Dr Thomas Stevens

Personal profile

I am a lecturer in Physical Geography with principal research interests in palaeoclimatology, geochronology and sedimentology. My current main focus surrounds the formation, deposition, climate impact and climate record of atmospheric dust in the recent geologic past, primarily from loess records. I am tying this activity to long-term climate and tectonic change, particularly in NE Tibet, as well as abrupt shifts in monsoon climate and dust source and accumulation. See my webpage on dust sources over the past 22 million years for more information:


I am also interested in using geological dating methods to understanding impatcs of climate change on Neolithic cultures, sediment transport to the deep sea and the formation of deserts. My research often focusses on eastern Europe and remote parts of north and northwestern China.

I completed my BSc in Geography from the University of Wales, Swansea in 2001, an MSc in Geosciences from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2003, and a D.Phil. focused on Chinese loess deposits in 2007 from the University of Oxford. After finishing my D.Phil., I moved to Kingston University School of Earth Sciences and Geography as a lecturer, and was subsequently appointed to Royal Holloway in 2009. I am Editor in Chief of the International Association of Sedimentologists’ Special Publications series and am a Visiting Professor in the Department of Geography, University of Novi Sad, Serbia. I also am a visiting research scientist at Lanzhou University China.

Follow me on Twitter: @drtstevens

See me on Linkedinhttp://uk.linkedin.com/pub/thomas-stevens/69/828/77

Research interests

My research is focused on three main areas: past climate change, geochronology and clastic sedimentology.

My main interests are focused on Chinese and European loess deposits and their age, provenance and the climate record they contain. These are deposits of atmospheric dust - a fundamental but poorly understoood component of the climate system. I am extremely keen to better integrate geologic records of dust with climate prediction models. I am also very interested in how the history of the Yellow River and the uplift of the Tibetan plateau may have affected atmospheric dust production over the last 22 million years.

My recent work has also involved sedimentary processes in the Himalayas and California and the influence of these on climate records and sediment transport from mountains to submarine fans. I am also very interested in Neolithic civilisations and apply dating methods to help understand the impact of monsoons on Neolithic cultures such as the Harappan - one of the earliest urban civilisations.


GG3036 - China: climate change, tectonics and people

This course is dedicated to the study of how physical processes such as the uplift of the Tibetan-Himalayan orogeny and the onset of monsoon circulation have shaped China and influenced its climate and people. The course brings in new and globally significant theories on how the interaction of mountain building, erosion and the monsoon have driven global climate and produced the dramatic relief of the Himalayas. There is a significant focus on the monsoon and its past variation, how this has been reconstructed, as well as evidence and controversies (e.g., the Movius Line) concerning humans in Asia during the Quaternary.

For more information click here.

For Moodle page click here.


GG2001 – Physical Geography Fieldtrip: Ireland

I currently lead two days of this fieldtrip:

  1. Quaternary Glaciations in Ireland – here we investigate the sedimentological evidence for glacial activity and past high sea levels during the Late Pleistocene in East Ireland. The aim is to reconstruct past ice sheet movement and sea level over the interval of exposed glacigenic sediments at the site.
  2. Soil development and variability – here we investigate the influence of topography and subsurface geology on soil development at a site in the Wicklow Mountains. Through the use of physical and chemical evidence, the aim to distinguish the relative influences of local factors on soils, in contrast to large scale climatology or land use.

For Moodle page click here.


GG1011 – Module D: Statistical Methods for Geographers

The course introduces the main methods in numerical data description and statistical inference for Geographers. It aims to make students intelligent users of data with an understanding of the appropriate statistical tests for different data types, how to undertake them, and what the assumptions behind them are. It will introduce both SPSS and Microsoft Excel as useful tools in this process.

For Moodle page click here.


GG5201 – Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

I teach the Sedimentology component of this core module on the MSc in Quaternary Science.

For Moodle page click here.


GG5291 - Quaternary Palaeoclimatology

I teach the 'monsoons day' of this core module in the MSc in Quaternary Science.

For Moodle page click here.


I am a Bureau Member of the International Association of Sedimentologists (IAS) and co-editor in chief of the IAS Special Publications series. For more information click here.

I am Visiting Professor in the Department of Geography, University of Novi Sad, Trg Dositeja Obradovica 3, 21000 Novi Sad, Serbia

  • International Sedimentological Congress

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

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