in an active rift setting: Central Kenya Rift case study. Science of the Total Environment, 545-546, 641-653.
Mix, H., Ibarra, D.E., Mulch, A., Graham, S.A., Chamberlain, C.P. (2016) A hot and high Eocene Sierra Nevada. Geol. Soc. America Bulletin, doi:10.1130/B31294.1
Macaulay, E.A., Sobel, E.R., Mikolaichuk, A., Wack, M., Gilder, S., Mulch, A., Fortuna, A.B., Hynek, S. (2016) The sedimentary record of the Issyk Kul basin, Kyrgyzstan: climatic and tectonic inferences. Basin Research, 28, 57-80.
Fanara, S., Botcharnikov, R.E., Palladino, D.M., Adams, F., Buddensiek, J., Mulch, A., Behrens, H. (2015) Volatiles in magmas related to Campanian ignimbrite eruption: Experiments vs. natural findings. American Mineralogist, 100, 10, 2284-2297.
Caves, J.K., Winnick, M.J., Graham, S.A., Sjostrom, D.J., Mulch, A. and Chamberlain, C.P. (2015) Role of Westerlies in Central Asia climate over the Cenozoic. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 428, 33-43.
Boles, A., van der Pluijm, B., Mulch, A., Mutlu, H., Uysal, I. T., Warr, L. (2015) Hydrogen and 40Ar/39Ar isotope evidence for multiple and protracted paleofluid flow events within the long-lived North Anatolian Keirogen (Turkey). Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst. DOI 10.1002/2015GC005810
Eronen, J.T., Janis, C.M., Chamberlain, C.P., Mulch, A. (2015) Mountain uplift explains differences in Palaeogene patterns of mammalian evolution and extinction between North America and Europe. Trans. Royal. Soc London B. 282: 20150136
Feurdean, A., Galka, M., Kuske, E., Tantau, I., Lamentowicz, M., Florescu, G., Hutchinson, S.M., Liakka, J., Mulch, A., Hickler, T. (2015) Last Millennium hydro-climate variability in Central Eastern Europe (Northern Carpathians, Romania). The Holocene, 25, 1179-1192. doi: 10.1177/ 0959683615580197
McFadden, R., Mulch, A., Teyssier, C., Heizler, M. (2015) Eocene extension and meteoric fluid flow in the Wildhorse Detachment, Pioneer metamorphic core complex, Idaho. Lithosphere. doi: 10.1130/L429.1
Mancktelow, N., Zwingmann, H., Campani, M., Fügenschuh, B., Mulch, A. (2015) Timing and conditions of brittle faulting on the Silltal-Brenner Fault Zone, Eastern Alps (Austria). Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 108, 305-326.
Vespasiano, G., Apollaro, C., De Rosa, R., Muto, F., Fiebig, J., Mulch, A., Marini, L. (2015) The Small Spring Method (SSM) for the definition of stable isotope – elevation relationships in Northern Calabria (Southern Italy). Applied Geochemistry, 63, 333-346.
*Methner, K., Mulch, A., Teyssier, C., Wells, M., Cosca, M., **Gottardi, R., Gébelin, A., Chamberlain, C.P. (2015) Eocene and Miocene extension, meteoric fluid infiltration and core complex formation in the Great Basin (Raft River Mountains, Utah). Tectonics 34, doi:10.1002/2014TC003766
Mulch, A., Chamberlain, C.P., Cosca, M.A., Teyssier, C., *Methner, K., Hren, M.T., Graham, S.A. (2015) Rapid change in western North American high-elevation rainfall patterns during the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum (MECO). American Journal of Science, 315, 317-336. doi: 10.2475/04.2015.02
**Gottardi, R., Mulch, A., Teyssier, C., Valley, J. W., **Quilichini, A., Vennemann, T.W. (2015). Strain and Permeability gradients traced by stable isotope exchange in the Raft River detachment shear zone, Utah. Journal of Structural Geology, 71, 41-57. doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2014.10.005
**Quilichini, A., Siebenaller, L., Nachlas, W.O., Teyssier, C., Vennemann, T., Heizler, M.T., Mulch, A. (2015) Infiltration of meteoric fluids in an extensional detachment shear zone (Kettle dome, WA, USA): How quartz dynamic recrystallization relates to fluid-rock interaction. Journal of Structural Geology, 71, 71-85. doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2014.11.008
Gébelin, A., Teyssier, C., Heizler, M., Mulch, A. (2015) Meteoric water circulation in a rolling-hinge detachment system (northern Snake Range core complex, Nevada). Geol. Soc. America Bulletin, 127, 149-161. doi: 10.1130/B31063.1.
**Rohrmann, A., Strecker, M.R., Bookhagen, B., Mulch, A., Sachse, D., Pingel, H., Alonso, R.N., Schildgen, T.F., Montero, C. (2014) Can stable isotopes ride out the storm? The role of convection for water isotopes in models, records, and paleoaltimetry studies in the central Andes. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 407, 187-195.
**Pingel, H., Alonso, R.A., Mulch, A., **Rohrmann, A., Sudo, M., and Strecker, M.R. (2014) Pliocene orographic barrier uplift in the southern Central Andes. Geology, 42, 691-694.
Nachlas, W.O., Whitney, D.L., Teyssier, C.T., Bagley, B., Mulch, A. (2014) Titanium concentration in quartz as a record of multiple deformation mechanisms in an extensional shear zone. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 15, 1374–1397, doi:10.1002/2013GC005200.
Mix, H., Winnick, M.J., Mulch, A., Chamberlain, C.P. (2013) Grassland expansion as an instrument of hydrologic change in Neogene western North America. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 377-378, 73-83.
Kent-Corson, M.L., Barnosky, A. D., Mulch, A., Carrasco, M.A., Chamberlain, C.P. (2013) Possible regional tectonic controls on mammalian evolution in western North America. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 387, 17-26.
Feng, R., Poulsen, C.J., Werner, M., Chamberlain, C.P., Mix, H., Mulch, A. (2013) Evolution of Early Cenozoic topography, climate and stable isotopes in precipitation in the North American Cordillera. American Journal of Science, 313, 613-648.
Regnery, J., Püttmann, W., Koutsodendris, A., Mulch, A., Pross, J. (2013) Comparing the paleoclimatic significance of higher land plant biomarker concentrations and pollen data: A case study on lake sediments from the Holsteinian interglacial. Organic Geochemistry, 61, 73-84.
Gébelin, A., Mulch, A., Teyssier, C., Jessup, M.J., Law, R.D., Brunel, M. (2013) The Miocene elevation of Mount Everest. Geology, 41, 7, 799-802.
Hoorn, C., Mosbrugger, V., Mulch, A., Antonelli, A (2013) Biodiversity from mountain building. Nature geoscience, 6, 154.
