Student Profile

Jackson School of Geosciences

Kaustubh Thirumalai

Kaustubh Thirumalai
Ph.D., Geological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, expected 2016
M.S., Geological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, 2012
B.E., Chemical Engineering, National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, India, 2010


Work: +1 512 232 4184
Office: 196 2.246
Mailcode: R2200
Curriculum Vitae (pdf)


Committee Member

Research interests: Paleoclimate/Paleoceanography, Paleogeodesy, Foraminifera, Corals, Proxy Uncertainty

My research involves the reconstruction of oceanographic parameters such as sea-surface temperature and salinity over the Holocene utilizing planktic foraminifera in marine sediment cores. Comprehensive observations of climatic fluctuations in the ocean and atmosphere have only been measured (with varying degrees of quality) for the last ~150 years, a mere geological instant. In order to understand the variability of climate over large timescales, driven by various forcing factors, the aid of natural recorders of climate is required. I utilize stable isotopes and trace metal ratios locked in the calcite shells of foraminifera to obtain a glimpse of climatic and oceanic conditions when they lived. Currently, I work on sediment cores from the northern Gulf of Mexico. I am also interested in statistically quantifying uncertainties in paleoceanographic/paleoclimatic proxies. How can we best listen to what the proxies (foraminifera, corals etc.) are telling us?

Another line of research that I am actively involved in is coral paleogeodesy with Fred Taylor. I am interested in deformation patterns of the land on tectonically-short time scales and the earthquakes through which they are manifest. To discover how the land was moving hundreds of years ago, I turn to corals which carry a detailed year-by-year record of sea-level. Dating and mapping fossil corals can give us precise information about the earthquake cycle. For my current project, I work in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.

Current Research Projects

Surface ocean variability in the northern Gulf of Mexico during the Holocene

The late Holocene earthquake cycle as revealed by corals in the island of Ranongga, Western Solomon Islands

Ewing-Worzel Fellowship - UTIG (2015)

Ewing-Worzel Fellowship - UTIG (2014)

Lagoe Micropaleontology Award - Jackson School of Geosciences (2014)

Student Grant - Geological Society of America (2013)

Summer Research Fellowship - European Center of Excellence (2012)

Summer Research Fellowship - Indian Academy of Sciences (2009)

Kaustubh's twitter handle: @holy_kau

Kaustubh Webpage

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