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Dr Byron Adams

Dr Byron Adams

Dr Byron Adams
PhD(Arizona State), MS(U Cincinnati), BS(Ball State)

Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow

Area of research

Dynamic interactions between climate, tectonics, and surface processes

Office IC 2.14
Wills Memorial Building,
Queens Road, Clifton BS8 1RJ
(See a map)


Through my investigations into the interactions between tectonics, climate, and surface processes, I have developed an extensive toolset that includes the analysis of topographic and compositional signatures from remotely-sensed data, field based exploration, and geochronology and thermochronology techniques. By combining these primary data sources with numerical thermal-kinematic and landscape evolution models, I constrain spatial and temporal patterns landscape adjustment to an ever-changing set of tectonic and climate boundary conditions. My research has demonstrated that the fluvial and topographic dynamics of even the largest orogens are extremely sensitive to subtle changes in rock uplift and climate parameters. This illustrates that a holistic approach to large orogenic systems, from the underlying faults, to the surface soils, is needed to appreciate the rich history and interlinkage between the underlying geology and the surface evolution of the system.


I received a BS in geology from Ball State University (USA) in 2005. From there, I began a MS project at the University of Cincinnati (USA), which took me to India to study the erosion rates of the Himalaya. In 2007, I finished my MS in geology and moved to Arizona. While at Arizona State University, I focused on the long- and short-term tectonic and topographic evolution of the Bhutan Himalaya. After completing my PhD in geology, I moved to Germany to begin a postdoctoral position at the University of Tübingen. Interestingly, this new post would provide me the first opportunity to study in depth the mountains of the USA. I have spent the past few years investigating how alpine glaciers have changed erosion rates and topography over the past several million years in the Olympic Mountains, and how the instabilities they left behind in landscapes are still influencing erosion rates today.

I joined the School of Earth Sciences at Bristol in 2017 as part of NERC Global Challenges Research Fund project. As a member of the BRACE team (Building Bhutanese Resilience Against Cataclysmic Events), I am currently assessing the hazards associated with earthquake triggered landslides.


  • geomorphology
  • geochronology
  • thermochronology
  • landscape evolution
  • glacial erosion
  • cosmogenic nuclides
  • fluvial incision

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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