• KY16 9AL

    United Kingdom

Accepting Postgraduate Research Students

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Profile Keywords

Tephra (volcanic ash); soil erosion in high-latitudes; socio-ecological systems in the Holocene; Iceland

Research overview

I am a geographer with a broad research interest in three main topics – volcanic ash (tephra); human-environment interactions over the Holocene, and land-degradation over decades-centuries. My study areas include Iceland, the United States, Chile, Finland, and Scotland. 

 -      My research on volcanic ash (tephra) initially focussed on using tephrochronology to provide chronological control for past environmental change. More recently, I have become interested in how the properties of tephra layers (e.g. thickness, variability, grain-size) may be modified by their interaction with earth surface processes, vegetation cover and lake processes, both during and after fallout. This information will improve our ability to understand volcanic hazards, as well as potentially providing us information on the nature of the surface on which tephra was deposited.

-      Human-environment interactions over the Holocene. Much of my work in this area has been centred on reconstructing past-environmental change (particularly rates of soil erosion) in Iceland, and using this information to improve our understanding of the long-term sustainability of settlement in the North Atlantic.   

-      Erosion patterns in high-latitude rangeland grazing areas. I have used UAVs to create high-resolution maps of land surface cover in Iceland. This has allowed the quantification of the spatial structure of erosion patches, as well as the development of spatial models of soil erosion. The overall aim is an improved understanding of the interaction of geomorphological and biological processes which determine the progression of erosion, and better models of how high-latitude landscapes will respond to global change. 


Teaching activity

-      Deputy Director of Teaching

-      Geography Sub-Honours advisor

-      Module coordinator GG4224 Advanced Topics in Physical Geography

-      Module coordinator GG3276 Volcanic Ash: Dispersal, Impact and Applications 

-      Contributor to GG1002

-      Dissertation supervision 


Dr Richard Streeter joined the School in 2013. Prior to that he undertook his undergraduate (2007) and PhD degree (2011) at the University of Edinburgh. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


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