Skip over navigation

Clara L. Blättler

Research interests:

I am motivated by understanding the processes that shape the Earth's surface and marine environments, and the role these processes have played throughout Earth history. I use geochemical and isotopic tools to explore connections between the oceans, surface, sediments, and climate. In particular, I have worked extensively with the calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) isotopic systems, in combination with trace element chemistry and mineralogical observations.  I have worked with samples from almost all ages (Archean through Recent) and every continent except Antarctica.

I am deeply interested in the geological record of marine carbonates and the information it holds about past climate, oceanic chemistry, and geochemical cycles.  The carbonate system is linked to several essential geochemical cycles, and as a major component of the sedimentary record, understanding it in detail has significant implications for understanding Earth history.  My work focuses on interpreting past environments and diagenetic effects using isotopic tools and geochemical models.

I am also fascinated by the geochemistry of evaporite formations and the record they contain about seawater chemistry.  It strikes me as incredible that we cannot yet entirely answer the question, "Why is the sea salty?"  Seawater chemistry is an elusive problem, as robust records of ancient seawater are difficult to come by.  I am pursuing this problem with new isotopic tools to help constrain this important boundary condition for the marine geological record.

Active Projects:

  • Identifying styles of platform dolomitization with Ca and Mg isotope measurements from Bahamas dolomites
  • Constraining Precambrian seawater chemistry and the possible existence of an early soda ocean with evaporite geochemistry
  • Quantifying crustal recycling with the deep-time record of the calcium isotope balance in sedimentary carbonates
  • Characterizing rates of carbonate diagenesis in shallow and deep marine settings
  • Identifying authigenic carbonates in modern and geological settings using isotopic fingerprints in pore fluids and sediments


CL Blättler and JA Higgins. Ca cycle constraints from the Ca isotopic composition of Precambrian sedimentary carbonates. Manuscript in preparation.

CL Blättler, NR Miller, JA Higgins. Mg and Ca isotope signatures of authigenic dolomite. Manuscript in preparation.

CL Blättler and JA Higgins, 2014. Calcium isotopes in evaporites record variation in Phanerozoic seawater SO4 and Ca. Geology (42), 711–714.

CL Blättler, SM Stanley, GM Henderson, and HC Jenkyns. Identifying vital effects in Halimeda algae with Ca isotopes. Biogeosciences, in review.

CL Blättler, GM Henderson, and HC Jenkyns, 2012. Explaining the Phanerozoic Ca isotope history of seawater. Geology (40), 843–846.

CL Blättler, HC Jenkyns, LM Reynard, and GM Henderson, 2011. Significant increases in global weathering during Oceanic Anoxic Events 1a and 2 indicated by calcium isotopes. Earth and Planetary Science Letters (309), 77–88.

Curriculum Vitae


Department: Geosciences

Title: Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Area of Study: Geochemistry

Adviser: John Higgins

Office: 210 Guyot Hall

Phone: 609-258-0836