Hetzel, R., Zwingmann, H., Mulch, A., Gessner, K., Akal, C., Hampel, A., Güngör, T., Petschick, R. Mikes, T., Wedin, F. (2013) Spatio-temporal evolution of brittle normal faulting and fluid infiltration in detachment fault systems – a case study from the Menderes Massif, western Turkey. Tectonics, 32, 1-13. doi:10.1002/tect.20031
*Lüdecke, T., Mikes, T., Rojay, B., Cosca, M., Mulch, A. (2013) Oligo-Miocene paleoenvironment and paleohydrology of Central Anatolian lake basins. Turkish Journal of Earth Sciences (VAMP Special Volume); 22, 793-819. DOI: 10.3906/yer-1207-11
*Schemmel, F., Mikes, T., Rojay, B., Mulch, A. (2013) The impact of topography on isotopes in precipitation across the Central Anatolian Plateau (Turkey). Am. Journal of Science, 313, 61-80.
Mazzini, I., Hudackova, N., Joniak, P., Kovacova, M., Mikes, T., Mulch, A., Rojay, B., Lucifora, S., Esu, D., Soulie-Märsche, I. Palaeoenvironmental And Chronological Constraints On The Tuğlu Formation (Çankırı Basin, Central Anatolia, Turkey) (2013) Turkish Journal of Earth Sciences (VAMP Special Volume) 22, 747-777. DOI: 10.3906/yer-1207-10
Campani, M., Mulch, A., Kempf, O., Schlunegger, F., Mancktelow, N. (2012) Miocene paleotopography of the Central Alps. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 337-338, 174-185.
Gebelin, A., Mulch, A., Teyssier, C., Chamberlain, C.P., Heizler, M. (2012) Coupled basin-detachment systems as paleoaltimetry archives of the western North American Cordillera, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 335-336, 36-47.
Chamberlain, C.P., Mix, H.T., Mulch, A., Hren, M.T., Kent-Corson, M.L., Davis, S.J., Horton, T.W., Graham, S.A. (2012) The Cenozoic Climatic and Topographic Evolution of the Western North American Cordillera, American Journal of Science, 312, 213-262. DOI 10.2475/04.2011.00
Königer, P., Marshall, J.D., Link, T., Mulch, A. (2011) An inexpensive, fast, and reliable method for vacuum extraction of soil and plant water for stable isotope analyses by mass spectrometry. Rap. Comm. Mass Spect., 25, 3041-3048.
Gebelin, A., Mulch, A., Teyssier, C., Heizler, M., Vennemann, T.W., Seaton, N.C.A. (2011) Oligo-Miocene extensional tectonics and fluid flow across the Northern Snake Range detachment system, Nevada. Tectonics, 30, TC5010 DOI 10.1029/2010TC002797.
Gottardi, R., Teyssier, C., Mulch, A., Vennemann, T. W., Wells, M. L. (2011) Preservation of an extreme geotherm in the Raft River detachment shear zone. Geology, 39, 759-762.
Mix, H., Mulch, A., Kent-Corson, M.L., Chamberlain, C.P. (2011) Cenozoic migration of topography in the North American Cordillera, Geology, 39, 87-90.
Cecil M.R. Ducea, M., Reiners, P., Gehrels, G., Mulch, A., Allen, C., Campbell, I. (2010) Provenance of Eocene river sediments from the central northern Sierra Nevada and implications for paleotopography. Tectonics, 29, TC6010.
Ballato, P., Mulch, A., Landgraf A., Strecker M.R., Dalconi M.C., Friedrich A., Tabatabaei S.H. (2010) Middle to late Miocene Middle Eastern climate from stable oxygen and carbon isotope data, southern Alborz mountains, N Iran. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 300, 125-138.
**Kent-Corson, M.L., Mulch, A., Graham, S.A., Carroll, A.C., Ritts, B.D., Chamberlain, C.P, (2010) Diachronous isotopic and sedimentary responses to topographic change as indicators of mid-Eocene hydrologic reorganization in the western United States. Basin Research 22, 6, 829-845.
Mulch A., Uba, C., Strecker, M.R., Schönberg, R., Chamberlain, C.P. (2010) Late Miocene climate variability and surface elevation in the central Andes. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 290, 173-182.
Doebbert A., Carroll, A.R., Mulch, A., Chetel, L., Chamberlain, C.P. (2010) Geomorphic Controls On Lacustrine Isotopic Compositions: Evidence From The Laney Member, Green River Formation (Wyoming). Geological Society of America Bulletin, 122, 236-252.
Davis, S.J., Mulch A., Carroll, A.R., Horton T.W., Chamberlain, C.P. (2009) Paleogene landscape evolution of the central North American Cordillera: Developing topography and hydrology in the Laramide foreland. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 121, 100-116.
Garzione, C.N., Hoke, G.D., Libarkin, J.C., Withers, S., MacFadden B., Eiler, J., Mulch, A. (2008) The Rise of the Andes. Science, 320, 1304-1307.
Mulch, A., Sarna-Wojcicki, A.M., Perkins, M.E., Chamberlain, C.P. (2008) A Miocene to Pleistocene climate and elevation record of the Sierra Nevada, California. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105, 19, 6819-6824.
Agosta, F., Mulch, A., Chamberlain, C.P., Aydin, A. (2008) Geochemical traces of CO2-rich fluid flow along normal faults in central Italy. Geophysical Journal International 174, 758-770.
Mulch, A. and Chamberlain, C.P. (2007) Stable Isotope Paleoaltimetry in Orogenic Belts – The silicate record in surface and crustal geological archives. Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 66, 89-118.
Mulch, A., Teyssier, C., Cosca, M.A., and Chamberlain, C.P. (2007) Stable isotope paleoaltimetry of Eocene Core Complexes in the North American Cordillera. Tectonics, 26, TC4001, doi:10.1029/ 2006TC001995.
Person, M., Mulch, A., Teyssier, C., Gao, Y. (2007) Isotope Transport and Exchange within Metamorphic Core Complexes. American Journal of Science 307, 555-589.
Monjoie, P., Bussy, F., Schaltegger, U., Mulch, A., Lapierre, H., Pfeifer, H.R. (2007) Contrasting magma types and timing of intrusion in the Permian layered mafic complex of Mont Collon (Western Alps,Valais, Switzerland): evidence from U/Pb zircon and 40Ar/39Ar amphibole dating. Swiss Journal of Geosciences 100, 125–135.
Mulch, A., Graham, S.A., and Chamberlain, C.P. (2006) Hydrogen Isotopes in Eocene River Gravels and Paleoelevation of the Sierra Nevada. Science 313, 87-89.*elected to be among the „Top 100 Science papers in 2006“ (Discover v. 28, 01, 2007)
Mulch, A. & Chamberlain, C.P. (2006) The rise and growth of Tibet. Nature 439, p. 670.
