Dr. L. Caracciolo

Dr. Luca Caracciolo

Sediment Routing Systems and Basin Analysis

GeoZentrum Nordbayern
Lehrstuhl für Geologie (Prof. Dr. Stollhofen)

Raum: Raum 2.009
Schlossgarten 5
91054 Erlangen


My research is focused on the application of a wide spectrum of Quantitative Provenance Analysis (QPA) techniques applied to basin analysis, particularly on the relationships between tectonic and climatic perturbations, and lithological controls on sediment production and transfer from source-to-sink. At present, my main research focus is on modern sedimentary systems,  particularly in regard to the properties of the erosional products and links to landscape and external forcing controls. I use the knowledge acquired on modern systems to increase our understanding of how environmental signal propagation is recorded in deep-time stratigraphy.

My analytical background includes sedimentary petrology, heavy minerals analysis, detrital geochemistry (bulk-rock and varietal studies), detrital geochronology and Low-temperature thermochronology (U-Pb dating, Fission tracks and U-Th/He dating). I’m keen on using and integrating state of the art techniques – e.g. Raman and QemScan – and model compositional data to link sediment mineralogy to sedimentary processes.

One exciting and challenging aspect of my research is the use of provenance signatures and sediment composition in different fields, especially those related to the O&G and geothermal industry for enhanced interpretation of facies heterogeneity, reservoir connectivity, diagenetic environments and their influence on fluid migration. Combining both academic and industry experience, I had the chance to work and publish in areas dislocated in all continents including Europe, North and South America, Africa, SE Asia, Australia and New Zealand. I’m actively involved in industry projects and training of professionals from the O&G industry.

Since 2018 I organise the international summer school on the ‚Controls on sandstone diagenesis‘ – in collaboration with Rob Lander and Linda Bonnel from Geocosm LCC – which aims at providing both state-of-the-art and innovative concepts on (i) pre-deposition controlling parameters determining the generation and redistribution of sediments within sedimentary environments; (ii) hydraulic sorting and depositional facies as predisposing factors on early diagenesis; (iii) relationship between sedimentology and diagenetic processes; (iv) modelling of compositional data as a tool for understanding and predicting texture; (vi) diagenesis and reservoir quality.

I’m also working on the application of diagenesis and basin analysis features to geothermal research. Since 2019 I collaborate with Prof. Carlos Vargas (National University of Colombia) on the potential use of geothermal as an additional resource to Megacities.


Coordinator of the Working Group on Sediment Generation (WGSG)

Associate Editor @ Journal of Marine and Petroleum Geology

Member of the Scientific Advisory Board @ Halliburton












Research topics fitting to both BSc and MSc thesis projects are always available and are largely focused on Sediment Provenance, Basin Analysis, Diagenesis and Reservoir Modelling.

Analytical tools include sedimentary petrography (thin section analysis and heavy minerals), detrital geochemistry (whole-rock and single-grain analysis) and mineralogy (XRD and Qemscan), geochronology (U-Pb dating) and compositional data analysis. Petrophysics (porosity, permeability, anisotropy and thermoconductivity), cathodoluminescence, micro-CT and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and isotopic analyses are routinely applied for diagenetic studies. PETREL and similar software are also available for sedimentological, diagenetic and reservoir modelling.


Please contact me at: luca.caracciolo(at)fau(dot)de


1. Permo-Triassic of South-East Germany (Bavaria) – up to 5 BSc and MSc thesis

We’re conducting research on both sediment provenance and diagenesis aiming at establishing the relationship between sediment supply, sedimentary environments and their influence on diagenetic processes and petrophysical properties. Permo-Triassic successions are studied from both outcrop and boreholes which will ultimately provide the opportunity to correlate correspondent formations at a regional scale. The analytical workflow includes core-logs analysis, petrophysics, diagenesis, sediment provenance and sedimentological/reservoir modelling.

2. Namibia (Southern Africa) – 3 thesis

On-going research in Namibia is focused on modern and ancient aeolian vs fluvial processes aiming at achieving a better understanding of dominant sedimentary dynamics in the Namib Desert over the last 15 Ma. Analytical workflow comprises bulk petrography and heavy mineral analysis, detrital geochemistry and possibly geochronology for the study of three formations, namely the Oswater, Karpfen Kliff and Langen Heinrich post-Miocene successions.

3. Betic Cordillera (South-western Spain) – 1 thesis

A provenance-basin analysis project based on bulk petrography and heavy mineral analysis to reconstruct drainage modifications in response to major tectonic events during the Serravalian-Tortonian building phase of the Betic Cordillera.


UK we’re coming!

Next 7th and 8th of November, Dr. Luca Caracciolo and BSc. Diana Hatzenbühler will be presenting the results of the last 2 years of research in Namibia of the Applied Sedimentology group at the conference „Windy Day“ that will be held at University College London (7th of November, Diana Hatzenbühler will be presenting on “ Unusual Sediment Routing System and aeolian-fluvial interaction: an example from the Namib desert (Namibia)“. The 8th of November we’ll be visiting Neftex ( to present and discuss on the application of Provenance studies to global geological models applied to hydrocarbon exploration

Exploring opportunities for development of Geothermal projects in South America

In March 2018, together with Dr. W. Bauer, we’ve been travelling to Peru and Colombia to meet a number of government institutions and universities to explore new opportunities for the Applied Sedimentology Group to develop geothermal projects.

We achieved remarkable results and established a strong connection with the Peruvian Geological Survey (INGEMMET) and the national funding agency (CONCYTEC) aiming at developing shallow- and deep-geothermal projects in Southern Peru, possibly since 2019.

The trip to Colombia was as much success. We’ve been invited to Barranquilla’s Universidad del Norte, in the framework of the academic international event „Catedra Europa“, to present on the „Analysis and modelling of sedimentary rocks and application to the exploration of geo-resources in Colombia“. We have also met and strengthened our relationships with geo-scientists from UniNorte, Universidad del Atlantico and Universidad de la Costa, with whom will be developing shallow-geothermal projects to be integrated into the energy plan of the city of Barranquilla (Energy Capital of Colombia). The second part of the trip was in Bogota and offered the opportunity to discover a number of project opportunities including exploration for deep-geothermal resources with the Universidad Nacionál de Colombia (UNAL) and Universidad de los Andes. Besides projects, we’re working on building up strong relationships with the Colombian Geothermal Association (AGEOCOL) to establish a training program for geoscientists and engineers interested in geothermal.