Dr Andrew Carr

Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography and Geography and Environmental Science Admissions Tutor

School/Department: Geography Geology & The Environment, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 3851



I am a physical geographer with research interests in arid environments, environmental change and geochronology (particularly Luminescence Dating methods). My first degree was in Physical Geography (Sheffield 2000) and I obtained a PhD (Sheffield 2004) on Late Quaternary palaeoenvironments in southern Africa.

From 2004 to 2006 I was a postdoctoral researcher working on luminescence dating of coastal dune systems and coastal landscape evolution over glacial-interglacial timescales. I was appointed as a lecturer at Leicester in 2006 and have since worked on a variety of projects variously concerning (palaeo)ecology, long-term coastal and dryland landscape evolution, soil organic geochemistry, optically stimulated luminescence dating and the archaeological record of southern Africa. I direct the University of Leicester Luminescence Dating facility in the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment.


My research is largely focused on Pleistocene environmental change in desert and coastal environments. This work has included the development of chronologies for palaeo-dune formation, the analysis of fossil pollen from wetland and lake sediments, as well as the application of stable isotope and biomarker proxies. In recent years I have been involved in the European HYRAX research project, which sought to reconstruct desert climate change using the ancient latrines of the Rock Hyrax. Recent work funded by the National Geographic Society has been searching for and dating palaeo-lakes in the arid interior of South Africa.

I am particularly interested in the application of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating methods. This technique provides depositional (burial) age estimates for quartz and feldspar minerals and is used to construct chronologies of sediment deposition over the last ~200,000 years. I direct the luminescence dating facility within the School of Geography Geology and the Environment. Research projects have included dating of aeolian landforms in the Mojave Desert and the Llanos savannas of Colombia, the application of luminescence dating methods to evaluate the timing and rates of past tectonic processes, and the application of OSL dating to several Middle and Later Stone Age archaeological sites in South Africa. 


My full publication list is here.

Example publications:

Chase, B.M., Boom, A., Carr, A.S., Reimer, P.J. 2022. Climate variability along the margin of the southern African monsoon region at the end of the African Humid Period. Quaternary Science Reviews 291, 107663                    

Helm, C.W., Carr, A.S., Cawthra, H.C., De Vynck, J.C., Dixon, M., Stear, W., Stuart, C., Stuart, M., Venter, J.A. 2022. Possible Pleistocene Pinniped Ichnofossils on South Africa's Cape South Coast Journal of Coastal Research 38 (4), 735-749

Carr, A.S., Chase, B.M., Boom, A., Meadows, M.E. Medina-Sanchez, J. 2022. Variability in soil and foliar stable carbon and nitrogen isotope compositions in the winter rainfall biomes of South Africa. Journal of Arid Environments 200, 104726

Quick, L.J., Chase, B.M., Carr, A.S., Chevalier, M., Grobler, A.B. Meadows, M.E. 2021. A 25,000 year record of climate and vegetation change from the southwestern Cape coast, South Africa. Quaternary Research 105, 82-99

Scott, L., Manzano, S., Carr, A.S., Cordova, C. et al 2021. A 14,000 year multi-proxy alluvial record of ecotone changes in a Fynbos-Succulent Karoo transition in South Africa. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 569, 110331

Hay, A.S., Powell, D.M., Carr, A.S., Livingstone, I. 2021. Characterisation of aeolian sediment accumulation and preservation across complex topography. Geomorphology 383, 107704

Sifogeorgaki, I., Klinkenberg, V., Esteban, I., Murungi, M., Carr, A.S., van den Brink, V.B., Dusseldorp, D.L. (2020). New excavations at Umhlatuzana Rockshelter, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: a stratigraphic and taphonomic evaluation. African Archaeological Review 37, 551-578

Oldknow, C., Oldfield, F., Carr, A.S., Hooke, J.M., Biggin, A., Boyle, J.F., Hunt, A., Shen, Z. 2020. Palustrine wetland formation during the MIS 3 interstadial: implications for preserved alluvial records in the South African Karoo. Sedimentary Geology, 105698

Oldknow, C.J, Carr, A.S., Hooke, J.M, Shen, Z. 2020. The suitability of a low temperature post-IR IRSL signal for dating alluvial and colluvial "cut and fill" sequences in the Great Karoo, South Africa. Quaternary Geochronology, 101064

Carr, A.S., Bateman, M.D., Cawthra, H.C., Sealy, J. 2019. First evidence for onshore marine isotope stage 3 aeolianite formation on the southern Cape coastline of South Africa. Marine Geology, 407, 1-15

Chase, B.M., Niedermeyer, E.M., Boom, A., Carr, A.S., et al 2019. Orbital controls on Namib Desert hydroclimate over the past 50,000 years. Geology, 47 (9) 867-871.

