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Christine Lane BSc MSc PhD

Christine Lane BSc MSc PhD

Professor of Geography (1993)

Christine is a Geochronologist and Quaternary Geographer researching the mechanisms, timing and environmental impacts of past climatic change and explosive volcanism. Head of The Cambridge Tephra Laboratory.

Biography

Career

  • 2016 - present, Professor of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2014 - 2016, Lecturer in Quaternary Environmental Change, Geography, University of Manchester
  • 2012 - 2015 Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow, University of Oxford / University of Manchester
  • 2009 - 2012 Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford

Qualifications

  • PhD Archaeological Science: University of Oxford
  • MSc Quaternary Science: Royal Holloway University of London
  • BSc Geology: Cardiff, University of Wales.

Research

Through my research I contribute to a better understanding of the driving mechanisms, spatial complexity and environmental impacts of climate variability, on historic and prehistoric timescales. My primary expertise lies in tephrochronology. I have worked widely across Europe and Africa using far-traveled volcanic ash (tephra) layers as isochrons to align archives and test the pacing of regional climatic and environmental transitions.

In particular, I am interested in the role of changing climates and environments on hominin evolution and dispersal during the Late Pleistocene, and on historical societies in more recent times. By using tephra layers to directly connect archaeological archives to the palaeoenvironmental record, precise correlations between climatic changes and human histories can be made.

Much of my current research focuses on building Late Quaternary tephrostratigraphies for volcanic regions of the East African Rift. Through the characterisation and correlation of visible and non-visible (crypto-) tephra layers in lake sediment archives, detailed stratified tephra records are contributing both to dating and correlation of important tropical palaeoclimate archives and to a better understanding of past volcanism and hazard in an understudied region.

Selected research projects

INTegration of Ice core, MArine and TErrestrial records (INTIMATE)

I am Chair of the international INTIMATE research initiative; one of the leading bodies in palaeoclimate research. INTIMATE aims to reconstruct past abrupt and extreme climate changes over the last glacial cycle, through the precise INTegration of Ice-core, MArine, and TErrestrial records, on their own independent timescales. The combined data is used in climate models to better understand the mechanisms and impact of change, thereby reducing the uncertainty of future prediction.

Testing the 'megadrought' hypothesis: the timing, cause and impacts of climate change in equatorial Africa (DeepCHALLA-UK)

NERC standard grant. PI C. Lane. 2017-2020

Research into the timing, cause and impacts of tropical megadrought events recorded in the sediments of East African Lake Challa, a 90 m deep crater lake on the flank of Kilimanjaro. Lake Challa contains an exceptional sedimentary record, with the proven potential to reconstruct past hydroclimate at high chronological precision and with dating accuracy not previously achieved in the tropics.

DeepCHALLA: two glacial-interglacial cycles (>250,000 years) of climate and ecosystem dynamics on the East African equator.

International Continental Scientific Drilling Project. PI: D. Verschuren, Ghent. 2014 - on-going.

The wider ICDP project on Lake Challa will study tropical hydroclimate and ecosystem development throughout the full ~250,000 year sediment record. Visible and non-visible tephra layers will be characterised and dated throughout the core, contributing to a high precision chronology and a first continuous tephrostratigraphic archive for the region.

A 500,000 year environmental record from Chew Bahir, south Ethiopia: testing hypotheses of climate-driven human evolution, innovation, and dispersal.

NERC standard grant. PI: H. Lamb. 2014-2017.

The youngest site within the wider Hominin Sites Palaeolake Drilling Project, Chew Bahir lies between the Ethiopian and Omo-Turkana Rifts and will provide a detailed record palaeoclimate for the Middle - Late Pleistocene. Far-travelled ashes preserved within the ~300 metre record will help us to date and correlate the palaeolake sediments.

Into and out of the Younger Dryas at Haemelsee, Northern Germany

A collaborative research project between early career and experienced researchers from across Europe, that came out of the first EU COST funded INTIMATE Example training school in 2013. PI: S. Engels (Nottingham), C. Lane, D. Sachse (GFZ Potsdam).

The sediments at Haemelsee record in detail the local to regional environmental responses to that palaeoclimate and palaeohydrological changes that occurred during the last Glacial to Interglacial Transition. Using a multi-proxy technique we aim to make precise regional comparisons of the timing and sequence of change at the onset and termination of the Younger Dryas Stadial.

