Neal Iverson

Neal Iverson

Neal R. Iverson

Glaciology, Geomorphology, Engineering Geology

356 Science I
Dept. of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011
Phone: (515) 294-1837

B.S. Iowa State University, 1983
Ph.D. University of Minnesota, 1989

Research Interests 
My research is devoted primarily to understanding glaciers and the spectacular imprint they leave on the landscape. Glacier dynamics and landscape modification are particularly sensitive to processes at glacier beds, which is the focus of much of my effort. This research involves field experiments at modern glaciers, field measurements in formerly glaciated landscapes, laboratory experiments, and the formulation of models aimed at characterizing glacial processes.

Current and proposed projects include the following:

  • Field studies of drumlin formation at Múlajökull, Iceland.
  • Use of magnetic till fabrics to infer deformation kinematics of soft beds and related landform genesis, with laboratory experiments to calibrate fabrics to strain characteristics.
  • Laboratory studies of glacier sliding, erosion, and sediment transport with a new custom ring-shear device that drags ice at the melting temperature (0.9 m O.D.) over a rigid or deformable bed.
  • Modeling of bedrock erosion by glaciers.
  • Field studies of bedrock erosion by glaciers in Norway and the Canadian Rockies.
  • Field studies of glacier sliding and seismicity beneath Engabreen, an outlet glacier of the Svartisen Ice Cap in N. Norway with unusual human access to the bed (see this link to the New York Times article that describes some of our earlier research there).
  • LiDAR-based studies of Des Moines Lobe landforms.

This research is funded primarily by the National Science Foundation, through grants awarded by Earth Sciences and Polar Programs. Most of these projects include student research opportunities. Enquiries from prospective students are very welcome.

Recent Field Sites

Ring-Shear Devices

I teach undergraduate and graduate-level courses in geomorphology (Geol 479/579, Surficial Processes) and glacial geology (Geol 474/574, Glacial and Quaternary Geology). Typically more than half of students enrolled in these courses are majors in environmental science, civil engineering, agronomy, or anthropology. Field trips that explore the landforms and Quaternary sediments of Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are routine and important elements of these courses.

Recent Publications

P.L. Moore, J.P. Winberry, N.R. Iverson, K.A. Christianson, S. Anandakrishnan, M. Jackson, M.E. Mathison, and D. Cohen, in press. Glacier slip and seismicity induced by surface melt. Geology.

Byers, J., D. Cohen, and N.R. Iverson, 2012. Subglacial clast-bed contact forces. Journal of Glaciology, 207, 89-98.

Hooyer, T.S., D. Cohen, and N.R. Iverson, 2012. Control of glacial quarrying by bedrock joints. Geomorphology, 153, 91-101.

Iverson, N.R., 2012. A theory of glacial quarrying for landscape evolution models. Geology, 40, 679–682.

Iverson, N.R., and M. Person, 2012. Glacier-bed geomorphic processes and hydrological conditions relevant to nuclear waste disposal. Geofluids, 12, 28-57.

Moore, P.L., N.R. Iverson, K.T. Uno, M.P. Dettinger, K.A. Brugger, and P. Jansson, 2012. Entrainment and emplacement of englacial debris bands near the margin of Storglaciären, Sweden. Boreas, 42, 71-83.

Person, M., J. McIntosh, N.R. Iverson, C.E. Neuzil, and V. Bense, 2012. Geologic isolation of nuclear waste at high latitudes; the role of ice sheets. Geofluids, 12, 1-6.

Iverson, N.R., and B.B. Petersen, 2011. A new laboratory device for study of subglacial processes: first results on ice-bed separation during sliding. Journal of Glaciology, 57(206), 1135-1146.

Moore, P.L., N.R. Iverson, K.A. Brugger, D. Cohen, T.S. Hooyer, P. Jansson, 2011. Effect of a cold margin on ice flow at the terminus of Storglaciären, Sweden: implications for sediment transport, Sweden. Journal of Glaciology, 57(201), 77-87.

Gentoso, M.J., E.B. Evenson, K.P. Kodama, N.R. Iverson, R.B. Alley, C. Berti, and A. Kozlowski, 2011. Exploring till bed kinematics using AMS magnetic fabrics and pebble fabrics: the Weedsport drumlin field, New York State, USA. Boreas, 20.1111/j1502-3885.20111.00221.x.

Iverson, N.R., 2010. Shear resistance and continuity of till at glacier beds: hydrology rules. Journal of Glaciology, 56(200), 1104-1114.

Iverson, N.R., J.E. Mann, and R.M. Iverson, 2010. Effects of soil aggregates on debris-flow mobilization: results from ring-shear experiments. Engineering Geology, 114, 84-92.

Moore , P.L., N.R. Iverson, and D. Cohen, 2010. Conditions for thrust faulting in glaciers. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface,115, F02005, doi:10.1029/2009JF001307.