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Professor Emrys Phillips, BSc Hons (Manchester), MSc (Manchester), PhD (Cardiff)

Emrys

Honorary Professor in Geography

Email: erp@bgs.ac.uk

Profile

I joined the British Geological Survey (BGS) in August 1990 as a member of the Mineralogy and Petrology Group. My primary role at this time was to provide detailed specialist scientific input into BGS’ multidisciplinary research and commercial programmes. Consequently, I have gained extensive experience in the petrological, mineralogical and structural (macro- and microstructures) analysis of deformed and metamorphosed bedrock terranes, working on a variety of projects throughout the UK landmass, Iceland, Europe (e.g. Poland, Germany) , North America (e.g. Canada), Africa (e.g. Botswana, Egypt) and the Middle East (e.g. United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia). I currently hold an Individual Merit Promotion (Band 3) Research Scientist post at the BGS office in Edinburgh with an expertise in the macro- and microstructural analysis of deformed glacial sediments, and the control of subglacial deformation on ice sheet dynamics and glacier motion. In 2015 I was awarded an Honorary Professor position in the Department of Geography at Queen Mary University of London.

Key Publications

  • Phillips, E., Finlayson, A., Bradwell, T., Everest, J., Jones, J. 2014. Structural evolution triggers a dynamic reduction in active glacier length during rapid retreat: evidence from Falljökull, SE Iceland. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 119, doi:10.1002/2014JF003165.
  • Phillips, E.R., Lipka, E., van der Meer, J.J.M. 2013. Micromorphological evidence of liquefaction and sediment deposition during basal sliding of glaciers. Quaternary Science Reviews 81, 114-137.
    Phillips, E.R., Finlayson, A., Jones, L. 2013. Fracturing, block-faulting and moulin development associated with progressive collapse and retreat of a polar maritime glacier: Virkisjökull-Falljökull, SE Iceland. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface. 118, 1-17.
  • Phillips, E., Everest, J., Reeves, H. 2012. Micromorphological evidence for subglacial multiphase sedimentation and deformation during overpressurized fluid flow associated with hydrofracturing. Boreas, 42, 395–427.
    Waller, R., Phillips, E.R, Murton, J., Lee, J.R., Whiteman, C. 2011. Sand intraclasts as evidence of subglacial deformation of Middle Pleistocene permafrost, north Norfolk, UK. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30, 3481-3500.
  • Phillips, E.R., van der Meer, J.J.M., Ferguson, A. 2010. A new ‘microstructural mapping’ methodology for the identification and analysis of microfabrics within glacial sediments. Quaternary Science Reviews. 30, 2570-2596.
  • Burke, H.F., Phillips, E.R., Lee, J.R. 2009. Imbricate thrust stack model for the formation of glaciotectonic rafts: an example from the Middle Pleistocene of north Norfolk, UK. Boreas. 38, 620-637.
  • Phillips, E.R., Lee, J.R., Burke, H. F. 2008. Progressive proglacial to subglacial deformation and syntectonic sedimentation at the margins of the Mid-Pleistocene British ice sheet: evidence from north Norfolk, UK. Quaternary Science Reviews. 27, 1848–1871
  • Phillips, E.R., Merritt, J. 2008. Evidence for multiphase water-escape during rafting of shelly marine sediments at Clava, Inverness-shire, NE Scotland. Quaternary Science Reviews. Vol. 27. p 988–1011.
  • Phillips, E.R., Merritt, J.W., Auton, C.A., Golledge, N.R. 2007. Microstructures developed in subglacially and proglacially deformed sediments: faults, folds and fabrics, and the influence of water on the style of deformation. Quaternary Science Reviews. Vol. 26(11-12). p 1499-1528.
  • Evans, D.J., Phillips, E.R., Hiemstra, J.F., Auton, C.A. 2006. Subglacial till: formation, sedimentary characteristics and classification. Earth-Science Reviews. Vol. 78. p 115-176.
  • Phillips, E.R. 2006. Micromorphology of a debris flow deposit: evidence of basal shearing, hydrofracturing, liquefaction and rotational deformation during emplacement. Quaternary Science Reviews. Vol. 25(7-8). p 720-738.
  • Phillips, E.R., Evans, D.J.A., Auton, C.A. 2002. Polyphase deformation at an oscillating ice margin following the Loch Lomond readvance, central Scotland, UK. Sedimentary Geology. Vol. 149(1-3). p 157-182.

Research

Research Interests:

My research focuses upon the structural analysis of polydeformed glacigenic sedimentary sequences and the influence of subglacial processes on ice sheet dynamics and glacier motion. The primary aim of this research to aid our understanding of the processes involved during proglacial and subglacial deformation, and the role of meltwater in this high dynamic system. I am one of a few scientists worldwide who are employing micromorphology as a tool in evaluating the often complex array of structures developed in response glacier induced deformation, becoming one of a few experts worldwide in this branch of Quaternary geology/glaciology. Research topics covered have included: the role of melt water in the transportation of ice-rafted sediments; understanding the complex signatures imparted on glacial sediments in response to polyphase proglacial, ice marginal and subglacial deformation; subglacial processes and glacier bed deformation, and its control on the forward motion of glaciers and ice sheets; bedrock controls on subglacial landform distribution; and the role of glacitectonism in subglacial landform development. Recently I have expanded my scientific research into the field of structural glaciology, examining the internal 3D structural architecture of glaciers and how this relates to subglacial and ice-marginal processes (e.g. subglacial landform development), and the forward motion of these ice masses.

