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The main activities of the EARTHWISE research group focus on the understanding of the environmental evolution of the Earth system.  


Some of the activities focus on evolution of the marine carbonate systems through time and its relationship to major global environmental and biogeochemical changes. Our research also focuses on the characterization of potential carbonate reservoirs, as well as, on sedimentary basin analysis.  Our research uses multi-proxy approaches including field mapping, sedimentology, stratigraphy, petrography and isotope and elemental geochemistry.


Current projects primarily focus on 1) characterization of Cenozoic and Cretaceous carbonate platforms along the Circum Caribbean and 2) investigation of past changes in ocean oxygenation and acidification during periods of hig atmospheric pCO2, i.e Proterozoic, Permian-Triassic, Cretaceous OAEs.


Our research also extend into 1) Holocene paleoclimate evolution along the Neotropics and its consequences on the pre-Hispanic cultures, 2) evolution of the Cenozoic continental sedimentary record along northern South America and its bearings on the Neotropic climate and northern South America paleogeography.


Further information can bee  found here


February 2023
Juan Carlos Silva-Tamayo designated as director of the BSc on Environmental Sciences For Sustainability and Director of the Environmental and Sustainability Academic Area at IE University

January 2020
Juan Carlos Silva-Tamayo designated as director of the Coastal and Marine Geology Group of the Colombian Institute of Ocean Research, INVEMAR.  


In November 2020, we went to quantify the profound impacts brought about by the formidable Category 5 Hurricane Iota upon the enchanting San Andres and Providencia Archipelago, we are diligently engaged in formulating nature-based adaptation strategies. Our primary objective is to safeguard both the native communities and the exquisite oceanic sanctuary. In conjunction with this endeavor, we are earnestly committed to ensuring the sustainability of the coastal and marine areas, underscoring the paramount importance of preserving these fragile ecosystems for generations to come.

January 2019
Juan Carlos Silva-Tamayo designated as director of the Geosciences Program of the Colombian National Science Foundation.

July 2018
Juan Carlos Silva-Tamayo designated as Dean of
the Faculty of Science of the Antonio Nariño University, Colombia.

Assistant Professor Juan Carlos Silva-Tamayo attended the science and site planning workshop of the USA Continental Scientific Drilling Coordination Office.  Washington DC, Nov. 2016
The goal of this workshop is to identify and prioritize the compelling science drivers, drilling/coring targets, strategic frameworks, and timelines focusing on continental sedimentary basins for the establishment of paleorecords in the coming decade.
Assistant Professor Juan Carlos Silva-Tamayo attended the 1st  SEPM workshop focused on Oceanic Anoxic Events. Austin, Tx, October 2016
Oceanic Anoxic Events (OAE) are described as
relatively short geological time intervals
(< 1 Myr) where large parts of the world oceans
became depleted in oxygen and contemporaneously
mass extinction of several marine organisms and
widespread black shale deposition occurred.
This conference will study the linkage between
OAEs and broader palaeoenvironmental change, with
focus on the events/recoveries and their
sedimentological records, both in marine and
nonmarine environments. The conference will
include both research symposia in oral and poster
sessions, as well as, two field seminars in Texas
that will focus on OAE-realted strata.
Check out the contributions of our research team to the 2016 GSA Annual Meeting, Denver Colorado 
Congratulations Professor Juan Carlos Silva-Tamayo for his Colciencias award
This Colciencias award (a total of US$ 100.000) to Professor Silva-Tamayo will be used to support 1 PhD student and to investigate the two major environmental concerns asociated to global warming during the Late Jurassic. This research will be focussing in sedimentary sucessions along the Alta Guajira Basin, Colombia. 
Congratulations Rebecca Rea and Ashley Guerrediaga
Rebecca Rea has been recently awarded a Summer Undergraduate Researh Fellowship "SURF". She will be sedimentologically and stratigrafically characterizing, one Cenomanian - Campania marine sedimentary sucession in the Upper Magdalena Valley, Colombia
Ashley Guerrediaga has been recently awarded a Provost Undergraduate Research Scholarship "PURS" to perform geochemical analyses in a Cenomanian-Campanian marine sedimentary sucession in the Upper Magdalena Valley, Colombia.