Graduate supervision

PhD students

Amy McGuire, University of Cambridge. 2016 - on-going.

The Quaternary climate of the eastern Mediterranean: Insights into changes in climate and environment and their impact on human populations.

Catherine Martin-Jones, University of Aberystwyth. 2012 - 2016.

Towards a Quaternary tephrostratigraphy of Ethiopia.

Co-supervisors: H. Lamb and N. Pearce.

Cassian Bramham-Law, University of Oxford. 2009 - 2013.

The role of lacustrine systems and the reoccupation of the North European Plain following the Last Glacial Maximum.

Co-supervisor: N. Barton.

Masters students

Sophie Vineberg, MPhil Polar Studies, University of Cambridge: 2017 - 2018.

The first detection of Holocene cryptotephra deposits in lacustrine sediments from southeast Greenland

Charlotte Hipkiss, University of Manchester: 2016 - 2018.

Holocene cryptotephrochronology of the Mohos peat sequence, NE Romania.

Amy McGuire, University of Manchester: 2014 - 2015.

Exploring the potential of cryptotephra layers for dating archaeological sites in Africa.

Potential PhD applicants

I welcome applications for PhD research in the above outlined areas of my research. In particular, in topics around: Quaternary tephrochronologies in East Africa; Archaeological applications of tephrochronology; Resolving records of abrupt climate change; Tephra records of volcanic impacts and/or hazard.

In the autumn I will be advertising projects through the Cambridge NERC-funded Doctoral Training Programme (open competition). See the DTP web page for Full details on the projects and how to apply

If you are interested in applying for PhD study, I would be happy to hear from you. Please also check details on our Graduate Admissions pages for funding opportunities and the application procedure.

Publications

Selected publications

2018

  • Smith, E.I., Jacobs, Z., Johnsen, R., Ren, M., Fisher, E.C., Oestmo, S., Wilkins, J., Harris, J.A., Karkanas, P., Fitch, S., Ciravolo, A., Keenan, D., Cleghorn, N. Lane, C.S., Matthews, T. and Marean, C.W. 2018. Humans thrived in South Africa through the Toba eruption about 74,000 years ago. Nature, 555(7697), p.511.
  • Jones, G., Lane, C.S., Brauer, A., Davies, S.M., De Bruijn, R., Engels, S., Haliuc, A., Hoek, W.Z., Merkt, J., Sachse, D., Turner, F., Wagner-Cremer, F. The Lateglacial to early Holocene tephrochronological record from Lake Hämelsee, Germany: a key site within the European tephra framework. Boreas, 47 (1) 28-40. DOI: 10.1111/bor.12250

2017

  • Lane, C.S., Lowe, D.J., Blockley, S.P.E., Suzuki, T. and Smith, V.C. 2017. Advancing tephrochronology as a global dating tool: Applications in volcanology, archaeology and palaeoclimatic research. Quaternary Geochronology, 40, 1-7.
  • Martin-Jones, C., Lane, C.S., Pearce, N. J. G., Smith, V.C., Lamb, H. F., Oppenheimer, C., Asrat, A. and Schaebitz, F. Glass compositions and tempo of post-17 ka eruptions from the Afar Triangle recorded in sediments from lakes Ashenge and Hayk, Ethiopia. Quaternary Geochronology, 37, 15-31.
  • Spano, N.G., Lane, C.S., Francis, S.W. and Johnson, T.C., 2017. Discovery of Mount Mazama cryptotephra in Lake Superior (North America): Implications and potential applications. Geology, 45(12), pp.1071-1074.
  • Van der Bilt, W., Lane, C.S., Bakke, J. 2017. Ultra-distal Kamchatkan ash on Arctic Svalbard: towards hemispheric cryptotephra correlation. Quaternary Science Reviews, 164, 230-235