**Kent-Corson, M.L., Sherman, L.S., Mulch, A., and Chamberlain, C.P., (2006) Cenozoic topographic and climatic response to changing tectonic boundary conditions in western North America. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 252, 453-466.
Mulch, A., Teyssier, C., Cosca, M.A., and Vennemann, T. (2006) Thermomechanical analysis of strain localization in a detachment zone. Journal of Geophysical Research, 111, B12405, doi:10.1029/2005JB004032
Mulch, A., Cosca, M.A., Fiebig, J., and Andresen, A. (2005) Time scales of mylonitic deformation and meteoric fluid infiltration during extensional detachment faulting: an integrated in situ40Ar/39Ar geochronology and stable isotope study of the Porsgrunn-Kristiansand Shear Zone (Southern Norway). Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 233, 375-390.
2004 – 2001
Mulch, A., Teyssier, C., Cosca, M.A., Vanderhaeghe, O., and Vennemann, T. (2004) Reconstructing paleoelevation in eroded orogens. Geology. 32, 6, 525-528. *paper was highlighted in Science 305, 19 and Geology Today 20, 5, 118-119.
Mulch, A. and Cosca, M.A. (2004) Recrystallization or cooling ages? – In situ UV-laser 40Ar/39Ar geochronology of muscovite in mylonitic rocks. Journal of the Geological Society London 161, 573-582.
Mulch, A., Cosca, M.A., and Handy, M. R. (2002) In-situ UV-laser 40Ar/39Ar geochronology of a micaceous mylonite – an example of defect-enhanced argon loss. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 142, 738-752.
Mulch, A., Rosenau, M. R., Dörr, W., and Handy, M. R. (2002) The age and structure of dikes along the tectonic contact of the Ivrea-Verbano and Strona-Ceneri Zones (southern Alps, Northern Italy, Switzerland). Swiss Bulletin of Mineralogy and Petrology 82, 55-76
Handy, M.R., Mulch, A., Rosenau, M.R., and Rosenberg, C.L. (2001) The role of fault zones and melts as agents of weakening, hardening and differentiation of the continental crust: a synthesis. in: Holdsworth R.E., Strachan, R.A., Magloughlin, J.F., and Knipe, R.J. (eds.): The Nature and Tectonic Significance of Fault Zone Weakening. Geological Society London, Special Publications 186, 305-332.
I am a geologist interested in dating sedimentary records and reconstructing terrestrial paleo-environments, especially during warm greenhouse periods such as the Eocene. These terrestrial records are key in providing constraints on dust fluxes and precipitation in the past, especially when accurately dated by using magneto- and cyclostratigraphy. I employ a variety of sedimentological tools such as grain-size distributions and surface textures to track mineral dust and aridification in the geological record (as described in Meijer et al., 2020; Earth-Sci. Rev.). Furthermore, I am using stable and clumped isotopes to reconstruct temperature as well as precipitation and study their role in driving biotic changes.
The middle Miocene Climate Transition in Europe
The mMCT at ~14 Ma is characterized by atmospheric cooling and the growth of the West Antarctic ice sheet. This may have had major implications for ocean circulation and precipitation patterns, especially in Europe where westerly moisture is controlled by pressure systems over the Atlantic Ocean. I aim to explore these precipitation patterns across the mMCT by measuring the stable and clumped isotopes in high-resolution terrestrial records in Spain and compare these with various other records throughout Europe.
North American Paleoclimate and Biodiversity Evolution
The continental basins in the north-western US provide a rich fossil mammal record marked by multiple shifts in biodiversity during the Eocene period. I aim to reconstruct the climatic evolution of the Paleogene basins in Idaho and Montana by using stable and clumped isotopes to understand the links between climate and mammal biodiversity.
Monsoons are a characteristic feature of the modern-day Asian climate, yet their geological history remains debated. I have dated sedimentary records from the Xining Basin in central China using magnetostratigraphy to study the evolution of the monsoons during the Eocene period. I use various sedimentological, geochemical and palynological proxies to track atmospheric moisture and dust storms to study the evolution of the monsoons and westerlies.
Monsoons are a characteristic feature of the modern-day Asian climate, yet their geological history remains debated. I have dated sedimentary records from the Xining Basin in central China using magnetostratigraphy to study the evolution of the monsoons during the Eocene period. I use various sedimentological, geochemical and palynological proxies to track atmospheric moisture and dust storms to study the evolution of the monsoons and westerlies.
Duration of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM)
The PETM is arguably the most famous and well-studied climatic event in Earth’s history and serves as an analogue for future global warming. This hyperthermal event has been recorded in the orbitally-forced terrestrial deposits of the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming US, at high-resolution which enabled improved estimates on the duration of the PETM.
My research interest focuses on well dated recordings of paleoenvironmental changes occurring in (restricted) marine water basins during the geological past.
My PhD research tackled the ‘conditio sine qua non’ of Earth Sciences: the age control. I was using an integrated stratigraphy approach (magnetostratigraphy, cyclostratigraphy, 40Ar/39Ar dating), resulting in the revised time-scale for the Paratethys domain (the ancient sea of Eurasia). I identified magnetofossil greigite uniquely produced by magnetotactic bacteria, as an essential component for reliable magnetostratigraphic dating in fresh-brackish water systems. An important topic was to quantify the paleoenvironmental changes within the Dacian basin determining 87Sr/86Sr ratios as proxy for continental water input.
Subsequently, I took another path by using organic geochemistry as another working tool. The δ13C and δ2H ratios of molecular biomarkers (n-alkanes and alkenones) measured at multiple locations gave excellent results. I found out that, at the end of the Miocene, the Black Sea was subject to severe drought with extreme evaporation taking place that led to its water level draw. My focus oriented to the extraordinary Messinian Salinity Crisis, an event caused by extreme evaporation in the Mediterranean that generated its water level drawdown. In other words, the Mediterranean dried out, at a severity that surpassed even the worst predictions of future climate change. To quantify the dramatic environmental changes associate to this event I use a combination of sea surface temperatureestimates based on biomarkers and δ18O on foraminifera to calculate paleosalinities at multiple locations in Mediterranean during the Messinian (7.24- 5.33 Ma).
To summarize, I am scientifically tailored to a multidisciplinary approach. I took the chance of developing extended fieldwork experience (in Romania, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Serbia, Armenia, Greece etc) that, by now, is matched by equally sized laboratory practice.
2002: Seismic interpreter, Schlumberger, Bucharest, Romania
2000 – 2002: Seismic interpretation junior researchers at Bucharest University, Romania
International (refereed) journals
· Van Baak, C.G.C., Krijgsman, W., Magyar, I, Sztanó, O., Golovina, L., Grothe, A., Hoyle, T., Mandic, O., Patina, I., Popov, S., Radionova, E., Stoica, M., Vasiliev, I.(2017) Earth-Science Reviews. Paratethys response to the Messinian salinity crisis, 172, 193-223, doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.07.015.
