Turing or Milankovitch? Are sedimentary rhythms self-organized or astronomically forced?

Regular patterns in sediments are commonly interpreted as caused by variations in palaeoclimate, which, in turn, are driven by cycles in the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. These cycles, known as Milankovitch cycles, result from periodic changes in the Earth's rotation around its axis, the tilt of its axis, and the shape of its orbit. It has been proposed that regular sediment patterns resembling those caused by Milankovitch cycles can arise through chemical processes in sediments.

According to this hypothesis, regular patterns would appear without external triggers, in a process of self-organization. A mathematical model describing these chemical processes has been developed by Ivan L’Heureux. However, it could not be reproduced nor directly compared with insolation cycles, because the software allowing to reproduce the model has not been published.

In this project, we obtained the original software from the author, but it did not reproduce the cycles. Research Software Engineers reconstructed the methods used in the software to simulate chemical self-organization. The project attempted to reproduce the same model in two other languages to ensure that the regular patterns are consistent and that other researchers can replicate them and obtain consistent results.

Participating organisations

Utrecht University
Netherlands eScience Center
Natural Sciences & Engineering
Natural Sciences & Engineering
University of Warsaw
University of Vienna
University of Erlangen-Nuremberg



Emilia Jarochowska
Hanno Spreeuw
Hanno Spreeuw
Lead RSE
Netherlands eScience Center
Johan Hidding
eScience Research Engineer
Netherlands eScience Center
Niklas Hohmann
Theresa Nohl
Postdoctoral researcher
Universität Wien
Frits Hilgen
Niels  Drost
Niels Drost
Programme Manager
Netherlands eScience Center

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Updated 15 months ago
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