Department Surface Waters - Research and Management


The Sedimentology Group at Eawag investigates lake sediments to reconstruct environmental changes of the past and also to evaluate current and potential future changes. Our main approach is to recover sediment cores, which are then analyzed in our laboratories. We do also employ sediment traps and bottom grabbers for specific projects.

Our analytical techniques combine conventional sedimentological proxies such as magnetic susceptibility, elemental composition from XRF core scanner, grain-size distribution, bulk geochemical composition (biogenic silica, organic carbon, calcium carbonate), 210Pb and 1237Cs dating, with more novel organic geochemical tools such as biomarkers and their stable and radio-isotopic composition.

In addition, the Sedimentology Group is involved in the Limnogeology course offered at ETH Zurich, and supervises Bachelor, Masters and PhD theses. We closely collaborate with the Climate Geology group, in particular its Limnogeology Laboratory, as well as with the Biogeoscience Group of ETH Zurich and the Physics of Aquatic Systems Group at EPF Lausanne.

Our main research foci are:

  • Sediments as archives of human-environment interactions (soil erosion, industrial pollution)
  • Lake records of Climate change
  • Particle dynamics in lakes (erosion-transport-sedimentation)



Current projects

The PALEOFARM project investigates sediments from 3 lakes across Switzerland, Russia and Greenland to search for traces of early farming impact.
The MACRO project investigates lake and swamp sediments from Pacific Islands to search for traces of the settlement of Polynesians and Melanesians.

More current projects

  • Environmental impact of the industrialization:
    - Horology in the Joux Valley (Lake Joux, Lake Brenet, Switzerland)
    - Textile Industries in the Glarnerland (Lake Walen, Switzerland)
  • The effect of River Engineering in the 20st century on lake sedimentation:
    The Jura Water Correction (Lake Biel, Switzerland)
  • Paleoclimatic record from Swiss Siberia:
    Lake of Taillères, La Brévine (Switzerland)
  • Bottom Currents and the formation of moats:
    Lake Zurich (Switzerland)

Picture Gallery

Limnogeologie Praktikum


Sedimentology Retreat