Miss Rebecca Schlegel

Honorary Research Associate, Science and Engineering


I am a glaciologist and geophysicist working as an IMPACT Research Fellow in the geography department at the University Swansea. I am holding a PhD in Physical Geography (Swansea University, 2022), a MSc in Geoscience (University of Bremen, 2017) and a BSc in Geoscience (Goethe University Frankfurt, 2014).

My current research focuses on bed properties and topography beneath ice streams and their interplay with ice dynamics. I use different geophysical techniques, but mostly focussing on radar and seismics to map subglacial bedforms under modern ice streams in West Antarctica. I am trying to understand the processes and conditions under which subglacial bedforms form and how we can use this information to better feed numerical models of ice dynamics.

Areas Of Expertise

  • Applied Geophysics
  • Near Surface Geophysics
  • Geomorphology
  • Subglacial Bedforms
  • Ground penetrating radar
  • Reflection and Refraction seismics
  • Field Work in Antarctica and the European Alps
  • Science Communication

Career Highlights


My PhD thesis and my current work focus on subglacial bedforms (topographic features which form in the bed underneath flowing ice). Bedforms such as drumlins and mega-scale glacial lineations are found under fast-flowing ice streams, and are known to affect and record ice flow, providing insights into the interaction of ice dynamics and the subglacial environment.

To understand the conditions and processes under which these bedforms evolve, I focus on retrieving high-resolution topography and information on bed properties beneath Rutford Ice Stream in West Antarctica. To achieve this, I acquire densely spaced radar data which are then 3D processed (incl. migration). This results in high-resolution images of the bed topography. To highlight small scale features and complex areas, I further calculate different measures (so called attributes) of the bed, such as the dip and the curvature of the topography.

Using the information I receive from analysing bed properties (soft or hard bed) as well as the detailed topography, I reconstruct the processes and conditions of bedform formation. I further compare these observations from Rutford Ice Stream to existing theories about their formation.

Because there is always a gap between theory and observations, especially when it comes to subglacial bedforms, I recently started working with numerical models (Elmer ice), to see if conditions and processes identified using the geophysical data can initiate bedforms.

Award Highlights Collaborations