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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

Recent Publications:

Betzler, C., Eberli, G.P., Kroon, D., Wright, J.D., Swart, P.K., Nath, B.N., Alvarez-Zarikian, C.A., Alonso-García, M., Bialik, O.M., Blättler, C.L., Guo, J.A., Haffen, S., Horozal, S., Inoue, M., Jovane, L., Lanci, L., Laya, J.C., Ling Hui Mee, A., Lüdmann, T., Nakakuni, M., Niino, K., Petruny, L.M., Pratiwi, S.D., Reijmer, J.J.G., Reolid, J., Slagle, A.L., Sloss, C.R., Su, X., Yao, Z., Young, J.R., 2016. The abrupt onset of the modern South Asian Monsoon winds. Scientific Reports 6, 29838. doi: 10.1038/srep29838.

Gothmann, A.M., Bender, M.L., Blättler, C.L., Swart, P.K., Giri, S.J., Adkins, J.F., Stolarski, J., Higgins, J.A., 2016. Calcium isotopes in scleractinian fossil corals since the Mesozoic: Implications for vital effects and biomineralization through time. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 444, 205–214. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2016.03.012.

Owen, R.A., Day, C.C., Hu, C.-Y., Liu, Y.-H., Pointing, M.D., Blättler, C.L., Henderson, G.M., 2016. Calcium isotopes in caves as a proxy for aridity: Modern calibration and application to the 8.2 kyr event. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 443, 129–138. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2016.03.027.

Blättler, C.L., Miller, N.R., Higgins, J.A., 2015. Mg and Ca isotope signatures of authigenic dolomite in siliceous deep-sea sediments. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 419, 32-42. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2015.03.006.

Blättler, C.L., Higgins, J.A., 2014. Calcium isotopes in evaporites record variation in Phanerozoic seawater SO4 and Ca. Geology 42, 711–714. doi:10.1130/G35721.1.

Curriculum Vitae


Department: Geosciences

Title: Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Area of Study: Geochemistry

Adviser: John Higgins

Office: 210 Guyot Hall

Phone: 609-258-0836