Wirth, Stefanie

Senior Lecturer

I am a geologist with a particular interest in sedimentology, Quaternary geology, limnogeology and past climates. At the CHYN, I am combining my geological knowledge with hydrogeological questions. This leads to exciting interdisciplinary projects merging the skills and the knowledge of different researchers to tackle the topic. These are great opportunities to learn from colleagues, to see things differently, to advance and, finally, to better understand the Earth system. This concept is also reflected by the diversity of tools and methods I use for my research including sedimentological, (bio)geochemical, hydro-chemical and geophysical techniques.

Specific research interests and projects

  • Pockmarks ("craters") in lakes Neuchâtel, Biel and Thun: present and past fluid flow, time and process of formation

  • Geological characterization of Swiss catchments for studying their hydrogeological behavior during low-water conditions (PhD project of Claire Carlier)

  • Quaternary valley fillings: characteristics of the sedimentary record with its climatic and environmental information content; distribution and age of immobile pore water and free groundwater

  • The alpine hydro-climate during the Holocene (past 12,000 years): climatic forcing, occurrence of floods, changes in atmospheric circulation and of the moisture source

  • Core sedimentology and geochemistry for tracking climatic and environmental changes

Education and academic positions

  • 2014 – present : Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Hydrogeology and Geothermics, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland

  • 2013 – 2014 : Postdoctoral Fellow, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA, United States

  • 2013 : Postdoctoral Fellow, Geological Institute, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

  • 2008 – 2013 : PhD Candidate, Geological Institute, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

  • 2006 – 2008 : MSc in Earth Sciences (Geology and Geochemistry), ETH Zurich, Switzerland

  • 2003 – 2006 : BSc in Earth Sciences, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Key Publications

  • Wirth S.B. & Sessions A.L. (2016) Plant-wax D/H rations in the southern European Alps record multiple aspects of climate variability. Quaternary Science Reviews 148, 176-191.

  • Wirth S.B., Glur L., Gilli A. & Anselmetti F.S. (2013) Holocene flood frequency across the Central Alps - Solar forcing and evidence for variations in North Atlantic atmospheric circulation. Quaternary Science Reviews 80, 112-128.

  • Glur L., Wirth S.B., Büntgen U, Gilli A., Haug G.H., Schär C., Beer J. & Anselmetti F.S. (2013) Frequent floods in the European Alps coincide with cooler periods of the past 2500 years. Nature Scientific Reports 3, DOI: 10.1038/srep02770.

  • Wirth S.B., Gilli A., Simonneau A., Ariztegui D., Vannière B., Glur L., Chapron E., Magny M. & Anselmetti F.S. (2013) A 2000-year long seasonal record of floods in the southern European Alps. Geophysical Research Letters 40, 4025–4029, DOI: 10.1002/grl.50741.

  • Wirth S.B., Gilli A., Niemann H., Dahl T.W., Ravasi D., Sax N., Hamann Y., Peduzzi R., Peduzzi S., Tonolla M., Lehmann M.F. & Anselmetti F.S. (2013) Combining sedimentological, trace metal (Mn, Mo) and molecular evidence for reconstructing past water-column redox conditions: The example of meromictic Lake Cadagno (Swiss Alps). Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 120, 220-238.

    Full publication list


I am involved in teaching of the following courses at the bachelor’s and master’s level:

Bachelor en systèmes naturels:

Géologie générale I + II – 1st year introductory lecture to geology, with Profs. S. Miller, P. Renard, B. Valley

Méthodes et outils des géologues – 3rd semester geology lecture, with Prof. B. Valley

Cycles biogéochimiques et climat – 4th semester geology lecture, with Prof. B. Valley

Master in Hydrogeology and Geothermics:

Geological, hydrogeological and geotechnical field camp (Alps)

Alluvial aquifer systems: from Quaternary geology to surface water-groundwater interaction


 Wirth Stefanie


Office: E125
Phone: +41 (0) 32 718 26 35




Centre for Hydrogeology and Geothermics (CHYN)
Emile-Argand 11
CH-2000 Neuchâtel


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