Heinrich Events: An Unintentional Discovery And Its Possible Consequences for the future

In the mid 80ties an environmental impact assessment in relation to deep-sea dumping of medium-to-high level radioactive waste was carried out in the eastern margins of the Mid Atlantic Ridge next to the Bay of Biscaye. In one of the box corers recovered for radionuclide analysis a volcanic rock was found that triggered interest because of an unexpected geochemical feature on its surface. Subsequent investigations on the bordering sediment layer revealed hints on a massive ice rafting event possibly released from rapidly collapsing circum-Atlantic ice shields. The search for more of these events in numerous sediment cores exhibited a total of 11 layers since the end of the Saalian/Illinoian glaciation (OIS 6/5 to 2/1). The six events identified in the period OIS 4 to 2 indicated oceanographic conditions in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean that were different to those that prevailed during most time of this glacial period. Later, several authors proposed mechanisms that could have triggered the collapses, e.g. the Binge-Purge model (MacAyeal, 1993) or, access of relatively warm water to the grounding lines in conjunction with isostatic movements (Bassis, 2017).

One of the consequences of rapid ice shield collapses is sea level rise. Paleo data report rates of up to several meters per century over a period of several centuries. The process described by Bassis et al. resembles to what nowadays can be observed along the ice margins of Greenland and the Antarctic where (man-made) warmed ocean water attacks the grounding lines. If this initiates something like a Heinrich event this is of widespread consequence for coasts, from displacement of populations to marine pollution.

Research on past Heinrich events is important for understanding the future developments of the existing ice shields and climate change.

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Date, Time:18/06/2018, 16:00 h – 17:00 h

Location: Kleiner Hörsaal der Geologie (310a), Zülpicher Straße 49, Cologne

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The Epipalaeolithic occupation of the Eastern Sahara – Aspects of a Colonisation Process

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Jan Kuper is a PhD student in project A2 “Late Quaternary High-Resolution Climate Archives in the Sahara” of the CRC 806 “Our Way to Europe”, University of Cologne (Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology). In his PhD project, he focusses on the Epipalaeolithic occupation of the Eastern Sahara.

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This postglacial reoccupation is a convenient case study to examine a migration process of colonising hunter-gatherers at relatively high temporal resolution. A key advantage of this dispersal is the fact that this population movement cannot be disputed as the desert had been uninhabitable due to hyperaridity during the Late Pleistocene for tens of millennia. Besides generic questions of origin and time, the PhD project aims at investigating why and how people spread to new and unfamiliar tracts of land.

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Jan Kuper, Project A2

Tackling these questions might not only illuminate the prehistory of the Eastern Sahara, but also help to better understand general mechanisms of migration, in particular the colonisation of uninhabited landscapes.

Necessary archaeological and environmental information for this investigation derive from both, primary data (lithic analyses of crucial sites and palaeoclimate results obtained in project A2) and a review of relevant literature. This talk will present an initial attempt to integrate these diverse data into a tentative model for the early Holocene colonisation of the Eastern Sahara.

Date, Time: 30/05/2016, 14:00 h – 14:45 h

Location: Room S12, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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Reconstructing Environmental Conditions of the Last Glacial in the Northern Harz Foreland

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Several types of archives are used for reconstructing paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic conditions during the quaternary. Loess-paleosol-sequences often represent the best accessible archive in terrestrial environments. The accumulation of loess is linked to cold environments whereas soil formation on loess occurs during warmer and moister periods.

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Repeating changes of climatic and environmental conditions result in accumulation and development of loess-paleosol-sequenes. Two loess-paleosol sections in the northern Harz foreland have been investigated within the second phase of the “Collaborative Research Centre 806 (CRC806) – Our Way to Europe

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Lydia Krauß, Project D1

– Culture-Environment Interaction and Human Mobility in the Late Quaternary”. We are aiming towards a better understanding of the paleoenvironmental conditions during the Weichselian in an area close to the Scandinavian ice sheet. To achieve that, a multi-proxy approach is applied. During June 2014 the two profiles Hecklingen and Zilly were cleaned, documented and sampled for sedimentological analyses. Samples were continuously taken in a high resolution of 5 cm for multi-elemental (XRF), CaCO3 content, environmental magnetism, color and grain size distribution measurements.

Event Information:

Date, Time: 02/05/2016, 14:45 h – 15:30 h

Location: Room S12, Seminargebäude (Building 106), Universitätsstraße 37 , Cologne

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Volcanism in the Eastern Carpathians and first insights into the geochemical record of Mohos crater

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Marc Bormann is a PhD student in the CRC project B2 “Climatic and Environmental History of the Balkans During the Last Glacial Cycle”. He studied Geography, Geology and Soil Science at the Universities of Cologne and Bonn. In his PhD project, starting in January 2014, he investigates a sediment record from the Mohos crater in the Eastern Romanian Carpathians using a multiproxy approach.

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Geoarchaeology in the Desert: Unique Cave Sediments, Landscape Evolution and Palaeoenvironment at Sodmein Cave, Egypt

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 Before I started my PhD, I did my bachelor in Geography and the master study course “Quaternary Science & Geoarchaeology”, both at the University of Cologne. I already wrote my bachelor-thesis in the C1-project and during my master, I changed to the A1-project. My master-thesis was about first micromorphological investigations at Sodmein Cave in Egypt.

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Quaternary fluvial environments in the eastern Rif (Morocco) inferred from geochronological and geoarchaeological investigations

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Melanie Bartz is a PhD student in the C2 project “Early Holocene Contacts between Africa and Europe and their Palaeoenvironmental Context” of the CRC 806 “Our Way to Europe” of the University of Cologne, at the Institute of Geography. The prehistoric site of Ifri n’Ammar, a rock shelter dated back to Middle and Late Palaeolithic times and characterised by periodic settling, reveals human activity since 170 ka.

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Chronology of paleoclimate and sea-level changes during the postglacial transition

Prof. Edouard Bard

Prof. Edouard Bard

In contrast with the last few millennia that are characterized by a rather stable climate, the period between 21000 and 6000 years before present experienced a complete reorganization of all climate compartments, e.g. atmosphere, ice sheets and ocean, lakes and rivers. It is only recently that paleotemperature records covering the last deglaciation have become available at a global scale, including tropical sites that are very remote from the main center of variation linked to the melting of former ice-sheets on each side of the North-Atlantic basin. In addition, the dating of these records is now sufficiently accurate and precise to allow meaningful compilation and comparisons with model simulations performed in a transient mode.

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First results from Achenheim, France concerning the paleoenvironmental conditions between 40,000 and 14,000 a BP

zens_krauß_bannerDuring the Aurignacian (35,000 – 30,000 BP) Homo sapiens arrived for the first time in the Rhineland and recolonized the region after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in the Magdalenian (20,000 – 14,000 BP). The D1 Project is part of the “Collaborative Research Centre 806 (CRC 806) – Our Way To Europe – Culture-Environment Interaction and Human Mobility in the Late Quaternary“ and focuses on reconstructing environmental conditions during the last glacial cycle (40,000 – 14,000 BP) in connection with archaeological research on migration processes of Homo sapiens in Western and Central Europe.

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