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Prof Graham Shields
Room 112
Kathleen Lonsdale Building, Gower Place
Department of Earth Sciences, University College London
  • Professor of Geology
  • Dept of Earth Sciences
  • Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences
UCL Principal Supervisor,UCL Subsidiary Supervisor

I received my PhD in sedimentary geochemistry (isotope stratigraphy across the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary) in 1997 from the ETH in Zurich, after which I carried out postdoctoral research in France (municipal waste glass for recycling) and Canada (Sr, C, O and S isotope evolution of seawater). I held positions as lecturer and senior lecturer in geochemistry at James Cook University in Australia where my students and I worked primarily on sediment transport from catchment to the Great Barrier Reef. Since coming to UCL in 2008, I have started to revisit my interests in the ancient Earth, and have held visiting fellowships in Germany (2006-2008) and China (2012-2016) as part of this work. My most recent research focusses on the Proterozoic geology of China, both North and South cratons, and how the chemical composition of sedimentary rocks there can shed light on the global carbon cycle during the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic transition.

Research Summary

My research seeks a better understanding of the global carbon cycle and how it has changed over geological time. To this aim, my research group and I primarily use chemical and isotopic tracers to reveal how life and the surface environment have co-evolved, focussing especially on the emergence and radiation of early animals during the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic transition. This interval encompasses also the 'Snowball Earth' glaciations when the entire planet was gripped by ice, episodic ocean oxygenation events and unprecedented mountain building, which together helped to mould the modern Earth system. Understanding how the global carbon cycle has evolved may help to address wider questions such as what controls climate change, why oxygen rose in the atmosphere and oceans, and how our planet has remained habitable for so long.

Teaching Summary

GEOL 1013 The Earth; GEOL 1014 Geochemistry.

Contributor to BIOL 2016; GEOL 3011; GEOL 3042; GEOL MSci; GEOL MSc Geoscience.

Academic Background
1997   Doctor of Philosophy Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule Zurich
1991   Bachelor of Science Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
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