Projects Detail

The Baumkirchen palaeo-lake

This project studies the paleoclimate archive of Banded Clays (Baumkirchner Bändertone) deposited in a fjord-like palaeolake of the Inn Valley ca. 30 km east of the city of Innsbruck. A rare opportunity in the Alps, these deposits document a period of extreme climate instability some 59,000 to 28,000 years ago, well known from Greenland ice and Atlantic sediment cores for the abrupt Dansgaard-Oeschger events. Their impact on Alpine paleoclimate and environment, hitherto largely unknown, will form our central objective. Recently drilled 250-m long core sections are analyzed by state-of-the-art techniques to produce a broad set of well dated, quantitative and qualitative proxy data of paleotemperature, -productivity, -vegetation, and –hydrology, with annual, in part seasonal, resolution. These records promise important evidence to validate regional climate models of abrupt climate change and the impact of changes in Atlantic overturning circulation on Alpine climate.

Project title: Alpine response to Atlantic climate variability during MIS 3 (FWF P248200). Duration 2013-2015
and Austrian Academy of Sciences DOC scholarship.
P.i.: Christoph Spötl
Postdoc: Reinhard Starnberger
PhD student: Samuel Barrett
External collaborators: Achim Brauer (GFZ Potsdam), Ruth Drescher-Schneider (Graz)

Recent publication:
Barrett, S., Starnberger, R., Tjallingii, R., Brauer, A., Spötl, C. (2017): The sedimentary history of the inneralpine Inn Valley (Austria): extending the Baumkirchen type section further back in time with new drilling. – Journal of Quaternary Science, 32, 63-79.