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CRP El Niño member - Mr. Greg Skilbeck

Mr. Greg Skilbeck

University of Technology, Sydney
Sydney, Australia

Scientific Background

Greg Skilbeck is a graduate of the University of Sydney where he undertook honours in vertebrate paleontology followed by doctoral studies in the analysis of sedimentary environments. He worked briefly in the petroleum exploration industry upon graduation but returned to academia in the late 1980's. Since that time he has worked in Applied Geology and then Environmental Sciences where he has been head of department for the past eight years.

An initial research interest in the dynamics of sedimentary basin formation at convergent margins led to his first ocean drilling program cruise to the western Mediterranean in search of extant analogues. During this cruise he developed an interest in paleoceanography and paleoclimate studies, and subsequently initiated a study of Late Quaternary sea level, environmental and paleoclimate work in temperate eastern Australian coastal lakes. He sailed on Leg 201 of the ODP in 2002, which had the prime object of studying the deep biosphere in the eastern Pacific Ocean, but also yielded a long, high-resolution sedimentary record of El Niño over the past 20,000 years and this has become the focus of his current research.

He has expertise in sedimentary facies analysis, wireline log and seismic interpretation, and physical properties of sedimentary materials.

Current Research

Current research is being conducted in the general area of deciphering long-term El Niño variability with the main aim of relating this to the drought cycles in eastern Australia. The work is centered in two main areas, eastern temperate Australian estuaries, and the Peru continental margin. In the former, cores spanning the present to last sea-level highstand have been collected from a number of coastal lakes and a range of physical properties collected (magnetic susceptibility, SIRM, ARM, density, grain size, TC, TOC, CaCO3 and mineralogy by XRD) and regional cyclicity at the centennial and millennial scales identified. Following sparker surveying, we have recently obtained a number of 6 m Holocene sections in order to address previous resolution problems.

The Peruvian margin work has proceeded in two stages. Study on the early post deglaciation section in Hole 1227B has identified an interannual El Niño signal supported by multiproxy analysis over the period 17,300-15,750 cal yr BP, which is intended to be published in 2005. Work on the Holocene section in Holes 1228B and 1229E has proceeded to the stage of defining the chronology and over the next 1-2 years we acquire geochemical and physical proxies at the interannual scale.



  • Skilbeck, C.G. and Fink, D., 2006, Radiocarbon dating Distributions of metabolic activities in deep subseafloor sediments. Science 306 (5705), 2216-2221.


  • Skilbeck, C.G., Fink, D., and Gagan, M.K., 2007: Patterns of Decadal and Centennial ENSO variability over the Holocene-Deglaciation Period. (17th International INQUA Conference, Cairns, July 2007).
  • Skilbeck, C.G., Fink, D., Gagan, M.K. and Rein, B. (2006). The Pattern of Deglaciation-to- Recent ENSO Variation from the Peru Continental Margin. (AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, December 2006). and sedimentation rates for Holocene-Late Pleistocene sediments, eastern equatorial Pacific and Peru continental margin. In Jorgensen, B.B., D'Hondt, S.L., and Miller, D.J. (Eds.), Proc. ODP, Sci. Results, 201 [Online]. Available from World Wide Web: http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications/201_ SR/108/108.htm. pp. 1-15.
  • Skilbeck, C.G., Rolph, T.C., Hill, N., Woods, J. and Wilkens, R.H., 2005: Holocene Millennial/Centennial-Scale Multi-Proxy Cyclicity in Temperate Eastern Australian Estuary Sediments. Journal of Quaternary Science 20, 327-347.
  • Meister, P., Prokopenko, M., Skilbeck, C.G., Watson, M., and McKenzie, J.A., 2005: Data report: Compilation of total organic and inorganic carbon data from Peru Margin and eastern equatorial Pacific drill sites (ODP Legs 112, 138, and 201). In Jorgensen, B.B., D'Hondt, S.L., and Miller, D.J. (Eds.), Proc. ODP, Sci. Results, 201 [Online]. Available from World Wide Web: http://www-odp.tamu.edu/publications /201_SR/105/105.htm. pp 1-20.
  • D’Hondt, S., Jorgensen, B., Miller, D.J., Blake, R., Cragg, B.A., Dickens, G. al. (ed.). Reconstructing past climates for future for future prediction: integrating highresolution palaeo data for meaningful prediction in the Australian region. Australian Academy of Sciences. Canberra ACT Australia, June 2005. p.56.
  • Skilbeck, C.G., Gagan, M., Goodwin, I., Watson, I., and Fink, D., 2004, Century-to-decade scale modulation of ENSO recorded by postglacial laminated sediments from R.,
  • Ferdelman, T., Hinrichs, K-U, Holm, N.G., Mitterer, R., Spivack, A., Bekins, B.A., Ford, K., Gettemy, G., Skilbeck, C.G., Aiello, I.W., Cypionka, H., Guerin, G., House, C., Inagaki, F., Meister, P., Naehr, T., Niitsuma, S., Parkes, R.J., Schippers, A., Smith, D.C., Teske, A., Wiegel, J., Padilla, C.N., Acosta, J.U.L.S., Wang, G., Rutherford, S.D., 2004.
  • Fink, D., Skilbeck, C.G., Gagan, M.K., & Rolph, T.C., 2006. A 25,000 year inter-annual record of the Peru-Chile current and implications for ENSO variation during deglaciation. 19th International Radiocarbon Conference, Oxford, April 3-7, 2006. (Paper 174).
  • Skilbeck, C.G., Gagan, M.K., & Fink, D., 2006, A 25,000 yr interannual record of the Peru-Chile current from the Peru continental margin and the implications for ENSO variation during deglaciation and high-stand. (18th Australian Geological Congress, July 2006) In Denham, D. (ed.) Australian Earth Sciences Convention Abstracts, p. 117. (ISBN 0-646-46246-6).
  • Rolph, T.R., Shroder-Adams, C., Skilbeck, C.G., Boyd, R. and Wadsworth, J.A., 2006, The Evolution of a Holocene Barrier Estuary revealed through Multivariate Analysis of Sediment Properties; Tuggerah Lake, NSW, Australia. (paper 106508) (AAPG International Conference, Perth, Nov 2006).
  • Fink, D., Skilbeck, C.G. & Gagan, M.K. 2005. Multidecadal and century-Scale Enso Variability in 20,000-Year Sediment Records from the Peru Continental Margin, The 10th International Conference on Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Berkley California (September 5-10, 2005).
  • Skilbeck, C.G., Gagan, M.K., Rolph, T.C. & Fink, D., 2005. Multidecadal and Centuryscale variability in 20,000-year ENSO records from the south Pacific Rim. In Turney, C. et the Peru continental margin. (UNESCO International Conference on Isotopes in Environmental Studies - Aquatic Forum, 25 - 29 October 2004, Monte- Carlo, Monaco). IAEA-CN-118, 20.