Melanie Bartz

Research Statement

The Late Neogene and Quaternary are key periods in the study of environmental change and human evolution and require special attention in the field of geochronology. As a geomorphologist with expertise in luminescence and electron spin resonance (ESR) dating, I have been working on different trapped charge dating procedures to constrain the timing of environmental variations and human-landscape-interactions. Over the past few years, I have focused on different depositional environments (fluvial, alluvial fan, littoral, hill slope) and climatic settings (hyperarid to humid), which give key insights into climatic fluctuations and tectonic histories over the Quaternary period. Besides the application of trapped charge dating as a chronological tool, I am very interested in developing new analytical approaches and methodological improvements.

Research Project

Understanding the relative contribution of silicate and carbonate to the weathering budget is important for constraining the global carbon cycle. Within my current postdoctoral research, we will work towards establishing a new technique to estimate the degree of chemical weathering experienced by silicate minerals, based on their luminescence properties (e.g. emission and time-resolved spectroscopy). A series of laboratory experiments will be conducted to study progressive changes in luminescence characteristics of quartz and feldspars following laboratory chemical weathering treatments. This new approach will serve as an independent method for constraining chemical weathering in the critical zone (see further details about this project here).


I studied Geography and Quaternary Science/Geoarchaeology at the University of Cologne (Germany) and obtained my MSc degree in 2013. My PhD research (2014-2017) was part of the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 806 ‘Our Way to Europe’, where I studied Quaternary fluvial environments in northern Morocco including climatic and tectonic variations to understand modern human migration. Within this project, I used trapped charge dating, sedimentology and geochemistry to understand morphodynamic activity and stability phases in river and ephemeral stream systems. After my PhD, I was involved in the CRC 1211 “Earth Evolution at the Dry Limit” (University of Cologne, 2017-2020), where the interaction of coastal alluvial fans with marine terraces gave new knowledge of climatic and tectonic changes in the Atacama Desert (Chile). I especially worked on the development and application of luminescence and ESR dating techniques to constrain the timing of Quaternary landscape change in this hyperarid environment. In February 2020, I joined ICE as an SNSF postdoc.



In review

  1. Bartz, M., Duval, M., Brill, D., Zander, A., King, G.E., Rhein, A., Walk, J., Stauch, G., Lehmkuhl, F., Brückner, H., in review. Testing the potential of K-feldspar pIR-IRSL and quartz ESR for dating coastal alluvial fan complexes in arid environments. Quaternary International.

In press

  1. Bartz, M., Walk, J., Binnie, S., Brill, D., Stauch, G., Lehmkuhl, F., Hoffmeister, D., Brückner, H., in press. Late Pleistocene alluvial fan evolution along the coastal Atacama Desert (N Chile). Global and Planetary Change. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2019.103091


  1. Medialdea, A., May, S.M., Brill, D., King, G., Ritter, B., Wennrich, V., Bartz, M., Zander, A., Hurtado, S., Kuiper, K., Hoffmeister, D., Schulte, P., Gröbner, M., Opitz, S., Brückner, H., Bubenzer, O., 2020. Identification of humid periods in the Atacama Desert through hillslope activity established by infrared stimulated luminescence (IRSL) dating. Global and Planetary Change 185, 103086. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2019.103086
  2. Walk, J., Stauch, G., Brückner, H., Hoffmeister, D., Lehmkuhl, F., Bartz, M., Sepúlveda, F.A., Reyers, M., Vásquez, P., in press. Gradients in climate, geology, and topography affecting coastal alluvial fan morphodynamics in hyperarid regions – the Atacama perspective. Global and Planetary Change 185, 102994. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2019.102994


  1. Bartz, M., Arnold, L.J., Spooner, A.M., Demuro, M., Campaña, I., Rixhon, G., Brückner, H., Duval, M., 2019. First experimental evaluation of the alpha efficiency in coarse-grained quartz for ESR dating purposes: implications for dose rate evaluation. Nature Scientific Reports 9, 19769. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-54688-9
  2. Bartz, M., Quaternary fluvial environments in NE Morocco inferred from geochronological and sedimentological investigations. E&G Quaternary Science Journal. Thesis Abstract 68, 1-4. DOI: 10.5194/egqsj-68-1-2019
  3. Bartz, M., Arnold, L.J., Demuro, M., Duval, M., King, G.E., Rixhon, G., Álvarez Posada, C., Parés, J.M., Brückner, H., 2019. Single-grain TT-OSL dating results confirm an Early Pleistocene age for the lower Moulouya River deposits (NE Morocco). Quaternary Geochronology 49, 138-145. DOI: 10.1016/j.quageo.2018.04.007
  4. Walk, J., Stauch, G., Bartz, M., Brückner, H., Lehmkuhl, F., 2019. Geomorphology of the coastal alluvial fan complex Guanillos, northern Chile. Journal of Maps 15 (2), 436-447. DOI: 10.1080/17445647.2019.1611499
  5. Bosq, M., Bertran, P., Beauval, C., Kreutzer, S., Duval, M., Bartz, M., Mercier, N., Sitzia, L., Stephan, P., LITAQ project members, 2019. Stratigraphy and chronology of Pleistocene coastal deposits in northern Aquitaine, France: A reinvestigation. Quaternaire 30 (1), 5-20. DOI: 10.4000/quaternaire.11112