2016

  • Egan, J., Fletcher, W.J., Allott, T.E.H., Lane, C.S., Blackford, J.J., Clark, D.T. 2016. The impact and significance of tephra deposition on a Holocene forest environment in the North Cascades, Washington, USA. Quaternary Science Reviews, 137, 135-155.
  • Mithen, S., Wicks, K., Pirie, A., Reide, F., Lane, C.S., Banerjea, R., Cullen, V.L., Gittins, M, and Pankhurst, N. 2015. A Lateglacial archaeological site in the far north-west of Europe at Rubha Port an t-Seilich, Isle of Islay, western Scotland: Ahrensburgian-style artefacts, absolute dating and geoarchaeology. Journal of Quaternary Science, 30, 396-416. doi:10.1002/jqs.278
  • Lane, C.S., Brauer, A., Martin-Puertas, C., Blockley, S.P.E., Smith, V.C., Tomlinson, E.L. 2015. The Late Quaternary tephrostratigraphy of annually laminated sediments from Meerfelder Maar, Germany. Quaternary Science Reviews, 122, 192-206. doi:/10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.05.025
  • Lowe, J.J., Bronk Ramsey, C., Housely, R., Lane, C.S. and Tomlinson, E.L., RESET team, RESET associates. 2015. The RESET project: constructing a European tephra lattice for refined synchronisation of environmental and archaeological events during the last c. 100 ka. Quaternary Science Reviews, 118, 1-17. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.04.006
  • Barton, R.N.E., Lane, C.S., White, D., Albert, P., Collcutt, S.N., Ditchfield, P., Bouzouggar, A., Farr, L., Oh, A., Ottolini, L., Smith, V., Van Peer, P., Kindermann, K. 2015. The role of cryptotephra in refining the chronology of Late Pleistocene human evolution and cultural change in North Africa. Quaternary Science Reviews, 118, 151-169. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.09.008
  • Blockley, S.P.E., Brauer, A., Davies, S., Hardiman, M., Harding, P., Lane, C.S., MacLeod, A., Matthews, I.P., Pyne-O'Donnell, S.; Rasmussen, S.O., Wulf, S., Zanchetta, G. 2014. Tephrochronology and the extended intimate (integration of icecore, marine and terrestrial records) event stratigraphy 8-128 ka b2k. Quaternary Science Reviews, 106, 88-100. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.11.002

2014

  • Bronk Ramsey, C., Albert, P., Blockley, S.P.E., Hardiman, M., Lane, C.S., Macleod, A., Matthews, I.P., Palmer, A. and Staff, R.A. 2014. Integrating timescales with time-transfer functions: a practical approach for an INTIMATE database. Quaternary Science Reviews, 106, 67-80. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.05.028
  • Douka K., Jacobs Z., Lane C.S., Grün R., Farr L., Hunt C., Inglis R., Reynolds T., Albert P., Aubert M. and Barker G.W.W. 2014. The chronostratigraphy of the Haua Fteah cave (Cyrenaica, northeast Libya). Journal of Human Evolution, 66, 39-63. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.10.001
  • Johnson, T.C. and Lane, C.S. 2014. Comment on "The Latest on Volcanic Eruptions and Climate". EOS, Transactions American Geophysical Union, 95 (39), 353. doi:10.1002/2014EO390008
  • Karkanas, P., White, D., Lane, C.S., Cullen, V.L., Stringer, C., Davies, S.W.G., Smith, V.C., Ntinou, M., Tsartsidou, G. and Kyparissi-Apostolika, N. 2015. Tephra correlations and climatic events between the MIS6/5 transition and the beginning of MIS3 in Theopetra Cave, central Greece. Quaternary Science Reviews, 118, 170-181. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.05.027
  • Lane, C.S., Cullen, V.C., White, D., Bramham-Law, C.W.F., Smith, V.C. 2014. Cryptotephra as a dating and correlation tool in archaeological sites. Journal of Archaeological Science, 42, 42-50. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2013.10.033

