Dr. Jacob Geersen

 Research Division 4: Dynamics of the Ocean Floor



Phone: +49 431 600-2333

Email: jgeersen(at)geomar.de

Room: 8C-211



GEOMAR Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel

Wischhofstraße 1-3

24148 Kiel, Germany

Research Interests

  • Sedimentary and Tectonic processes in the oceans form the heart of my research. I investigate these processes mainly by analysing seafloor maps. To derive structural information from the seafloor I apply geomorphologic methods to bathymetric data. Wherever possible the sedimentary and tectonic interpretations are complemented by acoustic images of the sub-seafloor at different scales, ranging from high-resolution sub-bottom profiler data to deep-penetrating seismic reflection lines. Depending on the quality and the quantity of the available hydroacoustic data, my interpretative work ranges from qualitative interpretation of structures to semi-automated classifications.

  • I am involved in different Research Projects across a range of geologic regimes. Many projects relate to sedimentary processes and active tectonics in convergent margins. Questions that drive this work include: (I) How can we use permanent deformation to derive information on past earthquake behaviour (publication #22)? (II) How do active tectonics interact with gravitational driven sediment transport (#28, #24, #17, #13, #3, #2) and fluid-seepage (#19, #9)? (III) What drives upper-plate normal faulting in marine forearcs and what do they tell us about past plate-boundary earthquakes (#25, #23, #22, #19, #4)? (IV) How do marine sediments and oceanic-plate topography affect the segmentation and spatial distribution of seismic rupture during large plate-boundary earthquakes (#28, #27, #18, #16, #11, #10)? I also investigate submarine landslides and gravitational driven sediment transport along the passive African continental margin (#21, #7, #5, #1). In the Eastern Indian Ocean I study intraplate deformation as far field signature of India-Eurasia collision to the North and subduction under Sunda to the Northeast (#15).

Education, Career, and Career breaks

  • Since 08/2014        Postdoctoral research fellow in The Cluster of Excellence “The Future Ocean” at                                                     GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany

  • 01/2017 - 07/2017   Parental leave for daughter Solveig Geersen (born 11/05/2016)

  • 01/2015 - 08/2015   Parental leave for son Levin Geersen (born 19/06/2014)

  • 05/2012 – 04/2014   Marie Curie research fellow at the University of Southampton, National Oceanography Centre                               Southampton, UK

  • 01/2012 – 04/2012   Postdoc at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany

  • 01/2009 – 12/2011   PhD project within the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 574 at the Leibniz Institute of                                        Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR), Kiel, Germany

  • 10/2006 – 03/2009   Master study  „Marine Geosciences” at the University of Bremen, Germany

  • 10/2003 – 08/2006   Bachelor study „Geosciences“ at the University of Bremen, Germany



Geersen, J., Festa, A. and Remitti, F. (in press), Structural constraints on the subduction of mass transport deposits in convergent margins. .



Geersen, J. (2019), Sediment-starved trenches and rough subducting plates are conducive to tsunami earthquakes. Tectonophysics, 762, 28-44.




Böttner, C., Berndt, C., Reinardy, B. T. I., Geersen, J., Karstens, J., Bull, J. M., Callow, B. J., Lichtschlag, A., Schmidt, M., Elger, J., Schramm, B. and Haeckel, M. (2019), Pockmarks in the Witch Ground Basin, central North Sea. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 20.



Geersen, J., Ranero, C. R., Klaucke, I., Behrmann, J. H., Kopp, H., Tréhu, A. M., Contreras-Reyes, E., Barckhausen, U. and Reichert, C. (2018), Active tectonics of the North Chilean marine forearc and adjacent oceanic Nazca Plate. Tectonics, 37, 4194-4211.



Riedel, M., Côté, M. M., Urlaub, M., Geersen, J., Scholz, N. A., Naegeli, K. and Spence, G. D. (2018), Slope failures along the deformation front of the Cascadia margin: linking slide morphology to subduction zone parameters. Geological Society of London Special Publications, 477, SP477.33.



Böttner, C., Gross, F., Geersen, J., Crutchley, G., Mountjoy, J. und Krastel, S. (2018), Marine forearc extension in the Hikurangi margin: New insights from high-resolution 3D seismic data. Tectonics, 37(5), 1472-1491.



Geersen, J., Ranero, C. R., Kopp, H., Behrmann, J. H., Lange, D., Klaucke, I., Barrientos, S., Diaz-Naveas, J., Barckhausen, U. and Reichert, C. (2018), Does permanent extensional deformation in lower forearc slopes indicate shallow plate-boundary rupture?. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 489, 17-27.



Urlaub, M., Geersen, J., Krastel, S. and Schwenk, T. (2018), Diatom ooze: Crucial for the generation of submarine mega-slides?. Geology, 46(4), 331-334.



Geersen, J., Völker, D. and Behrmann, J. H. (2018), Oceanic Trenches. In: Submarine Geomorphology. Ed. by Micallef, A., Krastel, S. and Savini, A. Springer, Cham, 409-424.



Geersen, J., Scholz, F., Linke, P., Schmidt, M., Lange, D., Behrmann, J. H., Völker, D. and Hensen, C. (2016), Fault zone controlled seafloor methane seepage in the rupture area of the 2010 Maule Earthquake, Central Chile. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 17(11), 4802-4813.



