Professor Hugh Jenkyns

Professor of Stratigraphy

TEL: +44 (1865) 272023
FAX: +44 (1865) 272072

Research Profile

My research is concerned primarily with the palaeoceanography and palaeoclimatology of Jurassic and Cretaceous marine sediments. Areas of study include northern and southern Europe and the Pacific Ocean. My approach has been to elucidate the causality of major global events in Earth history by examining their sedimentary and geochemical records. To this end, I have studied the distribution, in time and space, of sediments unusually rich in organic carbon as well as the stratigraphic distribution of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and strontium isotopes in rocks and fossils. I am also interested in the preservation of climatic signals in marine and continental sediments.

Specific research topics include the causes and consequences of Oceanic Anoxic Events, particularly those of the early Toarcian (183Ma), the early Aptian (120Ma) and the Cenomanian-Turonian boundary (93Ma). This latter interval was apparently characterized by the highest global palaeotemperatures of the last 115Ma, represented a huge disturbance of the carbon cycle, and was a major turning point in the climatic history of the Earth. I have also been involved in a multidisciplinary study of the type Kimmeridge Clay, through the Kimmeridge Drilling Project.

In addition, I have  investigated the origin of north Pacific guyots - drowned carbonate platforms capping volcanic seamounts - which we believe were formed as a result of suppression of shallow-water carbonate production as northward plate movement pushed the edifices into peri-equatorial waters whose surface temperatures were >30 degrees C. Tropical waters were simply too hot for many carbonate-secreting organisms to survive. Platform drowning can thus be related to the thermal maximum of the mid- to Late Cretaceous greenhouse earth. Cretaceous palaeoclimates in high latitudes are another interest, with the postulated high temperatures - at times in excess of 20 degrees C - posing a fundamental problem in understanding how heat was transported across the globe. Currently I am exploring the use of novel isotope systems (Li, Ca, Fe, S, Cr, Mo) in Mesozoic palaeoceanography, and investigating the impact of Oceanic Anoxic Events on marine environments in the Southern Hemisphere.


In a nutshell:

Palaeotectonic evolution of the ocean basins and continental margins of the Tethys

Mesozoic carbonate platforms 

Mesozoic pelagic sediments

Mesozoic climates

Pacific seamounts  and plateaux

Carbon, oxygen, strontium, sulphur, calcium, lithium, molybdenum and uranium isotopes in sediments as environmental indicators

Black shales and Oceanic Anoxic Events

Isotopic signals in Jurassic and Cretaceous lacustrine sediments


Extended publications

Teaching Profile

 My teaching primarily involves fourth-year field excursions.