2013

  • Albert, P.G., Tomlinson, E.L., Lane, C.S., Wulf, S., Smith, V., Coltelli, M., Keller, J., Lo Castro, D., Manning, C.J., Müller, W & Menzies, M.A. 2013. Late glacial explosive activity on Mount Etna: implications for proximal-distal tephra correlations and the synchronisation of Mediterranean archives. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 256, 9-26. doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2013.07.010
  • Bramham-Law, C.W.F., Theuerkauf, M., Lane, C.S., Mangerud, J. 2013. New findings regarding the Saksunarvatn Ash in Germany. Journal of Quaternary Science, 28 (3), 248-257.
  • Lane, C.S., Brauer, A., Blockley, S.P.E. and Dulski, P. 2013. Volcanic ash reveals time-transgressive abrupt climate change during the Younger Dryas. Geology, 41, 1251-1254. doi:10.1130/G34867.1
  • Lane, C.S., Chorn, B.T., Johnson, T.C. 2013. Ash from the Toba super-eruption in Lake Malawi shows no volcanic winter in East Africa at 75 ka. PNAS. vol. 110, 20, 8025-8029. doi/10.1073/pnas.1301474110
  • Veres, D., Lane, C.S., Timar-Gabor, A., Hambach, U., Constantin, D., Szakács, A., Onac, B.P. and Panaiotu, C.G. 2013. The Campanian Ignimbrite/Y5 tephra layer - a regional stratigraphic marker for Isotope Stage 3 deposits in the Lower Danube region. Quaternary International, 293, 22-33. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2012.02.042

2012

  • Blockley, S.P.E., Lane, C.S., Hardiman, M., Rasmussen, S., Seierstad, I., Steffensen, J.P., Svensson, A., Lotter, A.F, Turney, C.S., Ramsey C.B. and INTIMATE members. 2012. Synchronisation of palaeoenvironmental records over the last 60,000 years, and an extended INTIMATE event stratigraphy to 48,000 b2k. Quaternary Science Reviews, 36, 2-10. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.09.017
  • Housley, R.A., Lane, C.S., Cullen, V., Weber, M-J., Riede, F., Gamble, C.S. and Brock, F. 2012. Icelandic volcanic ash from the Late-glacial open-air archaeological site of Ahrenshöft LA58 D, north Germany. Journal of Archaeological Science, 39, 708-716. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2011.11.003
  • Lane, C.S., Blockley, S.P.E., Lotter, A.F., Finsinger, W., Filippi, M.L. and Matthews, I.P. 2012. A regional tephrostratigraphic framework for central and southern European climate archives during the Last Glacial to Interglacial Transition: comparisons north and south of the Alps. Quaternary Science Reviews, 36, 50-58. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.10.015
  • Lane, C.S., Blockley, S.P.E., Mangerud, J., Smith, V.C., Lohne, Ø.S., Tomlinson, E.L., Matthews, I.P. and Lotter, A.F. 2012. Was the 12.1 ka Icelandic Vedde Ash one of a kind? 2012. Quaternary Science Reviews, 33, 87-99. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.11.011
  • Lowe, J., Barton, N. Blockley, S., Bronk Ramsey, C., Cullen, V.L., Davies, W., Gamble, C., Grant, K., Hardiman, M., Housley, R., Lane, C.S., Lee, S., Lewis, M., MacLeod, A., Menzies, M, Müller, W., Pollard, M., Price, C., Roberts, A.P., Rohling, E.J., Satow, C., Smith, V.C., Stringer, C.B., Tomlinson, E.L., White, D., Albert, P., Arienzo, I., Barker, G., Boric´, D., Carandente, A., Civetta, L., Ferrier, C., Guadelli, J-L., Karkanas, P., Koumouzelis, M., Müller, U.C., Orsi, G.O., Pross, J., Rosi, M., Shalamanov-Korobar, L., Sirakov, N., and Tzedakis, P.C. 2012. Volcanic ash layers illuminate the resilience of Neanderthals and early modern humans to natural hazards. PNAS, 109, 13532-13537. doi:10.1073/pnas.1204579109
  • Tomlinson, E.L., Arienzo, I., Wulf, S., Smith, V.C., Carandente, A., Civetta, L., Hardiman, M., Lane, C.S., Orsi, G., Rosi, M., Thirlwall, M., Muller W. and Menzies, M.A. 2012. Geochemistry of the Phlegraean Fields (Italy) proximal sources for major Mediterranean tephras: Implications for the dispersal of Plinian and co-ignimbritic components of explosive eruptions. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 93, 102-128. doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2012.05.043

External activities

  • Chair of the INTegration of Ice-core, MArine, and TErrestrial records (INTIMATE) network.
  • Member of the Hominin Sites and Palaeolakes Drilling Project.
  • Southern Hemisphere Assessment of PalaeoEnvironments, INQUA inter-congress focus group. INTIMATE (northern hemisphere) liaison.
  • Lead Guest Editor on the International Focus Group on Tephrochronology (INTAV) Special Issue in Quaternary Geochronology. Expected publication January 2017.