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News from Geological Sciences

In an article published in International Innovation in October 2014, Professor Thomas S. Bianchi, holder of the Jon and Beverly Thompson Endowed Chair of Geological Sciences, and Dr. Mead Allison of Tulane University discuss their work with their research team on studies of sediments from river deltas near Alaska's Beaufort Sea. They are developing a high-resolution record of the climate from the Holocene into the late Pleistocene in the Arctic by looking at sediments from 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago to see how climate changed there over that time span. They are considering how what happened then might relate to what's happening now and perhaps predict the future. The team found the first evidence of the Colville River containing organic carbon dating back to that epoch. Their findings also suggest thaw in the region is ongoing and that permafrost organic carbon from this northern Alaskan watershed is moving. Taken together, this data represents the first evidence for the thawing and transport of ancient permafrost. Phase one of the research is finished and the team is doing additional data analysis now. Other river deltas in that area will be examined by the team in the future.

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