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Interdisciplinary team studies geologic processes in Mississippi River Delta area

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CO2 levels now higher than any time in the last 23 million years

One of the most pressing messages that climate scientists attempt to convey to the public is how today’s CO2 levels compare to those of the Geologic past. Such comparisons can provide public context for current CO2 rise, as well as important information on the response of global temperatures to rising CO2. A new study published in Geology suggests that present-day CO2 levels (412 ppmv) are now likely higher than at any time in at least the last 23 million years!

In this newly published study, a team led by Brian Schubert, Associate Professor in the School of Geosciences at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, used the remains of dead plants to produce a new record of atmospheric CO2 that spans 23 million years of uninterrupted Earth history. Their findings relied on the nearly continuous record of terrestrial photosynthesis provided by organic matter accumulated from partially decomposed plants.

“When plants grow, the relative amount of the two stable isotopes of carbon, carbon-12 and carbon-13, changes in response to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere,” says Schubert. “One can therefore measure the relative amount of these two isotopes and calculate the CO2 concentration under which the plants grew.”

The remains of land plants can be used to calculate the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere. Photo credit: A. Hope Jahren

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Two Graduate Students win the GSA Graduate Research Grant

Please join us in congratulating two of our graduate students who recently won a GSA Graduate Research Grant for 202

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The School of Geosciences wins prestigious Field Camp Award

As our 2020 virtual field camp is kicking off today, our School has just been informed that we are this year's recip

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Assistant Professor Rui Zhang in the School of Geosciences and Department of Physics at UL Lafayette is part of an interdisciplinary team that was awarded $349,174 in Restore Act funding to map shallow faults in coastal Louisiana.  The project titled, “An evaluation of faulting in Holocene Mississippi River Delta strata through the merger of deep 3D and 2D seismic data with near surface imaging and measurement” is designed to provide new geological information Louisiana has vast amount of subsurface data that to date has been under-utilized for near-surface engineering applications outside of the energy sector.”  

As stated in the proposal, "The objectives of our proposal are well aligned with the Center of Excellence (COE) Research Strategy, and the project is designed to produce data and results essential to understanding fundamental geologic processes operating in coastal Louisiana, with clear relevance to current and future Master Plan objectives”.

The project will be lead by Dr. : Mark Kulp, from University of New Orleans, and co-PIs include Dr. Nancye Dawers from Tulane University; Dr. Rui Zhang from University of  Louisiana at Lafayette ; Dr. David Culpepper from The Culpepper Group; Dr. John Lopez from Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation; and Kevin Yeager, University of Kentucky.

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