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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Dr Grace Nield

Post Doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41925
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 205

Contact Dr Grace Nield (email at

Research Overview

My research focuses on glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) - the response of the Earth to changes in ice and ocean loading during a glacial cycle. I completed my PhD in the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Newcastle University in 2014. My thesis investigated deficiencies in millennial-scale GIA models arising from omission of Late Holocene and present-day ice-mass changes in West Antarctica (Antarctic Peninsula and Siple Coast), where there have been notable climate-related changes in recent years. The findings contribute to ongoing improvements of GIA models, a signal that is the main source of error in determining present-day ice mass change from satellite gravity measurements. Furthermore, this work helps to reconcile the misfit between model predictions and GPS observations of present-day solid Earth deformation in the Northern Antarctic Peninsula, but highlights the limitations of a 1D Earth structure.

My current research, as part of the UKANET project, aims to enhance 3D finite element models of GIA in the Southern Antarctic Peninsula using high resolution seismic data to derive earth properties. Incorporating lateral variations in Earth properties will improve estimates of solid earth deformation in response to changes in ice loading since the Last Glacial Maximum in this tectonically complex region.

Research Groups

Research Projects

  • Defining models of glacial isostatic adjustment in West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula (UKANET): Better constraints on Earth structure and uplift

Research Interests

  • Postseismic Deformation
  • Glacial isostatic adjustment
  • Solid Earth deformation
  • Ice-sheet modelling
  • Antarctica


Journal Article