Professor Colm O'Cofaigh
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
- 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
- Bickerdike, H.L., O'Cofaigh, C., Evans, D.J.A & Stokes, C.R. Glacial landsystems, retreat dynamics and controls on Loch Lomond Stadial (Younger Dryas) glaciation in Britain. Boreas. Published.
- Jennings, A.E., Andrews, J.T., O Cofaigh, C., St Onge, G., Sheldon, C., Belt, S.T., Cabedo-Sanz, P. & Hillaire-Marcel, C. Ocean forcing of Ice Sheet retreat in central west Greenland from LGM to the early Holocene. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 2017;472:1-13.
- Streuff, Katharina, Ó Cofaigh, Colm, Hogan, Kelly, Jennings, Anne, Lloyd, Jeremy M., Noormets, Riko, Nielsen, Tove, Kuijpers, Antoon, Dowdeswell, Julian A. & Weinrebe, Wilhelm Seafloor geomorphology and glacimarine sedimentation associated with fast-flowing ice sheet outlet glaciers in Disko Bay, West Greenland. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2017;169:206-230.
- Streuff, K., O'Cofaigh, C., Noormets, R. & Lloyd, J. Submarine Landforms and Glacimarine Sedimentary Processes in Lomfjorden, East Spitsbergen. Marine Geology. 2017;390:51-71.
- Rignot, E., Fenty, I., Xu, Y., Cai, C., Velicogna, I., Cofaigh, C. Ó, Dowdeswell, J. A., Weinrebe, W., Catania, G. & Duncan, D. Bathymetry data reveal glaciers vulnerable to ice-ocean interaction in Uummannaq and Vaigat glacial fjords, West Greenland. Geophysical Research Letters. 2016;43:2667-2674.
- Hogan, K.A., Ó Cofaigh, C., Jennings, A.E., Dowdeswell, J.A. & Hiemstra, J.F. Deglaciation of a major palaeo-ice stream in Disko Trough, West Greenland. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2016;147:5-26.
- Garcia, M., Dowdeswell, J.A., Noormets, R., Hogan, K.A., Evans, J., Ó Cofaigh, C. & LArter, R.D. Geomorphic and shallow-acoustic investigation of an Antarctic Peninsula fjord system using high-resolution ROV and shipboard geophysical observations: ice dynamics and behaviour since the Last Glacial Maximum. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2016;153:122-138.
- Sheldon, C., Jennings, A., Andrews, J.T., Ó Cofaigh, C., Hogan, K., Dowdeswell, J.A. & Seidenkrantz, M.-S. Ice Stream retreat following the LGM and onset of the West Greenland Current in Uummannaq Trough, West Greenland. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2016;147:27-46.
- Peters, J.L., Benetti, S., Dunlop, P., Ó Cofaigh, C., Moreton, S.G., Wheeler, A.J. & Clark, C.D. Sedimentology and chronology of the advance and retreat of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet on the continental shelf west of Ireland. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2016;140:101-124.
- Livingstone, S.J., Stokes, C.R., O Cofaigh, C., Hillenbrand, C-D., Vieli, A., Jamieson, S.S.R., Spagnolo, M. & Dowdeswell, J. Subglacial processes on an Antarctic ice stream bed. 1: Sediment transport and bedform genesis inferred from marine geophysical data. Journal of Glaciology. 2016;62:270-284.
- Jamieson, S.S.R., Stokes, C.R., Livingstone, S.J., Vieli, A. Ò Cofaigh, C., Hillenbrand, C-D. & Spagnolo, M. Subglacial processes on an Antarctic ice stream bed. 2: Can modelled ice dynamics explain the morphology of mega-scale glacial lineations?. Journal of Glaciology. 2016;62:285-298.
- Bickerdike,H., Evans, D.J.A., Ó Cofaigh, C. & Stokes, C.R. The glacial geomorphology of the Loch Lomond Stadial in Britain: a map and geographic information system resource of published evidence. Journal of Maps. 2016;12:1178-1186.
- Gallagher, C., Telfer, M.W. & Ó Cofaigh, C. A Marine Isotope Stage 4 age for Pleistocene raised beach deposits near Fethard, southern Ireland. Journal of Quaternary Science. 2015;30:754-763.
- Praeg, D., McCarron, S., Dove, D., Ó Cofaigh, C., Scott, G., Monteys, X., Facchin, L., Romeo, R. & Coxon, P. Ice sheet extension to the Celtic Sea shelf edge at the Last Glacial Maximum. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2015;111:107-112.
