Professor Anja Scheffers
Head of GARG, Research leader


Habilitation: 2006, University of Duisburg-Essen, Theme: “Coastal Response to Extreme Events”. The habilitation is equivalent to a higher doctorate in the Australian system.

PhD.: Dr. rer. nat. 2002, University of Essen, Theme: “Paleotsunamis in the Caribbean – Field evidences and Datings from Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire” (Magna cum laude).


Research Gate link

Research interests / background:

During my studies of Physical Geography and by a series of accidental turns I became fascinated to investigate how coastal environments have changed in the past. I’m particularly interested in processes that shape and modify coastal landscapes over a variety of length and time scales and the coupling and feedback between such processes, their rates, and their relative roles, especially in the contexts of variation in climatic and tectonic influences and in light of changes due to human impact:

  • Understanding past and modern marine physical natural hazards such as tsunamis and storms
  • The development of long-term records of tsunamis/cyclones from geological and biological proxy evidence as well as historical documentary records
  • Exploring linkages between Late Quaternary climate and landscape change focusing on past sea level and response of coastal ecosystems, particularly coral reefs
  • Quaternary geochronology based on ESR and U-series dating and multi-proxy study of corals
  • Palaeoclimatology
  • Geomythology (pairs geological evidence of catastrophic events and reports of such events encoded into the mythological lexicon of ancient societies)


  • ARC Future Fellowship “Unravelling Western Australia’s Stormy Past – A Precisely-Dated Sediment Record of Cyclones over the past 7000 years”

Selected Research Grants

  • $385,000 German Research Council MA 5768/1-1, Cyclone-generated washover deposits and landforms of Western Australia – Sediment characteristics and chronology of geo-archives and palaeotempestological implications CI 3 of 3. (Dr. May, Prof. Brueckner, University of Cologne, Germany).
  • $10,000 AINSE Honours Scholarship for SCU student Stan Kinis (linked to the Olympia project)
  • $10,465 AINSE 1289: Sedimentary burial of ancient Olympia (Peloponnese, Greece) by high-energy flood deposits – the Olympia Tsunami Hypothesis in the context of Eastern Ionian Sea tsunami evidence.
  • $200,000 Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities Project (LE120100201) “High-resolution laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer for cutting edge geochemistry research.” Bush, R. T., Burton, E. D., Scheffers, S. R., Scheffers, A. M., Rose, A.
  • $ 6,000 Undergraduate Scholarships (Supervisor A. Scheffers)Bayerboost Undergraduate Scholarship for UQ student Kelly Fox (linked to the FT Western Australia project)
  • $150,000 German Research Foundation (DFG): Paleotsunamis in the Caribbean. 2001.
  • $26,000 Young Scientist Award, University of Duisburg-Essen: Tsunami Risk in the Eastern Mediterranean.2006.
  • $45,000 German Research Foundation (DFG): Storms and Tsunamis in Western Australia.2006.
  • $55,000 German Research Foundation (DFG): Late Holocene variations in temperature and hydrologic balance – Sub-seasonal reconstructions from southern Caribbean corals, together with Prof. Dr. Jürgen Pätzold and Dr. Thomas Felis of the DFG research group Ocean Margins at the University of Bremen.2006.
  • $49,000 German Research Foundation (DFG): Geoarchaeology as a method to understand the Holocene storm chronology in Ireland and Scotland. 2007.
  • $400,000 German Research Foundation (DFG): Key processes in Coastal Evolution of the Tropics (Southern Caribbean).2007.
  • $80,000 German Research Foundation (DFG): TRIAS-Coast “Tracing tsunami impacts in coastal geo- and bio-archives along the west coast of Thailand”.2007.
  • $10,000 SCU Recruitment Award: Extreme Wave Events in Coral Bay, Western Australia.2007.
  • $950,000 ARC LIEF, “The future of palaeoclimate and archaeological research in Australia: next generation instrumentation for chronology and environmental reconstruction”. Listed as CI Nr 8 (out of 52 Australian Scientists).2008.
  • $686,400 ARC – Future Fellowship “Unravelling Western Australia’s Stormy Past – A Precisely-Dated Sediment Record of Cyclones over the past 7000 years”.2009.
  • $65,000 German Research Foundation (DFG): „Chevrons” – Enigmatic littoral deposits. Pilot studies at the coastlines of southern Brazil and central Chile.2010.

Selected Publications:

Engel M., Brückner H., Fürstenberg S., Frenzel P., Konopczak A.M., Scheffers A., Kelletat D., May S.M., Schäbitz F., Daut G. (2013) A prehistoric tsunami induced long-lasting ecosystem changes on a semi-arid tropical island – the case of Boka Bartol (Bonaire, Leeward Antilles). Naturwissenschaften, 100, 51-67. (2012 ERAID 2101 – FOR MD)

Kelletat D., Kinis S., Scheffers A. (2013) Recent advances in Palaeo-Tsunami Research of the Eastern Mediterranean. Aegean Geographical Journal, Spec. Vol. in Honour of Prof. Dr. Ilhan Kayan, University of Izmir, Turkey. 35 pp. (2012 ERAID N/A)

Yates, A., Scheffers, A., Parr, J., Joannes-Boyau, R. (2013) AMS Dating of ancient residues from experimental stone tools. Journal of Archaeological Science. Accepted Manuscript. (2012 ERAID 1739 – FOR 0402)

Brill D., Klasen N., Brückner H., Jankaew K., Kelletat D., Scheffers A., Scheffers S. (2012) Correlation of discontinuous palaeotsunami deposits on Ko Phra Thong (SW Thailand) by means of luminescence dating. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences. 12, 2177-2192(2012 ERAID 123026 – FOR 0406)

Scheffers A., Brill D., Scheffers S., Kelletat D., Fox K. (2012) Field Evidence of Holocene Sea- and Tide-Level Indicators along the Andaman Sea Coast of Thailand. The Holocene. 22, 1162-1173(2012 ERAID 1805 – FOR 0406)

Scheffers A.M., Scheffers S.R., Squire P. (2012) Trimlines as Evidence for Palaeo-Tsunamis. Natural Hazards, 63 (1) 165-179

Scheffers, A., Scheffers, S., Kelletat, D. 2012. “Understanding our environment. The Coastlines of the World with Google Earth”. Springer, the Netherlands. ISBN-10: 9400707371.