Professor of Geography at TCD

Calling geomorphologists and physical geographers everywhere.


Moist dune sands at Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Utah.

We are seeking a world-class geographer for the established Chair of Geography at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Candidates with research interests in environmental change and its impacts on society, including earth and planetary surface processes, climate change, natural hazards and biogeography. A full prospectus is available here.

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#EGU18: The dating game: palaeoflood reconstruction in an Irish catchment

The dating game: palaeoflood reconstruction in an Irish catchment

Ciara Fleming (1), Jonathan Turner (1), and Mary Bourke (2)
Incorporation of detailed palaeoflood records into flood frequency analysis enables the short-term hydrometric record to be contextualised within a longer timeframe, typically thousands of years (Baker et al., 2002). Despite growing concerns of flood risk in Ireland, there has been scant research into the geomorphology of Irish rivers
particularly in lowland settings (Thorp, 1984; Turner et al., 2010), and the potential of sediment archives to augment the instrumental flood record.
Flooding along the banks of the river Shannon near Athlone. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

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#EGU18:Future Proofing Ireland for River Floods: The potential for Natural Flood Management

Future Proofing Ireland for River Floods: The potential for Natural Flood Management

Mary Bourke, Department of Geography, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland (
Climate model predictions for Ireland show an increased probability of high magnitude flood events and an earlier seasonal onset of flood conditions. Many European agencies have adopted Natural Flow Management (NFM) approaches to reduce flood risk. Data from demonstration catchments suggest it is a viable and cost-effective approach for flood management.
Image result for natural flood management

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#EGU18: A new approach for measuring microscale platform erosion

A new approach for measuring microscale platform erosion: A comparison of the Transverse Micro Erosion Meter and Structure from Motion Photogrammetry.

Niamh Cullen, Ankit Verma and Mary Bourke, Trinity College Dublin, Geography, Dublin, Ireland (
For decades researchers have used the Micro Erosion Meter and its successor the Traversing Micro Erosion Meter (TMEM) to measure microscale erosion of shore platforms. These instruments are relatively cheap and portable and have provided a wealth of information on the rate of platform downwearing at a range of locations and lithologies. These data allow an inference of processes operating on shore platform and have improved our understanding of shore platform evolution. Recently, geomorphologists have embraced Structure from Motion (SfM) Photogrammetry as a tool for detecting and quantifying geomorphic change at the landform and sub-landform scale.
Stage 3 percussion DEM

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#EGU18: The Formation of Martian Dune Gullies by Dry Ice: Field Experiments

The Formation of Martian Dune Gullies by Dry Ice: Field Experiments

Jim McElwaine (1,2), Serina Diniega (3), Candice Hansen (2), Mary Bourke (2,4), and Joanne Nield (5)
Long, narrow grooves found on the slopes of martian sand dunes were first reported in 2002 by Mangold and are most likely the result of large blocks of dry ice. Imaging by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on the Mars Global Surveyor and the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has demonstrated that these linear gullies are found within many dune fields and on sandy crater walls within the mid-latitudes on pole-facing slopes. These slopes typically range from 7 to 12 degrees (well below the angle at which a dry granular material is expected to flow.
Image result for ice mars dune

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#EGU18: Seasonal Microscale Modelling of Namib Dune, Mars

Seasonal Microscale Modelling of Namib Dune, Mars

Carin Cornwall (1), Derek Jackson (1), Mary Bourke (2), Meiring Beyers (3), and Andrew Cooper (1)
With the use of a high-resolution digital terrain model and Curiosity rover wind data, microscale airflow modelling was conducted for the Namib dune, Mars and surrounding area. At a horizontal resolution of one meter, microscale airflow modelling provides the necessary resolution to investigate how local topography affects complex, local wind patterns at the bedform scale, enabling the study of potential bedform response throughout the Mars year.
Image result for mars dune

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Latest publication: Grain flows on desert dunes

Cornwall, C., D. W. T. Jackson, M. C. Bourke & J. A. G. Cooper (2018) Morphometric analysis of slipface processes of an aeolian dune: Implications for grain-flow dynamics. Sedimentology, DOI: 10.1111/sed.12456

Grain flows are an integral part of sand dune migration; they are a direct response to the local wind regime and reflect complex interactions between localized over-steepening of a dune slipface and complex turbulent airflow on the lee slope.


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Posted in Fieldwork, Publications