People at Fort Hoofddijk

Femke Saulus
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Mrs. F. Saulus
Paleomagnetic Laboratory
Fort Hoofddijk
Department of Earth Sciences, 
Utrecht University 
Budapestlaan 17
3584 CD Utrecht 
The Netherlands 

Phone +31 30 253 1361
Fax +31 30 243 1677


Research of Femke Saulus

Tectonic vs. Climatic Records on Tibetan Plateau Stratigraphy
The formation of Tibetan plateau, the largest and highest orogenic feature in the world, is though to have significantly altered the Earth's climate. 

Regionally, Tibetan uplift has lead to enhanced contrast of sea-continent temperatures resulting in intensification of the Asian monsoon. 

Globally, Tibetan uplift implies massive rock weathering that consumes atmospheric CO2 possibly responsible for the Earth's cooling from greenhouse to icehouse conditions since 50 Ma. 

The age of the Tibetan uplift is however controversial. There is a debate whether the plateau raised continuously since Indo-Asia collision ca. 55 Myr ago, or that the uplift occurred mainly in several recent steps. 

The aim of this project - which is supervised by Guillaume Dupont-Nivet, as part of his NWO VENI project - is to understand the timing of the Tibetan plateau and its relation to global and regional climate change. 
We study key sedimentary successions recording the early history (ca. 50 to 30 Myr ago) of the Tibetan Plateau. Accurate dating using high-resolution magnetostratigraphy and cyclostratigraphy will be undertaken, in concert with the analysis of depositional environment to study the tectonic and climatic signal recorded in the sediments. Previous work indicates that the successions may record tectonic events related to early Tibetan uplift. 
Preliminary dating, however, reveals that the strata include a major global climate change at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary 34 Myr ago. This shift in climate conditions is well-documented in the marine realm and on other continents but not in Asia. 
Our results will enable to assess the effects of this major change in the heart of the Asian continent. Moreover, our high-resolution age control should resolve the age relationship between early uplift of the Tibetan plateau and Paleogene climatic events. 

publications Publications of Femke Saulus

  • F. Saulus, Dupont-Nivet, G., W. Krijgsman, C. Langereis, S. Dai, and X. Fang (2006). Magnetostratigraphy of Cenozoic sediments from the Xining-Lanzhou region, climatic and tectonic implications for the Tibetan Plateau. International Conference on Continental Dynamics and Environmental Change of The Tibetan Plateau, Abstracts with program, Chinese Academy of Sciences-Geological Society of America, Xining, China, 2006