Assistant Professor in Sedimentary Systems at the TU Delft group in Applied Geology.

  • 2015 – Assistant Professor at Applied Geology, TU Delft, Netherlands.
  • 2013-2016 – Guest-Professor at Geology Department, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • 2008-2015 – Postdocs at Utrecht University, Netherlands, including a NWO-VENI personal grant (2012-2014, €250k).
  • 2006 – Reservoir characteristics of the Donbas Basin, Ukraine (Shell-funded research project)
  • 2004-2008 – PhD at Utrecht University, supervision of dr Frits Hilgen and dr Hayfaa Abdul Aziz, promotor Prof Bert van der Zwaan
  • 1998-2003 – BSc-MSc in Geology at Utrecht University


Disentangling the influence of external and internal forcing processes in sedimentary records is the key in my research objectives. Educated as an integrated stratigrapher with specialisation in cyclostratigraphy and paleoclimatogists, I apply these fields to solve sedimentological issues. External forcing on sediment records is often linked to paleoclimate change, at meter to member-scale often related to orbital climate forcing. Internal dynamics of the depositional system distort registration of such external variability, particularly so in highly dynamic depositional systems such as fluvial systems.

Bighorn Basin, summer 2017

Key publications involve investigation of forcing factors of terrestrial sediments (Abels et al. 2009a, 2009b, 2010, 2013) and paleoclimate discoveries, such as the Cenozoic aridification of Asia (Dupont-Nivet et al. 2007; Abels et al. 2011; Licht et al. 2014) and impact of extreme greenhouse climates on fluvial systems (Abels et al. 2012; 2016).

Current Projects

  • KNAW – China Exchange Programma – Joint Research Project [URL]
  • FRESCO – TKi Toeslag – Upstream Gas – Statoil, Wintershall [URL]
  • Youwei Wang, PhD, CSC grant [URL]
  • Vacancy, PhD, FRESCO [URL]

Other Functions

  • Chair of the Foundation of the Netherlands Journal of Geosciences (SNJG) 2014-current
  • Board Member of the Royal Geological and Mining Society of the Netherlands (KNGMG) 2012-2018

Peer-reviewed Publications – selection (Google-Scholar Profile)

  • Jirásek, J. et al. 2018. Astronomical forcing of Carboniferous paralic sedimentary cycles in the Upper Silesian Basin, Czech Republic (Serpukhovian, latest Mississippian): New radiometric ages afford an astronomical age model for European biozonations and substages. Earth Science Reviews 177, 715-741 [URL].
  • Vandenberghe, J. et al. 2018. Grain-size characterization of reworked fine-grained aeolian deposits. Earth Science Reviews 177, 43-52 [URL].
  • D’Ambrosia, A. et al. 2017. Repetitive mammalian dwarfing during ancient greenhouse warming events, Science Advances Vol. 3, no. 3, e1601430 [PDF]
  • Abels, H.A. et al. 2016. Environmental impact and magnitude of paleosol carbonate carbon isotope excursions marking five early Eocene hyperthermals in the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, Climate of the Past 12 (5), 1151 [PDF]
  • Licht, A. et al. 2016. Nature Communications
  • Bosboom, R.E. et al. 2014. Aridification in continental Asia after the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum (MECO), Earth and Planetary Science Letters 389, 34-42 [PDF]
  • Licht, A. et al. 2014. Asian monsoons in a late Eocene greenhouse world, Nature 513, 501-506 [PDF]
  • Abels, H.A., et al., 2013. Precession‐scale cyclicity in the fluvial lower Eocene Willwood Formation of the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming (USA), Sedimentology 60, 1467-1483 [PDF].
  • Abels, H.A., et al. 2012. Terrestrial carbon isotope excursions and biotic change during Palaeogene hyperthermals, Nature Geoscience  5, 326-329.
  • Abels, H.A. et al. 2011. Step-wise change of Asian interior climate preceding the Eocene–Oligocene Transition (EOT), Palaeo3 299, 399-412.
  • Abels, H.A. et al. 2010. Long-period eccentricity control on sedimentary sequences in the continental Madrid Basin (middle Miocene, Spain), Earth and Planetary Science Letters 289 (1), 220-231 [PDF]
  • Abels, H.A. et al. 2009. Orbital climate forcing in mudflat to marginal lacustrine deposits in the Miocene Teruel Basin (Northeast Spain), Journal of Sedimentary Research 79 (11), 831-847 [PDF]
  • Dupont-Nivet, G. et al. 2007. Tibetan plateau aridification linked to global cooling at the Eocene–Oligocene transition, Nature 445, 635-638 [PDF]
  • Abels, H.A. et al. 2005. Long‐period orbital control on middle Miocene global cooling: Integrated stratigraphy and astronomical tuning of the Blue Clay Formation on Malta, Paleoceanography 20 (4) [PDF]