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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Glaciated North Atlantic Margins (GLANAM)

A research project of the Department of Geography.


Understanding the evolution and nature of the glaciated margins of the North Atlantic is of considerable importance to European academia, industry and society. The sediments and landforms along these margins provide a record of past ice sheet activity as well as spatial and temporal variations in ice‐ocean‐climate interaction. Notably, in terms of climate research, they provide a direct link between the deep oceans and the ice sheets sourced in the interiors of the surrounding landmasses. The North Atlantic continental margins also have considerable economic and societal importance in terms of their implications for hydrocarbon exploration (and thus the oil and gas industry) and hazard prediction and mitigation (e.g., tsunamis generated from large‐scale sediment slides along the margin).

GLANAM aims at improving the career prospects and development of young researchers in both the public and private sector within the field of earth science, focusing specifically on North Atlantic Glaciated Margins. Our Multi‐Partner ITN comprises ten partner institutions, both academic and industrial, from Norway (Univ. of Bergen, Univ. of Tromsø, UNIS, North Energy, Statoil, Volcanic Basin Petroleum Research AS), UK (University of Durham, Ulster University, Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS) and Denmark (Denmark and Greenland Geological Survey) and will train eleven Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) and four Experienced Researchers (ERs).

Figure 1: Bathymetry of the North Atlantic and location projects to be carried out in the GLANAM network

The scientific goal of GLANAM is to determine the controls on the development, in time and space of glaciated continental margins.

Research objectives will focus on:

  1. The role of different glacial/non‐glacial sedimentary processes in shaping glaciated NA margins
  2. The extent, timing and rates of decay of marine based ice sheets
  3. The influence of ice ages on hydrocarbon systems
  4. The influence of climate change and sedimentary processes on the fluid flow systems
  5. To identify the controlling factors and the role of submarine mass movements (with resulting tsunamis) on the glaciated NA margins

The project is funded through the EU Marie Curie ITN scheme for an overall budget of 4.4 million EURO. It commenced in April 2013.

Four fellows are employed at Durham University and will work on the following projects:

  • Pleistocene ice sheet history of the Eastern North Sea (Elena Grimoldi)
  • Late Quaternary glaciation of the continental shelf offshore of NW Ireland (Kasper Weilbach)
  • Glacimarine sedimentary processes and products at fjord‐terminating (tidewater) glacier margins (Katharina Streuff)
  • Modelling the long‐term evolution of glaciated passive margins (Amandine Auriac)


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