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M.Sc. Charlotte Läuchli


Department of Earth Sciences

Institute of Geological Sciences

Tectonics and Sedimentary Systems

PhD Candidate

Malteserstr. 74-100
Room B 133
12249 Berlin


I am a scientist interested in deep-marine sedimentary records as archives for climate and tectonic conditions of the past. Investigating how environmental signals propagate from continents to deep-sea environments and extracting information regarding paleo-conditions on continents from deep-marine sedimentary archives are crucial considering the high preservation potential and the high resolution of such deposits. The ocean floor, and more precisely the interface between marine sediments and seawater, is a challenging object of study as it is also the locus of key reactions in the geochemical cycling of elements. Studying sediments deposited in deep-marine settings is thus necessary for our understanding of earth surfaces processes, paleo-environmental and paleo-climatic reconstructions, and to constrain global geochemical cycles of the past.

With a background in sedimentology, I am using geochemical proxies as tracers for environmental signals and autogenic processes in deep-marine sedimentary deposits. During my studies, I moved from large-scale archives with a master thesis focusing on the deep-marine Eocene deposits of the Ainsa basin, to millennial timescale with the study of Quaternary sediments offshore Chile for my current PhD project.


Education and experience

Feb. 2019 till date

PhD candidate at the Freie Universität Berlin – Tectonic and Sedimentary Systems/ GFZ Potsdam – Earth Surface Geochemistry

Oct. - Dec. 2018

Consultant as Data analyst at the UNEP/GRID-GENEVA

April - July 2018

Internship at the UNEP/GRID-Geneva for the MapX application

Fall 2018

Complementary certificate in Geomaticsat the University of Geneva

2015 - Jan. 2018

Master degree in Geology at the University of Geneva

March 2017

European Regional Finals of the AAPG Imperial Barrel Award 2017 competition

2008 – 2012

Bachelor degree in Earth and Environmental Science - University of Geneva / University of Ottawa (Exchange year)


Awards and fellowships

  • Award of the Excellence Master Fellowshipfrom the University of Geneva – 2015

My PhD project, supervised by Anne Bernhardt (FU-Berlin), Hella Wittmann (GFZ-Potsdam), Dirk Sachse (GFZ-Potsdam), and Patrick Frings (GFZ-Potsdam) and performed in close collaboration with Nestor Gaviria (GFZ-Potsdam), investigates the response of the Chilean landscape and its sedimentary systems to the regional aridification taking place after the Last Glacial Maximum. Through a multi-proxy approach based on (1) carbon and hydrogen isotopes of biomarkers leaf wax n-alkanes, (2) lithium stable isotopes, and (3) meteoric cosmogenic 10Be/9Be, we are exploring the signature of this strong decrease in precipitation in deep-marine sedimentary archives. While biomarkers are frequently analyzed in marine deposits to assess changes in vegetation and hydrological patterns of the continents, meteoric cosmogenic beryllium isotopes (as a proxy for erosion rates), and lithium isotopes (as a proxy for weathering intensity) are seldom measured in marine detrital sediments. Thus, a challenging part of this project consists in understanding which parameters control the behavior of these two proxies in the marine realm, in comparison to the terrestrial realm, and assess if denudation rates of the past can still be estimated from deep-marine hemipelagic deposits.

This project is part of the EarthShape research initiative in which German and Chilean collaborators aim to clarify the complex interaction between biotas and the earth surface (Project 5II: SECCO – Chile).

Peer-reviewed papers:


Läuchli, C., Garcés, M., Beamud, E., Valero, L., Honegger, L., Adatte, T.,Spangenberg, J. E., Clark, J., Puigdefàbregas, C., Fildani, A., de Kaenel, E., Hunger, T., Nowak, A., Castelltort, S. (2021). Magnetostratigraphy and stable isotope stratigraphy of the middle-Eocene succession of the Ainsa basin (Spain): new age constraints and implications for sediment delivery to the deep waters. Marine and Petroleum Geology, p. 105-182.


Conference abstracts:


Läuchli, C., Gaviria-Lugo, N., Bernhardt, A., Wittmann, H., Sachse, D., Frings, P.J. (2021). New insights into the behavior of lithium isotopes in the clay-size fraction of marine sediments. Goldschmidt virtual 2021. Oral presentation.

Gaviria-Lugo, N., Läuchli, C., Bernhardt, A., Wittmann, H., Sachse, D., Frings, P.J. (2021). Lithium isotopes in exchangeable and silicate fractions of clay sized fluvial sediments along a climatic transect. Goldschmidt virtual 2021.

Gaviria-Lugo, N., Läuchli, C., Wittmann, H., Bernhardt, A., Frings, P.J., Sachse, D. (2021). Assessing the fidelity of leaf wax signals in marine sediments: n-alkane sensitivity to change along a precipitation gradient. EGU General Assembly 2021, online.


Läuchli, C., Garcés, M., Beamud, E., Valero, Adatte, T.,Spangenberg, J. E., Honegger, L., Clark, J., Puigdefàbregas, C., Fildani, A., Hunger, T., Nowak, A., Castelltort, S. (2018).Magnetostratigraphy and stable isotopes stratigraphy of the middle-upper Eocene deposits of the Ainsa basin (Spain): new age constraints and implications for Pyrenean mountain building. EGU, 2018. Poster.


Läuchli, C., Garcés, M., Valero, L., Clark, J., Puigdefàbregas, C., Adatte, T., Castelltort, S. (2016). Multiproxy approach to climate signals in the middle-upper Eocene deposits of the Ainsa Basin, Spain. 14th Swiss Geoscience Meeting, Geneva. Poster.