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Cristina-Ioana Balaban

Research Postgraduate (PhD)

Research Postgraduate (PhD) in the Department of Geography


Academic background

2019 Durham Doctoral Scholarship PhD - Durham University

  •  The glaciation history and style of the Romanian Carpathians

2015 - 2019 MSci (Hons) Geography (1st class) - Durham University

  • MSci Research Project: Oscillating Late Devensian ice dynamics at Seaham, Durham Coast, North-East England
  • Supervisors: Professor Dave Roberts, Professor David Evans
  • Top MSci Graduate, Department of Geography, Durham University Prize
  • Dissertation: The Glacial History of the Bistricioara - Izvorul Cailor Cirque Complex, Rodna Mountains, Eastern Carpathians, Romania: a glacial geomorphology and numerical modelling investigation
  • Supervisors: Professor David Bridgland, Dr Stewart Jamieson
  • QRA dissertation award nomination

Quaternary Research Association (QRA)

British Society for Geomorphology (BSG) 

PhD Research

The glaciation history and style of the Romanian Carpathians

Understanding the response of mountain glaciers to climate change is one key goal of climate scientists and glaciologists. Crucially, society relies on mountain glaciers for water and mineral (clay, sand, gravel) resources provision and tourist activities. While the behaviour of high-elevation mountain glaciers in temperate-maritime climates (i.e. the Coast Mountains, Canada) and temperate-continental climates (i.e. Tianshan Mountains, Central Asia) is well under research, much less is known about mid-altitude mountain ranges in transitional climate settings. Although no present glaciers exist therein, such as in the Carpathian Mountains (Central-Eastern Europe), their past glaciation may offer valuable insights into future cryosphere-atmosphere interactions.

The Romanian Carpathians represent an ideal setting to explore this, given the range harbours various topographic (rounded peneplains vs. sharp ridges) and micro-climatic (different cirque aspects and wind directions) settings. By mapping landforms related to former glacier extents (moraines) and dating them using absolute (surface exposure) and/or relative (Schmidt hammer,soil chronosequences) dating techniques, both the style (plateau vs. cirque/valley glaciation) and timing (Last Glacial Maximum up to Holocene) of glacial activity can be inferred. Through numerical glacier flow modelling, these inferences may not only be validated, but also related to past climate. Thus, my PhD project may enhance knowledge of glaciation in transitional climatic and topographic settings, to which current mountain glaciers may be subjected, under climate change.

Funded by the Durham Doctoral Scholarship (Faculty of Social Sciences & Health, Durham University).

Research Interests
  • Glacial Geology & Geomorphology
  • Palaeoglaciology & glacier flow numerical models
  • Quaternary history of Eurasia
  • Glaciation - Palaeoclimate interlinkages
  • Relative & absolute dating techniques