Associate Professor
Geography
Telephone: (01792) 295143
Room: Academic Office - 245
Second Floor
Wallace Building
Singleton Campus

PhD (2001, University of Amsterdam)

Areas of Expertise

  • Glaciology
  • Quaternary Science
  • Glacial sedimentology
  • Glacial geomorphology
  • Micromorphology

Publications

  1. Matthews, J., Wilson, P., Winkler, S., Mourne, R., Hill, J., Owen, G., Hiemstra, J., Hallang, H., Geary, A. Age and development of active cryoplanation terraces in the alpine permafrost zone at Svartkampan, Jotunheimen, southern Norway Quaternary Research 1 24
  2. Dyke, L., Andresen, C., Seidenkrantz, M., Hughes, A., Hiemstra, J., Murray, T., Bjørk, A., Sutherland, D., Vermassen, F. Minimal Holocene retreat of large tidewater glaciers in Køge Bugt, southeast Greenland Scientific Reports 7 1
  3. Hogan, K., Ó Cofaigh, C., Jennings, A., Dowdeswell, J., Hiemstra, J. Deglaciation of a major palaeo-ice stream in Disko Trough, West Greenland Quaternary Science Reviews 147 5 26
  4. Dyke, L., Hughes, A., Murray, T., Hiemstra, J., Andresen, C., Rodés, Á. Evidence for the asynchronous retreat of large outlet glaciers in southeast Greenland at the end of the last glaciation Quaternary Science Reviews 99 244 259
  5. Hiemstra, J. Permafrost and environmental dynamics: A virtual issue of The Holocene The Holocene 28 8 1201 1204
  6. Evans, D., Roberts, D., Hiemstra, J., Nye, K., Wright, H., Steer, A. Submarginal debris transport and till formation in active temperate glacier systems: The southeast Iceland type locality Quaternary Science Reviews 195 72 108
  7. Dyke, L., Hughes, A., Andresen, C., Murray, T., Hiemstra, J., Bjørk, A., Rodés, Á. The deglaciation of coastal areas of southeast Greenland The Holocene 28 9 1535 1544
  8. Shakesby, R., Hiemstra, J., Kulessa, B., Luckman, A. Re-assessment of the age and depositional origin of the Paviland Moraine, Gower, south Wales, UK Boreas 47 2 577 592
  9. Carr, S., Hiemstra, J., Owen, G. Landscape evolution of Lundy Island: challenging the proposed MIS 3 glaciation of SW Britain Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 128 5-6 722 741
  10. Hiemstra, J., Matthews, J., Evans, D., Owen, G. Sediment fingerprinting and the mode of formation of singular and composite annual moraine ridges at two glacier margins, Jotunheimen, southern Norway The Holocene 25 11 1772 1785

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Teaching

  • GEG133 Dangerous Earth: Understanding and Living with Natural Hazards

    This module investigates hazardous aspects of Earth¿s natural environment and how society relates to them. Introductory principles include the definition of natural hazard, disaster, risk and loss, and approaches to reducing risk and managing disasters. Major types of natural hazard are studied in order to understand how they operate, where, and how frequently they are likely to occur. Hazardous consequences are explored, as well as how society can respond to hazardous events. Key aspects include discussion of primary and secondary hazards, prediction, forecasting and monitoring of hazards, and understanding how their harmful effects can be minimised. Natural hazards considered during this module include volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, landslides, extreme weather events, flooding, avalanches and Mega Hazards. Lectures consider general principles as well as case studies. Practical classes reinforce concepts learned in lectures. The practical aspect of the work will culminate in a disaster management simulation day.

