Ricardo Ramalho

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
221 Comer
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
(845) 365-8918
(845) 365-8155
Fields of interest: 
My research interests are mostly focused on oceanic hotspot dynamics and the origins and evolution of ocean island volcanoes. I am particularly interested on long-term ocean island uplift reconstructions using relative sea-level tracers, in order to gain insight on uplift mechanisms such as dynamic topography, intrusive processes and tectonics of oceanic plates. I am also equally interested on ocean island landscape evolution and the competition between volcanic constructional processes and erosional destructive processes, particularly (but not only) along coastlines. I am also interested in the application of surface exposure dating to study uplift, flank collapses and mega-tsunamis, recent volcanism, and erosion.

As an earth scientist, I aspire to provide a solid and substantial contribution to the comprehension of oceanic hotspots, ocean island systems, volcanic/igneous systems, the evolution of volcanic landscapes and the link between surface processes and deep mechanisms. I am particularly committed towards a multidisciplinary aproach combining direct geological observations, geomorphology, isotope geochronology, geophysical imaging, numerical and analogue modeling, and with a strong physical footing on the geological record. During my academic and professional course I have done extensive field work in the Atlantic Islands, namely in Madeira, Cape Verde and the Azores Archipelagos, in subjects spanning volcanostratigraphy, tectonics, geomorphology, geochronology and uplift studies. This allowed me to gather and advanced knowledge on the geology of these archipelagos, whose internal diversity provides a unique window on the processes affecting ocean island edifices. The interdisciplinary approach necessary to gain insight on the vertical movements affecting ocean islands lead me to acquire skills in areas as diverse as: volcanostratigraphy; geophysics and numerical modeling; Ar-Ar, strontium isotope stratigraphy, U-Th desiquilibrium and surface exposure geochronology techniques; sedimentology and palaeontology; igneous petrology; and eustatic studies.

I am currently funded by a FP7-PEOPLE-2011 Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research International Outgoing Fellowship, with LDEO as my outgoing host and Bristol University as my return host. The project title is What can island isostasy tell us about hotspot dynamics? and aims to investigate a regional vs local quaternary uplift in the Cape Verde Archipelago as means to probe dynamic topography effects. Whith this insight we are currently applying surface exposure geochronology techniques to date old wavecut surfaces and track island uplift. We are also pioneering the use of these techniques to investigate tsunami and storm deposits, as well as recent volcanism and other erosion surfaces.


List of degrees from highest to lowest:
PhD in Earth Sciences
University of Bristol (UK)
MSc in Dynamic Geology
University of Lisbon (Portugal)
Honors Degree in Geology
University of Lisbon (Portugal)
Honors & Awards: 
Springer Thesis Award 2011
Runners-up Best Talk at the British Geophysical Association Postgraduate Research in Progress Meeting, 2007
Selected Publications: 
A late Miocene storm-induced shell bed (coquina) from the central-North Atlantic: taphonomy, palaeoecology and palaeo-environmental reconstruction, Ávila, S.; Ramalho, R.; Habbermann, J.; Quartau, R.; Kroh, A.; Meireles, R.; Berning, B.; Kirby, M.; Zanon, V.; Goss, A.; Rebelo, A; Melo, C.; Madeira, P.; Cordeiro, R.; Bagaço, L.; Marques da Silva, C.; Cachão, M.; Madeira, J. , Journal of the Geological Society, (Submitted)

Miocene-Pliocene rocky shores on São Nicolau (Cape Verde Islands): Contrasting windward and leeward biotas on a volcanically active oceanic island, Johnson, M.; Ramalho, R.; Baarli, G.; Cachão, M.; da Silva, C.M.; Mayoral, E.; Santos, A. , Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, (Submitted)

Coastal evolution on volcanic oceanic islands: a complex interplay between volcanism, erosion, sedimentation, sea-level change and biogenic production, Ramalho, R.; Quartau, R.; Trenhaile, A.; Mitchell, N.; Woodroffe, C.; Ávila, S. , Earth Science Reviews, Volume 127, p.140-170, (2013)

Depositional processes on oceanic island shelves - evidence from storm- generated Neogene deposits from the mid-North Atlantic, Meireles, R.; Quartau, R.; Ramalho, R.; Rebelo, A; Madeira, J.; Zanon, V.; Ávila, S. , Sedimentology, Volume 60, p.1769-1785, (2013)

Coastal dunes with high content of rhodolith (coralline red algae) bioclasts: Pleistocene formations on Maio and São Nicolau in the Cape Verde Archipelago, Johnson, M.; Baarli, G.; da Silva, C.M.; Cachão, M.; Ramalho, R.; Ledesma- Vásquez, J.; Mayoral, E. , Aeolian Research, Volume 8, p.1-9, (2013)

Ichnology in oceanic islands; case studies from the Cape Verde Archipelago, Mayoral, E.; Ledesma-Vásquez, J.; Baarli, G.; Santos, A.; Ramalho, R.; Cachão, M.; da Silva, C.M.; Johnson, M. , Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, Volume 381-382, p.47-66, (2013)

Rhodoliths, uniformitarianism, and Darwin: Pleistocene and Recent carbonate deposits in the Cape Verde and Canary Archipelagos, Johnson, M.; Baarli, G.; Cachão, M.; da Silva, C.M.; Ledesma-Vásquez, J.; Mayoral, E.; Ramalho, R; Santos, A. , Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, Volume 329-330, p.83-100, (2012)

Systematics, palaeoecology and palaeo- biogeography of the neogene fossil sharks from the Azores (Northeast Atlantic), Ávila, S.; Ramalho, R.; Vullo, R. , Annales de Paleontologie, Volume 98, p.167-189, (2012)

Building the Cape Verde Islands, Ramalho, R , Springer Theses, Berlin Heidelberg, p.207, (2011)

Episodic swell growth inferred from variable uplift of the Cape Verde hot spot islands, Ramalho, R.; Helffrich, G.; Cosca, M.; Vance, D.; Hoffmann, D.; Schmidt, D.N. , Nature Geoscience, Volume 3, p.774-777, (2010)

Vertical movements of ocean island volcanoes: insights from a stationary plate, Ramalho, R.; Helffrich, G.; Cosca, M.; Vance, D.; Hoffmann, D.; Schmidt, D.N. , Marine geology, Volume 275, p.84-95, (2010)

Tracers of uplift and subsidence in the Cape Verde Archipelago, Ramalho, R.; Helffrich, G.; Schmidt, D.N.; Vance, D. , Journal of the Geological Society, Volume 167, p.519-538, (2010)

Volcano-stratigraphic and structural evolution of Brava Island (Cape Verde) from 40Ar/39Ar, U/Th and field constraints, Madeira, J.; Mata, J.; Mourão, C.; Brum da Silveira, A.; Martins, S.; Ramalho, R.; Hoffmann, D. , Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Volume 196, p.219-235, (2010)