How we spent our summer…

It has been a busy summer for all members of the postgraduate forum whether that be on fieldwork, completing laboratory work or writing papers. The focus of this blog is to find out what each member of the forum has got up to this summer so we can demonstrate the diversity of a geomorphological PhD!

Scott Watson, University of Leeds

‘One of my main activities this summer was a five week field trip to the Khumbu Glacier in Nepal. This was the second of three trips to gather field data for my PhD and I also used the opportunity to climb a 6000 m peak on a day off. Aside from that, I’ve been writing the second paper towards my PhD, which is investigating ice cliff dynamics in the Everest region using fine-resolution satellite imagery. I’ve also been easing my way back into trail running following a lengthy injury (acquired during the first field trip), and preparing for my final field trip in September.’

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Francesca Falcini, University of York

‘It’s been a relatively quiet summer for me in terms of fieldwork, but I did attend the QRA field meeting to Skye in May. Lots of glacial landforms and rock slope failures to see, which make for an amazing landscape that lives up to the hype. Perhaps the most exciting part of the trip was being in the presence of not just one but both Benn and Evans, who arguably wrote the glaciology bible.  I also enjoyed a week in Ireland helping fellow BSG postgrad forum rep Lauren with her fieldwork. In between those trips I’ve been in the office working on my upgrade documents, method development and planning papers.’


Rachel Hurley, University of Manchester

‘It has been a relatively uneventful summer for me with a solid block of labs, barring one week in the Cretan mountains. I’m working to finish off all of my analytical work before the new term so that I can get my head down in my writing up year. I have also been putting together the first publication from my PhD  – it will be exciting to see my work out in print!’


Danielle Alderson, University of Manchester

‘After the wonderful summer that I had last year visiting Florida followed by an undergraduate field trip to India, I have unfortunately been experiencing solely the climes of Manchester this year! As I approach my submission pending year I have largely been glued to my chair in front of my desk analysing data for my third and fourth papers as part of my PhD. I generally seem to have two computers open at all times in addition to something on Netflix to keep me sane! It finally feels like everything may begin to come together at some point soon which is certainly a very exciting feeling and one that every PhD student seeks. I have had a busy September, firstly attending the Plymouth AGM (particularly the conference dinner in the National Marine Aquarium!) followed by an undergraduate field trip to Keswick and finally a week away in Turkey!’


Lauren Knight, University of Portsmouth
‘It’s been a very busy and exciting summer, full of fieldwork. In May I was back in the Wicklow Mountains, Ireland, for a second (very sunny) field season. I also attended the QRA Skye Field Meeting, where the geomorphology was amazing. In July I helped a colleague with fieldwork atHardangerjøkulen in Norway. We camped on the southern side of the ice cap and collected a lot of useful data in some challenging conditions. Finally, in August I returned to Wicklow for my third and final field season. Despite horrendous weather I managed to finish all the required geomorphological mapping and sedimentology. I even managed to continue triathlon training with several local runs and evening swims in a nearby lough. Now I’m back in the office, starting on analysis, which feels very strange after busy and active summer!’

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Anne Stefaniak, Nottingham Trent University

‘This summer I spent 3 weeks in the Indian Himalayas in Ladakh with a group of young explorers on expedition with the British exploring society. The aim of the expedition was to take the young explorers to a new environment and look at a range or scientific and adventure projects. As well as going on the Drang Drung glacier and climbing our way up to over 5000 m of altitude, we also had a go at learning a variety of scientific techniques. The projects ranged from geology, meteorology, lake studies, geomorphology and not least glaciology! The work from the expedition will be presented on a few different posters at the BSG conference this September.’


Daniel Sperl, University of Cologne

‘When Danielle asked me about my PhD life summer activities, I first thought: “Daniel, what did you do during summer and what should I write about?” My summer was very diverse: (1) I stayed away from Cologne for one month at the catholic university at Louvain-la-Neuve to prepare samples and discuss my work with my co-supervisor. (2) After I returned, I helped pack our “collection of stones” (more than 3 t of rocks), due to the reason that our department is moving into a new building. (3) I attended a summer school in Germany on “Dates and Rates of Change in Quaternary”. It was a great week, meeting friends that I made during the Windsor Workshop last year. We had a great time together and are planning a future trip to the Highlands of Scotland. (4) Finally most of my time was spent writing papers during a rainy summer here in Cologne, as is displayed in the picture!’

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Owen King, University of Leeds

‘Like Scott, the biggest focus of my summer so far has been preparing for and carrying out a second field season in Nepal. We were back in the Khumbu valley this May to repeat surveys we carried out last October/November, and I’m currently working through the processing of this second huge batch of data. Some preliminary results look really exciting though, and the rate at which the Khumbu glacier is changing and losing ice is really alarming. Sadly that’s my fieldwork completed now, but the next couple of months should be really interesting writing the fruits of my labour up into a second paper towards my PhD.’


We hope fellow postgraduate members of the society also had wonderful summers! Please get in contact if you would like to tell us about them, or if you have anything you would like to raise with the postgraduate section of the society!

Danielle Alderson (

Twitter- @BSG_Postgrads

Facebook- BSG Postgraduates



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