Publications

Peer-reviewed papers since 2008

See also: NERC Open Research Archive — Emrys Phillips

  1. Vaughan-Hirsch, D., Phillips, E. 2016. Mid-Pleistocene thin-skinned glaciotectonic thrusting of the Aberdeen Ground Formation, Central Graben region, central North Sea. Journal of Quaternary Science. DOI: 10.1002/jqs.2836.
  2. Lee, J.R., Wakefield, O.J.W., Phillips, E., Hughes, L. 2015. Sedimentary and structural evolution of a relict subglacial to subaerial drainage system and its hydrogeological implications: an example from Anglesey, north Wales, UK. Quaternary Science Reviews, 109, 88-110.
  3. Phillips, E., Finlayson, A., Bradwell, T., Everest, J., Jones, J. 2014. Structural evolution triggers a dynamic reduction in active glacier length during rapid retreat: evidence from Falljökull, SE Iceland. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 119, doi:10.1002/2014JF003165.
  4. Phillips, E., Hughes, L. 2014. Hydrofracturing in response to the development of an overpressurised subglacial meltwater system during drumlin formation: an example from Anglesey, NW Wales. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association 125, 296–311.
  5. Merritt, J.W., Akhurst, M.C., Wilkinson, I.P., Riding, J.B., Phillips, E.R., Smith, R.A., Finlayson, A., Dean, M.T. 2014. The Late Pleistocene Afton Lodge Clay Formation, Ayrshire, Scotland: evidence for Early to Middle Devensian climatic changes and Late Devensian onshore ice flow and rafting from the Firth of Clyde. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association. Proceedings of the Geologists Association, 125. 195-214.
  6. Phillips, E.R., Lipka, E., van der Meer, J.J.M. 2013. Micromorphological evidence of liquefaction and sediment deposition during basal sliding of glaciers. Quaternary Science Reviews 81, 114-137.
  7. Phillips, E.R., Finlayson, A., Jones, L. 2013. Fracturing, block-faulting and moulin development associated with progressive collapse and retreat of a polar maritime glacier: Virkisjökull-Falljökull, SE Iceland. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface. 118, 1-17.
  8. Lee, J.R., Phillips, E., Booth, S.J., Rose, J., Jordan, H.M., Pawley, S.M., Warren, M., Lawley, R.S. 2013. A polyphase glacitectonic model for ice-marginal retreat and terminal moraine development: the Middle Pleistocene British Ice Sheet, northern Norfolk, UK. Proceedings of the Geologists Association, 124. 753-777
  9. Lee, J.R., Phillips, E. 2013. Glacitectonics - a key to examining ice dynamics, substrate rheology and ice-bed coupling. Proceedings of the Geologists Association, 124. 731-737.
  10. Phillips, E., Lee, J.R., Riding, J.B., Kendall, R., Hughes, L. 2013. Periglacial disruption and subsequent glacitectonic deformation of bedrock: an example from Anglesey, North Wales, UK. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association. Proceedings of the Geologists Association, 124. 802-817.
  11. Phillips, E., Lee, J.R. 2013. Development of a subglacial drainage system and its effect on glacitectonism within the Middle Pleistocene (Anglian) of North Norfolk. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, 124. 855-875. (contribution 80%).
  12. Phillips, E.R., Waters, C.N., Ellison, R.A. 2013. The Jurassic-Cretaceous depositional and tectonic evolution of the south-western margin of the Neotethys Ocean, Northern Oman and United Arab Emirates. In Al Hosani, K., Roure, F., Ellison, R.A., Lokier, S (Eds.). Lithosphere Dynamics and Sedimentary Basins: The Arabian Plate and Analogues, Frontiers in Earth Sciences. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg pp 61-100.
  13. Phillips, E., Everest, J., Reeves, H. 2012. Micromorphological evidence for subglacial multiphase sedimentation and deformation during overpressurized fluid flow associated with hydrofracturing. Boreas, 42, 395–427.
  14. Waller, R., Phillips, E.R, Murton, J., Lee, J.R., Whiteman, C. 2011. Sand intraclasts as evidence of subglacial deformation of Middle Pleistocene permafrost, north Norfolk, UK. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30, 3481-3500.
  15. Lee, J.R., Rose, J., Hamblin, R.J.O., Moorlock, B.S.P., Riding, J.B., Phillips, E., Barendregt, R.W., Candy, I. 2011. The Glacial History of the British Isles during the Early and Middle Pleistocene: Implications for the long-term development of the British Ice Sheet. In Ehlers, J., Gibbard, P.L. & Hughes, P.D. (editors) Developments in Quaternary Science, 15, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Elsevier.
  16. Phillips, E.R., van der Meer, J.J.M., Ferguson, A. 2010. A new ‘microstructural mapping’ methodology for the identification and analysis of microfabrics within glacial sediments. Quaternary Science Reviews. 30, 2570-2596.
  17. Phillips, E.R., Everest, J., Diego Diaz-Doce, D. 2010. Bedrock controls on subglacial landform distribution and geomorphological processes: Evidence from the Late Devensian Irish Sea Ice Stream. Sedimentary Geology.
  18. Phillips, E.R., Smith, R.A., Stone, P., Pashley, V., Horstwood, M. 2009. Zircon age constraints on the provenance of Llandovery to Wenlock sandstones from the Midland Valley terrane of the Scottish Caledonides. Scottish Journal of Geology.
  19. Burke, H.F., Phillips, E.R., Lee, J.R. 2009. Imbricate thrust stack model for the formation of glaciotectonic rafts: an example from the Middle Pleistocene of north Norfolk, UK. Boreas. 38, 620-637.
  20. Davis, B.J., Roberts, D.H., Ó Cofaigh, C., Bridgland, D.R., Riding, J.B., Phillips, E.R., Teasdale, D.A. 2009. Interlobate ice sheet dynamics during the Last Glacial Maximum at Whitburn Bay, County Durham, England. Boreas.
  21. Stoker, M.S., Golledge, N.R., Phillips, E.R., Wilkinson, I.P., Akhurst, M.C. 2009. Latest Glacial–Holocene shoreface progradation offshore Eastern Scotland: a response to climatic and coastal hydrographic change in the western North Sea. Boreas. 38, 292–314.
  22. Phillips, E.R., Lee, J.R., Burke, H. F. 2008. Progressive proglacial to subglacial deformation and syntectonic sedimentation at the margins of the Mid-Pleistocene British ice sheet: evidence from north Norfolk, UK. Quaternary Science Reviews. 27, 1848–1871.
  23. Phillips, E.R., Merritt, J. 2008. Evidence for multiphase water-escape during rafting of shelly marine sediments at Clava, Inverness-shire, NE Scotland. Quaternary Science Reviews. Vol. 27. p 988–1011.
  24. Lee, J.R., Phillips, E.R. 2008. Progressive soft sediment deformation within a subglacial shear zone – a hybrid mosaic-pervasive deformation model for Middle Pleistocene glaciotectonised sediments from eastern England. Quaternary Science Reviews. Vol. 27. p 1350-1362.
  25. Golledge, N.R., Phillips, E.R. 2008. Sedimentology and architecture of De Geer moraines in the western Scottish Highlands, and implications for grounding-line glacier dynamics. Sedimentary Geology. Vol. 208. p 1-14.
  26. Phillips, E.R., Auton, C.A. 2008. Microtextual analysis of a glacially 'deformed' bedrock: implications for inheritance of preferred clast orientations in diamictons. Journal of Quaternary Science. Vol. 23(3). p 229-240.
  27. Phillips, E.R., Merritt, J.W., Auton, C.A., Golledge, N.R. 2007. Microstructures developed in subglacially and proglacially deformed sediments: faults, folds and fabrics, and the influence of water on the style of deformation. Quaternary Science Reviews. Vol. 26(11-12). p 1499-1528.

