Ms Emma Blanka Kovács

PhD candidate studying large-scale volcanism and its effect on the environment.

Blanka is researching past environmental change events for her PhD in Geology through Provost’s PhD Project Awards. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Earth Sciences and a Master’s in Geology from Eötvös University in Budapest, Hungary. She is particularly interested in large-scale volcanism and its environmental effect.

Large Igneous Province (LIP) volcanism occurred periodically throughout Earth’s history, often coinciding with major environmental change events. Studying these events is crucial in understanding Earth System interactions and predicting the consequences of the current fast-paced environmental change. To better quantify the severity of past events, it is essential to identify and estimate the magnitude of individual volcanic pulses through the fossil record.

This project aims to use fossil leaf mercury concentrations from Lower Jurassic fossil records to study the effects of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP, ~ 201 Ma) and the Karoo-Ferrar LIP (~183 Ma) during the end-Triassic extinction and the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event, respectively. Leaves gain most of their mercury concentration through direct atmospheric uptake, which makes them a suitable indicator for past atmospheric mercury conditions. Developing this lithology-independent mercury proxy will increase our understanding of the causal relationship between LIPs and environmental change events and their pacing.

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