Research seminars

Both external and internal speakers are invited to the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment to present the latest results of their research. Everyone is invited, so please come along!

The anatomy of an Ordovician arc-continent collision; Newfoundland and Ireland - John Dewey, University of Oxford

  • 17 January 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, TA2 (G72) Bennett Building (Geology)

This presentation reports on recent work conducted by Warwick Business School and the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) into future gas security in the UK. By way of introduction, the role of natural gas in the UK’s low carbon energy transition is considered. A supply chain approach is then used to assess that current situation and future challenges to gas security, including the impact of Brexit. The presentation concludes by exploring the key uncertainties around the future role of gas and their implications for UK energy security. The findings have wider implications for the relationship between climate change and the role of gas in Europe’s energy mix.

Michael Bradshaw is Professor of Global Energy in the Strategy and International Business Group at Warwick Business School, University of Warwick. He previously held academic posts in Geography at the University of Birmingham and the University of Leicester. He works at the interface between geography, international relations and business and management. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with the IBG) and a member of Council, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. He holds an MA from the University of Calgary and a PhD from the University of British Columbia, Canada. He is the author of Global Energy Dilemmas (2014, Polity Press), co-editor of Global Energy: Issues, Potentials and Policy Implications (2015, Oxford University Press), and co-author of Energy and Society: A Critical Perspective (2018, Routledge). He led the social science elements of the EU’s H2020 M4 Shale Gas project, is currently involved in a programme of research on the global impacts of unconventional oil and gas for the UK Energy Research Centre and is monitoring and assessing the UK shale gas landscape as part of a 4-year NERC/ESRC research programme on Unconventional Hydrocarbons in the UK Energy System. He has recently published papers in Economic Geography, Global Environmental Change, Energy Policy, International Affairs and Extractive Industries and Society.

Nitrogen isotope analysis on foraminifera and corals - Alan Foreman, Max-Planck institute, Mainz

  • 18 January 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, TA2 (G72) Bennett Building (Geology)

The Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs of Tropical Peat Swamp Research! - Professor Sue Page, University of Leicester

  • 24 January 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, TA2 (G72) Bennett Building (Geology)

Peatlands are important terrestrial carbon stores and vital components of global carbon soil-atmosphere exchange processes. In this regard, tropical peatlands are important because they are some of the planet’s most carbon-dense ecosystems. Knowledge of the extent of tropical peatlands across the globe is still uncertain, but there is growing recognition of their significance for carbon storage, climate mitigation, biodiversity support and other ecosystem services, and of the ecological and biogeochemical consequences of land use change. In SE Asia, where the largest area of tropical peatland is located, there is almost no intact peat swamp forest remaining. Over the last two decades, rapid socio-economic development has been accompanied by the transformation of vast areas into plantations and smallholder agriculture, while remnant fragments of forested peatland have been degraded by logging, drainage and fire. Simultaneous with these developments, scientific knowledge of the consequences of peatland development has strengthened, providing a narrative that links peatland deforestation and drainage to loss of carbon storage potential; high emissions of greenhouse gases; increased risk of fire, resulting in extreme air pollution episodes; increased risk of flooding; loss of habitat for vulnerable, rare and endemic species; and reduced human livelihood opportunities. Yet at the same time as our scientific understanding has improved, those advocating for more responsible peatland management have often found themselves in conflict with agents of peatland development. My talk reviews this scientific narrative using examples from my own research journey to explore the carbon costs of land use change on tropical peatlands and the disjunct between those promoting the benefits of short-term socio-economic development against those advocating for longer-term maintenance of ecosystem resilience. It concludes by outlining recent opportunities for improved peatland management practices that attempt to integrate scientific, land use practice and policy aspirations to mitigate negative ecological and economic consequences of peatland development.