- Livingstone, S., Roberts, D.H., Davies, B., Evans, D., Ó Cofaigh, C. & Gheorghiu, D. Late Devensian deglaciation of the Tyne Gap Palaeo-Ice Stream, northern England. Journal of Quaternary Science. 2015;30:790-804.
- Peters, J.L., Benetti, S., Dunlop, P. & Ó Cofaigh, C. Maximum extent and dynamic behaviour of the last British–Irish Ice Sheet west of Ireland. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2015;128:48-68.
- Streuff, K., Forwick, M., Szczuciński, W., Andreassen, K. & O'Cofaigh, C. Submarine landform assemblages and sedimentary processes related to glacier surging in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard. Arktos. 2015;1:14.
- Evans, D.J.A., Young, N.J.P. & Ó Cofaigh, C. Glacial geomorphology of terrestrial- terminating fast flow lobes/ice stream margins in the southwest Laurentide Ice Sheet. Geomorphology. 2014;204:86-113.
- Turner, A.J., Woodward, J., Stokes, C.R., O'Cofaigh, C. & Dunning, S. Glacial geomorphology of the Great Glen Region of Scotland. Journal of Maps. 2014;10:159-178.
- Hodgson, D.A., Graham, A.G.C., Griffiths, H.J., Roberts, S.J., Ó Cofaigh, C., Bentley, M.J. & Evans, D.J.A. Glacial history of sub-Antarctic South Georgia based on the submarine geomorphology of its fjords. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2014;89:129-147.
- Dowdeswell, J.A., Hogan, K.A., Ó Cofaigh, C., Fugelli, E.M.G., Evans, J. & Noormets, R. Late Quaternary ice flow in a West Greenland fjord and cross-shelf trough system: submarine landforms from Rink Isbrae to Uummannaq shelf and slope. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2014;92:292-309.
- Larter, R.D., Anderson, J.B., Graham, A.G.C., Gohl, K., Hillenbrand, C.-D., Jakobsson, M., Johnson, J.S., Kuhn, G., Nitsche, F.O., Smith, J.A., Witus, A.E., Bentley, M.J., Dowdeswell, J.A., Ehrmann, W., Klages, J.P., Lindow, J., Ó Cofaigh, C. & Spiegel, C. Reconstruction of changes in the Amundsen Sea and Bellingshausen Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet since the Last Glacial Maximum. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2014;100:55-86.
- Ó Cofaigh, C., Davies, B.J., Livingstone, S.J., Smith, J.A., Johnson, J.S., Hocking, E.P., Hodgson, D.A., Anderson, J.B., Bentley, M.J., Canals, M., Domack, E., Dowdeswell, J.A., Evans, J., Glasser, N.F., Hillenbrand, C.D., Larter, R.D., Roberts, S.J. & Simms, A.R. Reconstruction of ice-sheet changes in the Antarctic Peninsula since the Last Glacial Maximum. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2014;100:JQSR-D-13-00424.
- Jamieson, S.S.R., Vieli, A., Ó Cofaigh, C., Stokes, C.R., Livingstone, S.J. & Hillenbrand, C-D. Understanding controls on rapid ice-stream retreat during the last deglaciation of Marguerite Bay, Antarctica, using a numerical model. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface. 2014;119:247-263.
- 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.
- O'Cofaigh, C., Stokes, C.R., Lian, O.B., Clark, C.D. & Tulaczyk, S. Formation of mega-scale glacial lineations on the Dubawnt Lake Ice Stream bed: 2. Sedimentology and stratigraphy. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2013;77:210-227.
- Ó Cofaigh, C., Andrews, J.T., Jennings, A.E., Dowdeswell, J.A., Hogan, K.A., Kilfeather, A.A. & Sheldon, C. Glacimarine lithofacies, provenance and depositional processes on a West Greenland trough-mouth fan. Journal of Quaternary Science. 2013;28:13-26.
- Jennings, A.E., Walton, M.E., O'Cofaigh, C., Kilfeather, A., Andrews, J,T,, Ortiz, J.D., de Vernal, A. & Dowdeswell, J.A. Paleoenvironments during the Younger Dryas-Early Holocene retreat of the Greenland Ice Sheet from outer Disko trough, central West Greenland. Journal of Quaternary Scienc. 2013;29:27.
- 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.D., King, E.C., 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.
- 2013: 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)