Our team includes permanent researchers at the Department of Geosciences, postdoctoral researchers, doctoral students, external collaborators as well as Master and Bachelor students. We also have the pleasure to welcome now and than visiting research fellows.
Geo-biosphere interactions are one of the most fascinating processes active within the system ‘Earth’. Especially the carbonate sedimentary record witnesses the complex interplay between the Geosphere and the Biosphere. Studying frontier carbonate systems is therefore my main research axis with a major emphasis on the comprehension of the evolution of carbonate mound systems through space and time.
The thorough understanding of microbial-induced early diagenesis and the impact of diagenesis on the dynamic petrophysical behavior (porosity and permeability) in carbonate systems (through space and time) is hereby an additional crucial aspect.
Through the active organization of fieldwork on land (e.g. Italy, Spain, Turkey, Morocco, US, Spitzbergen,…) or at sea (from the Norwegian margins to the North-African margins) and through international drilling campaigns (IODP – ICDP), one could decipher step by step the secrets of the carbonate world.Phone: +41 26 300 89 78 | E-mail: anneleen.foubert(at)unifr.ch | Office: 2.305
My research focuses on depositional, geochemical and (micro)biological processes that shape the sedimentary rock fabric from its deposition through its diagenesis. To understand and quantify these processes, in-situ (field) and in-vitro (lab) experiments, 2D to 3D high-resolution observations and geochemistry are combined. I have mainly been working in modern and ancient marine (cold) seep systems and continental spring carbonates.
In addition, I am working on aspects of more applied carbonate sedimentology in relation to diverse geoenergy resources, in particular, understanding the origin and (early diagenetic) modification of pore networks.Phone: +41 26 300 89 73 | E-mail: eva.deboever(at)unifr.ch | Office: 1.312
I am interested in carbonates because they represent a spectacular record of ancient depositional environments and earlier live. By combining the study of fossil organisms with the recognition and interpretation of sedimentary structures, it is possible to interpret earlier environmental conditions for a given moment within the geological record.
- My main project for the moment deals with the study of “Pleistocene marine and transitional carbonates of the Danakil Depression (Afar)”.
- Since 2015 I have had the opportunity to intensively work with the Nano-CT that is available at the Department of Geosciences (CTlab). Currently, I am the researcher in charge of the CT-lab (data acquisition and data treatment) where we scan a large variety of geological samples and other materials (e.g. of biological and industrial origin).
My research focuses on cold-water coral reefs and carbonate mound structures of the Recent Ocean and through Earth history. Cold-water corals are valuable archives for intermediate and deep-water environmental settings, which can be reconstructed using stable isotopes and element ratios. To understand these systems, it is fundamental to integrate physical, biological and chemical oceanography, bio- and geochemistry, sedimentology, geophysics, and paleoceanography. For this, I use research vessels, manned submersibles, remotely operated vehicles, and lander technology to collect samples and environmental data within different international projects.Phone: +41 26 300 89 88 | E-mail: andres.rueggeberg(at)unifr.ch | Office: 2.304
Seep carbonates precipitate at the sea floor or in the very shallow subsurface due to bio-chemical oxidation of hydrocarbon, rising from depth, coupled with reduction of sulfates contained in sea water.
Seep carbonates appear thus as indicators of hydrocarbon leakage, especially in the fossils records where they are the most obvious remains of this process.
Based on this paradigm, the aim of my Phd is to explore the possibilities to use seep carbonates to reconstruct the activities of petroleum systems, i.e. the concept unifying the essential elements of petroleum geology (source rock, reservoir, seal, overburden) and processes (trap formation, generation, migration, accumulation). The ultimate objective of this research, in collaboration with Total, is to integrate the identification of seep carbonate on seismic records as a tool for hydrocarbon exploration.
My work is mostly based on the study of outcrop analogues in California, Taiwan, and France. I use the classic techniques of field geology: petrography, mineral and organic geochemistry, mapping, and basin modeling.Phone: +41 26 300 89 46 | E-mail: jean-philippe.blouet(at)unifr.ch | Office: 3.316
The focus of my PhD is on the temporal and spatial variability of early diagenesis in carbonate mounds influenced by a shallow sulphate-methane transition zone (SMTZ). Combining observations of gravity cores with in-vitro fluid flow experiments (bioreactor) will allow monitoring the precipitation and dissolution of mineral phases within carbonate mound fabrics through time.
Constraining the early diagenetic processes affecting the carbonate mound facies is crucial for a better understanding of fabrics exposed in ancient mud mound systems. Furthermore, we aim to get a better understanding of the generic processes and environmental factors that govern microbial-mediated mineral dissolution and precipitation.
Phone: +41 26 300 89 47 | E-mail: eline.feenstra(at)unifr.ch | Office: 3.316
My research focuses on cold-water coral carbonate mounds and their variability through space and time. I am particularly interested in the study of benthic foraminiferal assemblages from these variable and diversified environments that provide a highly valuable tool in these settings. Coupling these faunal studies to other sedimentological and geochemical proxies enables us to reconstruct recent and past small scale environmental and climatic variations.My study targets mounds from the North-East Atlantic, from the Western and from the Eastern Mediterranean. We aim to better understand the staggered growth of these mounds and their small scale variability in the face of environmental and climatic change, from a faunal and sedimentological standpoint. Phone: +41 26 300 89 43 | E-mail: robin.fentimen(at)unifr.ch | Office: 1.110
My PhD focuses on the precipitation and formation mechanisms of Mg-rich carbonates, especially on the interplay between microbial-induced and abiotic precipitation of Mg-rich carbonates such as dolomite in different environmental settings.
