Wednesday 28 May 2014Inaugural Lecture: The Jurassic Earth: natural resource and environmental change

Professor Stephen Hesselbo - Professor of Geology, Camborne School of Mines

The Exchange Lecture Theatre, Penryn Campus 17:15-19:00

Past environmental changes reconstructed from the rock record have been important in shaping our understanding of present-day environmental systems and potential future changes. The Jurassic Period (200-150 million years ago) is particularly instructive because the rock record of that age contains abundant evidence for dramatic fluctuations in the operation of the carbon cycle during 'supergreenhouse' events, ironically expressed in the deposition of black shales that are the source of much of the world's hydrocarbon resource. In this lecture I explore the causes and mechanisms driving the largest magnitude environmental changes in the Jurassic. Particular emphasis will placed the very warm event known as the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event, and the transition to cool, even glacial, climates occurring in the middle Jurassic. Both of these events were triggered by large-scale volcanic processes that strongly perturbed heat transport in the oceans and atmosphere.

PROFESSOR STEPHEN HESSELBO is Professor of Geology at the University of Exeter. He joined the University in September 2013, moving from the University of Oxford where he was Sackler-Clarendon Professor of Stratigraphy.

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