Researchers at UCD


Sommer Fankhauser


flat 3
13 Windsor Road
Dublin 6

Tel: +353 1 716


Title:   PhD student

Address:      School of Geological Sciences
Telephone:   Ext. 21 38





Heidi holds a BSc in Earth Science and MSc in Geology from the University of Bern (Switzerland). She graduated in 2008 with a thesis on climate variability recorded in a 50,000-years old stalagmite from Northern Turkey. Before starting her university studies Heidi worked as laboratory assistant in biology and environmental science, (1989-2002). Her interest in Geology and cave research rose from several years caving in Switzerland. Heidi joined the Palaeoclimate Research Group in UCD in 2008 as a PhD student, studying Irish speleothems to reconstruct the climate variability in the last glacial cycle.

Languages:        German (native)

                           English fluent

                           French intermediate



Peer Reviewed Journals

Göktürk O.M., Fleitmann D., Badertscher S., Cheng H., Edwards L., Leuenberger M., Fankhauser A., Tüysüz O., Kramers J. (2011) 'Climate on the southern Black Sea coast during the Holocene: implications from the Sofular Cave record'. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30 :2433-2445. [Details]
Fleitmann, D., Cheng, H., Badertscher, S., Edwards, R.L., Mudelsee, M., Göktürk, O.M., Fankhauser, A., Pickering, R., Raible, C.C., Matter, A., Kramers, J. and Tüysüz, O.; (2009) 'Timing and climatic impact of Greenland interstadials recorded in stalagmites from northern Turkey'. Geophysical Research Letters, 36: L19707 . [Details]

Conference Publications

Fankhauser A., McDermott F., Fleitmann D., Hoffmann D.L. (2012) Rapid response of climatic conditions during the last glacial: evidence from U-series dated Irish speleothems EGU General Assembly Vienna [Details]
Fankhauser A., McDermott F., Fleitmann D. (2011) Speleothems versus ice core ages for the Greenland interstadials. Does the latest NGRIP chronology still exhibit time lags? Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) Spring meeting [Details]
Fankhauser A., McDermott F., Fleitmann D. (2011) The nature and timing of MIS 3 interstadials; new constraints from U-series dated speleothems from Crag cave, S.W. Ireland 18th International Quaternary Association (INQUA) congress, Bern, Switzerland Bern, Switzerland, [Details]
Fankhauser, A. and McDermott, F.; (2010) 'U-Th Ages for Speleothem Deposits from Crag Cave, S.W. Ireland; Insights into the Timing of Interstadials during the Last Glacial' Dated Speleothems Archives of the Palaeoenvironment (DFG Research Group, 3rd DAPHNE Workshop) Abstracts Volume, [Details]
Fankhauser, A., McDermott, F. and Fleitmann, D.; (2011) U-series dated speleothems from Crag cave S.W. Ireland constrain the timing and nature of interstadial events during Marine Isotope Stages 2 and 3 Climate Change - The Karst Record (KR6) Birmingham, U.K, , 26-JUN-11 - 29-JUN-11 [Details]


Research Interests

PhD project title: Climate variability during the last glaciation investigated by Irish speleothems (working title)

Supervisor: Prof. Frank McDermott


Thesis summary:

Several uranium-thorium dated speleothems from Crag cave S.W. Ireland, indicate sporadic speleothem deposition between 131.51 ± 0.56 ka and the Holocene. The new data constrain for the first time in an Irish terrestrial record the timing and duration of short-lived warming events (Dansgaard-Oeschger events) during the last glaciation. Stable oxygen and carbon isotopes give further insights into these warm intervals. Cold time periods and especially Heinrich events are indicated by non-deposition of speleothems.

A key component of the PhD work was to establish the U-series method in the UCD laboratories including chemistry protocols, spike calibration, optimising of measurement conditions (Thermo Fisher Neptune with Airdus II Desolvating Nebulizer System), data reduction and age calculation.