· Vasiliev, I., Mezger, E.M., Lugli, S., Reichart, G.J, Manzi, V., Roveri, M. (2017) Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, How dry was the Mediterranean during the Messinian Salinity Crisis?, 471, 120-133.
· van Baak, C.G.C., Vasiliev, I., Palcu, D.V., Dekkers, M.J. and Krijgsman, W. (2016). A greigite-based magnetostratigraphic time frame for the Late Miocene to Recent DSDP Leg 42B cores from the Black Sea. Frontiers in Earth Sciences 4:60. doi:10.3389/feart.2016.00060.
· Van Baak, C.G.C., Radionova, E.P., Golovina, L.A., Raffi, I., Kuiper, K.F., Vasiliev, I., Krijgsman, W. (2016). Objective utilization of data from DSDP Site 380 (Black Sea), Terra Nova, 28, 230-231.
· Van Baak, C.G.C., Radionova, E.P., Golovina, L.A., Raffi, I., Kuiper, K.F., Vasiliev, I., Krijgsman, W. (2015). Messinian events in the Black Sea, Terra Nova, 27, 433-441.
· Vasiliev, I., Reichart, G.J., Grothe, A., Sinninghe-Damsté, J., Krijgsman, W., Sangiorgi, F., van Roij, L. (2015) Recurrent phases of drought in the Miocene of the Black Sea region, Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology,423, 18-31.
· Chang, L., Vasiliev, I., van Baak, C. Krijgsman, W., Dekkers, M.J, Roberts, A.P., Fitz Gerald, J.D. van Hoesel, A., Winklhofer, M. (2014) Identification and environmental interpretation of diagenetic and biogenic greigite in sediments: a lesson from the Messinian Black Sea, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 15, 3612-3627.
· Grothe, G., Sangiorgi, F., Mulders, Y.R., Vasiliev, I., Reichart, G.J., Brinkhuis, H., Stoica, M., Krijgsman, W. (2014) Black Sea desiccation during the Messinian Salinity Crisis: fact or fiction? Geology,42(7), 563-566. doi:10.1130/G35503.1.
· Vasiliev, I., Reichart, G.J., Krijgsman, W. (2013). Impact of the Messinian Salinity Crisis on Black Sea hydrology – Insights from hydrogen isotopes on molecular biomarkers, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 362, 272-282.
· ter Borgh. M., Vasiliev, I., Stoica, M., Kneževiæ, S., Matenco, L., Krijgsman, W., Rundic, L., Cloeting, S. (2013). The isolation of the Pannonian basin (Central Paratethys): new constraints from magnetostratigraphy and biostratigraphy, Global Planetary Change, 103, 99-118.
· Van Baak, C.G.C., Vasiliev, I., Stoica, M., Kuiper, K., Forte, A.M., Aliyeva, E., Krijgsman, W. (2013). A magnetostratigraphic time frame for the Plio-Pleistocene transgressions in the South Caspian Basin, Azerbaijan. Global Planetary Change, doi: 10.1016/j.glopacha.2012.05.004., 103, 119-134.
· Stoica, M., Lazar, I., Krijgsman, W., Vasiliev, I., Jipa, D., Floroiu, A. (2013). Paleoenvironmental evolution of the East Carpathians foredeep during late Miocene-early Pliocene (Dacian Basin; Romania). Global Planetary Change, 103.
· Filipescu, S., Wanek, F., Miclea, A., de Leeuw, A., Vasiliev, I. (2011). Micropaleontological response to the changing environment across the Sarmatian Pannonian boundary in the Transylvanian Basin (Oarba de Mures section, Romania). Geologica Carpathica, 62, 91-102.
· Vasiliev I., Iosifidi A.G., Khramov A.N., Krijgsman W., Kuiper, K.F., Langereis C.G., Popov V.V., Stoica M., Tomsha V.A., Yudin S.V. (2011). Magnetostratigraphy and radiometric dating of upper Miocene – lower Pliocene sedimentary successions of the Black Sea Basin (Taman Peninsula, Russia), Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 310, 163-175.
· Joannin, S., Cornée, J.J., Münch, Ph., Fornari, M., Vasiliev, I., Krijgsman, W., Nahapetyan, S., Gabryelian, Y., Ollivier, V., Roiron, P., Chataîgnier, Ch. (2010). Early Pleistocene climatic cycles in continental deposits of the Lesser Caucasus of Armenia inferred from palynology, magnetostratigraphy, and 40Ar/39Ar dating, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 291, 149-158.
· Krijgsman, W., Stoica, M., Vasiliev, I., Popov, V.V. (2010). Rise and fall of the Paratethys Sea during the Messinian Salinity Crisis, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 290,183-191.
· Vasiliev, I., Reichart, G.J., Davies, G., Krijgsman, W., Stoica, M. (2010). Strontium isotope ratios of the Eastern Paratethys during the Mio-Pliocene transition; Implications for interbasinal connectivity, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 292, 123-131.
· Vasiliev, I., de Leeuw, A., Filipescu, S., Krijgsman, W., Kuiper, K., Stoica, M., Briceag, A. (2010). The age of the Sarmatian-Pannonian transition in the Transylvanian Basin (Central Paratethys), Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 297, 54-69.
· Vasiliev, I., Maþenco, L., Krijgsman, W. (2009). The syn- and post-collisional evolution of the Carpathian foredeep (Romania): New constraints from anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility and paleostress analyses. Tectonophysics, 407, 457-465.
· Vasiliev, I., Franke, C. Meeldijk, DekkersM. J., Langereis, C. G., Krijgsman, W. (2008). Putative greigite magnetofossils from the Pliocene epoch, Nature Geoscience, 1(11), 782-786.
· Vasiliev, I., Bakraè, K., Kovaèiæ, M., Abdu;-Aziz, H., Krijgsman, W. (2008). Palaeomagnetic results from the Sarmatian/Pannonian Boundary in North-Eastern Croatia (Vranovic Section, Nasice Quarry), Geologica Croatica, 60(2), 151-163.
· Vasiliev, I., Dekkers, M.J., Krijgsman, W., Franke, C., Langereis, C.G. and Mullender, T.A.T. (2007). Early diagenetic greigite as a recorder of the palaeomagnetic signal in Miocene–Pliocene sedimentary rocks of the Carpathian foredeep (Romania), Geophysical Journal International, 171, 613-629.
· Panaiotu, C.E., Vasiliev, I., Panaiotu, C.G., Krijgsman, W., Langereis, C.G. (2007). Provenance analysis as a key to orogenic exhumation: a case study from the East Carpathians (Romania), Terra Nova, 19, 120-126.
