Kathleen Wendt, PhD
I use cave formations and polar ice cores to study Earth's climate history. My current research looks at past periods when atmospheric CO2 concentrations changed abruptly. To do this, I extract ancient atmosphere from tiny bubbles trapped in an ice core from the West Antarctica. In my past work, I used cave deposits to study how regional rainfall patterns have changed during ice ages. Over the years I've also developed an expertise in high precision uranium-series dating. See Projects for more information on my past and current research projects.
I particularly love science communication. I often participate in public talks and science documentaries, such as our latest collaboration with HHMI's BioInteractive film The Science of Climate Change or the MacGillivray Freeman IMAX film Ancient Caves. Got questions? Interested in collaborating? Click the Email link to reach out.
2023- Research Faculty (start date 03/2023)
Oregon State University
Research focus: develop U-series dating capabilities to test new applications and automation.
2021-2023 NSF Postdoctoral Researcher
Oregon State University
Research focus: investigate rapid carbon cycle dynamics during
the last glacial period using high-resolution CO2 measurements
from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide ice core.
2019-2020 FWF Postdoctoral Researcher
University of Innsbruck
Research focus: develop new techniques in 234U disequilibrium
dating using carbonate deposits from Nevada. See Projects for
further information and publications.
2015-2018 Ph.D. University of Innsbruck
Earth Sciences (focus: paleoclimate)
2013-2015 M.S. University of Minnesota
Earth Sciences (focus: isotope geochemistry)
2008-2013 B.S. University of Minnesota
summa cum laude honors
Wendt, K. A., Bennett, H. I., Carter, A. J., and Marks-Peterson, J. C. (in press) Our frozen past: Ice core insights into Earth's climate history, PAGES Magazine
Wendt, K.A., Li, X., Edwards, R.L., Cheng, H., Spötl, C. (2021) Precise timing of MIS 7 sub-stages from the Austrian Alps, Climate of the Past Link
Wendt, K.A., Li, X., Edwards, R.L. (2021) U-Th dating of speleothems: principles, measurement uncertainty, and recent applications, Elements Link
Li, X., Wendt, K. A., Dublyansky, Y., Moseley, G. E., Spötl, C., and Edwards, R. L. (2021) Novel method for determining 234U-238U ages from Devils Hole 2 cave calcite, Geochronology Link
Stewart, B. D., Sorensen, J. V., Wendt, K. A., Sylvan, J. B., German, C. R., Anantharaman, K., Dick, G. J., Breier, J. A., and Toner, B. M. (2021) A multi-modal approach to measuring particulate iron speciation in buoyant hydrothermal plumes, Chemical Geology, 550 (120018) Link
Wendt, K.A., Pythoud, M., Dublyansky, Y., Moseley, G.E., Edwards, R.L., Spötl, C. (2020) Paleohydrology of southwest Nevada based on groundwater 234U/238U over the last 450ka. GSA Bulletin, 132 (3-4) 793–802 Link
Comas-Bru, L., …Wendt, K., et al. (2020) SISALv2: a comprehensive speleothem isotope database with multiple age–depth models. Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 12, 2579–2606 Link
Wendt, K.A., Häuselmann, A.D., Fleitmann, D., Berry, A.E., Wang, X., Auler, A.S., Cheng, H., Edwards, R. L. (2019) Three-Phased Heinrich Stadial 4 recorded in NE Brazil Stalagmites. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 510, 94-102 Link
Wendt, K.A., Dublyansky, Y., Moseley, G.E., Cheng. H., Edwards, R.L., Spötl, C. (2018) Moisture availability in the SW United States over the last three glacial-interglacial cycles. Science Advances, 4 (10) eaau1375 Link
Moseley, G.E., Edwards, R.L., Wendt, K.A., Cheng, H., Dublyansky, Y., Lu, Y., Boch, R., Spötl, C. (2016): Reconciliation of the Devils Hole climate record with orbital forcing. Science 351, 165-168 Link
Anantharaman, K., Duhaime, M., Breier, J., Wendt, K., Toner, B., Dick, G. (2014): Sulfur oxidation genes in diverse deep-sea viruses. Science 344, 757-760 Link
2022-2023 Lead Instructor
Oregon State University
Course title: Global Change and Earth Sciences (link to course description)
In-person, winter term, 70 students per class
Topics include: climate change, global change over different time scales with emphasis on
evolution of its atmosphere, plate tectonics, paleoclimates, and mass extinctions.
2013-2014 Teaching Assistant
University of Minnesota
Course Title: Geochemistry (link to course description)
In-person, fall semester, 30 students per class
Topics include: nucleosynthesis, elemental abundances, geochemical classifications,
isotopes, models of Earth's geochemical evolution, and more.
September, 2022 Co-PI of Heising-Simons Foundation Science Grant
Title: To develop and test technologies for U/Th radioisotope dating
$1.2 million USD
July, 2019 Co-PI of Austrian Science Fund (FWF) Individual Grant
Title: A 800,000 year-long record of paleoclimate form Devils Hole cave
Several invited lectures at universities across the US and in Europe.
Convener of theme-session at meetings of European Geosciences Union (EGU) and American Geophysical Union (AGU).
Reviewer for journals including Science Advances, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, and Journal for Quaternary Science Reviews. Reviewer of proposals to the National Science Foundation.
Editor of the Ice Core Chapter for the upcoming Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science (3rd edition).
Co-organizer of KROnline scientific conference in 2021.
Digital outreach coordinator for the UIBK Climate Research Center from 2016-2017.
Co-organizer of the UMN’s Quaternary Paleoecology seminar from 2014-2015.
© Copyright Kathleen Wendt