Past Research

(Quaternary Science Reviews 28 (2009) pp557-579


Past research contributions


  • First demonstration of the age of the last glaciation in Britain
  • Demonstration that single glacial episodes can produce multiple till sequences


  • Characterised the nature of glacial sedimentary sequences and their relation to the thermal regime of the parent glacier
  • Demonstrated rates of weathering in newly deglaciated terrain
  • First quantitative theories of glacial erosion and glacial deposition
  • Demonstrated the relationships between glacial sedimentary processes and geotechnical properties
  • First use of the land systems approach to characterize different glacial sedimentary systems
  • Application of modern glaciological theory to produce the first model simulation of a Pleistocene ice sheet
  • First direct measurement of stress and erosion rates at the base of an active glacier
  • First demonstration of shear deformation beneath glaciers and their implications for glacial sedimentation


  • Development of the structure of the southern Iceland coastal zone during the Holocene
  • Modern and Holocene patterns of sediment dispersal over the southern continental shelf of Iceland
  • Demonstrated the nature and rheology of sediment deformation beneath glaciers
  • Demonstrated the effect of deforming subglacial sediments on the form and dynamics of Pleistocene ice sheets
  • Theory of drumlin formation by sediment deformation based on observation of modern process and drumlin form and structure
  • Theory of erratic dispersal by glaciers


  • Demonstration of the architecture of glaciomarine sediments and their relation to patterns of glacio-isostatic crustal flexure
  • First recognition of the existence of major, large scale crossing lineation sets produced by Pleistocene ice sheets, and the dynamic ice sheet behaviour they reflect
  • Theory of erosion and deposition due to sediment deformation
  • Large scale structure of a modern push moraine and the role of porewater pressures
  • The sedimentary impact of a major recent surge on large scale sediment architecture
  • First recognition of the major significance of groundwater flow beneath glaciers and ice sheets, including the impact on geotechnics


  • Demonstration of the ubiquitous nature of ice streams in the last European ice sheet and their relations to pattern of advance and decay of the ice sheet
  • First direct measurements of groundwater flow and its impacts beneath an active glacier and measurements of the groundwater regime associated with esker-forming tunnels
  • Quantitative theory of formation of esker systems and demonstration of the fundamental role of groundwater flow in modern and Pleistocene glaciers
  • A new theory of ice sheet drainage and its role in ice sheet dynamics and stability

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