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A proposal for drilling “Geiseltal” – a near complete terrestrial section of the Eocene in Central Europe

As the world warms due to rising greenhouse gas concentrations, the Earth system moves toward climate sthistoricalhout historic precedent, challenging societal adaptation. One way to investigate these unprecedented conditions is to study past climates and ecosystems that share similarities to our current and future ones. One such period is the Eocene (~56 – 33 Ma), during which the climate changed from a hot-house to a greenhouse state, comprising a wide range of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. However, our knowledge of the Eocene climate evolution is incomplete because of a lack of terrestrial records covering the entire period. To address this gap in our understanding, we propose to obtain drill cores at Geiseltal in Eastern Germany.

This former lignite quarry is famous for its exceptionally well-preserved Eocene m. Still, itssils, but its potential as a climate archive has not yet been explored due to the lack of existing drill cores. By drilling a maximum of three cores, we aim to create a spliced 100-120 m long record comprising the entire Eocene archived in Geiseltal as an alteration of lignite seems intercalated with fluvial strata. High-resolution, multi-proxy analyses of the obtained sediments will allow the generation of a unique record of (sub)orbital climate variability under various atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. To advance this project, we welcome scientific input from a wide range of disciplines (e.g., stratigraphy, sedimentology, paleolimnology, paleobotany, paleontology, and organic/inorganic geochemistry) as well as are actively seeking interested groups and individuals to collaborate with us on this project.


Stefanie Kaboth-Bahr1, Andrè Bahr2, Christian Zeeden3
1Free University Berlin, Germany; 2Heidelberg university, Germany; 3Leibiz Institute for Applied Geophysics, Germany
GeoBerlin 2023