Furthermore, I have worked on cold-water coral carbonate mounds from the Gulf of Cadiz and the Bay of Biscay.Phone: +41 26 300 89 33 | E-mail: helen.hamaekers(at)unifr.ch | Office: 4.311
The Opalinus Clay is a Jurassic mudstone formation particularly known in Switzerland as being the selected host rock for deep geological disposal of radioactive waste. In the northern Swiss Jura, the Opalinus Clay is overlain by the Passwang Formation, an alloformation characterized by parasequences of sandy bioclastic marls and ooidal ironstones. My PhD project, which is co-funded by Nagra and Swisstopo, aims at characterizing the vertical and lateral heterogeneity of the Opalinus Clay (OPA) and the basal unit of the Passwang Formation (PF). Petrographic and petrophysical methods are combined to digital image analysis to develop a subfacies classification scheme within the OPA, while geochemical investigations are used to disentangle depositonal and diagnetic processes at the OPA/PF transition. E-mail: bruno.lauper(at)unifr.ch | Office: 1.303 | Tel: 026 300 89 93
My research focuses on the geology of the Danakil depression, in the northern Afar, in Ethiopia. This area is a fascinating example of active continental rifting, characterized by volcanism, neo-tectonic structures and rifting-related sediments, including terrestrial deposits as well as sediments of recent sea incursions like reef carbonates and significant amount of salt. An extensive analysis of seismic data, combined with core logging and field mapping will be used to better understand the structure of the basin and provide insights into the dynamic of the opening. As the area constitute a rare example of active rifting featuring important evaporites deposition, the results of this research could be used to better understand the early stages of older similar rift system which have shaped our planet. Phone: +41 26 300 89 76 | e-mail: valentin.rime(at)unifr.ch | Office 3.315
The Danakil depression is located in the northern part of Afar triangle which is in an active rifting setting. Sediments in the Danakil depression, witness the past incursion of the Red Sea since the Miocene. This connection with the Red Sea has been interrupted several times. The thick - more than 1 km - extensive evaporitic succession in the central part of the basin records these cyclic flooding and desiccations. My work will mainly focus on understanding the fringing coral-algal reef and the microbialites deposited during the last marine incursions, throughout middle-late Pleistocene.
The fringing coral-algal reef indicates the extension of the Danakil Sea by its position surrounding the margins of the Danakil depression. This reef is composed of several terraces interrupted by erosional unconformities, subaerial exposure, and hypersaline deposits. This vertical succession of different coral terraces display the opening and successive closure of the basin with the Red Sea due to a combination of eustatic fluctuations and tectonics.
Phone: +41 26 300 89 92 | E-mail: haileyesusalemu(at)unifr.ch | Office: 2.303
Gardiner, Montana, U.S.A. is situated only a few miles (5 miles) from the north entrance of the Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, U.S.A. where the active and recent deposits of Mammoth Hot Springs are formed.
My Master Project involves the characterization of ancient hot spring travertine deposits in Gardiner (Montana, U.S.A) and it includes the use of petrography, Isotope-analyses, XRD, CL (etc). The ancient travertine deposits of Gardiner are located in Quarries (White Rubble and Red Quarry) and in a special outcrop (Volcanic outcrop) showing the contact between travertine and volcanic deposits. It is also a special area to study the impact of diagenesis on travertines.
E-mail: anja-sara.koestinger(at)unifr.ch | Office: 4.306
As a sedimentologist, my main research interests and my expertise lie in shallow-marine, tropical to subtropical carbonate systems. Studying such systems in the Recent (e.g., in the Bahamas, Belize, Florida, the Red Sea, or Australia) helps in interpreting ancient carbonate facies and sedimentary structures. With my students I have analysed Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous sedimentary rocks and, based on detailed facies analysis, interpreted their evolution in terms of sequence- and cyclostratigraphy as well as of palaeoecology. Retired since 2012, I am now also involved in defining lithostratigraphic units in the Swiss Jura Mountains. Phone: +41 26 300 29 58 / 078 891 63 39 | E-mail: email@example.com | Office: 4.313
Research topics with which I am currently involved have a focus on carbonate sedimentology and sedimentation and tectonics, and they are based on surface or subsurface rock data. Top projects range from a Pleistocene Travertine cascade and mound system directly linked to lacustrine microbialite reefs of the Pleistocene Great Salt Lake (Utah), to the patterns of distribution of presalt facies and depositional systems of the Santos Basin (Brazil) in response to tectonic phases and structures during rifting of the South Atlantic margins. Projects on hold include the sedimentology of monsoon storm dominated tropical carbonates, as well as the links between genetic stratigraphy, dynamic topography and crustal-mantle dynamics. My bucket list would include studying the links between genetic stratigraphy and the evolution of ecosystems.E-mail: peter.homewood(at)unifr.ch | Office: 4.311
Current research topics focus on sedimentary geochemistry, carbonate sedimentology, diagenesis and the consequences of all these together on fluid flow. Together with staff and students from Fribourg, we are studying a Travertine cascade and mound system of the Pleistocene Great Salt Lake (Utah) that is directly linked to lacustrine microbialite reefs. This is an interesting case for comparison in the debate over how the presalt lacustrine carbonates were formed in the Santos Basin (Brazil). Other on-going projects include studies on the relationships between pore network attributes and fluid flow, the diagenesis of Albian carbonate systems offshore Brazil (with UNESP Rio Claro), and the sedimentology of monsoon storm dominated arid tropical carbonates (Oman).E-mail: monique.mettraux(at)unifr.ch | Office: 4.311