Carr, A.S., Hay, A.S. Powell, D.M., Livingstone, I. 2019. Testing post-IR IRSL luminescence dating methods in the southwest Mojave Desert, California, USA. Quaternary Geochronology, 49, 85-91 

Campbell, G.E., Walker, R.T., Abdrakhmatov,, K., Carolin, S., Carr, A.S., Elliot, J.R., Jackson, J., Mackenzie, D., Rizza, M., Rodes, A. 2019. Rapid Late Quaternary slip, repeated prehistoric earthquake rupture, and widespread landsliding associated with the Karakudzhur Thrust, Central Kyrgyz Tien Shan. Tectonics, 38, 3740-3764

Rizza, M., Abdrakhmatov, K.E., Walker, R., Braucher, R., Guillou, Carr, A.S., Campbell, G., McKenzie, D., Jackson, J., Aumaitre, G., Bourles, D.L., Keddadouche, K. 2019. Rate of slip from multiple Quaternary dating methods and paleoseismic investigations along the Talas-Fergana Fault: Tectonic implications for the Tien Shan range. Tectonics, 38, 2477-2505

Collins, J.A., Carr, A.S., Schefuß, E., Boom, A., Sealy, J. 2017. Investigation of organic matter and biomarkers from Diepkloof Rockshelter: insights into Middle Stone Age site usage and palaeoclimate. Journal of Archaeological Science 85, 51-65

Carr, A.S., Chase. BM. Mackay, A. 2016. Mid to Late Quaternary Landscape and Environmental Dynamics in the Middle Stone Age of Southern South Africa. In: Jones, S., Stewart, B.A., (Eds.), Africa from MIS 6-2: Population Dynamics and Paleoenvironments, pp. 23-47. Springer

Carr, A.S., Armitage, S.J., Berrio-J-C., Bilbao, B.A., Boom, A. 2016. An optical luminescence chronology for late Pleistocene aeolian activity in the Colombian and Venezuelan Llanos. Quaternary Research 85, 299-312


I am particularly interested in supervising topics on palaeoenvironments and landscape change deserts and drylands coastal landscapes luminescence dating methods and stable isotopes.

Current postgraduate students:

Berivan Esen: "Organic matter in extreme environments: arid zone soils rock varnishes and Mars analogues" NERC CENTA.

Recently completed:

Ollie Hardy (2021): "Development of Raman Laser Spectroscopy for Mars: an inter-disciplinary approach" UK Space Agency Aurora funding with Arnoud Boom and Ian Hutchinson (Leicester).

Natalia Gonzalez Michaels (2021): "Paelaeohydrological reconstruction in the High Plain of Bogota using leaf wax n-alkane biomarkers and compound-specific stable hydrogen isotope analyses" with Arnoud Boom (Leicester).

Genevieve Tyrrell (2019): "Reconstructions of Neotropical hydroclimate: a compound-specific deuterium isotope approach" with Arnoud Boom (Leicester)

Alex Hay (2018): "A process history of an aeolian transport corridor in the Mojave Desert" with Mark Powell (Leicester) and Ian Livingstone (Northampton). 


I teach across the undergraduate Physical Geography and Environmental Science degrees, and I am the also the admissions tutor for these courses. In year 1 I teach the introductory Physical Geography module “Evolution of the Earth System” to all Geography and Environmental Science students. I teach the optional “Introduction to Past Global Climate changes” (Palaeoclimates) in year 2. In year 3 I am lucky to be able to deliver field teaching on dryland landscape processes on our “California Drylands” residential fieldclass in the Mojave Desert. I also teach a third year specialism module “African Drylands” which is concerned with the landscapes ecologies and recent (geological) history of the African deserts. This research-led module is closely linked to many aspects of my research.

Press and media

Landscapes geochronology palaeoclimates


I am a member of the Quaternary Research Association (QRA) and the Southern African Society for Quaternary Research (SASQUA)


Recent presentations

Carr A.S. et al. Revisiting the palaeohydrology of the Nama Karoo: new age constraints on Pleistocene palaeo-lakes in the South Africa. Minerva MCSF workshop: Early Homo sapiens between the Karoo and the Kalahari November 2020 (invited speaker)

Carr A.S. et al. Using post-IR IRSL luminescence methods to constrain the timing of alluvial “cut and fill” in the Great Karoo South Africa. 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) Dublin July 2019.

Carr A.S. et al. 2019. Revisiting the palaeohydrology of the Nama Karoo - late Pleistocene lake high stands and archaeology in the South African interior. 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) Dublin July 2019.

Carr A.S. Sources of variability in leaf wax lipid distributions and stable isotope compositions across arid southern Africa. White Rose Symposium: Climate-Leaf Chemistry Interactions Leeds UK January 2019. Invited Keynote. 

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