Sebastian M Gibson BSc MSc AFHEA
Sebastian's PhD is on the Pleistocene history of glacial deposits in the Birmingham region under the supervision of Professor Phil Gibbard, with advisors Dr Steve Boreham and Dr Philip Hughes (University of Manchester). Sebastian read a BSc in Geography between 2003-2006 at the University of Exeter following onto a MSc in Quaternary Science between 2007-2008 at Royal Holloway and UCL. Sebastian primary interest is glacial sedimentology, stratigraphy and geochronology. These skills are hoped to raise and address key questions surrounding the highly dynamic sedimentological records of the Birmingham region
The Pleistocene History of the Birmingham District project aims to re-evaluate Birmingham position within British glacial stratigraphy. Birmingham is built on a complex sequence of Middle Pleistocene sediments representing at least three lowland glaciations (Anglian, Wolstonian, and Devenisan). Geological mapping accounts for 75% of the landmass as Quaternary, that is, predominantly glacial-sandy till, glacial-fluvial sand, and clay and organic silt/peat. Understanding the age of Quaternary deposits related to specific glaciations is critical to establishing a geochronology of Birmingham. Professor Fred Shotton found a series of Middle Pleistocene glacial sediments, termed 'Wolstonian', intermediate in age between the Hoxnian and Ipswichian Interglacial Stages. Uncertainty surrounding the relation to East Anglian sequences implies that Birmingham sequences should be referred to as Anglian Stage. However, younger Middle Pleistocene glacial sequences occur in Birmingham (erratics dated to c.190 ka), yet there is uncertainty about the complex, inaccessible sediments, especially as deposits have similar extents with Devensian sequences. A new regional stratigraphy of the Birmingham district shall be established, supported by Optical Stimulated Luminescence (OSL), cosmogenic exposure dating, and pollen palynology from around Birmingham to support a glacial presence during the Wolstonian Stage. The glacial stratigraphy of Birmingham is controlled to the east by the Irish Sea and North-East ice (around the sites of Wolston, Glebe Farm, Meriden Quarry, Park Farm, and Gilson) and to the west by Welsh ice (around the sites of Seisdon and Frankley). Sites establish the location of the ice through field sedimentology and mapping, and suitable samples have been processed for dating. Correlation of dating provides an important constraint on understanding the glacial history of Birmingham. The significance of this work is correlated using stratigraphy, chronostratigraphy, and biostratigraphy, enabling complex deposits to be understood across the district. Sedimentology and geochronology on Birmingham's Quaternary deposits, deposited by extensive repeated Middle Pleistocene glaciations since the Mid-Pleistocene period, establishes that the Wolstonian Glaciation was present in Birmingham during c. 160 ka BP. This contributes significantly to the debate surrounding the timing of glaciations in East Anglia and across the UK. Such a finding has yet wider significance owing to the Wolstonian's relation to the equivalent Saalian Glaciation of Continental Europe while the East Anglian sequences are associated with sequences in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany.
Education and Previous Research
• MSc Royal Holloway and New Bedford College and University College, London (UCL), University of London (2008).
Dissertation: An OSL Chronology for the Glaciogenic Sediment on the Gower Peninsula, Wales. I re-evaluated the glacial sedimentology of Hunts Bay and Rotherslade, Gower Peninsula, Wales and applied OSL dating to the key sediment switches. Interpretations held Rotherslade sediments as glacial and Hunts Bay as periglacial, where both sites sedimentology overlayed a raised beach, correlated to MIS 5e, suggesting the glacial sediments were MIS 2. My dissertation controversially presented dates of deposition over two glaciation (MIS 6 & MIS 2),
• BSc University of Exeter (2006).
Dissertation: An Examination of the Punchbowl, Exmoor: a Niviation Hollow or a Glacial Cirque. I re-evaluated two ridge features, previously interpreted as glacial deposits. I found no evidence to support this, instead I reinterpreted the ridges as protalus ramparts. The Punchbowl was interpreted as a niviation hollow, exploiting a geological fault.