  1. Bartz, M., Rixhon, R., Duval, M., King, G.E., Álvarez Posada, C., Parés, J.M., Brückner, H., 2018. Successful combination of electron spin resonance, luminescence and palaeomagnetic dating methods allows reconstruction of the Pleistocene evolution of the lower Moulouya river (NE Morocco). Quaternary Science Reviews 185, 153-171. DOI:10.1016/j.quascirev.2017.11.008
  2. Kreutzer, S., Duval, M., Bartz, M., Bertran, P., Bosq, M., Eynaud, F., Verdin, F., Mercier, N., 2018. Deciphering long-term coastal dynamics using IR-RF and ESR dating: A case study from Médoc, south-west France. Quaternary Geochronology 48, 108-120. DOI: 10.1016/j.quageo.2018.09.005


  1. Bartz, M., Rixhon, G., Kehl, M., El Ouahabi, M., Klasen, N., Brill, D., Weniger, G.-C., Mikdad, A., Brückner, H., 2017. Unravelling fluvial deposition and pedogenesis in ephemeral stream deposits in the vicinity of the prehistoric rock shelter of Ifri n’Ammar (NE Morocco) during the last 100 ka. Catena 152, 115-134. DOI : 10.1016/j.catena.2016.12.007
  2. Duval, M., Bahain, J.-J., Bartz, M., Falguères, C., Guilarte, V., Moreno, D., Tissoux, H., del Val, M., Voinchet, P., Arnold, L.J., 2017. Defining minimum requirements for reporting ESR dating methodology and age estimates based on optically bleached quartz grains. Ancient TL 35 (1), 11-19.
  3. Rixhon, G., Bartz, M., El Ouahabi, M., Szemkus, N., Brückner, H., 2017. Contrasting terrace systems of the lower Moulouya river as indicator of crustal deformation in NE Morocco. Journal of African Earth Sciences 126, 45-57. DOI: 10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2016.11.005


  1. Bartz, M., Klasen, N., Zander, A., Brill, D., Rixhon, G., Seeliger, M., Eiwanger, J., Weniger, G.-C., Mikdad, A., Brückner, H., 2015. Luminescence dating of ephemeral stream deposits around the Palaeolithic site of Ifri n‘Ammar (Morocco). Quaternary Geochronology 30, 460-465. DOI: 10.1016/j.quageo.2015.02.012
  2. Seeliger, M., Bartz, M., Brückner, H., 2015. Umweltgeschichte Elaias. In: Matthaei, A., Zimmermann, M. (eds.): Urbane Strukturen und bürgerliche Identität im Hellenismus – Die hellenistische Polis als Lebensform Band 5. Verlag Antike.


  1. Seeliger, M., Brill, D., Feuser, S., Bartz, M., Erkul, E., Kelterbaum, D., Vött, A., Klein, C., Pirson, F., Brückner, H., 2014. Purpose and age of underwater walls in the Bay of Elaia (western Turkey) – a multidisciplinary approach. Gearchaeology 29, 138-155. DOI: 10.1002/gea.21471


  1. Seeliger, M., Bartz, M., Erkul, E., Feuser, S., Kelterbaum, D., Klein, C., Pirson, F., Vött, A., Brückner, H., 2013. Taken from the sea, reclaimed by the sea: The fate of the closed harbour of Elaia, the maritime satellite city of Pergamum (Turkey). Quaternary International 312, 70-83. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2013.03.004
  2. Pint, A., Seeliger, M., Bartz, M., Kelterbaum, D., Brückner, H., 2013. Die Rekonstruktion der Paläoumwelt von Elaia anhand von mikropaläontologischen, sedimentologischen und geochemischen Kriterien. In: Pirson, F. (ed.): Pergamon – Bericht über die Arbeiten in der Kampagne 2012. Archäologischer Anzeiger 2013/2, 123-130.


  1. Seeliger, M., Bartz, M., Brückner, H., 2012. Der geschlossene Hafen von Elaia. In: Pirson, F. (ed.): Pergamon – Bericht über die Arbeiten in der Kampagne 2011. Archäologischer Anzeiger 2012/2, 234-240.


  1. Seeliger, M., Bartz, M., Brückner, H., 2011. Mauern im Meer – Geoarchäologische Untersuchungen in der Bucht von Elaia. In: Pirson, F. (ed.): Pergamon – Bericht über die Arbeiten in der Kampagne 2010. Archäologischer Anzeiger 2011/2, 175-185.



Melanie Bartz
University of Lausanne
Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics
Géopolis, office 4413
1015 Lausanne, Switzerland