Welcome to the COOLER Project

The ERC-funded research project COOLER aims to quantify the feedbacks between tectonic processes in the lithosphere and climatic processes in the atmosphere. Advancing our understanding of these couplings requires the development of tools that record erosion rates and relief changes with higher spatial and temporal resolution than the current state-of-the-art, and integrating the newly obtained data into next-generation numerical models that link observed erosion-rate and relief histories to potential driving mechanisms.

Within the COOLER project, we will:
    1. Develop new high-resolution thermochronology by setting up a world-leading 4He/3He laboratory
    2. Develop numerical modelling tools that incorporate the latest insights in kinetics of thermochronological systems and make sample-specific predictions
    3. Couple these tools to glacial landscape-evolution models, enabling modelling of real landscapes with real thermochronology data as constraints
    4. Study potential feedbacks between glacial erosion and tectonic deformation in carefully selected field areas
The new high-resolution data will be integrated and extrapolated to quantitatively assess the impact of late Cenozoic climate change on erosion rates. Integration and analysis of the data will lead to novel insights into the two-way coupling of glacial erosion and tectonics, as well as latitudinal trends in glacial erosion patterns.

4He/3He laboratory

Development of the University of Potsdam 4He/3He Thermochronology Laboratory initiated in early 2021 under the framework of the ERC-funded project COOLER. The Laboratory will enable development and advancement of high-resolution thermochronometric techniques.

About the lab

Our Lastest publications

C. L. Colleps, P. A. van der Beek, J. Amalberti, A. Denker, M. M. Tremblay, M. Bernard, A. H. Dittwald, J. BundesmannP.A. Improving the Accessibility and Efficiency of Proton Irradiations for 4He/3He Thermochronology, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, doi: 2023GC011334
Curry, M.E., P.A. van der Beek, R.S. Huismans, S.G. Wolf, C. Fillon, J.A. Muñoz, Spatio-temporal patterns of exhumation of the Pyrenees revealed by inverse thermo-kinematic modeling of a large thermochronologic dataset, Geology, in press, doi: 10.1130/G48687.1

Colleps, C. L.,, McKenzie, N. R., Guenthner, W. R., Sharma, M., Gibson, T. M., & Stockli, D. F. (2021). Apatite (U-Th)/He thermochronometric constraints on the northern extent of the Deccan large igneous province. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 571, 117087 doi: 117087

Colleps, C. L.,, McKenzie, N. R., Sharma, M., Liu, H., Gibson, T. M., Chen, W., & Stockli, D. F. (2021). Zircon and apatite U-Pb age constraints from the Bundelkhand craton and Proterozoic strata of central India: Insights into craton stabilization and subsequent basin evolution. Precambrian Research, 362, 106286 doi: 106286

Capaldi, T. N., McKenzie, N. R., Horton, B. K., Mackaman-Lofland, C., Colleps, C. L., & Stockli, D. F. (2021). Detrital zircon record of Phanerozoic magmatism in the southern Central Andes. Geosphere, 17(3), 876-897 doi: 10.1130

M. Bernard, P. Steer, K. Gallagher, D. L. Egholm (2021). The Impact of Lithology on Fjord Morphology. Geophysical Rseach Lettersdoi: 10.1029


2024: Proton irradiation protocol established and tested (more info at:
Cody et al., 2024

2022: New Ph.D positions:
Isabel Wapenhans

First succesfull irradiation protocol in parternership with HZB.

First step heating measurment on irradiated Durango shards.

September 2021: Calibration runs started

August 2021: First test irradiation at PSI Villigen

July 2021: Cooler Fieldtrip to Switzerland

June 2021: Cryotrap and chiller arrived and installed

March 2021: Diode laser delivered

January 2021: Interview with Peter van der Beek on the University of Potsdam website news

January 2021: Mass spectrometer and preparation line installed

November 2020: Mass spectrometer for 4He/3He thermochronology lab delivered

News archive


Meet the fabulous Helium Thermochronology team at Potsdam University.

Peter van der Beek

Professor and PI

Cody Colleps

Postdoctoral fellow

Maxime Bernard

Postdoctoral fellow

Julien Amalberti

Lab Manager

Isabel Wapenhans

PhD student


Our Address

Potsdam University, House 27, Room 0.45,
Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25 14476 Potsdam

Email Us


Call Us

+49 331 977 5808

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