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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Professor Colm O'Cofaigh

Professor in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41890
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 404

Contact Professor Colm O'Cofaigh (email at


I am a glacial geologist and Quaternary scientist, interested in glacial and glacially-influenced sedimentation and the reconstruction of ice sheets.

My research has evolved from an initial focus on terrestrial investigations of glacial sediments and landforms, to the use of marine geology and geophysics to reconstruct ice sheet behaviour and sedimentation. I have a particular research interest in ice sheet reconstruction and the processes and patterns of glacimarine sedimentation on polar continental margins and have worked widely in the Arctic (Greenland, Arctic Canada, Svalbard, Norwegian-Greenland Sea) and Antarctica on these topics. I also have a long-standing active research interest in the history of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet.

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.

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.

Some of my current research projects are listed below.

Full Publication list and Citation Information

Research Groups

Department of Geography

Research Projects

Department of Geography

  • BRITICE‐CHRONO: Constraining Rates and Style of Marine‐Influenced Ice Sheet Decay
  • Glaciated North Atlantic Margins (GLANAM)
  • Greenland in a Warmer Climate: What Controls the Advance & Retreat of the NE Greenland Ice Stream? (NEGIS)
  • 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

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Show all publications


Selected Grants

  • 2016: Greenland in a warmer climate: What controls the advance & retreat of the NE Greenland Ice Stream (£527622.50 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
  • 2013: FP7-GLANAM (Glaciated North Atlantic Margins) (£892776.51 from European Commission)
  • 2012: BRITICE-CHRONO: Constraining Rates and Style of marine influenced ice sheet decay (£369,925 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
  • 2010: Understanding marine ice stream retreat using numerical modelling and geophysical data (£322257.41 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
  • 2008: INTERNATIONAL GEOLOGICAL CONFERENCE OSLO 2008 (£1066.00 from The Royal Society)
  • 2007: Marine geophysical and geological investigations o (£252205.05 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
  • 2004: INVESTIGATING PHYSICAL PROCESSES (£161904.18 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)