The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Physical Geography

Physical Geography

Physical geography has a long-standing international reputation for excellence


Physical geography at Newcastle University has a long-standing international reputation for excellence.

Our research primarily addresses global research agendas, but also engages with national and regional initiatives.

We carry out our research in a wide variety of physical environments across the globe, supported by active collaboration with colleagues within Newcastle University and beyond, both nationally and internationally.

Staff and postgraduate students within physical geography benefit from an inclusive and supportive research culture. Our academic staff conduct vibrant, high-quality research programmes supported by successful bids to highly competitive sources of funding, such as the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Examples of recent research projects include:

  • new homonid discovery in South Africa
  • Lake Suigetsu ultra-high-resolution palaeoclimate project (NERC-funded)
  • impacts of recent catastrophic floods in the North of England (NERC-funded)
  • impact of meltwater floods during the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption in Iceland (NERC-funded)

We conduct our research in the field and laboratory using cutting-edge techniques. These are supported by our laboratories and field equipment, managed by our technical staff.

The University has also invested in our Cosmogenic Isotope Laboratory, which supports our research at Newcastle and externally, via collaborative projects.


Our research group staff have significant experience and expertise in analysis of physical geography.


Dr Rupert Bainbridge
Post-doctoral Research Associate


Stephen Brough
Research Assistant

Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 4729

Dr Rachel Carr
Lecturer in Physical Geography

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6436

Ana Contessa
Physical Geography Technician

Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 6431

Dr Simon Drew
Physical Geography Technician

Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 6431

Dr Stuart Dunning
Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 3251

Dr Bunmi Eniola
Physical Geography Facilities Manager

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6431

Dr Andrew Henderson
Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography

Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 3086

Professor Steve Juggins
Professor of Quantitative Paleoecology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8799

Dr Andy Large
Reader in River Science

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6342

Dr Helen Mackay
Teaching Fellow (Physical Geography)

Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 5344

Professor Darrel Maddy
Prof of Quaternary Science

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6440

Dr Anne-Sophie Meriaux
Reader in Quaternary Geochronology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8939

Dr Emma Pearson
Principal Research Associate

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6757

Dr Matthew Perks
Lecturer in Physical Geography

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 4728

Dr Neil Ross
Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography

Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 5111

Professor Andrew Russell
Professor of Physical Geography

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6951

Research Students

Our postgraduates are working on a wide variety of physical geography subjects. These range from paired lake oxygen isotope records of climate change in southern Alaska to mid-Pleistocene transition in the Asian monsoon.

Research students


Safaa Al Zerouni

Controls on morphological change within wandering gravel-bed rivers over decadal time scales: the River Coquet, Northumberland, UK

Amy Barrett

A study of the formation, development and coalescence of supraglacial melt ponds in the Bhutan

Jake Collins-May

Origins of Glacial, Fluvial and Glaciofluvial Landforms in the Nereidum Montes; Mars

Will Smith


Ryan Dick

 Finding tsunami causing landslide deposits in the lakes of New Zealand

Sonja Felder

Mid-Pleistocene transition in the Asian monsoon

Devin Harrison

 Sedimentary architecture of the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcanogenic jökulhlaups: Gígjökull, Iceland

Emily Hill

The Greenland Ice Sheet in a warming world: Determining drivers of current and future change on northern Greenland outlet glaciers

James Linegan


Arminel Lovell

Explaining the varying response of Himalayan glaciers to climate change

Alex McKee

Assessing the spatial pattern of rockfalls above glaciers in the Mont Blanc area and their coupling with glaciers. 

Jack Oxtoby

Formation of ice cliffs and their impacts on melt rates on Annapurna South Glacier


The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology has modern laboratories, field equipment stores and workshops spread over four buildings. There is a range of facilities and specialist equipment for use in both teaching and research.

Our geomorphology and sediment, chemistry and biology laboratories are used for a combination of teaching and research. Our research specific laboratories comprise organic geochemistry and palaeoecology, a spatial analysis lab, and cosmogenic isotope lab.

All laboratories are equipped for computer network access and have either been recently built or refurbished. We also have two walk-in cold rooms for sample storage, an outside store and workshop, and a Land Rover.

Field equipment

Field equipment includes a range of technologies for:

  • topographic survey (levels, hand-held GPS, robotic and manual total stations, laser range-finders and Leica-differential GPS)
  • soil and sediment sampling (corers and augers for inorganic and organic sediment, gravity and piston corers for use in lakes)
  • biological and chemical analysis (aquatic kick nets, YSI water column chemistry sonde, portable HACH-Lange spectrophotometers, ultra-meters),
  • hydrological analysis (including stage recorders, rugged digital cameras and multi-parameter probes)

We also three inflatable boats with outboard motors.

Our laboratories

Links with facilities in other schools

In addition to the above facilities, we have strong links with Civil Engineering and Geosciences where we have additional access to a wide range of both standard and specialised field and analytical equipment.

This includes:

  • rock crushing equipment
  • total organic carbon (TOC) analysers
  • gas chromatography (GC)
  • gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GCMS)
  • high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
  • liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LCMS)

Find out more about University-wide facilities.