ESR 7 - Impact of Pleistocene glaciations on the production, transfer and deposition of sediments along the Atlantic margins


Glaciations are high-frequency, high-intensity perturbations of surface mass redistribution, which imply a complete disruption of landscape dynamics and sediment routing from source to sink. The Pleistocene stratigraphy of the North Atlantic margins is characterized by thick sequences of glacigenic debris flows and megaslides as well as interglacial sediment layers. These sediments, which serve as high-resolution archives of climate changes and the Fennoscandian ice-sheet dynamics, are now thoroughly documented by geophysical surveys and well data, but large uncertainties about the timing and modalities of sediment production/transfer/deposition throughout glacial-interglacial cycles still exist. The project aims to elucidate on the dominant marine and terrestrial processes that lead to the formation of such sedimentary sequences. The candidate will map different sediment sequences from available 3D seismic data, and link them to existing well data. He/she will also use ice dynamics and landscape evolution numerical models in a forward approach to relate the observed sequences to the physical processes of glacial and fluvial erosion throughout Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles. A key issue, for instance, is to evaluate if sediment production increases during glaciation, or if observed higher sedimentation rates along the margins are a result of enhanced sediment transport. The candidate will establish paleo-topographical reconstructions throughout the Pleistocene, and these reconstructions will be tested against the observed sedimentary record.

Expected Results:

  • Characterization and quantification of the Pleistocene sedimentary sequences along the North Atlantic margins based on available 3D seismic and well data.
  • Quantification of spatial and temporal variations in erosional or sediment transport efficiency of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet and sediment delivery through state-of-the-art numerical ice dynamics and landscape evolution numerical modelling constrained by the available data.
  • Determination of the sediment trajectories and provenance combining seismic and well data with numerical modelling.


  • Volcanic Basin Petroleum Research (B.Bellwald / S Planke) - Seismic imaging and interpretation (6 months)
  • Equinor (T. O. Sømme) - Hydrocarbon exploration strategies in source-to-sink systems of the Norwegian Continental Margin (1 month)
  • University of Milano-Bicocca (P. Sternai)- Modeling glacial erosion processes related to the Fennoscandian ice sheet dynamics during Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles, as constrained by available geophysical and well data (3 months)




S2S-FUTURE project gathers an outstanding European research and training network of 15 PhD students, hosted at world-leading academic institutions and industrial companies, whose aim is to develop the S2S paradigm as a powerful vector for understanding sedimentary accumulations as natural resources.

The project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 860383.