The Departments of Geology and Botany at Trinity College Dublin, seek applicants for a 4-year fully funded PhD-project, to assess the link between large igneous province volcanism and past climate change.
The Departments of Geology and Botany at Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin, seek applicants for a 4-year fully funded PhD-project, to assess the link between large igneous province volcanism and past climate change, carbon cycle perturbations and global mass extinctions.
Deadly kiss of the LIPs:
Did Large Igneous Province volcanism cause global carbon cycle change and
mass extinction in Earth’s past?
Earth history is marked by major climatic and environmental change events, often associated with major global carbon cycle perturbations and marine and terrestrial mass extinction. These events have been linked to Large Igneous Province (LIP) volcanism, through which millions of cubic kilometres of volcanic (basaltic) rock were emplaced onto the Earth surface within 104–106 years, potentially leading to the rapid and massive release of greenhouse gasses (e.g. CO2 CH4) and toxic compounds into the ocean-‐atmosphere system.
Two of the largest of these events occurred in the Early Jurassic (from ~201–175 million years ago) and are known as the Triassic–Jurassic Mass Extinction (~201.5 million years ago) and the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-‐OAE; ~183 million years ago), which have been tentatively linked to the emplacement of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province and the Karoo-‐Ferrar Large Igneous Province, respectively.
Major uncertainty, however, exists on the timing and intensity of Early Jurassic LIP volcanism, the associated elevated fluxes of carbon and toxic compounds (e.g. mercury) into the global ocean-‐atmosphere system (impacting on atmospheric pCO2 and ecosystem toxicity), and their potential causal role in initiating positive and negative feedback mechanism and associated changes in global climate and the environment across the Early Jurassic and particularly during the Triassic–Jurassic Mass Extinction and the Toarcian OAE.
The project will study Early Jurassic marine and continental sedimentary archives in Europe and China that hold crucial physical, chemical and biological materials and information to constrain the mechanistic processes that governed two of the largest climatic, environmental change and massextinction events in Earth’s past.
The project will focus on 3 integrally linked Research Objectives:
1) To quantify the magnitude of Early Jurassic carbon release and sequestration, and associated changes in the global carbon cycle and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations;
2) To constrain the magnitude and intensity of Large Igneous Province volcanism and the associated release of toxic compounds, and its (causal) link to past, elevated carbon release, climate change and mass extinction;
3) To astrochronologically quantify the timing and magnitude of changes in Early Jurassic carbon and mercury fluxes into the global ocean-‐atmosphere system, and the rate of change in atmospheric pCO2.
The closing date for applications is March 31st, 2019. Enquiries for further details can be directed to Dr Micha Ruhl or Professor Jennifer McElwain.
For more information see here