Earth Surface Dynamics

Sébastien Castelltort

Holder of a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from the University of Rennes in 2003, Sébastien Castelltort started his research career at ETH Zurich before becoming Associate Professor at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in France (now Sorbonne Universités) from 2005 to 2007. He then returned to Switzerland, where he continued his research at ETH Zurich for four years before joining the Faculty of Science at the University of Geneva in 2011. Appointed as Associate Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, he assumed the role of Department chair in 2019. He was promoted to Full Professor in 2021 and has been Head of the Section of Earth and Environmental Sciences since the summer of 2023.

Through grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation and the European Commission among others, his research group has revealed the historical consequences of past global warming episodes on our planet, examining their impact on rainfall patterns and terrestrial and marine ecosystems. His studies have taken him to investigate marine sediments in the Gulf of Mexico, Ladakh Himalaya, Taiwan, and Uzbekistan, the dried riverbeds of the Sahara and Mars, thousands of pebbles in the conglomerates of the Swiss Alps and Spanish Pyrenees, and river networks in the southern Alps of New Zealand.

His findings include evidence of Earth's climate upheavals during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, a significant global warming that occurred 56 million years ago, as well as population movements along the Nile shores, prompted by changes in flood regimes 10,000 years ago. Castelltort is also active in the promotion of Science to the general public and in particular to school pupils with the Terrascope (now Enviroscope) of the Faculty of Science at the University of Geneva, and the SNSF Agora-funded ClimatiZENs project (Climats du passé pour citoyen-nes de demain), among other actions.

For a comprehensive list of his publications:

View the recent videos of the Summer Schools organized in the frame of the EU-funded ITN S2S-Future: