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Benjamin Chandler

Assistant Professor in Geomorphology, Faculty of Social Sciences

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Biography

I am a glacial geomorphologist who joined the School of Geography as an Assistant Professor in September 2021. My research and teaching interests are focused on geomorphology, glaciers and environmental change, as well as geospatial and geophysical methods.

I studied for an undergraduate degree in Geography at Queen Mary University of London (2010-2013), before completing an MSc (by Research) at Durham University. My MSc research examined the formation and glaciological significance of ice-marginal moraines in Iceland. I then went on to undertake a PhD at Queen Mary University of London (2014-2018), which examined the glacial history of the Gaick in the Central Grampians, Scotland.

Following my PhD, I joined the University of Portsmouth as a Visiting Researcher, before being awarded a Leverhulme Trust grant to undertake overseas postdoctoral research at Stockholm University (2019-2021). During my postdoc, my research focused on the application of near-surface geophysics to glacial environments.

Teaching Summary

I currently contribute teaching to the following modules in the School of Geography:

  • Tutorial (GEOG1005)
  • Physical Landscapes of Britain (GEOL1001)
  • Techniques in Physical Geography (GEOG2003)
  • Research Tutorial (GEOG2030)
  • Quaternary Environments (GEOL3001)

I welcome expressions of interest in undertaking MSc and PhD research with me. If you are motivated and enthusiastic about research areas that align with my areas of expertise, you are welcome to get in touch with me at any time to discuss ideas.

Research Summary

My research interests and expertise are at the interface of glacial geology, glaciology, and Quaternary Science. The central theme and goal of my research is to increase understanding of past and… read more

Recent Publications

Current Research

My research interests and expertise are at the interface of glacial geology, glaciology, and Quaternary Science. The central theme and goal of my research is to increase understanding of past and present glacier response to rapid climate change. To address this research issue, much of my research involves using glacial landforms and sediments as "proxies" for glacier dynamics and glacier-climate interactions. My research primarily focuses on the following three areas.

1. Ice-marginal and submarginal process-form relationships

A key focus of my research is investigating ice-marginal and submarginal process-form relationships and their links to specific glaciological and climatic conditions. I undertake glacial sedimentological (process) studies to understand processes of moraine formation that are operating at modern glacier margins (e.g. in Iceland). These studies aim to improve our understanding of the links between moraine-forming processes, glacier dynamics, and climate. I also conduct research to elucidate the depositional and deformation histories of ancient glacial landforms (e.g. in Scotland), with a focus on ice-marginal moraines. I use the geomorphological and sedimentary signatures in ancient glacial environments to reconstruct past glacier dynamics. My current research on this theme focuses on the formation and glaciological significance of moraine complexes in Sarek, Arctic Sweden.

2. Reconstructing Quaternary glaciations and palaeoclimate

My second area of research interest focuses on using ancient glacial landforms and sediments to produce empirical reconstructions of the extent, morphology, and thickness of Pleistocene glaciers. These empirical reconstructions are used to calculate palaeoclimatic variables for formerly glacier-covered regions, which provides insights into former atmospheric circulation patterns. One of my main areas of interest is reconstructing the extent and dynamics of mountain glaciers in Scotland during the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition (~16-8 ka).

3. Plateau icefield dynamics and thermal regimes

My third area of research interest is the dynamics and thermal regimes of plateau icefields, and the response of these glacier types to climate change. Model simulations show that plateau icefields are highly sensitive to climate change due to their "top-heavy" morphologies, but there remain significant uncertainties related to the influence of glacier thermal regime and topography on plateau icefield dynamics. I am currently undertaking research on the dynamics of Hardangerjøkulen icefield, Norway.

Other research interests

In addition to my three main areas of interest, I have broader interests in applications of drones (or UAVs) and near-surface geophysics across the geosciences. My main focus is on using these methods to better understand glaciers and glacial processes, but I am also involved in collaborative research that is applying ground-penetrating radar to examine peatlands and aeolian dunes.

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