Influence of short-term climate changes on the spatial facies distribution ina carbonate platform lagoon during Holocene (N Red Sea)


Project Description

During the Early Holocene (9.5 to 6.5 ka), climate in the N Red Sea changed from arid to humid conditions and resulted in increased precipitation in the N Red Sea area. As a consequence, carbonate shelfs along the Red Sea margins suffered increased river-discharge including a high influx of siliciclastic sediments and nutrients. This prominent short-term climate change is, so far, only studied in deep-sea sediments, while the impact on the shallow-water carbonate realm is poorly investigated. In order to fill this gap, the objective of this project is to analyse four soft sediment cores collected from a carbonate platform lagoon in the N Red Sea (Al Wajh platform). Besides sedimentological standard analyses (e.g. grain size, mineralogy), the applicant will perform component and facies analyses and will prepare samples for isotope measurements as well as dating. Outcome of this study will provide new insides in the relationship between short-term climate variations and spatial facies variability. Besides the fundamental understanding of sedimentological processes, the results will also help to improve the understanding of the formation of lateral heterogeneities in carbonate reservoirs. It is expected that the applicant will take part in multi-day research cruises and field trips.
Program - Earth Science and Engineering
Division - Physical Sciences and Engineering
Center Affiliation - Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center
Field of Study - Carbonate sedimentology, Paleoclimate, Paleoceanography

About the

Volker C. Vahrenkamp

Professor, Energy Resources and Petroleum Engineering

Volker C. Vahrenkamp
​Professor Vahrenkamp's research aims at securing future energy supply with three main thrusts:
  1. Refine the understanding of modern and ancient carbonate depositional environments and associated diagenesis for improved perception of reservoir heterogeneities on multiple scales,
  2. Advance the quantification of the complex pore networks of Arabian carbonate reservoirs and its impact on reservoir performance,
  3. Explore and develop geothermal energy in Arabian countries with special focus on desalination and cooling applications and suitable drilling techniques.

Desired Project Deliverables

- Detailed analyses of four sediment cores
- Development of a core stratigraphy 
- Correlation of all four cores
- Development of a Palaeo-reconstruction and a depositional model