Christopher Day

Christopher Day

Research Fellow in Stable Isotopes
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 272044

I am an isotope geochemist researching palaeoclimate and environmental reconstruction.

Proxy development:

A significant amount of my research is developing and calibrating proxies for environmental change, using cave stalagmite samples.

Stalagmite measurements add significantly to the more traditional marine- and ice-core records. They provide extremely high resolution records of e.g. the hydrological cycle (monthly in certain cases), are well preserved, don’t melt (!) and can be dated in absolute terms using U-Th or U-Pb dating.

To make best use of stalagmite archives we need to calibrate the response of their chemistry to environmental change. To achieve this, I built a laboratory setup for growing carbonate crystals in controlled, cave-analogue conditions – the ‘Oxford Cave’. Some of my past work was calibrating the response of e.g. O, C, Ca, Mg, Ba, Sr, Cd to changes in rainfall amount and temperature.

Research is also ongoing with less traditional proxies , (e.g. clumped isotopes, Li-isotopes) to further develop our understanding of these systems and to widen the scope for environmental reconstruction (e.g. weathering intensity).

Palaeoclimate reconstruction:

With students and collaborators, knowledge from the Oxford Cave is applied to palaeoclimate reconstruction projects in e.g. Morocco, Southern Chile, China. We demonstrate, amongst others, the use of Cd as a sensitive proxy for changes in rainfall amount and the application of Ca isotopes for reconstructing absolute change in rainfall amount during abrupt climate change events.

Stable Isotope Laboratory management:

My research runs alongside managing the department Stable Isotope laboratory, a central hub for research into oceanic, terrestrial, hydrological and carbon cycles. Both sides of my role complement each other, with a vested interest in continually improving the capability of the Stable Isotope laboratory to best serve our research interests.


Please do contact me by e-mail with any questions regarding laboratory or research interests.