Jennifer Wurtzel

PhD Student
Student - Palaeoenvironments
 +61 45777116




2013 - present

The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Research School of Earth Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy, Nov 2017 (in progress)

Ph.D. Research

16,000 years of tropical Eastern Indian Ocean climate variability recorded in an aragonite-calcite speleothem from Sumatra, Indonesia”

Advisors: Nerilie Abram, Michael Gagan


2008 – 2012

SUNY Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, United States

School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences

Masters of Science, May 2012

Marine and Atmospheric Science

Advisor: Dr. David E. Black


2004 – 2008

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States

College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Bachelor of Science, April 2008

Major:  Earth Systems Science (focus in Atmospheric Science)

Minor:  Japanese language


Click here to see my full CV


Research interests

Earth sciences, Paleoclimatology, Paleoceanography, Isotope and trace element geochemistry.

The Indo-Pacific Warm Pool (IPWP) is the largest body of warm water on Earth and plays an important role in the global distribution of heat and moisture.   Straddling the western Pacific and Indian Oceans, the IPWP sits at the crossroads of climate variability affected by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Australasian monsoon, and the Indian Ocean Dipole.   Our understanding of these climate modes and their interactions is crucial to the improvement of long-term prediction of rainfall and drought in regions that are highly sensitive to such changes, including Australia.

Speleothems have rapidly become a popular archive of terrestrial climate due to their high resolution and the precision at which they can be dated with uranium-series dating. Speleothem records have provided decadally-resolved records of past rainfall variability over the central IPWP region, however, no records currently exist for the Indian Ocean region of the IPWP.  I have been working on a multi-proxy record of Holocene environmental variability from a primarily aragonite speleothem collected from western-central Sumatra. Located in the eastern sector of the IOD, this is the first speleothem record that can directly address rainfall variability associated with the IOD, without the overwhelming influence of Australasian monsoon seasonality.  

This speleothem is also remarkable for its alternating mineralogy with periods of primary calcite deposition punctuating the primarily aragonite speleothem.  Future work will examine the trace element signatures and isotopic compositions of bedrock, soil, and dripwaters near the cave site in order to gain a better understanding of the timing and reason for the unusual calcite/aragonite depositional pattern.



Wurtzel, J. B., D. E. Black, R. C. Thunell, L. C. Peterson, E. J. Tappa and S. Rahman (2013), Mechanisms of southern Caribbean SST variability over the last two millennia, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, doi:10.1002/2013GL058458.     

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