MSc Quaternary Science 2015-2016: Richard Clark-Wilson and Joshua Pike

Continuing the theme of student projects, we will, over the next few weeks, be featuring short blog posts from our 2015-2016 MSc. Quaternary Science cohort.  These will give a flavour of the topics they are working on, methods they are applying and why these are important.

This week sees Richard Clark-Wilson and Joshua Pike summarise their work.


Name: Richard Clark-Wilson

MSc Dissertation title: Chronology and palaeoenvironments of lacustrine sediments in the western Nefud desert, Saudi Arabia

Proxies of choice: Stable isotopes and thin-section micromorphology.

Chronology of choice: Optically Stimulated Luminescence

About: My main interests lie in optically stimulated luminescence dating, stable isotope analysis, sedimentology, and theories of Homo sapiens dispersal from Africa. Taking these into account my supervisors and I formulated a project which aimed to date and assess the climate stability of humid phases, represented by lacustrine sediments, in the Nefud desert, Saudi Arabia. This will add valuable data to ongoing research in an area at the ‘crossroads’ of Hominin population movements out of, and into, Africa during the Pleistocene.




Name: Josh Pike

Dissertation Title: Detailed sedimentological and tephrochronological study of annually-laminated deposits at Svärdsklova, Southeastern Sweden

Techniques: Micromorphology, tephrochronology, sedimentology and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) core scanning

About: I am interested in the development of high-resolution palaeoenvironmental archives and chronologies, especially archives that are annually resolved. Using this, my supervisors and I created a project examining the annually-laminated (varve) deposits at Svärdsklova, Southeastern Sweden to understand the depositional processes leading to varve formation as well as constructing a chronology for the sequence. This will help to improve the Swedish varve chronology (13,300 year-long record), which during the Younger Dryas-Holocene transition is suggested to be missing more than 1000 years. The application of tephrochronology will also allow direct correlation and assessment of leads and lags in climate records from Greenland to Sweden.


Figure 1 (left). Example of varved sediments from Svärdsklova. Light band + dark band = 1 year.

Figure 2 (right). Example of varves being sampled for thin-section production (micromorphology)


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