Charlotte Curry

Department of Geography

PhD Candidate

PhD candidate Charlotte Curry conducting fieldwork

Full contact details

Charlotte Curry
Department of Geography
Geography and Planning Building
Winter Street
S3 7ND

I am interested in cold-regions geomorphology and the dynamics of mountain glaciers.

I joined the Department of Geography in 2019 when I began studying for my MSc in Polar and Alpine Change. During this time my research was focused on investigating the causes of glacier velocity anomalies across the Karakoram, Spiti Lahaul and Eastern Himalayan regions of High Mountain Asia.

Since then I have continued to study the evolution of mountain glaciers, however I have switched focus from glaciers in High Mountain Asia to those in the Andes. I enjoy conducting fieldwork and collecting data in a range of geographical settings including Iceland and the French Alps, and I am looking forward to my forthcoming fieldwork in Chile in Spring 2023.

The Impacts of Climate Change and Mining on Glaciers in the Andes

Anthropogenic activity is causing glaciers to change rapidly across the Andes. Firstly, as global temperatures rise, mountain glaciers are generally shrinking in response to warmer atmospheric conditions and reduced snowfall. Secondly, the extraction and use of natural resources drives increased atmospheric pollution through the production of dust and vehicle emissions, resulting in enhanced melting where glaciers are in close proximity to active mines (such as in the Olivares Basin, Chile). Despite the obvious importance of glaciers as drought-resistant water resources in this arid region, the impact of mining on short-term glacier behaviour and longer-term regional water supplies is poorly understood.

My project seeks to assess the impacts that mining and climatic shifts over the last 40,000 years have had on glaciers in the Andes, to assess glacier change in the past, recent glacier evolution, and project their future recession and the impact this will have for water resources. I combine geomorphological mapping with 10-Be cosmogenic nuclide exposure-age dating to create a moraine geochronology, which is then used in conjunction with the Instructed Glacier Model (IGM) to simulate and evaluate long-term glacier evolution. To assess the impacts of more recent glacial changes, a blend of desktop- and field-based approaches are used. This includes calculating surface elevation change and albedo variability since 1972 (start of Landsat satellite era), along with measurements of surface reflectance and x-ray diffraction (XRD) to determine the distribution, provenance and impact that dust derived from mining activity has had on glaciers in the Olivares Basin.

Supervisors: Dr Ann Rowan, Dr Stephen Livingstone, Dr Rob Bryant, Dr Duncan Quincey and Dr Claudio Bravo.


2021 – Present: PhD, The University of Sheffield

2020 – 2021: Research Assistant, The University of Sheffield

2019 – 2020: MSc (Res) Polar and Alpine Change, The University of Sheffield

2016 – 2019: BSc Geography, The Queen’s University of Belfast

Professional activities

Grants and Scholarships

  • Hossein Farmy Scholarship (PhD + Stipend)

Conference Presentations

  • The European Geoscience Union (EGU): Vienna, 2020
  • The International Mountain Conference (IMC): Innsbruck, 2022


  • The Koerner Dissertation Prize, awarded by The University of Sheffield in November 2020
  • The Estyn Evans Dissertation Award, awarded by The Queen’s University of Belfast in June 2019.