Terrigenous Signals

Lecturers: Walter Geibert, Enno Schefuß


Marin sediments consists of material that is produced in the ocean and particulate matter of terrigenous origin. Beside information from microfossil tests (species abundances, carbon and oxygen isotopes in carbonates, etc.) and depending on the regional environmental conditions, the terrigenous fraction of marine sediments contains extremely useful information about regional and/or temporal variations in climate conditions. Inorganic as well as organic particulate matter can be used especially to reconstruct and understand the complex interrelations between solar radiation, hydrological cycle and large scale correlations (e.g. teleconnections).

This course gives an introduction to the very interesting field of the use and development of terrigenous proxies in marine sediments. Beside fundamental information on the major inorganic and organic parameters (e.g. mineral assemblages, element compositions, organic components), selected case studies will presented and discussed by all participants.


After successful participation in this course, students are able to assess and interprete simple records of terrigenous proxies in marine sediments. Furthermore, they have learned to recognize and consider complex interrelations between different factors forcing climate on Earth.


Modul exam (written) on selected topics from all module courses

Exam Form:



Chester, R. (2003) Marine Geochemistry, Blackwell Publ., 2nd Ed., 506 pp.
Wefer, G., Mulitza, S., Ratmeyer, V. (eds) (2004) The South Atlantic in the Late Quaternary: Reconstruction of Mass Budget and Current Systems, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, 722 pp.

Key articles in international journals will be given during the course.


1st SWS: Intro fluvial/eolian input, inorg. geochem. proxies
2nd SWS: Case studies - potential and limitation of interpretation
3rd SWS: Indentification of potential source areas - EM-modeling
4th SWS: Terrestrial organic signals, pollen, charcoal, black carbon, TOC
5th SWS: Molecular terrestrial signals
6th SWS: Compound-specific isotope signals
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