Durham University

Department of Geography: Quaternary Environmental Change (QEC)

Research Themes

Sea-level Research

Sea-level Research (Jerry Lloyd, Antony Long, Ian Shennan and Sarah Woodroffe) specialises in five main inter-disciplinary and applied research themes:

1) Coastal evolution, focusing on land-sea interactions in estuaries and deltas;

2) Earthquake hazards, using theory and methods of analysis developed at Durham during research in non-seismic locations to quantify relative land and sea-level changes resulting from earthquakes;

3) Late Quaternary sea level and environmental changes, develops and applies a wide range of methods of palaeo-environmental reconstruction (field, laboratory, microfossil, isotopic, experimental and analytical techniques) to understand earth - ice sheet - ocean - sea level - climate interactions since the Last Glacial Maximum in areas such as the UK,Greenland, North America, Fennoscandanavia, Antartica and Australasia;

4) Land uplift and subsidence utilizes analyses of databanks of radiocarbon dated sea-level index points to model eustatic and isostatic changes since the last glacial maximum and current rates of change;

5) Human impacts and coastal hazards focuses on a range of topics from coastal hazards to human impacts on coastal environments, focussing especially on large low-lying coastal areas.

Ice Sheets and Glacier Dynamics

Ice Sheets and Glacier Dynamics (Mike Bentley, David Evans, Colm O'Cofaigh, David Roberts, Chris Stokes and Andreas Vieli) specialises in terrestrial- and marine-based field studies and modelling of glaciation, glacimarine sedimentation, ice streams, ice shelf stability and relative sea level change, in mid- and high-latitude regions such as Arctic Canada, Greenland, Antarctica, ireland and Britain. This work focuses on:

a) glacial landform-sediment associations, particularly the processes and sediments of glacier beds and the processes and patterns of glacimarine sedimentation;

b) reconstructing palaeo-ice sheet dynamics and ice sheet history from geological, geomorphological and marine geophysical data in Greenland, Antarctica, southernmost South America, North America and Ireland/Britain;

c) numerical ice sheet modelling investigations of ice sheet and ice stream flow

In addition to the core research themes of sea-level change and ice sheets and glacier dynamics, a considerable breadth of additional Quaternary expertise is represented in QEC in the fields of Quaternary fluvial systems and palaeoceanography. David Bridgland carries out research on the worldwide correlation of long-timescale fluvial sequences, and is co-leader of the UNESCO's International Geological Correlation Programme project IGCP 449. Jamie Casford, Jerry Lloyd and Erin McClymont are working on a range of palaeoceanographic topics, including multi-proxy studies of Quaternary ocean/climate interactions and the integration of palaeo-proxies including stable isotopes and other geochemical signatures.