· Stoica, M., Lazar, I., Vasiliev, I., Krijgsman, W. (2007). Mollusc assemblages of the Pontian and Dacian deposits from the Topolog-Arges area (southern Carpathian foredeep – Romania), Geobios, 40, 391-405.
· Cornée, J.J., Münch, P., Quillévéré, F., Moissette, P., Vasiliev, I., Krijgsman, W., Verati, C., Lécuyer, C. (2006). Timing of Late Pliocene to Middle Pleistocene tectonic events in Rhodes (Greece) inferred from magneto- biostratigraphy and 40Ar/39Ar dating of a volcaniclastic layer, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 250, 281-291.
· Dupont-Nivet, G., Vasiliev, I., Langereis, C.G., Krijgsman, W., Panaiotu, C. (2005). Neogene tectonic evolution of the southern and eastern Carpathians constrained by paleomagnetism, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 236, 374–387.
· Vasiliev, I., Krijgsman, W., Stoica, M. Cor G. Langereis (2005). Mio-Pliocene magnetostratigraphy in the southern Carpathian foredeep and Mediterranean – Paratethys correlations, Terra Nova, 17, 376–384.
· Vasiliev, I., Krijgsman, W., Langereis, C.G., Panaiotu, C.E., Maþenco, L., Bertotti, G. (2004). Towards an astrochronological framework for the eastern Paratethys Mio-Pliocene sedimentary sequences of the Focsani basin (Romania), Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 227, 231-247.
· Cloetingh, S., Horváth, F., Dinu, C., Stephenson, R.A., Bertotti, G., Bada, G., Garcia-Castellanos, D. D., Andriessen, P.A.M., Wortel, M.J.R., Spakman, W., Mocanu, V., Langereis, C.G., Krijgsman, W., Fokkema, J.T., Drijkoningen, G., Ambrosius, B.A.C., Neubauer, F., Fodor, L., Dunai, T., Willingshofer, E., Nador, A., Leever, K., Tarapoanca, M., Panea, I., Vasiliev, I. & TECTOP Working, Group (2003). Probing Tectonic Topography in the Aftermath of Continental Convergence in Central Europe, EOS, Trans. AGU, 84(10), 89-96.
National (refereed) journals
· Floroiu, A., Stoica, M., Vasiliev, I. and Krijgsman, W., (2011). Maeotian/Pontian ostracods in the Badislava – Topolog Area. Geo-Eco-Marina, 17, 237-244.
· Vasiliev, I. (2006). A new chronology for the Dacian Basin (Romania). Consequences for the kinematic and paleoenvironmental evolution of the Paratethys region. (PhD thesis Utrecht University), Geologica Ultraiectina, 267, 193 pp.
I am a geologist currently focusing on Eurasia’s paleoclimate during the mid-late Miocene. I am using a multiple approach to reconstruct the paleoenvironmental conditions in the Paratethys, an extinct aquatic system stretching from Austria to Kazakhstan, and its southern sister, the Mediterranean. My focus is on the changes in climate, water chemistry, salinity and basin connectivity, and their consequences over biota (both aquatic and terrestrial). For this purpose I am using biomarkers such as n-alkanes, alkenones and GDGT’s (SSTs, MATs, SSSs, pH), stable isotopes (δ13C, δ2H, δ18O), charcoal and sedimentology. The main two areas I am working on are Taman Peninsula (Russia) and Crete Island (Greece).
I am also interested in archaeology/geoarchaeology and human societies evolution, especially in prehistoric times.
01.2018 – Present: PhD student at Goethe University/Senckenberg Bik-F, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
09.2016 –06.2018: MSc in archaeology (Prehistory and Antiquity), University of Bucharest.
09.2012 –06.2014: MSc in geology (Basin analysis), University of Bucharest.
09.2008 –06.2012: BSc Geology (4 years study, engineer diploma), University of Bucharest.
Professional experience (geology)
01.2018 – Present: Research scientist at Senckenberg Bik-F, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
02.2019/08.2018: Guest research at NIOZ, Netherlands.
02.2017/09 –10.2016: Guest research at Senckenberg Bik-F, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
06.2016 – 09.2017: Research assistant, University of Bucharest.
07.2012 –12.2017: Geologist engineer, Danubian Energy Consulting, Bucharest, Romania.
12.2011 –06.2012: Technician, Danubian Energy Consulting, Bucharest, Romania.
2008 –2012: volunteer (assistant curator, preparator) paleontology collection, University of Bucharest.
Professional experience (archaeology)
08.2019: research and archaeological diggings at Catalhoyuk, Turkey.
09.2016/08.2017: research and archaeological diggings at Histria, Romania.
08.2015: guest archaeological diggings at Sarmizegetusa Regia, Romania.
MEDMESS-(DFG project of Iuliana Vasiliev, VA 122/2-1) Quantification of the Mediterranean environmental conditions during the Messinian salinity crisis. 2018-2019.
A multiproxy approach of the early Miocene of the Belenyenice section (Manisa, Turkey)-in cooperation with Leiden University and Fort Hoofddijk from Netherlands, Bratislava University and EGE University from Izmir.
QUANTMES, DAAD project of Iuliana Vasiliev. 2018-2019.
I study high-resolution lake deposits to learn about how the continental climate has evolved throughout the Eocene greenhouse period. I am particularly interested in short-term or seasonally resolved temperature variations and changes in regional precipitation patterns. To tackle my research questions, I use mainly organic geochemical techniques (biomarkers) but I am also interested in stable isotope geochemistry.
2020 – present: PhD student, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (SBiK-F), Frankfurt
I am a geologist whose main interests cover sedimentary geology, exogenous processes and paleoenvironmental studies.
My PhD project is part of the second phase of a DFG-funded SPP ‘Mountain Building Processes in Four Dimensions (MB-4D)’.
The project, entitled ‘Reconstructing Eastward Propagation of Surface Uplift in the Alps: Integrating Stable Isotope Paleoaltimetry and Paleoclimate Modelling (REAL)’ aims at constraining the surface uplift history of the European Alps in a paleoclimatic context. My project focuses on the Western and Eastern Alps, along with extending the record for the Central Alps to pre-Miocene times. The research focuses on stable isotope-based paleoelevation and paleoclimate reconstructions (ẟ18O, ẟD, D47-D48). The obtained ẟ-ẟ paleoaltimetry and clumped isotope-derived paleotemperature records are coupled with an isotope tracking atmospheric General Circulation Model (GCM) performed by colleagues from the ‘Earth System Dynamics Group’ at the University of Tübingen.
