Lecture by Professor Kurt Lambeck

Lecture by Kurt Lambeck, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics:

“Sea level change in the Mediterranean from prehistoric times to the present: geophysical causes and consequences”

Amphitheatre of the Acropolis Museum, Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 19:00.
Free entrance.


Sea levels have changed throughout geological time driven by geophysical and climatic processes. Nature’s response to this is recorded in the landscape and Man’s response to this over the millennia is recorded in legends and archaeological remains. These changes have continued into the present and will continue to do so and even if present rates of change may appear slow with those of some past geological periods they have become more consequential in their impacts on the coastal environment. Even a cursory examination of coastlines reveals that the geographic pattern of this temporal change can be quite complex, even across short (of the order of tens of kilometres) distances because of the various contributing physical factors operating on different time scales. Understanding of the past changes, to the point where this can lead to effective forecasts of change under different scenarios, is a challenging task: scientifically interesting, but of importance for many reasons.  In archaeology and geology for providing of sea-level reference surfaces and palaeo-geographic reconstructions of near-shore environments essential for understanding both past human interactions with the sea and rates of vertical land movements; in climatology, as constraints in testing models of climate change under changing forcing conditions; and in geophysics for quantifying the response of the planet as a whole to surface changes, essential for understanding the tectonics and thermal history of the planet.