Name:           Xiaoxia Huang
Institute:       Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research
Department:  Geosciences, Section of Geophysics
Phone:          +49 (0)471-4831-1041
Weblink:       AWI: Geophysik

PhD project title: Seismostratigraphic analysis and paleobathymetry of the greater Weddell Sea region, Antarctica, for paleocurrent and paleoclimate simulation

The Weddell Sea embayment is the largest outlet basin of transported Antarctic ice masses to the ocean with all three major ice sheets from East Antarctica, West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula contributing. Deciphering the pre-glacial and glacial sediment transport, deposition and erosion pattern of this basin will contribute to the understanding of the Antarctic ice sheet development and dynamics from the greenhouse to icehouse world in the Cenozoic. The first aim of this PhD project is to analyze the seismostratigraphic records of the greater Weddell Sea region and to create a digital paleobathymetric map series from pre-glacial times (about 50 Ma) to present. The data include existing seismic records and geological information. Such paleobathymetric grids will then set boundary conditions for ocean circulation and global climate models. The following questions will be addressed in particular: (1) How has the bathymetry and configuration of the Weddell Sea sedimentary basin changed in the past 50 Million years before and after the opening of the Southern Ocean gateways and since the onset of major Antarctic glaciation for relevant periods of major climatic change? (2) What is the distribution of the sedimentary depocenters within the Weddell Sea basin compared to the distribution of subglacial basins and mountain ranges on the adjacent Antarctic mainland in the same periods? (3) The project will also address the question of stability of the Antarctic ice sheet and regional oceanic circulation in previous warm periods.

Start of doctoral thesis: 01st September, 2011
Defence of doctoral thesis: 17th November, 2015

PhD committee members:

Dr. Karsten Gohl, Prof. Cornelia Spiegel, Dr. Wilfried Jokat, Dr. Klaus Grosfeld


Helmholtz Research School on Earth System Science, Annual Retreat 2012, Bremerhaven, “Deutsches Auswandererhaus“, Talk: Xiaoxia Huang et al., “Seismostratigraphic analysis and paleobathymetric mapping of the Weddell Sea region, Antarctica, for paleocurrent and paleoclimate simulations“ 30 November, 2012.

12 Apr. ~ 17 Apr. 2013, EGU, Vienna, Austria  (poster)

14 May. ~ 17 May. 2013 Scotia Arc Symposium, Granada, Spain (poster)


Xiaoxia Huang, Karsten Gohl, Wilfried Jokat (2014) “Variability in Cenozoic sedimentation and paleo-water depths of the Weddell Sea basin related to pre-glacial and glacial conditions of Antarctica”. Global and Planetary Change, 118, 25-41, DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2014.03.010 Download article