Closure of the Panama Seaway occurred earlier than previously though. Discover challenges paradigms of modern climate and biologic evolution.


The closure of the Panama Seaway has been for long time considered to have occurred 3 million years ago. The closure of the Panama Seaway, which separated the Pacific from the Atlantic oceans, has been associated to one of the biggest biological exchanges in Earth history, i.e. the Great American Biological Interchange (GABI). The closure of the Panama Seaway during the Late Pliocene has been also considered as triggering the expansion of northern hemisphere glaciers and as one of the major mechanisms leading to the onset of the modern climate. Timing the closure of the Panama Seaway, however, has been a topic of great debate among the scientific community. Determining the precise timing of such closure is vital for understanding the establishment of the modern climate and the evolutionary pathways of modern Inter-Americas biodiversity.


Assistant Professor Juan Carlos Silva-Tamayo from the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences of the University of Houston participated on a research that focused on the precise timing of the interaction between Central and South America and on the closure of the Panama seaway. Results from this research, which have been published on the last volume of the Science Magazine, suggest that the final closure of the Panama Seaway took place 15 to 13 million years ago and not 3 million years as previously though. The early closure of the Panama Seaway opens new questions about the evolution of the Inter-Americas fauna, specifically about the precise paths that controlled the Great American Biological Interchange. It also opens questions about the actual mechanisms triggering the expansion of northern hemisphere glaciers since 3 million years ago. According to Professor Silva-Tamayo, the early closure of the Panama seaway may explain some evolutionary pathways of the marine life along the Caribbean; i.e. a major extinction and wipeout of Caribbean coral reefs between 13 and 10 million years ago.


In this research participated scientist from the Washington State University, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and several universities in Colombia.


Assistant Professor Juan Carlos Silva-Tamayo chairing  the GSA special session Evolution of the Phanerozoic Carbonate Factories: A Pan-Tropical Perspective of Environmental Change

Session ID#: 40249
Title: Evolution of the Phanerozoic Carbonate Factories: A Pan-Tropical Perspective of Environmental Change


Juan Carlos Silva-Tamayo, Univerity of Houston, USA

Moyra Wilson, University of Western Australia, Australia

Juan Carlos Laya-Pereira, Texas A&M University, USA

Simon Mitchel, University of the West Indies, Jamaica

GSA Sedimentary Geology Division,
IAS, SEPM, Paleontological Society

Tropical oceans are particularly sensitive to changing environmental conditions, i.e., global warming, ocean acidification, oceanic dysoxia (the lethal trio). These processes not only affect the ocean biogeochemistry, but are also important controls on the evolution and sustainability of marine ecosystems and their biodiversity. At the current rate of human-induced global environmental change, the lethal trio is expected to intensely affect tropical marine carbonate systems. Projecting potential future scenarios linked to anthropogenic-induced or other global environmental changes on the tropical marine ecosystems and biodiversity remains challenging. Insights into future affects are likely from the study of ancient marine carbonate systems; in particular when integrated with large geochemical, paleobiologic and biologic data sets. This session welcomes contributions that investigate the effects of the global environmental change on ancient and recent carbonate systems. This includes investigations aiming to understand the effects of global environmental change on the biogeochemistry and biologic activity in past, present and future oceans, as well as modeling studies.  


James Klaus (Miami University, Miami, USA) Pam Hallock (University of South Florida)
Scientific Categories: Sediments, Carbonates, Paleoclimatology/Paleoceanography, Stratigraphy


Expanding Facilies New state of the art core scanner is avaliable at the UNIVERSITY of HOUSTON

Our new automatized XRF core scanner allows rapid and high precision geochemical characterizations of cores. Its high resolution camera allows relating changes in major and minor elements to main sedimentologic features. The core scanner is currentlly being used for both academic and industrial projects.

Our new CRAIC Vitrinite Reflectance Detector has been attached to our Zeiss Axio-Vision Microscope. Now avaliable for pure and applied research.

Our metal free Clean Lab is currently used for Mo, U, Sr and Ca isotope chromatographic purification in different matrices, carbonates, shales, soft sediments. More information please follow the TIMS lab website.

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