Dr Andrew Ivester

BSc, MA, PhD

Department of Geography

Research Associate

a.ivester@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 7914

Full contact details

Dr Andrew Ivester
Department of Geography
Room C2
Geography and Planning Building
Winter Street
Sheffield
S3 7ND
Profile

Andrew is a physical geographer with interests in geomorphology, soil science, and environmental change. He applies various techniques from the geosciences to examine processes that affect Earth’s surface environment.

A central theme of his work is the application of luminescence dating techniques toward understanding long-term ecological and landscape responses to climate and environmental change.

Much of his work has been in the Southeastern US. He also has worked in Southern Africa and is currently part of a collaborative project in New Zealand to date fault slip rates based on the displacement of fluvial features.

His teaching experience spans geography, geology, and environmental science. Andrew maintains adjunct affiliation with the Geosciences Department at the University of West Georgia.

Qualifications
  • BSc, Physics, cum laude, Furman University, South Carolina
  • MA, Geography, The University of Georgia
  • PhD, Geography, The University of Georgia
Research interests

Luminescence Dating Applications

Developments in luminescence dating techniques are yielding exciting advancements in the field of geomorphology by providing a way to date sediments that might not be dateable by other means.

In addition to age-dating, the luminescence properties of sediments can help elucidate depositional and pedogenic processes operative in the near-surface environment.

I use luminescence techniques along with traditional sedimentological methods to examine recent geomorphic history and currently active surficial processes in many landscape settings.

Given the increasing influence of humans on landscape development during the Holocene, much of my work synthesizes luminescence techniques with the principles of geoarchaeology.

Eolian Landforms and Sediments

I’ve used luminescence, radiocarbon, and relative age indicators such as soil development to document the chronology of Pleistocene dunes and other eolian deposits, both in Southern Africa and on the interior of the Atlantic Coastal Plain in the US, elucidating the relationships between environmental change and geomorphology.

The most recent phase of dune activity in the southeastern US peaked during the last glacial maximum, around 20,000 years ago. Some of these dunes were reactivated periodically during the Holocene.

The high, sandy dune ridges overlooking surrounding floodplains were preferred sites for prehistoric human habitation; so human activities might have destabilized some of the dune crests.

I'm currently investigating the timing of Holocene dune activity in an effort to distinguish climatic from anthropogenic factors leading to remobilization.

Wetland and Paleolake Studies

Wetlands represent archives of climate change, as recorded by fossil pollen, plant macro-fossils, and clastic sediment. I've worked to document such records preserved in floodplains, upland spring-head seeps, and in isolated wetlands such as Carolina bays.

Carolina bays, named for the bay trees (Persea spp.) they often host, are elliptically-shaped, depressional wetlands on the Atlantic Coastal Plain.

The organic materials filling the basins of these relict lakes preserve local and regional vegetation histories. A clearer picture of their geomorphology and hydrology will enable better conservation of these threatened wetlands.

Paleo-shorelines of Carolina bays also act as repositories of archaeological materials that imply human occupation since the terminal Pleistocene.

Single-grain age distributions in the upper meter of the sandy soils can be used to determine the relative role of primary deposition versus bioturbation, an issue that has broader policy implications for cultural resource management policies in sandy soils.

Future comparative studies of oriented lakes elsewhere (such as those in Australia, South Africa, and Chile) can lead to a global synthesis of ephemeral lake geomorphology.

Fluvial Geomorphology

The principles of fluvial geomorphology can be used to reconstruct the environmental history of stream basins.

My work on floodplain and terrace formation in the southeastern US is helping to clarify how the transition from glacial to interglacial regimes–and how the lower amplitude variability of the present Holocene–have affected landscapes in the non-glaciated southern US.

I'm currently working on a thick sequence of alluvial sediments in the Blue Ridge Mountains, South Carolina that documents stream response to climate and land use changes since the last glacial maximum.

A separate project based on field sites throughout the southeastern US is revealing evidence for prehistoric gully incision associated with Native American agriculture.

Barrier Island Development

I’ve applied luminescence dating toward problems related to coastal geomorphology and sea level change, obtaining ages of modern barriers and raised shorelines that date past high stands in sea level along the Georgia bight.

Recent work on the evolution of barrier islands is supporting an alternative interpretation of the fundamental processes of barrier island formation and shoreline response to sea level change.