And the sea never rests

Svante Björck from the Geology Department, Lund University in Sweden is currently also visiting Chulalongkorn University. His lecture on Quaternary Sea Level Changes – A Complex Story was well attended. About 70-80 students and many staff members quickly filled the lecture room and followed Svante’s lecture with great interest.

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One may think that Thai students are a bit shy to ask questions. But these students were definitely not shy, and asked many questions and wanted to be completely sure that they had understood everything correctly. Living in a country where ice sheets were never present (at least during the last 2.6 million years), it must sound strange to hear about the large ice sheet that covered Sweden 20,000 years ago and how it still affects land uplift in Sweden.

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Researchers from the Department of Marine Sciences also attended Svante’s lectures, which provided a nice opportunity to meet scientists working with marine sediments from the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. New connections to follow up!

For those of you interested in Svante’s lecture, here is the abstract:

Quaternary Sea Level Changes – A Complex Story

The presentation will focus on the processes that determine sea level changes in a world with waxing and waning continental ice sheets, a typical feature for the Quaternary period (the last 2.6 million years). Apart from storing huge amounts of water on land, and thereby lowering sea levels, the loading and unloading of ice sheets have a great impact on the elastic lithosphere and the rheology of Earth´s mantle. While the former has a direct effect in glaciated regions, the latter influences the horizontal flow of the highly viscous asthenosphere (upper mantle). In addition, the glacial-interglacial sea level changes cause vertical motions of the ocean bottoms, the glacio-hydro isostatic effect. This means that the build-up and melting of the North American and Eurasian ice sheets have had a global impact, both in terms of eustatic and isostatic processes. I will give examples on how these processes influence different parts of the world: glaciated regions; regions situated peripherally to the ice sheets; and regions far away from any glaciation. I will also present different ways of establishing sea level changes, during glacial, deglacial and interglacial conditions. Finally I will show some examples of ongoing sea level changes, of which some are not connected to the cryosphere (Earth´s ice covered surfaces).

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