Skip to main content

Dr Grace Nield

Post Doctoral Research Associate

AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Post Doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Geography205+44 (0) 191 33 41925
Post Doctoral Research Associate , Sea Level, Ice and Climate401+44 (0) 191 33 43481


Research Overview

My research focuses on solid Earth deformation in Antarctica with the goal of understanding more about the underlying Earth structure and rheology, and untangling present day observed deformation signals. My background is in modelling glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) – the response of the Earth to changes in ice and ocean loading – and work I completed as part of my PhD highlighted that this process was occurring on a much shorter timescale in the Antarctic Peninsula than previously thought due to the low viscosity upper mantle in this region.

In the past few years, I have been working on an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded project to build a model of postseismic deformation for Antarctica, that is, to simulate how the Earth deforms in the years following a large earthquake. This signal can be observed in GPS records in the Northern Antarctic Peninsula and can be used to constrain the Earth structure in this region. Moreover, this signal needs to be fully understood before GPS data can be used to estimate ice mass balance in Antarctica.

My current research, as part of the UKANET project, aims to enhance 3D finite element models of GIA in the Southern Antarctic Peninsula using high resolution seismic data to derive earth properties. Incorporating lateral variations in Earth properties will improve estimates of solid Earth deformation in response to changes in ice loading since the Last Glacial Maximum in this tectonically complex region. Furthermore, this project aims to model the viscoelastic response to large scale surface mass balance anomalies, a signal that has been previously unaccounted for in GPS timeseries.

Research interests

  • Postseismic deformation
  • Glacial isostatic adjustment
  • Solid Earth deformation
  • Ice-sheet modelling
  • Antarctica

Research groups

Research Projects

  • Defining models of glacial isostatic adjustment in West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula (UKANET): Better constraints on Earth structure and uplift

Esteem Indicators

  • 2022: :
    • Invited speaker for Imperial College Earth Sciences Department seminar
    • Invited speaker for the AGU Geodesy Lecture Series
    • Invited speaker at the AGU Fall Meeting
  • 2020: Co-convener at EGU session: Linking Solid Earth and Glacial Isostatic Adjustment:
  • 2018: Session Chair at the UK Antarctic Science Conference, Durham:
  • 2014: Keith Runcorn Prize (runner up) for Best Geophysics Thesis:
  • 2013: Invited seminar speaker, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania:
  • 2013: Invited speaker at the Larsen Ice Shelf System, Antarctica (LARISSA) Project Meeting:
  • 2012: EGU Outstanding Student Poster Award, Geodesy Division, EGU General Assembly. Poster title: “The effect of recent accumulation changes in the Antarctic Peninsula upon Glacial Isostatic Adjustment”. ;


Journal Article