04.2021 – Present : PhD student at Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (SBiK-F), Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2017 – 2020 : M.Sc. in Earth Sciences, Freiburg University, Germany
2014 – 2016 : B.Sc. in Earth Sciences, Jean Monnet University, Saint-Étienne, France
11.2020 – 03.2021 : Laboratory technician for research in hydrogeochemistry, Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon (LGL), Jean Monnet University, Saint-Étienne, France
12.2018 – 07.2020 : Research assistant (HiWi), Sedimentary Geology and Quaternary Research Department, Freiburg University, Germany
I am a geologist interested in volcanology, paleoenvironmental studies and climate change.
I am currently working on reconstructing sea surface temperature and sea surface salinity at the scale of the entire Mediterranean Sea during the time interval between 7.25 and 5.97 Ma. I plan to quantify changes in these essential palaeoceanographic parameters recorded in the cyclic sedimentary successions exposed now on land in the Mediterranean region (e.g. Spain, Italy, Cyprus). The targeted 7.25 and 5.97 Ma time interval was marked by increased restriction of Mediterranean Sea – Atlantic connection, ultimately leading to the Messinian Salinity Crisis (5.97 – 5.33 Ma) when the Mediterranean Sea transformed into a huge evaporitic basin, causing a hydrological and subsequent ecological crisis.
To quantify changes in the sea surface temperature, I will simultaneously use and TEX86, proxies base on alkenones and glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers, biomarkers produced by coccolithophorid algae and Archaea, respectively. Afterwards, the sea surface temperature estimates will be combined with δ18O measured on planktonic foraminiferafor ultimately reconstructing the sea surface salinity for the interval preceding the Mediterranean Messinian Salinity Crisis.
The areas I am focusing on are Sorbas basin, Spain (in the Western Mediterranean), Gibilscemi/Falconara, Italy (in the Central Mediterranean) and Pissouri, Cyprus (in the Eastern Mediterranean).
2022-Present: PhD student at Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (SBiK-F), Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2021: M.Sc. in Field and Natural Resources Geology (Geodynamics and Volcanology), Roma Tre University, Italy
2018: B.Sc. in Geological Sciences, Roma Tre University, Italy
Activity Analysis of molecular biomarker such as stable hydrogen (δD) and stable carbon (δ13C) isotope compositions of plant waxes as proxies for past rainfall and vegetation change and GDGT based paleothermometry on terrestrial climate archives.
Academic and Professional Background 2013-2019 Research assistant at Biodiversity and Climate Research Center Frankfurt (BiK-F) 2010-2011 Project collaborator at the CVR (Consorzio Venezia Ricerche), Venice, Italy
Education 2012 Master Thesis in Environmental Sciences at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy: “Geochemical Characterization Of A Shallow Firn Core Retrieved From Colle Gnifetti (Monte Rosa, Italy)” 2009-2012 MSc in Environmental Sciences at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy and Hiroshima, Japan (Joint Degree – Joint International Master in Sustainable Development) 2003 – 2007 BSc in Natural Sciences at the University of Padua, Italy
One of my goals is to develop and apply new methods of paleoenvironmental reconstruction. My focus is the analysis of continental climate factors such as temperatures and isotopic compositions of fluids, e.g. on tooth enamel and pedogenic carbonates. Apart from fieldwork and operational support of the Goethe University-Senckenberg BiK-F Joint Stable Isotope Facility, I concentrate my efforts on methodological work on the geochemical proxy ‘clumped isotope’. Current research topics are the terrestrial climate evolution during the Middle Miocene Climatic Transition and method development of the combined high-precision ∆48 and ∆47 analysis of carbonates.
Terrestrial climate evolution during the Middle Miocene Climatic Transition
A comprehensive and well-dated terrestrial clumped isotope (Δ47) paleosoil carbonate dataset from Southern Europe (Spain) that ranges from 13 to 15 Ma was analyzed for paleoclimate reconstruction. The data covers the interval of the Middle Miocene Climate Transition (MCT) and shows a large decline in Δ47-based temperatures at 13.9 Ma indicating a major drop in continental temperatures. The Δ47 data further shows a highly dynamic transition into the MCT which can be linked to oceanic δ13C and δ18O isotope records.
Combined high-precision ∆48 and ∆47 analysis of carbonates
High-precision analysis of the excess abundance (relative to the stochastic distribution) of mass 48 isotopologues in CO2 evolved from acid digestion of carbonates (∆48) was first shown to be feasible using a 253 Plus™ gas source mass spectrometer. Follow up studies are now focusing on the deciphering of thermodynamics and possible kinetic effects during carbonate precipitation as well as back-calculating kinetic pathways of samples to derive pristine precipitation temperatures.
Clumped and oxygen isotope temperature calibration for biogenic apatite
Clumped isotope data from carbonated apatite from in vivo and in vitro samples were analyzed to refine the relationship between mineral growth temperature and carbonate clumped isotopic composition (Δ47). Δ47, δ18O and δ13C data were obtained from phosphoric acid digestion of chemically untreated teeth from an African elephant, Greenland sharks, sand tiger sharks and synthetic apatites. The temperature dependent oxygen isotope fractionation between structural carbonate in synthesized carbonated hydroxylapatites (CHAP) and water was calculated between 7 °C and 80 °C. Both new calibrations where applied to a modern Greenland shark and a fossil Carcharodon megalodon for reconstructing paleotemperatures and oxygen isotopic values of seawater.
Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, Geosciences Geology and Paleontology, Ph.D. studies, ongoing
Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, Geosciences Geology and Paleontology, M.Sc., 2015
Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, Geosciences, B.Sc., 2012
2016 – Present: Research Scientist, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center (S-BiK-F), Frankfurt, Germany
2014 to 2015: Guest Scientist, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (S-BiK-F)
My main research interest lies in the reconstruction of Neogene paleolandscapes occupied by early hominins. I rely on extensive fieldwork and geochemical approaches including stable isotope data of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, as well as clumped isotopes and multi-element analysis in a variety of proxy materials such as (fossil) tooth enamel and pedogenic carbonates. I focus on the wooded savannas of south-eastern Africa (Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa), while I am involved in archaeological, anthropological and paleoecological projects in Indonesia, Syria and Turkey. My goal is to understand the processes that link early hominin (dietary) adaptations to changes in the ecosystem they evolved in.
The overarching goal of this project is to reconstruct (Plio-)Pleistocene paleotemperature, vegetation, precipitation and evaporation patterns of hominin localities in the southern part of the East African Rift (Karonga Basin, Malawi and Manyara Basin, Tanzania). I use hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and clumped isotopes on different proxies (fossil tooth enamel of fauna (including early hominins), pedogenic carbonate and modern meteoric waters), I then link these paleoecological patterns with the diet of early hominins Homo rudolfensis and Paranthropus boisei. Results are published in Lüdecke et al., 2018 (PNAS).
