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Unravelling Oligocene-middle Miocene climate change in cyclic continental sequences


Cyclic, high-frequency, variations in sedimentary records have been convincingly linked to the orbital parameters of precession, obliquity and eccentricity. The impact of the long-period astronomical cycles of 1.2 Myr obliquity and 2.4 Myr eccentricity, however, is still controversial because these cycles are less powerful and they operate on million years time scales, which are often dominated by tectonic processes.

So far, Oligocene to middle Miocene (26 to 15 million years ago) marine sequences have recorded glaciation events, which have been related to the 1.2 Myr obliquity and 2.35 Myr eccentricity cycle. Although the evidence for long-period orbital climate forcing is increasing, little is known about the influence of these cycles in controlling the cyclicity and, consequently, lake level variation in continental sequences. In this research proposal, I aim to unravel the influence of 1.2 Myr obliquity and the 2.4 Myr eccentricity cycles in controlling lake level and small mammal faunal change.

To accomplish this goal, I will study late Oligocene to middle Miocene cyclic lacustrine and distal alluvial fan successions from the Ebro basin in northern Spain using an inter- and multidisciplinary research approach. This approach includes:
- integration of (ma gneto-, cyclo- and bio-) stratigraphic and sedimentological-geochemical methods,
- stable isotope and (bio)geochemical analyses to reconstruct high-resolution climate proxy records, and
- establishing phase relations and an astronomical tuning.

The proposed research offers me the opportunity to receive extensive training in sedimentological, geochemical and mineralogical methods available at the host institute. This training will definitely enhance my proficiency in paleoclimate proxy analysis methods and improve my knowledge of long-period orbitally induced climate change and its impact on different continental sedimentary settings.

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