Professor Colm O'Cofaigh
My research interests are in glacial and glacially-influenced sedimentation and geomorphology, Quaternary geology, and high-latitude glaciated environments. A central theme is the reconstruction of Quaternary ice-masses and their dynamics from geological and geophysical evidence in both marine and terrestrial settings. My research has evolved from an initial focus on terrestrially-based investigations of glacigenic sediments and landforms to larger-scale marine geology and geophysics-based reconstructions. I have worked either from ship or on land in various regions of the Arctic (Canadian Arctic islands, Greenland, Norwegian-Greenland Sea) and Antarctica, the Irish and Celtic seas, and the Canadian Prairies. The underlying theme of my research is ice-sheet reconstruction from geological and geophysical evidence, and the use of modern glacial analogues to better understand the geological record. My current research interests can be summarised as:
1. Marine geophysical & geological investigations of glacier-influenced sedimentation and ice sheet history on polar continental margins including Greenland and Antarctica.
2. Investigating physical processes at palaeo-ice-stream beds.
3. Reconstructing the Late Quaternary history of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet.
I have been awarded the Lewis Penny Medal by the Quaternary Research Association (2005) and the Lyell Fund (2009) by the Geological Society of London in recognition of my research.
Full Publication list and Citation Information
- Identification and characterisation of ice stream sticky spots: an improved understanding of ice stream basal mechanics and shut-down
- Marine Geophysical and Geological Investigations of Late Quaternary Ice Sheet History and Sedimentation on the Greenland continental margin
- Understanding Marine Ice Stream Retreat Using Numerical Modelling and Geophysical Data
Journal papers: academic
- Ó Cofaigh, C., Dowdeswell, J.A., Jennings, A.E., Hogan, K.A., Kilfeather, K., Hiemstra, J.F., Noormets, R., Evans, J., McCarthy, D.J., Andrews, J.T., Lloyd, J.M. & Moros, M. An extensive and dynamic ice sheet on the West Greenland shelf during the last glacial cycle. Geology. 2013;41:219-222.
- Ó Cofaigh, C., Telfer, M.W., Bailey, R.M. & Evans, D.J.A. Late Pleistocene chronostratigraphy and ice sheet limits, southern Ireland. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2012;44:160-179.
- Ó Cofaigh, C., Dunlop, P. & Benetti, S. Marine geophysical evidence for Late Pleistocene ice sheet extent and recession off northwest Ireland. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2012;44:147-159.
- Ó Cofaigh, C., Evans, D.J.A. & Hiemstra, J.F. Formation of a stratified subglacial 'till' assemblage by ice-marginal thrusting and glacier overriding. Boreas. 2011;40:1-14.
- Ó Cofaigh, C. Dowdeswell, J.A. King, E. Anderson, J.B. Clark, C.D. Evans, D.J.A. Evans, J. Hindmarsh, R.C.A. Larter, R.D. & Stokes, C.R. Comment on Shaw J., Pugin, A. and Young, R. (2008): “A meltwater origin for Antarctic shelf bedforms with special attention to megalineations” Geomorphology 102, 364-375. Geomorphology. 2010;117:195-198.
- Ó Cofaigh, C., Evans, D.J.A. & Smith, I.R. Large-scale reorganization and sedimentation of terrestrial ice streams during late Wisconsinan Laurentide Ice Sheet deglaciation. Geological Society of America Bulletin. 2010;122:743-756.
- Evans, J., Ó Cofaigh, C., Dowdeswell, J.A. & Wadhams, P. Marine geophysical evidence for former expansion and flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet across the northeast Greenland continental shelf. Journal of Quaternary Science. 2009;24:279-293.
- Ó Cofaigh, C. Dowdeswell, J.A. Evans, J. & Larter, R.D. Geological constraints on Antarctic palaeo-ice stream retreat. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 2008;33:513-525.
- Ó Cofaigh, C. & Stokes, C.R. Reconstructing ice-sheet dynamics from subglacial sediments and landforms: introduction and overview. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 2008;33:495-502.
- Ó Cofaigh, C. & Evans, D.J.A. Radiocarbon constraints on the age of the maximum advance of the British-Irish Ice Sheet in the Celtic Sea. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2007;26:1197-1203.
- Ó Cofaigh, C., Evans, J., Dowdeswell, J.A. & Larter, R.D. Till characteristics, genesis and transport beneath Antarctic paleo-ice streams. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surfaces. 2007;112:F03006.
- Sugden, D.E., Bentley, M.J. & Ó Cofaigh, C. Geological and geomorphological insights into Antarctic ice sheet evolution. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. 2006;364:1607-1625.
- Ó Cofaigh, C., Dowdeswell, J. A. & Kenyon, N. H. Geophysical investigations of a high-latitude submarine channel system and associated channel-mouth lobe in the Lofoten Basin, Polar North Atlantic. Marine Geology. 2006;226:41-50.
- Ó Cofaigh, C., Dowdeswell, J.A., Allen, C.S., Hiemstra, J.F., Pudsey, C.J., Evans, J. & Evans, D.J.A Flow dynamics and till genesis associated with a marine-based Antarctic palaeo-ice stream. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2005;24:709-740.
- 2012: BRITICE-CHRONO: Constraining Rates and Style of marine influenced ice sheet decay (£369925.56 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
- 2010: Understanding marine ice stream retreat (£322257.41 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
- 2009: Understanding marine ice stream retreat using numerical modelling and geophysical data. £322,257. With A. Vieli and C.R. Stokes. NERC (NE/G015430/1).
- 2007: Marine geophysical and geological investigations of past flow and stability of a major Greenland ice stream in the Late Quaternary. £252,205. PI - C.Ó Cofaigh. NERC (NE/D001951/1).
- 2004: Investigating Physical Processes at Ice-Stream Beds: Integrating Modern and Palaeo-Ice Stream Records. £161,900. PI - C.Ó Cofaigh. NERC (NE/B501171/1).