  • GEG140 Project and Methods

    This module involves training in fieldwork and GIS skills for both human and physical geographers. In part 1, students can choose from a physical or human geography project option: Part 1: Physical Geography The project, entitled ¿Reconstructing Quaternary environmental change on the south coast of the Gower peninsula¿, focuses on some of the field techniques and approaches (mainly sedimentological) that are used to reconstruct environmental change with particular reference to the alternation of glacial and interglacial episodes. The aims are to examine the evidence remaining in the landscape, to describe and analyse the evidence systematically, to interpret the evidence in terms of environmental change, and to reconstruct the sequence of events that have affected this part of Gower. The Gower peninsula is particularly significant in reconstructing Quaternary environmental changes because it lies close to the limit of the last (Devensian) ice sheet. Part 1: Human Geography The human geography project focusses on Cities and Photography. Students will investigate the use of photography through three Visual Methodologies: Photo-Documentation, Photo-Elicitation, and Photo-Essays. Students will take part in a photo documentation workshop and group photography fieldwork in Swansea City Centre. They will also complete a photo essay aided by group discussion to select concept, theme, whether analytical or evocative photographs (or both), and dicussion of the links between practice and visual methodologies literature. Part 2: GIS Project. This element of the module will introduce students to key skills in Mapping, Spatial Data and GIS. They will explore how maps and spatial analysis can help us to understand and monitor our world. Students will consider the use of maps to analyse the environment and share the results in the media. They will Explore GIS software (arc Map, QGIS) and take their ffirst steps in displaying spatial data. Students will also learn how to refer to the spatial location of environmental features on the earth¿s surface, understand how references systems translate geographical locations on a flat map and learn how to work with data from a range of spatial reference systems.

  • GEG211 Glacial Environments and Processes, past and present

    This module provides a comprehensive examination of processes, sediments and landforms associated with glacial, glacifluvial and glacilacustrine activity. It considers aspects of both past (Quaternary) and present-day glacial environments. The module also introduces basic glaciological concepts such as glacier mass balance, transformation of snow to ice, glacier hydrology and glacier thermal regime, and thus provides a foundation for Level 3 module GEG344 (Glaciology). The basic glaciological concepts are used to illustrate their implications for ice movement, glacial erosion and glacial deposition, and hence, their role in creating `glacial¿ landscapes. Teaching and Learning will be conducted via a combination of lectures, student-led seminars (not assessed) and fieldwork. The fieldwork elaborates on skills and experience acquired in the GEG108P module. The module is assessed through an May/June examination (1 from 3 essay questions, 50%), a poster (40%) and an individual oral 3-minute presentation (10%), based on data collected as a group in a guided fieldwork or laboratory exercise.

  • GEG247 Dangerous Earth: Understanding and Living with Natural Hazards

    This module investigates hazardous aspects of Earth¿s natural environment and how society relates to them. Introductory principles include the definition of natural hazard, disaster, risk and loss, and approaches to reducing risk and managing disasters. Major types of natural hazard are studied in order to understand how they operate, where, and how frequently they are likely to occur. Hazardous consequences are explored, as well as how society can respond to hazardous events. Key aspects include discussion of primary and secondary hazards, prediction, forecasting and monitoring of hazards, and understanding how their harmful effects can be minimised. Natural hazards considered during this module include volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, landslides, extreme weather events, flooding, avalanches and Mega Hazards. Lectures consider general principles as well as case studies. Practical classes reinforce concepts learned in lectures. The practical aspect of the work will culminate in a disaster management simulation day.

  • GEG264B Environmental Research Methods B

    The module builds upon student knowledge covers research project design, data collection and data analysis. Students are introduced to a range of laboratory and field techniques in physical geography along with statistical analyses and presentation skills. They gain experience in describing and interpreting results derived from laboratory techniques concerned with reconstructing the depositional history of sediments, chemical analysis of sediments from a variety of sources and the simulation of geomorphological processes. Students are also introduced to dissertation research. The module culminates in a poster presentation (including short oral introduction to poster) on one of the projects they have undertaken.

  • GEG331 Dissertation Report: Geography

    The dissertation is an original, substantive and independent research project in an aspect of Geography. It is typically based on approximately 20 - 25 days of primary research and several weeks of analysis and write-up. The end result must be less than 10,000 words of text. The dissertation offers you the chance to follow your personal interests and to demonstrate your capabilities as a Geographer. During the course of your dissertation you will be supported by a student-led discussion group and a staff supervisor, and you will also provide constructive criticism to fellow students undertaking related research projects, learning from their research problems and subsequent solutions. This support and supervision is delivered through the 'Dissertation Support' module, which is a co-requisite.

  • GEG332 Dissertation Support: Geography

    This module provides structured, student-led peer-group support and academic staff group supervision for students undertaking the 30-credit 'Dissertation Report: Geography' module. This support and supervision is assessed through the submission of a PowerPoint Poster in TB1 and the submission in TB2 of an individually composed, critical and reflective log of the 5 dissertation peer-group meetings and the 4 group supervisory meetings (with a verified record of attendance at meetings). Working within a supervised Student Peer Group, you will also have the opportunity to provide constructive criticism to fellow students undertaking related research projects, learning from their research problems and subsequent solutions. This module complements the 'Dissertation Report: Geography' module, which is a co-requisite.