Lange, D., Geersen, J., Barrientos, S., Moreno, M., Grevemeyer, I., Contreras-Reyes, E. and Kopp, H. (2016), Aftershock seismicity and tectonic setting of the 16 September 2015 Mw 8.3 Illapel earthquake, Central Chile. Geophysical Journal International, 206(2), 1424-1430.



Gross, F., Krastel, S., Geersen, J., Behrmann, J. H., Ridente, D., Chiocci, F. L., Bialas, J., Papenberg, C., Cukur, D., Urlaub, M. and Micallef, A. (2015), The limits of seaward spreading and slope instability at the continental margin offshore Mt Etna, imaged by high-resolution 2D seismic data. Tectonophysics, 667, 63-76



Geersen, J., Ranero, C. R., Barckhausen, U. and Reichert, C. (2015), Subducting seamounts control interplate coupling and seismic rupture in the 2014 Iquique earthquake area. Nature Communications, 6, 8267.



Geersen, J., Bull, J. M., McNeill, L. C., Henstock, T. J., Gaedicke, C., Chamot-Rooke, N. and Delescluse, M. (2015), Pervasive deformation of an oceanic plate and relationship to large >Mw 8 intraplate earthquakes: The northern Wharton Basin, Indian Ocean. Geology 43(4), 359-362.



Völker, D., Geersen, J., Contreras-Reyes, E., Sellanes, J., Pantoja, S., Rabbel, W., Thorwart, M., Reichert, C., Block, M. and Weinrebe, W. (2014), Morphology and geology of the continental shelf and upper slope of southern Central Chile (32°S-43°S). International Journal of Earth Sciences, 103(7), 1765-1787.



Behrmann, J. H., Völker, D., Geersen, J., Harders, R. and Weinrebe, W. (2014), Size-Frequency Relationship of Submarine Landslides at Convergent Plate Margins: Implications for Hazard and Risk Assessment. In: Submarine Mass Movements and Their Consequences: 6th International Symposium. Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research, 37 . Springer International Publishing, Cham, 165-175.



Völker, D., Wehrmann, H., Kutterolf, S., Iyer, K., Rabbel, W., Geersen, J. and Hoernle, K. (2014), Constraining input and output fluxes of the southern Central Chile Subduction Zone: water, chlorine, sulfur. International Journal of Earth Sciences, 103(7), 2129-2153.



Geersen, J., Völker, D., Behrmann, J. H., Kläschen, D., Weinrebe, W., Krastel-Gudegast, S. and Reichert, C. (2013), Seismic rupture during the 1960 Great Chile and the 2010 Maule earthquakes limited by a giant Pleistocene submarine slope failure. Terra Nova 25, 472-477.



Geersen, J., McNeill, L., Henstock, T. J. and Gaedicke, C. (2013), The 2004 Aceh-Andaman Earthquake: Early clay dehydration controls shallow seismic rupture. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 14(9), 3315-3323.



Scholz, F., Hensen, C., Schmidt, M. and Geersen, J. (2013), Submarine weathering of silicate minerals and the extent of pore water freshening at active continental margins. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 100, 200-216.



Völker, D., Geersen, J., Contreras-Reyes, E. and Reichert, C. (2013), Sedimentary fill of the Chile Trench (32–46°S): volumetric distribution and causal factors. Journal of the Geological Society, 170, 723-736.



Meyer, M., Geersen, J., Krastel, S., Schwenk, T. and Winkelmann, D. (2012), Dakar Slide offshore Senegal, NW-Africa: Interaction of stacked giant mass-wasting events and canyon evolution. In: Submarine mass movements and their consequences. , ed. by Yamada, Y. Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research . Springer, Dordrecht, 177-188.



Völker, D., Geersen, J., Weinrebe, W. and Behrmann, J. (2012), Submarine mass wasting off Southern Central Chile: Distribution and possible mechanisms of slope failure at an active continental margin. In: Submarine Mass Movements and their Consequences. , ed. by Yamada, Y. Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research, 31 . Springer, Dordrecht, 379-390.



Krastel, S., Wynn, R. B., Georgiopoulou, A., Geersen, J., Henrich, R., Meyer, M. and Schwenk, T. (2012), Large scale mass wasting at the NW-African Continental Margin: some general implications for mass wasting at passive continental margins. In: Submarine mass movements and their consequences. , ed. by Yamada, Y. Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research . Springer, Dordrecht, 189-199.



Geersen, J., Behrmann, J. H., Völker, D., Krastel, S., Ranero, C. R., Diaz-Naveas, J. and Weinrebe, R. W. (2011), Active tectonics of the South Chilean marine fore arc (35°S - 40°S). Tectonics, 30, TC3006.



Geersen, J., Völker, D., Behrmann, J. H., Reichert, C. and Krastel, S. (2011), Pleistocene giant slope failures offshore Arauco Peninsula, Southern Chile. Journal of the Geological Society, 168, 1237-124.



Völker, D., Scholz, F. and Geersen, J. (2011), Analysis of submarine landsliding in the rupture area of the 27 February 2010 Maule earthquake, Central Chile. Marine Geology, 288(1-4), 79-89.



Pierau, R., Henrich, R., Preiß-Daimler, I., Krastel, S. and Geersen, J. (2011), Sediment transport and turbidite architecture in the submarine Dakar Canyon off Senegal, NW-Africa. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 60(3), 196-208.