Kathleen Wendt, PhD

I use cave formations and polar ice cores to study Earth's climate history. Over the years I've also developed an expertise in high precision uranium-series dating. In my recent work, I looked 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. I've also used cave deposits to study how regional rainfall patterns have changed during ice ages. See Projects for more information on my past and current research projects.

I particularly love science communication. I've participated in several science documentaries in collaboration with PBS (airing September 2024), 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. 

OSU Webpage / LinkedIn  /  Email


2023-present   Assistant Professor (Senior Research)

                                  Oregon State University

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                            
                          Environmental Sciences                              
                          Summa cum laude honors


Wendt, K. A., Nehrbass-Ahles, C., Niezgoda, K., Noone, D., Kalk, M., Menviel, L., Gottschalk, J., Rae, J., Schmitt, J., Fischer, H., Stocker, T., Muglia, J., Ferreira, D., Brook, E., and Buizert, C. (2024) Southern Ocean drives multidecadal atmospheric CO2 rise during Heinrich Stadials. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Link.

Lowenstein, T., Olson, K., Stewart, B. W., McGee, D., Stroup, J. S., Hudson, A. M., Wendt, K. A., Peaple, K. D., Feakins, S. J., Bhattacharya, T., Lund, S. (2024) Unified 200 kyr paleohydrologic history of the Southern Great Basin: Death Valley, Searles Valley, Owens Valley and the Devils Hole cave. Quaternary Science Reviews. Link.

Jackson, T. R., Steidle, S. D., Wendt, K. A., Dublyansky, Y., Edwards, R. L., and Spötl, C. (2023) A 350,000-year history of groundwater recharge in the southern Great Basin, USA., Nature Communications in Earth and Environment. Link

Wendt, K. A., Bennett, H. I., Carter, A. J., and Marks-Peterson, J. C. (2022) Our frozen past: Ice core insights into Earth's climate history, PAGES Magazine Link

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. 

Funding  awarded

09/2022            Co-PI of Heising-Simons Foundation Science Grant
                           Title: To develop and test technologies for U/Th radioisotope dating
                           $1.2 million USD

07/2019             Co-PI of Austrian Science Fund (FWF) Individual Grant
                            Title: A 800,000 year-long record of paleoclimate form Devils Hole cave   
                            €500,000 EURO

 Communication & Professionalservice

Several invited lectures at universities across the US and in Europe.

Convener of themed sessions atEuropean 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 science conference in 2021.

© Copyright Kathleen Wendt