  • GEG333 Geographical Research Frontiers

    This module provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their competence as a Geographer by undertaking a critical analysis of a wide variety of literature-based sources in order to develop a cogent, substantial, and persuasive argument. While the Dissertation in Geography normally focuses on the design and execution of an evidenced-based research project that assesses the capacity of students to undertake effective data analysis and interpretation, the purpose of this module is to assess the extent to which students are capable of engaging with the academic literature at the frontier of a particular part of Geography. Students select from a wide range of research frontiers in Human and Physical Geography that have been identified by the academic staff within the Department. Given that this module emphasizes student-centred learning, none of the frontiers will have been covered in other modules, although in many cases modules will have taken students up to some of these frontiers. However, to orientate students and provide them with suitable points of departure and way-stations, there will be a brief introduction to each frontier and a short list of pivotal references disseminated via Blackboard. (Note: The topic selected by you must not overlap with the subject of your Dissertation. If there is any doubt about potential overlap, this must be discussed with your Dissertation Support Group supervisor and agreed in writing.)

  • GEG344 Glaciology

    This module will provide you with the scientific basis to understand the physical behaviour of glacier ice at spatial scales ranging from individual ice crystals to continental-scale glaciation. The module core topics will include glacier mass balance, transformation of snow to ice, glacier hydrology, dynamics, ice crystal structure and deformation, glacier sliding, deformation of glacial sediments, glacier flow instabilities and glacier surging. We will then introduce example topics of current research interest. You will have the opportunity to work in a small group on a guided research project. The module is assessed through an individual paper critique and ¿take-home¿ examination, as well as group presentation of your research project results at a poster-based mini-conference, and as a report. The research project work will normally be assigned a group mark, however, individual student¿s marks may be moderated based on self and peer assessment.

  • GEGM06B Geographic Information and Climate Change

    This module provides the opportunity to undertake a substantial individual research project in Geographic Information and Climate Change. Support will be provided by a staff supervisor and through student-led discussions. There will also be the opportunity to provide constructive criticism to fellow students undertaking related research projects, learning from their research problems and subsequent solutions. Interim results will be presented orally (July and August). The final results of the research dissertation will be presented in the form of a scientific paper in the format of a leading international journal in the research area and a one-page summary (not assessed) at a suitable level for an intelligent lay person. In addition to submission of the written document, students are required to make a formal presentation on their research findings during the last week of the period of candidature which is assessed and contributes towards the final grade.

  • GEGM07 Principles of Environmental Dynamics

    This module aims to explain and understand past, present and potential future changes in the Earth's climate and environment. It provides a broad approach to environmental processes and dynamics operating on land, in the oceans and in the atmosphere on a global and regional scale. Emphasis is placed on the evidence available for reconstructing past environmental dynamics, the implications for present-day processes, future predictions and likely impacts.

  • GEL200 Introductory Geology for Engineers

    This module is an introduction to geology aimed particularly at the needs of civil engineers. The module comprises three sections, covering geological materials - minerals and rocks; distribution of rocks through geological maps and their interpretation; and engineering geology. Lectures are supported by practical work. The module assumes no prior knowledge of geology.

Supervision

  • Thawing permafrost in warming Alpine regions – understanding changes in vegetation patterns and carbon release (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Cynthia Froyd
  • Dissociation of gas hydrates and methane release in changing terrestrial permafrost environments (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Bernd Kulessa

External Responsibilities

  • Executive Board Member, Quaterary Research Association

    2018 - Present

  • Editor; Scientific Reports, Nature (Springer)

    2018 - Present

  • Editorial Board member, Proceedings of the Geologists Association (Elsevier)

    2011 - Present

  • Book Review Editor:, The Holocene (Sage)

    2007 - Present

Research Groups

  • Glaciology Group

    A research group dedicated to furthering knowledge in the quantification of the past and future contribution from glaciers and ice sheets to sea-level rise; the processes driving the present rapid and dramatic changes observed in glaciers, and the instabilities inherent in glacial systems; and the record of palaeo-ice mass instabilities and the processes that drove these changes.

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2013 Present Associate Professor in Physical Geography Swansea University
2012 2013 Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography Swansea University
2004 2012 Lecturer in Physical Geography Swansea University
2002 2004 Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow University of Glasgow

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Deputy Chair of the Academic Regulations and Cases Board

    2016 - 2021

  • MSc Programme Coordinator - Geographic Information and Climate Change, Geography

    2011 - Present