PhD Supervision

  • Johannes Brumme (2012-2016) The Genesis of the Pleistocene tills from NE-Rügen – Micromorphology and structural analysis, University of Greifswald.
  • Thorbjörg Sigfúsdóttir (2014-2018) Bølling-Allerød glacier dynamics in lower Borgarfjörður, western Iceland: multiple-scale and multi-proxy analysis of glaciotectonics, RANNIS, The Icelandic Research Fund 2014, University of Lund, Sweden.
  • Astrid Ruiter  (2012-2016) 3D Architecture and structure of a tectonised glacigenic sedimentary sequence in the Dogger Bank area of the southern North Sea, BGS British Universities Funding Initiative (BUFI S228)/Queen Mary, University of London.
  • Amanda Ferguson (2008-2012) Polyphase deformation in subglacial and proglacial deposits of the UK, BGS British Universities Funding Initiative (BUFI S109)/Queen Mary, University of London.
  • David Vaughan-Hirsch (2008-2012) Glacitectonic Rafting: Methods of Detachment, Transport and Emplacement, BGS British Universities Funding Initiative (BUFI S155)/ University of Southampton.

Furthermore, in the past 5 years I have supervised/mentored 12 research students/early career scientists who have travelled to BGS Edinburgh from Germany, Poland, Sweden, Iceland, France and UK. This has involved one-to-one instruction on the use of micromorphology in the analysis of glacial sediments.

Public Engagement

  • Vice President of the Edinburgh Geological Society (2016 – present)
  • Ordinary Member of the Quaternary Research Association Exec Committee (2012-2015)
  • President of the Westmorland Geological Society (2012-present)
  • Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society with IBG (2008 - present)
  • Chartered Geologist (1999 - present)
  • Fellow of the Geological Society of London (1993 - present)
  • Member of the Edinburgh Geological Society
  • Member of the Yorkshire Geological Society
  • Member of the Westmorland Geological Society
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