Climate Change through Geological Time


Distinguished Professor Lecture Series

Start Date

14th Jun 2017 6:00pm

End Date

14th Jun 2017 7:30pm


Stanley Burbury Theatre, University Centre, Sandy Bay campus

RSVP / Contact Information

Enquiries:; T: 6226 2521

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Presented by

Ross Large

Distinguished Professor of Economic Geology, University of Tasmania

Climate change now and in the future is on every one’s mind, but we hear little about climate change in the past. Distinguished Professor Ross Large and his research team at the University of Tasmania have, for the first time, been able to track chemical changes in the global ocean over the last 3.5 billion years. This in turn tells us about how the chemistry of the atmosphere has changed over that time.

By analysing pyrite (also known as fool’s gold) formed on the seafloor over the last 600 million years, Professor Large and his team have shown that atmosphere oxygen and carbon dioxide have varied in a cyclic fashion. It is now becoming clear that these dramatic changes have driven the evolution of life and climate on Earth.

One of the team’s most astounding discoveries is that past biodiversity reached a peak when both atmosphere O2 and CO2 rose together to maximum levels. This occurred twice; at 520 million years ago and 320 million years ago. These times correspond with the Cambrian explosion of life in the oceans, and secondly with the spread of forests and swamps on the continents.

About Ross Large

Ross Large is an Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Geology at the University of Tasmania. In the late 1980s he established the Centre for Ore Deposit and Exploration Science (CODES), which has grown to become one of the top industry collaborative ore deposit research centres in the world. Last year a team led by Professor Large won the prestigious Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research.

Refreshments from 5.30pm.