Dr Sietske J. Batenburg

Post DSietskeoctoral Research Associate

Email: sietske.batenburg@earth.ox.ac.uk

Research interests

  • Paleoclimatology
  • Integrated stratigraphy
  • Oceanography

I aim to reconstruct the evolution of ocean circulation in the Cretaceous greenhouse world using Neodymium isotopes as a tracer of water masses. Changes in ocean circulation played an important role in the development and extent of oxygen depletion during the Cenomanian-Turonian transition. Restricted basins responded differently to oceanographic changes than the open ocean and may shed light on regional versus global drivers of oceanic anoxia.

For my current research I will focus particularly on the Western Interior Seaway – a shallow sea which extended across the North American continent and connected the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. I aim to track the development and cessation of regional anoxia which was directly influenced by oceanographic processes.

To identify causes of extreme events, it is essential to obtain tight constraints on the relative timing of climatic processes. On long time scales of up to millions of years, periodic variations in the Earth’s orbit are the main drivers of climate change. For my PhD, I investigated how sedimentary rhythmicity in northern Spain reveals the orbital pacing of Maastrichtian (latest Cretaceous) climate and can provide detailed age control. I use a combination of geochemical and stratigraphic techniques with the aim to understand how small variations in the amount of energy received from the sun influence Earth’s climate and oceanography.


Hilgen, F.J., Hinnov, L.A., Abdul Aziz, H., Abels, H.A., Batenburg, S.J., Bosmans, J.H.C., De Boer, B., Hüsing, S.K., Kuiper, K.F., Lourens. L.J., Rivera, T., Tuenter, E., Van de Wal, R.S.W., Wotzlaw, J.-F., Zeeden, C., 2014. Stratigraphic continuity and fragmentary sedimentation: the success of cyclostratigraphy as part of integrated stratigraphy. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 404: SP404-12.

Batenburg, S.J., Gale, A.S., Sprovieri, M., Hilgen, F.J., Thibault, N., Boussaha, M., Orue-Etxebarria, X., 2014. An astronomical time scale for the Maastrichtian at the Zumaia and Sopelana sections (Basque country, northern Spain). Journal of the Geological Society 171 (2), 165-180.

Kürschner, W.M., Batenburg, S.J., Mander, L., 2013. Aberrant Classopollis pollen reveals evidence for unreduced (2n) pollen in the conifer family Cheirolepidiaceae during the Triassic– Jurassic transition. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 280: 20131708.

Sprovieri, M., Sabatino, N., Pelosi, N., Batenburg, S.J., Coccioni, R., Iavarone, M., Mazzola, S., 2013. Late Cretaceous orbitally-paced carbon isotope stratigraphy from the Bottaccione Gorge (Italy). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 379–380, 81–94.

Batenburg, S.J., Sprovieri, M., Gale, A.S., Hilgen, F.J., Hüsing, S., Laskar, J., Liebrand, D., Lirer, F., Orue-Etxebarria, X., Pelosi, N., Smit, J., 2012. Cyclostratigraphy and astronomical tuning of the Late Maastrichtian at Zumaia (Basque country, Northern Spain). Earth and Planetary Science Letters 359–360, 264–278.

Batenburg, S.J., Reichart, G.-J., Jilbert, T., Janse, M., Wesselingh, F.P., Renema, W., 2011. Interannual climate variability in the Miocene: High resolution trace element and stable isotope ratios in giant clams. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 306, 75–81.