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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Nicholas Zaremba

Nicholas Zaremba portrait

Graduate Student

Earth and Environmental Sciences

Advisor: Chris Scholz

BS Marine Science with a concentration in Geology, Eckerd College

MS Geology, East Carolina University

Research Interests

I am interested in studying how climate has changed in the past. I use seismic data in combination with geochemical analyses and modern chronology techniques conducted on sediment cores to better constrain the timing of climate fluctuations recorded in the stratigraphic record.

My doctoral research focuses on the late Pleistocene stratigraphy of Oneida Lake located here in central New York. The aim of the study is to get a better understanding of the timing as well as magnitude of large releases of glacial meltwater into the North Atlantic Ocean. Episodic and catastrophic release of glacial meltwater derived from late Pleistocene proglacial lakes drained into the North Atlantic from a few key drainages, primarily the Mississippi River, St. Lawrence waterway, Hudson River valley and Artic sources. This influx of glacial meltwater into the North Atlantic can affect Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation which is responsible for the transport of heat and salinity from the tropics to the northern latitudes. Therefore, a slowdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning can have major impacts on climate. In particular it is believed that abrupt climate fluctuations such as the Younger Dryas and Inter-Allerod cold periods were triggered by large influxes of glacial meltwater into the Atlantic Ocean decreasing Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. The focus of my doctoral dissertation will be to constrain the timing and magnitude of meltwater fluxes through the Mohawk Valley, one of the key drainage systems for meltwater to enter the Hudson River valley and then enter the Atlantic Ocean. Drainage through the Mohawk valley possibly played a key role in triggering the Older Dryas, a brief but abrupt cold period occurring ca. 14.3-14 thousand years before present.          

I use seismic data in combination with sediments cores to reconstruct paleo environments. For my doctoral research I will use high resolution CHIRP seismic data as well as deeper penetrating multichannel seismic data. Sediment cores will be analyzed for a variety of different chemical and physical parameters including XRF, magnetic susceptibility, stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes, grain-size analyses and radiocarbon age estimates.


Zaremba NJ and Scholz, CA, 2019, High-resolution seismic stratigraphy of Late Pleistocene Glacial Lake Iroquois and its Holocene successor: Oneida Lake, New York, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 534, 109286,

Zaremba, N.J., Smith, C, J., Bernier, J., Forde, A., Application of Ground Penetrating Radar for identification of washover deposits and other stratigraphic features: Assateague Island, MD, 2016. Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics, Volume 21(4), 173 186.

Zaremba, N.J., Mallinson, D.J., Leorri, E., Culver, S., Riggs, S., Mulligan, R., Horsman, E., Mitra, S., 2016. Controls on the stratigraphic framework and paleoenvironmental change      within a Holocene estuarine system: Pamlico Sound, North Carolina, USA, Marine Geology, Volume 379, Pages 109- 123,

Mulligan, R.P., Mallinson, D., Clunies, G., Zaremba, N., Leorri, E., Culver, S., Mitra, S., and Riggs, S., 2015. Sediment dynamics and morphological evolution of a large back-barrier estuary. Conference Paper, Proceeding of Coastal Sediments 2015, Pages 1-8, 

Zaremba, N.J., Smith, C.J., Nelson, P., Use of GPR and Aerial Photography to Interpret Barrier   Island Stratigraphy/Geomorphology, Examples from Three Barrier Islands, Poster presentation at the Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems, March 2017.

Zaremba, N.J., Mallinson, D.J., Leorri, E., Culver, S., Mitra, S., Mulligan, R., Lauback, C., Minnehan,  J., The Stratigraphic Expression of Rapid Paleoenvironmental Change in an Estuarine System: Pamlico Sound, NC,  Poster presentation at the Geological Society of America, October 2013.