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Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Dr Wish Mitchell

Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Geography
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My research is directed towards two main areas – glaciation with particular reference to the last British Ice Sheet and former glaciers in East Africa and high mountain geomorphology with particular reference to large scale slope failures in the Himalaya and the Southern Alps. I am interested in the following research areas: • Late Quaternary landscape evolution in Britain • Quaternary mountain glaciation • Rock Avalanches • Deep seated creep landslides

Late Quaternary landscape evolution in Britain

A major research interest is an understanding the last British ice sheet, particularly with respect to northern England, with particular respect to the drumlin fields. In collaboration with Professor Chris Clark (Sheffield University) and Dr Dave Evans (Durham University), we have produced a GIS of all the published data regarding the last ice sheet in Britain (Clark et al., 2004). This can be accessed at geography/staff/clark_chris/britice.html A second major project with which I am involved is the landscape evolution of the Swale-Ure Washlands with Professor Antony Long, Dr David Bridgland and Dr Jim Innes which has been funded by English Heritage through the Aggregates Levy. This work has involved two major field seasons of field mapping of the geomorphology of >600 sq km of the area between Boroughbridge and Richmond. More details regarding this project can be accessed via the following link: http:// Washlands.pdf

Quaternary mountain glaciation

I have also been involved with research on the extent and timing of former glaciers on the Bale Mountains in Ethiopia with Dr Henry Osmaston; this is the subject of a forthcoming paper in Journal of Quaternary Science. This project has just been given a NERC cosmogenic dating award to allow samples from moraine boulders to be dated to establish a glacial chronology for this area.

Rock Avalanches

Working on the glacial geomorphology of the Indian Himalaya led to awareness that different styles of slope failure were common in many of the valleys. Particular interest has been directed to rock avalanches within the Indian Himalaya in collaboration with Dr Mauri McSaveney and the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences who have provided cosmogenic dates for a particularly spectacular feature in Zanskar. Collaboration is also on going with Professor Ken Hewitt on this particular theme throughout the Himalaya-Karakoram region.

Deep Seated Creep Landslides

Research into large scale mass movements in the Himalaya has been developed by studies of the complex variety of landslides with specific areas of the Southern Alps, New Zealand. Although rock avalanches have been investigated here, attention has focused on the widely distributed slow creep landslides that may develop into much faster slope failures.

Research Projects

Selected Publications

Journal papers: academic

Books: edited

  • Quaternary of the Central Grampians. 2004.

Books: sections

  • WA Mitchell & D Huddart Cross Fell. In: D Huddart & N Glasser Quaternary of Northern England. Joint Nature Conservation Committee; 2002:334-343.
  • WA Mitchell Scandal Beck. In: D Huddart & N Glasser Quaternary of Northern England. Joint Nature Conservation Committee; 2002:62-65.

Journal papers: online

  • Mitchell, W., McSaveney, M.J., Zondervan, A., Kim, K., Dunning, S.A. & Taylor, P.J. The keylong serai rock avalanche, NW Indian Himalaya: geomorphology and palaeoseismic implications. Landslides. 2007;online.
  • Petley, D.N., Hearn, G.J., Hart, A., Rosser, N.J., Dunning, S.A., Oven, K. & Mitchell, W. Trends in landslide occurrence in Nepal. Natural Hazards. 2007.

Reports: technical

  • WA Mitchell & JW Merritt A reconnaissance of the superficial deposits of the Craiganour area, central Grampian Highlands: Internal Report IR/03/104R. 2003.

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