University of Gothenburg
Bays and fjords.
Photo: Jonathan Havenhand

Marine Geology

In Marine Geology, we study the sediments on the ocean floor—in the deep ocean and in the coastal zone with its fjords and bays. We examine the results of the physical, chemical and biological processes that have formed the sediments—how and where they were deposited, what they contain and what processes affect their characteristics after the deposition.

To study the sediments in the ocean, special techniques for mapping and sampling are needed, such as acoustic sub-bottom and multi-beam profiling and, as well as collecting long and short sediment cores.

The latter do not interfere with the very easily destroyed poorly consolidated recent surface sediments, but preserve the finest structures in the most recent strata. We X-ray the sediment cores and collect samples for age determination, pollutants, as well as microscopic organisms that lived in the water or at the bottom recently or several hundreds or thousands of years ago.

The microfossil content of sediments helps us to trace and interpret changes in the marine environment during geologic and historic times. This allows us to draw conclusions about processes such as freshwater outflows from land, biological production, changes in salinity, oxygenation and climate change. We are also interested in how geological processes and ocean currents affect our marine environment through distribution of pollutants and toxic substances released by humankind.

In order to understand how processes are interfering and interacting, we work in close cooperation with oceanographers, climatologists, chemists and biologists.


  • Applied marine geology
  • Marine environmental geology
  • Marine isotope geology / isotope chemistry
  • Marine stratigraphy