Information about an individual’s position in the food-web – and with it the incorporation of animal resources in its diet – is reflected in nitrogen isotope ratios (δ15N) of organic tissues. To date, these data could only be determined in samples with sufficient amount of collagen, which has poor long-term preservation potential. While δ15N has been measured in subfossil and fossil bones, such analyses have been limited to relatively young (typically <100 ka) and exceptionally well-preserved material. We now developed a new method that allows us to investigate nitrogen isotopic composition of enamel bound organic matter material as old as 150 Ma to determine trophic levels. Among others, such as modern African mammals and Mesozoic dinosaurs, I analyze nitrogen isotope data for Australopithecus from the Sterkfontein cave in southern Africa, which represents the first δ15N data measured in any early hominin. This data provides a glimpse into the trophic behavior of Pleistocene hominin taxa.
Collaborators: A. Martínez-García (MPI for Chemistry), M. Bamford (ESI and U Witwatersrand), J. Leichliter (U Mainz), D. Stratford (U Witwatersrand), H. Vonhof (MPI for Chemistry)
As a research affiliate at the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford, I am the leading geochemist of the Paleo-Primate Project Gorongosa (PPG), Mozambique. The poorly-explored Gorongosa area is uniquely positioned in a large geographical gap between the well-studied hominin-yielding sites of the East African Rift in the north and the South African cave localities in the south. The overarching goal of the PPG is the reconstruction of the ecological and evolutionary history of the Gorongosa National Park region from the deep past to the present. Furthermore, the project focuses on primate adaptations to the complex environments of Gorongosa, both past and present. In the first four years of fieldwork, we discovered and started to excavate several fossil sites, which are some of the richest and well-preserved ones in the southern part of the East African Rift.
Collaborators: R. Bobe and S. Carvalho (Oxford U), Z. Alemseged (U Chicago), M. Bamford (ESI and U Witwatersrand), D.R. Braun (George Washington U), W. Archer (MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology)
Research Associate at the Institute of Climate Geochemistry, Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
2017 – Present
Post-Doctoral Researcher (DFG-funded), Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (SBiK-F), Frankfurt, Germany. Group Paleoclimate and Paleoenvironmental Dynamics
DFG-ICDP-Project personal grant (LU 2199/1-1 and /1-2): Early Hominin Adaptation in the Southern East African Rift – Plio-Pleistocene African temperature, ecosystem and early hominin diet patterns across a woodland-grassland savanna boundary
2017 – Present
Research Associate at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford, England
2016 – Present
Geochemist of the Paleo-Primate-Project Gorongosa, responsible for the reconstruction of Miocene paleoenvironments of the southernmost part of the East African Rift (Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique)
2016 – 2017
Post-Doctoral Researcher, Biomaterials and Biomimetics, College of Dentistry, New York University, New York City, NY, USA, method-development of simultaneous measurement of absolute concentrations of 71 elements in the periodic table (Li to U) via ICP-MS
2011 – 2016
PhD candidate, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Frankfurt, Germany. Stable isotope-based reconstruction of Neogene terrestrial archives. Magna cum laude (very good)
Martinez, F.I., Capelli, C., Ferreira da Silva, M.J., Aldeias, V., Alemseged, Z., Archer, W., Bamford, M., Biro, D., Bobe, R., Braun, D., Habermann, J.M., Lüdecke, T., Madiquida, H., Mathe, J., Negash, E., Paulo, L.M., Pinto, M., Stalmans, M., Tatá, F., Carvalho, S. A. (2019) A missing piece of the Papio puzzle: Gorongosa baboon phenostructure and intrageneric relationships. Journal of Human Evolution, 130, 1-20.
Ernst, M., Thiemeyer, H., Lüdecke, T. Stable isotope signatures of radiocarbon dated pedogenic carbonate from Tell Chuera (NE Syria) reveal fluctuating paleoenvironmental patterns in the Pleistocene Levant. In press at Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie, MS#553.
Habermann, J.M., Alberti, M., Aldeias, V., Alemseged, Z., Archer, W., Bamford, M., Biro, D., Braun, D.R., Capelli, C., Cunha, E., Ferreira da Silva, M., Lüdecke, T., Madiquida, H., Martinez, F.I., Mathe, J., Negash, E., Paulo, L.M., Pinto, M., Stalmans, M., Tatá, F., Wynn, J.G., Bobe, R., Carvalho, S. (2019). Gorongosa by the sea: First Miocene fossil sites from the Urema Rift, central Mozambique, and their coastal paleoenvironmental and paleoecological contexts. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 514, 723-738.
Lüdecke, T., Kullmer, O., Wacker, U., Sandrock, O., Fiebig, J., Schrenk, F., Mulch, A. (2018). Dietary Versatility of Early Pleistocene Hominins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115, 13330-13335.
Bäuchle, M., Lüdecke, T., Rabieh, S., Calnek, K., Bromage, T.G. (2018). Quantification of 71 detected elements from Li to U for aqueous samples by simultaneous-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Royal Society of Chemistry Advances, 8, 37008-37020.
Meijers, M.J.M., Brocard, G.Y., Cosca, M.A., Lüdecke, T., Teyssier, C., Whitney, D., Mulch, A. (2018). Rapid late Miocene surface uplift of the Central Anatolian Plateau margin. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 497, 29-41, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2018.05.040
Lüdecke, T., Mulch, A., Kullmer, O., Sandrock, O., Thiemeyer, H., Fiebig, J., Schrenk, F. (2016). Stable isotope dietary reconstructions of herbivore enamel reveal heterogeneous savanna ecosystems in the Plio-Pleistocene Malawi Rift. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 459, 170–181.
Lüdecke, T., Schrenk, F., Thiemeyer, H., Kullmer, O., Bromage, T.G., Sandrock, O., Fiebig, J., Mulch, A. (2016). Persistent C3 vegetation accompanied Plio-Pleistocene hominin evolution in the Malawi Rift (Chiwondo Beds, Malawi). Journal of Human Evolution, 90, 163-175.
Fiebig, J., Hofmann, S., Löffler, N., Lüdecke, T., Methner, K., Wacker, U. (2015). Slight pressure imbalances can affect accuracy and precision of dual inlet-based clumped isotope analysis. Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies, 16, 1-17.
Lüdecke, T., Thiemeyer, H. (2013). Palaeoenvironmental Characteristics of the Plio-Pleistocene Chiwondo and Chitimwe Beds (N-Malawi). In: Runge, J. Palaeoecology of Africa Vol. 32, 143-161. An International Yearbook of Landscape Evolution and Palaeoenvironments.
Lüdecke, T., Mikes, T., Rojay, B., Cosca, M.A., Mulch, A. (2013). Stable isotope-based reconstruction of Oligo-Miocene paleoenvironment and paleohydrology of Central Anatolian lake basins (Turkey). Turkish Journal of Earth Sciences, 22, 793-819.
