Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access


Environmental Studies

Faculty Mentor

Leah Joseph


Presented during the 20th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 20, 2018 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

This project uses ocean sediment to identify shifts in climate in the past. The amount of terrigenous (continentally derived) sediment that collects offshore can reflect the amount of erosion on land during the time of deposition, and therefore can help indicate climate conditions on land at that time (rainfall, aridity, etc.). As well, the terrigenous grain size and the alignment of the grains can be influenced by ocean currents and oceanic circulation patterns, and thus can be used as additional climatic indicators.

The samples were collected from deep sea cores taken from off the coast of Chile in the Pacific Ocean. Among the samples analyzed, the oldest are less than 350,000 years old (Quaternary Period). A five-step chemical extraction process was completed on each sample to remove components derived from the ocean, leaving only the terrigenous parts, to determine the terrigenous mass accumulation rates. Work will continue and include further terrigenous mass accumulation rate analyses, magnetic alignment analyses, and terrigenous grain size analyses. Together, these factors will be used to obtain information about paleoclimate and palaeoceanographic conditions at this relatively near shore high sedimentation rate site.