Dr Rachel Smedley

Title: Lecturer in Physical Geography
Phone: +44 (0) 1782 734116
Email: r.smedley@keele.ac.uk
Location: William Smith : WS1.33b
Role: Lecturer
Contacting me:
Rachel Smedley 200 pixel image

From 2006 – 2009, I studied Geography at Aberystwyth University. During this time I was lucky enough to participate in a field trip to New Zealand and be an ERASMUS exchange student to the University centre in Svalbard (UNIS) – this was when I really started to get excited about studying ice and past climate changes. In 2009/2010, I went on to study an MRes in Quaternary Environmental Change, when I was first introduced to luminescence dating. After enjoying it so much, I went on to do a PhD in Aberystwyth University to developing the use of single gains of feldspar for luminescence dating of former ice limits in Argentine Patagonia. From 2014 - 2016 I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate on the NERC-funded BRITICE-CHRONO research consortium project. After this, I enjoyed some time spent teaching at the University of Chester and University of Manchester, before joining the School of Geography, Geology and the Environmental at Keele University in 2017 as a Lecturer in Physical Geography.

My research interests are in understanding past environments of the Quaternary to inform present and future climate change. My research vision to address the lack of robust datasets currently available which constrain past climate change and can be used to test numerical models. I specialise in reconstructing former ice masses using geochronology (luminescence dating), geomorphology and sedimentology to better understand physical processes of the past (e.g. changing climate).

British-Irish Ice Sheet

I am an active member of the NERC-funded BRITICE-CHRONO research consortium.  The aim of the BRITICE-CHRONO project is to constrain the rate and style of retreat of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet. We have produced the largest empirical dataset in the world constraining the retreat of a former ice mass. It is now being used it to test ice-sheet models and process understanding of modern-day ice sheets. My role as part of this project was to perform luminescence dating over 80 sedimentary samples constraining ice retreat, including the southernmost terrestrial maximum on the Isles of Scilly (Smedley et al. 2017, Journal of Quaternary Science).

Project website: http://www.britice-chrono.group.shef.ac.uk/

Twitter: @BRITICECHRONO

Patagonia

The aim of my PhD research was to develop the use of a new approach to luminescence dating (adopting the post-IR IRSL signal for single-grains of K-feldspar). I tested this technique at Lago Buenos Aires in Patagonia where moraines and associated outwash plains have been preserved from multiple glaciations. The results from this study demonstrated that the new approach to luminescence dating could provide accurate ages in a glaciated setting, but also discovered rare evidence of extended ice limits during Marine Isotope Stage 3 east of the Northern Patagonian Icefield (Smedley et al. 2016, Quaternary Science Reviews).

Selected Publications

  • Smedley RK, Chiverrell RC, Ballantyne CK, Burke MJ, Clark CD, Duller GAT, Fabel D, McCarroll D, Scourse JD, Small D, Thomas GSP. 2017. Internal dynamics condition centennial-scale oscillations in marine-based ice-stream retreat. GEOLOGY, vol. 45(9), 787-790. link> doi>
  • Smedley RK, Scourse JD, Small D, Hiemstra JF, Duller GAT, Bateman MD, Burke MJ, Chiverrell RC, Clark CD, Davies SM, Fabel D, Gheorghiu DM, McCarroll D, Medialdea A, Xu S. 2017. New age constraints for the limit of the British–Irish Ice Sheet on the Isles of Scilly. Journal of Quaternary Science, vol. 32(1), 48-62. doi>
  • Small D, Clark CD, Chiverrell RC, Smedley RK, Bateman MD, Duller GAT, Ely JC, Fabel D, Medialdea A, Moreton S. 2017. Devising quality assurance procedures for assessment of legacy geochronological data relating to deglaciation of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet. Earth-Science Reviews, vol. 164, 232-250. doi>
  • Smedley RK and Pearce NJG. 2016. Internal U, Th and Rb concentrations of alkali-feldspar grains: Implications for luminescence dating. Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 35, 16-25. doi>
  • Smedley RK, Glasser NF, Duller GAT. 2016. Luminescence dating of glacial advances at Lago Buenos Aires (~46 S), Patagonia. Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 134, 59-73. doi>

Full Publications List show

Journal Articles

  • Smedley RK, Chiverrell RC, Ballantyne CK, Burke MJ, Clark CD, Duller GAT, Fabel D, McCarroll D, Scourse JD, Small D, Thomas GSP. 2017. Internal dynamics condition centennial-scale oscillations in marine-based ice-stream retreat. GEOLOGY, vol. 45(9), 787-790. link> doi>
  • Smedley RK, Scourse JD, Small D, Hiemstra JF, Duller GAT, Bateman MD, Burke MJ, Chiverrell RC, Clark CD, Davies SM, Fabel D, Gheorghiu DM, McCarroll D, Medialdea A, Xu S. 2017. New age constraints for the limit of the British–Irish Ice Sheet on the Isles of Scilly. Journal of Quaternary Science, vol. 32(1), 48-62. doi>
  • Small D, Clark CD, Chiverrell RC, Smedley RK, Bateman MD, Duller GAT, Ely JC, Fabel D, Medialdea A, Moreton S. 2017. Devising quality assurance procedures for assessment of legacy geochronological data relating to deglaciation of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet. Earth-Science Reviews, vol. 164, 232-250. doi>
  • Smedley RK and Pearce NJG. 2016. Internal U, Th and Rb concentrations of alkali-feldspar grains: Implications for luminescence dating. Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 35, 16-25. doi>
  • Smedley RK, Glasser NF, Duller GAT. 2016. Luminescence dating of glacial advances at Lago Buenos Aires (~46 S), Patagonia. Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 134, 59-73. doi>
  • Smedley RK, Duller GAT, Roberts HM. 2015. Bleaching of the post-IR IRSL signal from individual grains of K-feldspar: Implications for single-grain dating. Radiation Measurements, vol. 79, 33-42. doi>
  • Smedley RK. 2015. A new R function for the Internal External Uncertainty (IEU) model. Ancient TL, vol. 33(1), 16-21.
  • Smedley RK and Duller GAT. 2013. Optimising the reproducibility of measurements of the post-IR IRSL signal from single-grains of K-feldspar for dating. Ancient TL, vol. 31(2), 49-58.
  • Smedley RK, Duller GAT, Pearce NJG, Roberts HM. 2012. Determining the K-content of single-grains of feldspar for luminescence dating. Radiation Measurements, vol. 47, 790-796. doi>

First year

  • The Practice of Physical Geography

Second year

  • Dynamic Geographies
  • Geographical Research Training