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Caspian climatic cycles for improved petroleum exploration

Funding body

British Petroleum

 

Project description

This project aims to elucidate the nature, scale and timing of climate variability in the Caspian region during the Pliocene/early Pleistocene. Palynological and sedimentological approaches are used to study deltaic deposits from the Productive Series (PS) in Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea. The primary method of analysis during the current work entails identification of pollen, dinocysts and non-pollen palynomorphs, whose ecological attributes are used to interpret contemporary terrestrial vegetation succession (reconstructing climate) as well as water salinity (reconstructing sea levels). However, issues relating to depositional environments, taphonomy and sequence stratigraphy within the PS must be understood in order that the local/regional environment can be determined reliably.

Although the mechanisms behind subsidence, sedimentation and base level change in the Caspian remain disputed, the huge thickness of the PS nonetheless presents the opportunity to carry out high resolution palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironment proxy analysis throughout the Plio-Pleistocene.