Landscape evolution and earth surface processes

The Teton Range, Wyoming

This research theme is concerned with the 'upstream' side of Basin Studies, namely erosion and sediment production. Exciting hypotheses relating tectonics and climate change can only be tested with a detailed, process-based understanding of the landscape response to these factors. Click here for an example of our work from the Teton Range, Wyoming, USA.

Much of the current research focuses on glacial landscapes, which have been comparatively neglected compared with fluvial landscapes, despite widespread glaciation during the Quaternary. Current projects include:

  • Source-to-sink approach to landscape and stratigraphic evolution in the Basin and Range, USA
  • Volcanism, glacial geomorphology and climate history in Iceland
  • Glacial history of the North Sea using 3-D seismic data interpretation
  • Response of glacial landscapes to active tectonics

The past decade has seen a major revolution in surface processes research, driven by the availability of high resolution topographic data, cosmogenic isotope and low-temperature thermochronologic dating techniques. and numerical landscape evolution models. Techniques employed at the University of Manchester include:

  • Digital elevation and bathymetric model analysis using ArcGIS and Matlab
  • Landscape evolution modelling using in house and other 2-D and 3-D models
  • Cosmogenic isotope dating and low-temperature thermochronology
  • 3-D seismic data interpretation
  • Field mapping
  • Aerial photograph and GoogleEarthTM interpretation


New publications:
Current PhD students:
  • Rachel Lamb: Glaciation of the North Sea Basin: evidence from basin-scale 3D seismic geomorphology, stratigraphic boreholes and surrounding land areas
  • Andrew Newton: Glaciation of the Norwegian Shelf: integrating geomorphological and stratigraphical information from 2D and 3D seismic, boreholes and adjacent land areas
  • Kathryn Street: The timing of volcano-ice eruptions and deglaciation in Iceland
  • Declan Valters: Linking mesoscale atmosphere dynamics and landscape evolution models
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