Field, M. H., Gibson, S. M. and Gibbard, P. L. (2017) East–West European Middle Pleistocene correlation – the contribution of the first British record of Aracites interglacialis Wieliczk. Acta Palaeobotanica. 57(1): 101–108. <PDF>
Gibson, S.M. (2012) Continuing Research of Professor Fred Shotton. Sidney Sussex College Annual 2012. p.98-101.
Field, M. H., Gibson, S. M. and Gibbard, P. L. (2016) East–West European Middle Pleistocene correlation - the contribution of the first British record of Aracites interglacialis Wieliczk. INQUA-SEQS 2016 Meeting. Armenia.
Gibson, S. M., Gibbard, P. L., Bateman, M. and Boreham, S. (2015) Pleistocene History of the Birmingham District, Midlands, England. INQUA XIX Congress 2015, Nagoya, Japan. Gibson, S. M. and Gibbard, P. L. (2015) 3D Mapping of Quaternary Deposits in Birmingham, West Midlands, England. INQUA XIX Congress 2015, Nagoya, Japan.
Gibson, S. M. (2014) Melting the Divide. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2014.
Gibson, S. M., Gibbard, P. L., Bateman, M. and Boreham, S. (2014) Constraining Middle Pleistocene Glaciations in Birmingham, England, Using Optical Stimulated Luminescence Dating. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2014. Gibson, S. M. (2013) 3D Modelling of Glacial Sediments around Birmingham. QRA Postgraduate Symposium. University of Southampton.
Gibson, S. M. (2012) The Mid-Late Pleistocene History of the Birmingham Region. QRA Postgraduate Symposium. University of Aberdeen.
Gibson, S. M. (2012) The Wolstonian Complex. Royal Geographical Society Postgraduate Forum Mid-Term Conference, University of Nottingham.
Dudley Stamp Memorial Award, Royal Geographical Society with IBG.
Graduate Research Grant, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.
Parry Dutton Student Fund, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.
New Research Workers Award, Quaternary Research Association.
QRA-INQUA Congress Fund, Quaternary Research Association.
Philip Lake Fund, Department of Geography, Cambridge.
Fieldwork Fund, University of Cambridge.
Travel Grant, Cambridge Philosophical Society.
Associate Fellow of The Higher Education Academy (AFHEA), 2015. In recognition of attainment against the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and learning support in higher education.
Ice Age "Dawn of Manmade Climate Change". Cambridge Admission Office, 2012-
Out of Africa, A Climate Driven Journey. Cambridge Admission Office, 2014-
Part Ia Paper 2 Physical Geography: The Earth, 2013-
Part Ia Paper 2 Physical Geography: Land and Water, 2013-
Part Ia Paper 2 Physical Geography: Atmospheric Processes and Climate, 2012-
Part Ia Paper 2 Physical Geography: Oceans and Coasts, 2014-
Part Ia Paper 2 Physical Geography: Environmental Change during the Quaternary, 2013-
Part Ia Paper 2 Physical Geography: Life on Earth, 2014-
Part Ib Paper 1 Living with Global Change Part 1 Core Themes, 2013-
Part Ib Paper 6 Glacial Processes, 2012-
Part II Paper 8 Quaternary Environments, 2012-
Fieldwork and Laboratory Demonstrations
Part Ia Geographical Skills and Methods, 2011-
Part Ib Project 4 Water Quality, 2012.
Part Ib Paper 5 Biogeography, 2013-
Part II Paper 8 Quaternary Environments, 2012-
Sutton Trust Summer School Co-ordinator 2013 & 2014.
Postgraduate Mentor, Cambridge Admissions Office.
Graduate Student, Sidney Sussex College.
Postgraduate Fellow, Royal Geographical Society with IBG.
Fellow, Cambridge Philosophical Society.
Postgraduate Member, Quaternary Research Association.
Student Member, Geologists' Association.
Student Member, American Geophysical Union.
Student Member, Warwickshire Geological Conservation Group.
Student Member, Black Country Geological Society.
President 2014-16, Cambridge University Railway Club.