Selected Publications

  1. Lechler, M., Pogge von Strandmann, P.A.E., Jenkyns, H.C., Prosser, G. & Parente, M. (2015). Lithium-isotope evidence for enhanced silicate weathering duringOAE 1a (Early Aptian Selli event). Earth planet. Sci. Letts, 432, 210–222.
  2. Percival, L.M.E., Witt, M.L.I., Mather, T.A., Hermoso, M., Jenkyns, H.C., Hesselbo, S.P., Al-Suwaidi, A.H., Storm, M., Xu, W. & Ruhl, M. (2015). Globally enhanced mercury deposition during the end-Pliensbachian extinction and Toarcian OAE: A link to the Karoo–Ferrar Large Igneous Province. Earth planet. Sci. Letts, 428, 267–280.
  3. Erba, E., Duncan, R.A., Bottini, C., Tiraboschi, D., Weissert, H., Jenkyns, H.C. & Malinverno, A. (2015). Environmental consequences of Ontong Java Plateau and Kerquelen Plateau volcanism. In: Neal, C.R., Sager, W.W., Sano, T. & Erba, E., Eds, The Origin, Evolution, and environmental Consequences of oceanic Large Igneous Provinces, Geol. Soc. Am. Spec. Paper, 511, 271–303.
  4. Gambacorta, G., Jenkyns, H.C., Russo, F., Tsikos, H., Wilson, P.A., Faucher, G. & Erba, E. (2015). Carbon- and oxygen-isotope records of mid-Cretaceous Tethyan pelagic sequences from the Umbria–Marche and Belluno Basins (Italy). Newsletters Stratigr., 48, 299–323.
  5. Zhou, X., Jenkyns, H.C., Owens, J.D., Junium, C.K., Zheng, X.-Y., Sageman, B.B., Hardisty, D.S., Lyons, T.W., Ridgwell, A. & Lu, Z. (2015). Upper ocean oxygenation dynamics from I/Ca ratios during the Cenomanian–Turonian OAE 2. Paleoceanography, 30, 510–526.
  6. Bottini, C., Erba, E., Tiraboschi, D., Jenkyns, H.C., Schouten, S. & Sinninghe Damsté, J.S. (2015). Climate variability and ocean fertility during the Aptian Stage. Clim. Past, 11, 383–402.
  7. Blättler, C.L., Stanley, S.M., Henderson, G.M. & Jenkyns, H.C. (2014). Identifying vital effects in Halimeda algae with Ca isotopes. Biogeosciences, 11, 7207–7217.
  8. Li, X., Jenkyns, H.C., Zhang, C., Wang, Y., Liu, L & Cao, K. (2014). Carbon isotope signatures of pedogenic carbonates from SE China: rapid atmospheric pCO2 changes during middle–late Early Cretaceous time. Geol. Mag., 151, 830–849.
  9. Kennedy, W.J., Gale, A.S., Huber, B.T., Petrizzo, M.R., Bown, P. & Jenkyns, H.C (2014). Integrated stratigraphy across the Aptian/Albian boundary at Col de Pre-Guittard (southeast France): a candidate Global Boundary Stratotype Section. Cretaceous Research, 51, 248–259.
  10. Franceschi, M., Dal Corso, J., Posenato, R., Roghi, G., Masetti, D & Jenkyns, H.C. (2014). Early Pliensbachian (Early Jurassic) C-isotope perturbation and the diffusion of the Lithiotis fauna: Insights from the western Tethys. Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol., 410, 255–263.
  11. Dal Corso, J., Marzoli, A., Tateo, F., Jenkyns, H.C., Bertrand, H., Youbi, N., Mahmoudi, A., Font, E., Buratti, N. & Cirilli, S. (2014). The dawn of CAMP volcanism and its bearing on the end-Triassic carbon cycle disruption. J. Geol. Soc. Lond., 171, 153–164.
  12. Kafousia, N., Karakitsios, V., Mattioli, E., Kenjo, S. & Jenkyns, H.C. (2014). The Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event in the Ionian Zone, Greece. Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol., 393, 135–145.
  13. Owens, J.D., Gill, B.C., Jenkyns, H.C., Bates, S.M., Severmann, D., Kuypers, M.M.M., Woodfine, R.G. & Lyons, T.W. (2013). Sulfur isotopes track the global extent and dynamics of euxinia during Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Event 2. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 110, 18407–18412.
  14. Dal Corso, J., Roghi, G., Ragazzi, E., Angelini, I., Giaretta, A., Soriano, C., Declòs, X. & Jenkyns, H.C. (2013). Physico-chemical analysis of Albian (Lower Cretaceous) amber from San Just (Spain): palaeoenvironmental and palaeoecological studies. Geol. Acta, 11, 359–370.
  15. Sabatino, N., Vlahović, I., Jenkyns, H.C., Scopelliti, G., Neri, R., Prtoljan, B. & Velić, I. (2013). Carbon-isotope record and palaeoenvironmental changes during the early Toarcian oceanic anoxic event in shallow-marine carbonates of the Adriatic carbonate platform in Croatia. Geol. Mag., 150, 1085–1102.
  16. Zheng, X.-Y., Jenkyns, H.C., Gale, A.S., Ward, D.J. & Henderson, G.M. (2013). Changing ocean circulation and hydrothermal inputs during Ocean Anoxic Event 2 (Cenomanian–Turonian): Evidence from Nd-isotopes in the European shelf sea. Earth planet. Sci. Letts, 375, 338–348.
  17. Pogge von Strandmann, P.A.E., Jenkyns, H.C. & Woodfine, R.G. (2013). Lithium isotope evidence for enhanced weathering during Oceanic Anoxic Event 2.  Nature Geosci., 6, 668–672.
  18. Jenkyns, H.C & Weedon, G.P. (2013). Chemostratigraphy (CaCO3, TOC, δ13Corg) of Sinemurian (Lower Jurassic) black shales from the Wessex Basin, Dorset and palaeoenvironmental implications. Newsletters Stratigr., 46, 1–21.
  19. Jenkyns, H.C., Schouten-Huibers, L., Schouten, S. & Sinninghe Damsté, J.S. (2012). Warm Middle Jurassic–Early Cretaceous high-latitude sea-surface temperatures from the Southern Ocean. Clim. Past, 8, 215–22
  20. Petrizzo, M.R., Huber, B.T., Gale, A.S., Barchetta, A. & Jenkyns, H.C. (2012). Abrupt planktic foraminiferal turnover across the Niveau Kilian at Col de Pré-Guittard (Vocontian Basin, southeast France): new criteria for defining the Aptian/Albian boundary. Newsletters Stratigr., 45, 55–74.
  21. Voigt, S., Gale, A.S., Jung, C. & Jenkyns, H.C. (2012). Global correlation of Upper Campanian–Maastrichtian successions using carbon-isotope stratigraphy: development of a new Maastrichtian timescale. Newsletters Stratigr., 45, 25–53.
  22. Bottini, C., Cohen, A.S., Erba, E., Jenkyns, H.C. & Coe, A.L. (2012). Osmium-isotope evidence for volcanism, weathering, and ocean mixing during early Aptian OAE 1a. Geology, 40, 583–586.
  23. Blättler, C., Henderson, G.M. & Jenkyns, H.C. (2012). Explaining the Ca isotope history of seawater. Geology, 40, 843–846.

Other Information

Contributor to the Shell-Oxford Research Collaboration