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) 294-8048

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 and modeling studies of drumlin formation in Iceland
  • Field studies of flute and crevasse-fill ridge formation in 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
  • Field studies of strain in glaciotectonically thrusted and folded sediments in Denmark
  • Laboratory studies of glacier sliding, erosion, and sediment transport with a custom device that rotates a ring of ice (0.9 m O.D.) at the pressure-melting temperature over a rigid or deformable bed
  • Laboratory studies of the rheology of temperate ice as a function of its water content
  • Modeling of bedrock erosion by glaciers
  • LiDAR-based studies of glacial 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

Ugelvig, S.V., D.L. Egholm, and N.R. Iverson, in review. Glacial landscape evolution by subglacial quarrying: A multi-scale computational approach. Geophysical Research-Earth Surface.

McCracken, R.G., N.R. Iverson, Í.Ö. Benediktsson, A. Schomacker, L.K. Zoet, M.D. Johnson, T.S. Hooyer, and Ó. Ingolfsson, 2016. Origin of the active drumlin field at Múlajökull, Iceland: New insights from till shear and consolidation patterns. Quaternary Science Reviews, 148, 243-260.

Zoet, L.K., and N.R. Iverson, 2016. Rate-weakening drag during glacier sliding. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface, 121, doi: 10.1002/2016JF003909.

Benediktsson, Í.Ö., S.A. Jónsson, A. Schomacker, M.D. Johnson, Ó. Ingolfsson, L.K. Zoet, N.R. Iverson, and J. Stötter, 2016. Progressive formation of modern drumlins at Múlajökull, Iceland: stratigraphic and morphological evidence. Boreas, 10.1111/bor12195.

Iverson, N.R. and L.K. Zoet, 2015. Experiments on the dynamics and sedimentary products of glacier slip. Geomorphology, 244, 121-134.

Cline, M.D., N.R. Iverson, and C. Harding, 2015. Origin of washboard moraines of the Des Moines Lobe: Spatial analyses with LiDAR data. Geomorphology, 246, 570-578.

Ankerstjerne, S., N.R. Iverson, and F. Lagroix, 2015. Origin of a washboard moraine of the Des Moines Lobe inferred from sediment properties. Geomorphology, 248, 452-463.

Vreeland, N.P., N.R. Iverson, M. Graesch, and T.S. Hooyer, 2015. Magnetic fabrics of drumlins of the Green Bay Lobe. Quaternary Science Reviews, 112, 33-44.

Zoet, L.K. and N.R. Iverson, 2015. A double-valued drag relationship for basal sliding. Journal of Glaciology, 61(225), 1-7.

Becker, R.A., B. Tikoff, P.R. Riley, and N.R. Iverson, 2014. Pre-existing fractures and the formation of an iconic American landscape: Toulumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, USA. GSA Today, 24(11), 4-10.

Moore, P.L., J.P. Winberry, N.R. Iverson, K.A. Christianson, S. Anandakrishnan, M. Jackson, M.E. Mathison, and D. Cohen, 2013. Glacier slip and seismicity induced by surface melt. Geology, 41(12), 1247-1250.

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(8), 679–682.