Quaternary Geology (Prof. D. Fleitmann)

The Quaternary period comprises the last 2.66 million years and is characterized by cyclic changes in global ice volume. These glacial-interglacial cycles had a profound impact on climate and ecosystems.

Our research group uses natural geologic and biologic climate archives such as stalagmites, lacustrine sediments and corals to document climatic fluctuations on annual to millennial time scales. Our research helps to understand the climate forcing factors, evaluate the impact of human-induced global change, benchmark climate models and access climate-human interactions in the recent and distant past.

Our group conducts research in almost all parts of the world, with a strong focus on central Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa.

Mineralogy and Petrology

The working group of Prof. Leander Franz deals with the generation and the properties of minerals and rocks. Special attention is paid to the physical and chemical formation conditions of the predominantly inorganic materials of the Earth. In particular, minerals and fluid phases of metamorphic rocks are investigated by polarization microscopy and microchemical analytics. The aim of this research is the reconstruction of so called pressure-temperature-time (PT-t-) paths of these rocks based on thermodynamic computer programs. Furthermore, petrological and geochronological studies of magmatic rocks are performed. For these investigations, detailed field studies are inevitable, which the students learn during field exercises and mapping courses.

Quaternary Geology
Department Environmental Sciences
University of Basel
Bernoullistrasse 32
CH-4056 Basel

Cave Drip Water


The objective of this project is to produce a map of cave drip water isotopic values (hydrogen and oxygen) for Switzerland and monitor cave water isotopes over a long-time interval.

Latest Publications

Latest publication

Fleitmann et al. (2022)

Fleitmann, D., Burns, S.J., Matter, A., Cheng, H., Affolter, S. Moisture and seasonality shifts recorded in Holocene and Pleistocene speleothems from south-eastern Arabia. Geophysical Research Letters, doi: 10.1029/2021GL097255, 2022.