Title TBC (drought and climate) - Dr Anne van Loon, University of Birmingham

  • 30 January 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, F75a Bennett Building (Geography)

Title TBC - Dr Alex Dunhill, University of Leeds

  • 31 January 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, TA2 (G72) Bennett Building (Geology)

Title TBC (displacement) - Professor Paul Watt, Birkbeck, University of London

  • 13 February 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, F75a Bennett Building (Geography)

Surveillance Anxiety in the Smart City: Learning from Music Festivals - Dr Jeremy Crampton, Associate Editor, Dialogues in Human Geography and Professor of Urban Data Analysis, Newcastle University, UK

  • 20 February 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, F75a Bennett Building (Geography)

Music festivals have often been places of freedom where attendees have been able to escape the governance of everyday social norms and assert a desired self. However, festivals have recently had to grapple with a number of high-profile incidents including deaths, drug confiscations, pick-pockets and a mass shooting. As a result, they have rapidly introduced new smart security measures into formerly less-policed spaces. Given the rapidity of these measures, I ask if festivals can provide important lessons about surveillance in the smart city. I will present the results of a preliminary survey of festival-goers which examines attitudes around surveillance anxiety. Although a significant proportion of respondents reported they experience surveillance anxiety, men, women and non-binary people differed markedly in their attitudes to surveillance. These findings indicate we need to think more carefully about the effects of surveillance in the smart city.

40Ar/39Ar dating of plume volcanism on Earth and Mars - Darren Mark, East Kilbride

  • 21 February 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, TA2 (G72) Bennett Building (Geology)

Title TBC - Dr Daanish Mustafa, Reader in Politics and Environment, Department of Geography, King’s College London

  • 27 February 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, F75a Bennett Building (Geography)

Fly-ash particles as indicators of environmental change - Professor Neil Rose, University College London

  • 28 February 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, TA2 (G72) Bennett Building (Geology)

Fly-ash is the particulate by-product of fossil-fuel combustion and is emitted with flue-gases into the atmosphere. The scale of emissions is vast and the distinctive morphology of these particles means that they are unambiguous indicators of contamination from these sources. This talk will describe the use of these particles as indicators of fossil-fuel derived contamination, both spatially and temporally and how they have been employed in the acid rain debate, as proxies for other pollutants and more recently as a potential marker for the Anthropocene.

Title TBC (earth observation and plant conservation) - Dr Doreen Boyd, University of Nottingham

  • 6 March 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, F75a Bennett Building (Geography)

Pyrite as ore and gangue in hydrothermal systems: potential and pitfalls - Dr Sarah Gleeson, (GFZ Helmholtz Centre Potsdam and Freie Universität, Berlin) MIN SOC

  • 7 March 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, TA2 (G72) Bennett Building (Geology)

Pyrite is the most common sulphide mineral in the Earth’s crust, and is found in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. Pyrite is also a common gangue mineral in hydrothermal ore deposits formed in sedimentary basins, and in one type of Au deposit, the Carlin type deposits (Nevada), arsenian pyrite is the primary ore mineral. In order to assess how Au is sequestered from hydrothermal fluids into As-rich pyrite, experiments have been conducted at conditions similar to those in which Carlin type Au deposits form. The sequestration of gold into pyrite appears to be dependent on the concentration of As in the fluid; at high As concentrations, Au is strongly partitioned into pyrite. This suggests that simple partitioning (and the underlying process of adsorption) is the major depositional process in forming these giant deposits.

In sediment-hosted Zn deposits, pyrite is a major pre-, syn- and post-ore phase, and may often be the most abundant sulphide mineral present. As such, differentiating between background and ore-stage pyrite is critical for understanding the footprint of the deposit. For example, pyrite enrichment has previously been considered to be a distal expression of exhalative hydrothermal systems, and used as an exploration vector to mineralization. More recently, however, the coupling careful petrography with in situ techniques (LA-ICP-MS and SIMS) has revealed a more nuanced story. In some of the better-preserved deposits, it is clear that hydrothermal mineralization post-dates early diagenesis and pre-ore pyrite formation. As such, the distribution of hydrothermal pyrite around deposits (‘pyrite halo’) formed in the sub-surface is more restricted than previously thought. Moreover, trace element maps of hydrothermal pyrite in large ore deposit are complex and highlight the challenge we face in scaling up micro-analytical data to 3d volumes of crustal rocks as represented by economic ore deposits.

Title TBC - Dr Karen Salt, University of Nottingham

  • 13 March 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, F75a Bennett Building (Geography)

Is the diversification of life constrained or expansionist over geological timescales? - Professor Richard Butler, University of Birmingham

  • 14 March 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, TA2 (G72) Bennett Building (Geology)

Title TBC - Dr Emma Jackson, Goldsmiths, University of London

  • 20 March 2019, 1.00pm-2.00pm, F75a Bennett Building (Geography)

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