Research interests My primary research interest is the reconstruction of paleoaltimetry and paleoclimate using traditional stable and clumped isotope geochemistry.
Current joint projects with Senckenberg involve Eocene and Miocene paleoclimate reconstruction of the western US and of the European Alps as well as the geochemical reconstructions of fluid flow in fault zones (Japan).
2020-current: Visiting PostDoc at Stanford University 2016-2019: Research Associate, Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt and Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre
2016: PhD, Goethe Universität Frankfurt
PhD thesis: “Recovering Eocene paleotopography and paleoclimate of the North American Cordillera through integrated stable isotope and clumped isotope analyses”
2010 – 2016: PhD candidate at BiK-F/Goethe Universität Frankfurt
2010: Diploma, Leibniz University of Hannover
Diploma thesis: “Fluid flow and detachment kinematics of a Cordilleran detachment zone”
2004 – 2010: Study in Geosciences, Leibniz University of Hannover and University of Bern, Switzerland
I am a geologist who uses stable isotope geochemistry to quantify paleoelevations of mountain ranges, as well as to reconstruct continental paleoenvironments. I establish the chronological framework for my studies using magnetostratigraphy and 40Ar/39Ar geochronology. My goal is to link tectonic processes to changes in paleoenvironmental patterns (vegetation, hydrology, climate, seasonality). I work within the ‘Paleoclimate and Paleoenvironmental Dynamics’ group of Andreas Mulch.
Current research projects
Reconstructing Eastward Propagation of Surface Uplift in the European Alps
Within the framework of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Priority Programme ‘Mountain Building Processes in Four Dimensions (MB-4D)’ a recently funded project is focused on reconstructing the eastward propagation of surface uplift of the Alps. In this collaborative effort of Senckenberg BiK-F and the Goethe University in Frankfurt with the University of Tübingen (one PhD student each) we combine stable isotope-based paleoaltimetry and clumped isotope (Δ47) derived temperature reconstructions from Oligocene and younger rocks (Frankfurt) with isotope-enabled General Circulation Models (GCMs; Tübingen) to establish and test various surface uplift scenarios under different climatic conditions.
Collaborators: T. Ehlers, S. Mutz (both U Tübingen), Katharina Methner (Stanford U)
PhD students: Armelle Ballian (SBiK-F, Goethe U) and Daniel Boateng (U Tübingen)
The Neogene paleoaltimetry of central Anatolia
I employ stable isotope paleoaltimetry to reconstruct central Anatolian topography with the ultimate goal of identifying mechanism(s) of surface uplift as a result of mantle versus crustal processes. Results show that the southern Central Anatolian Plateau (CAP) margin reached similar-to-present elevations of ~2 km by 5 Ma.
Collaborators: D. Whitney (U Minnesota), G. Brocard (U Sydney), C. Teyssier (U Minnesota)
Neogene ecosystems of the present-day Central Anatolian Plateau (CAP)
Stable isotope geochemistry in fluvio-lacustrine sedimentary systems provides information on lake hydrology, as well as on paleoenvironment and paleoclimate. Many of the lakes in the CAP area exhibit evidence for an open hydrology, therefore indicating they were either outward draining (Black Sea, Mediterranean) or into a terminal lake.
Soil carbonates provide a proxy material for paleovegetation reconstructions. Large variations in stable carbon isotope values indicate the dominance of C4 over C3 carbon fixation in central Anatolia over certain periods in the geological past.
More recently, I have started to work on mammal tooth enamel from mammal fossil localities in central Anatolia, which provide a means of reconstructing paleodiet and seasonality. The variation in mammalian traits over geological time within nearby mammal localities suggests significant changes in paleohabitats and therefore vegetation and diet.
Collaborators: O. Başoğlu (Gazi U), F. Kaya (U Helsinki), C. Pehlevan (Nevşehir U)
Geochronology of the Central Anatolian Plateau
For many of the fluvio-lacustrine Anatolian basins in which the proxy materials were sampled, I establish new age constraints by combining magnetostratigraphy, 40Ar/39Ar geochronology and existing mammal stratigraphy. The obtained age framework for the studied basins allows the paleoaltimetric and paleoenvironmental data to be put in a spatio-temporal framework.
Collaborators: C. Langereis (Utrecht U), J. Feinberg (U Minnesota), M. Cosca (USGS)
Mountain uplift and biodiversity in Anatolia
The world’s mountain ranges have long been recognized as biodiversity hotspots. In order to relate mountain uplift and environmental changes to biodiversity, I work with macroecologists and macroevolutionary biologists. Paleogeography, mammal diversity, dissimilarity and turnover, as well as paleovegetation and paleoclimate data are being combined to assess the effect of mountain uplift on biodiversity for a case study in Anatolia.
Collaborators: S. Huang, S. Fritz (both Senckenberg BiK-F)
Plate tectonic reconstructions and the restoration of the geometries of mountain belts in the greater Black Sea region
Rotational paleomagnetic studies led to the restoration of the original geometries of the Pontides (Turkey) and Lesser Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia) orogens, as well as the Central Anatolian Crystalline Complex (Turkey). Using paleomagnetism, I produced plate tectonic reconstructions for Baltica, the southern Eurasian margin (Crimea, Pontides) and the South Armenian Block. The remagnetized nature of (mostly) marine carbonates caught my special attention. I also examined the Jurassic paleo-subduction zone configuration of the Black Sea region based on 40Ar/39Ar dating and geochemical analysis of Crimean volcanic rocks.
2016 – Present: Research Scientist, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center (BiK-F), Frankfurt, Germany
2012 – 2015: Postdoctoral Associate, University of Minnesota, USA, NSF Continental Dynamics – Central Anatolian Tectonics (CD-CAT) project
2010 – 2012: Henri Poincaré Postdoctoral Fellow, Université de Nice – Sophia Antipolis, France, ‘Paleomagnetism of the Armenian Block and its foreland: constraints on Tethyan plate reconstructions and oroclinal bending during the Phanerozoic’
My research area is located in the Central Alps and the adjacent Swiss Molasse Basin, the western part of the northern Alpine foreland Basin. This region catches deposits of the Central Alps which were eroded due to the orogen uplift. My focus is on terrestrial carbonate-rich sediments of Miocene age which were deposited in large fluvial megafan deltas. Miocene climatic conditions enabled the basin-wide formation of paleosols rich in pedogenic carbonate nodules. Those authigenic minerals are perfectly suitable for analyses of standard stable isotopes (δ18O and δ13C) and clumped isotopes (D47) and tell us about prevailing paleotemperatures and paleoenvironmental conditions at the time and site of carbonate growth. One of my projects targets revealing of the Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum with the help of carbonate clumped (D47) based thermometry. To understand how the temperature evolved during time is an important feature of my second project: reconstruction of the Miocene Alpine uplift with the d-d paleoaltimetry approach.