The History of the Black Sea Revealed in its Sediments


Until about 5,000 years ago, the Black Sea was a brackish lake cut off from world oceans until sea-level rise fed by melting glaciers connected it with the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. A record of that history exists in its seafloor sediments and even in its present-day waters.

Hans-Jürgen Brumsack, a professor at University of Oldenburg in Germany and a former postdoctoral researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, will share his account of this history Monday, Nov. 19 when he delivers the Tsaihwa J. Chow Distinguished Lecture in Ocean Chemistry for 2012. He will present "Trace metal geochemistry of modern anoxic sediments: The Black Sea example" at 3 p.m. in Sumner Auditorium on the Scripps Oceanography campus, 8602 La Jolla Shores Drive in La Jolla, Calif. (Sumner Auditorium is one-half block north of El Paseo Grande). The lecture is free and open to the public.

The Black Sea is distinguished by euxinic (depleted in dissolved oxygen; enriched in hydrogen sulfide) deep waters, which are delivered from the relatively salty Mediterranean. In his research, Brumsack has developed a geochemical record combining multiple sediment cores collected from the Black Sea to generate a single composite geochemical core log. His analysis of trace elements, iron, and other sediment components led to the creation of a reference archive to help understand exchanges between the Black Sea and neighboring seas and the paleoenvironmental evolution of its basin.

The lecture is named for Dr. Tsaihwa J. Chow, a geochemist with a long association with Scripps who died in 2006.

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