John Smellie

Biography | Selected Publications |


Professor John Smellie, Leicester University

Professor John Smellie is a volcanologist with principal current interests in glaciovolcanism (eruptions beneath ice sheets) and its application to palaeo-ice sheet reconstruction. Prior to moving to Leicester University (UK) in 2010 he spent 35 years working for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), principally as Senior Volcanologist. Although his major geographical focus has been the northern Antarctic Peninsula region, he has worked mainly on volcanic and associated glacial sedimentary rocks right across Antarctica, from the sub-Antarctic active volcanic South Sandwich Islands, through the Antarctic Peninsula and very remote Marie Byrd Land to East Antarctica (northern Victoria Land). In addition he has worked extensively on glaciovolcanic rocks in Iceland. A prolific author, he has > 170 publications, is editor or co-editor of 10 scientific volumes. He is also sole author of an invited comprehensive review of the geology of the entire Antarctic Peninsula region, the first major account for 25 years. Past grants of note include his final research grant held whilst at BAS: titled “Ice-house Earth: Stability or dynamism [ISODYN]” (2005-2009), it involved between 8 and 10 staff annually. He is currently a Co-I on the NERC (UK) grant titled “Glacial history of the NE Antarctic Peninsula Region over centennial to millennial timescales” (2010-2013). He has successfully completed 22 field seasons in Antarctica and 9 in Iceland, including as Chief Scientist on two Antarctic cruises; was awarded a Polar Medal for his scientific research by Her Majesty the Queen (UK); has Service Medals from the American and Italian Antarctic Programmes; three geographical places in Antarctica are named after him (by UK and Spain); and he has a personal chair at Lancaster University (UK) in addition to his Leicester professorship. He is also a Departmental Research Fellow at Aberystwyth University. He is currently working with the Italian and American Antarctic programmes on reconstructing critical parameters of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet in northern Victoria Land during the past 10 million years.

Selected publications

Smellie, J.L. (in press). Antarctic Peninsula – geology and dynamic development. In: Kleinschmidt, G. (Ed.) Geology of the Antarctic continent. Gebrüder Borntraeger Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart.

Smellie, J.L. (In press). Quaternary vulcanism: subglacial landforms. In: Encyclopedia of Quaternary Sciences. Elias, S.A. (Ed.) Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Wilson, L., Smellie, J.L. and Head, J.W. (In press). Volcano-ice interaction. In: Fagents, S., Gregg, T. and Lopes, R. (eds) Modeling of volcanic processes: the physics and mathematics of volcanism. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Haase, K.M., Beier, C., Fretzdorff, S., Smellie, J.L. and Garbe-Schönberg, D. 2012. Magmatic evolution of the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica, and implications for continental crust formation. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, DOI: 10.1007/s00410-012-0719-7.

Davies, B.J., Hambrey, M.J., Smellie, J.L., Carrivick, J.L. and Glasser, N.F. 2012. Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet evolution during the Cenozoic Era. Quaternary Science Reviews, 31, 30-66.

Smellie, J.L., Rocchi, S., Gemelli, M., Di Vincenzo, G. and Armienti, P. 2011. Late Miocene East Antarctic ice sheet characteristics deduced from terrestrial glaciovolcanic sequences in northern Victoria Land, Antarctica. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 307, 129-149.

Salzmann, U., Riding, J.B., Nelson, A.E. and Smellie, J.L. 2011. How likely was a green Antarctic Peninsula during warm Pliocene interglacials? A critical reassessment based on new palynofloras from James Ross Island. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 309, 73-82.

Smellie, J.L., Rocchi, S. and Armienti, P. 2011. Late Miocene volcanic sequences in northern Victoria Land, Antarctica: products of glaciovolcanic eruptions under different thermal regimes. Bulletin of Volcanology, 73, 1-25.

Stevenson, J.A., Gilbert, J.S., McGarvie, D.W. and Smellie, J.L. 2011. Explosive rhyolite tuya formation: classic examples from Kerlingarfjöll, Iceland. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30, 192-209.

McGuire, W., Betts, R., Kilburn, C., Maslin, M., Pyle, D., Smellie, J. And Tappin, D. (editors) 2010. Climate forcing of geological and geomorphological hazards. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 368, 2309-2588.

Williams, M., Nelson, A.E., Smellie, J.L., Leng, M.J., Johnson, A.L.A., Jarram, D.R., Haywood, A.M., Peck, V.L., Zalasiewicz, J., Bennett, C. and Schöne, B.R. 2010. Sea ice extent and seasonality for the Early Pliocene northern Weddell Sea. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 292, 306-318.

Johnson, J.S., Smellie, J.L., Nelson, A.E. and Stuart, F.M. 2009. Stability of the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet since the Early Pliocene – evidence from cosmogenic dating of Pliocene lavas on James Ross Island. Global & Planetary Change, 69, 205-213.

Convey, P., Stevens, M.I., Hodgson, D.A., Smellie, J.L., Hillenbrand, C-D., Barnes, D.K.A., Clarke, A., Pugh, P.J.A., Linse, K. and Cary, S.C. 2009. Exploring biological constraints on the glacial history of Antarctica. Quaternary Science Reviews, 28, 3035-3048.

Nelson, A.E., Smellie, J.L., Hambrey, M.J., Williams, M., Vautravers, M., Salzmann, U., McArthur, J.M. and Regelous, M. 2009. Neogene glacigenic debris flows on James Ross Island, northern Antarctic Peninsula, and their implications for regional climate history. Quaternary Science Reviews, 28, 3138-3160.

Stevenson, J.A., Smellie, J.L., McGarvie, D.W. and Gilbert, J.S. 2009. Subglacial intermediate volcanism at Kerlingarfjöll, Iceland: magma-water interactions beneath thick ice. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 185, 337-351.

Smellie, J.L., Haywood, A.M., Hillenbrand, C-D., Lunt, D.J. and Valdes, P.J. 2009. Nature of the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet during the Pliocene: geological evidence & modelling results compared. Earth-Science Reviews, 94, 79-94.

Johnson, J.S., Hillenbrand, C-D., Smellie, J.L. and Rocchi, S. 2008. The last deglaciation of Cape Adare, northern Victoria Land, Antarctica. Antarctic Science, 20 (6), 581-587.

Hambrey, M.J., Smellie, J.L., Nelson, A.E. and Johnson, J.S. 2008. Late Cenozoic glacier—volcano interaction on James Ross Island and adjacent areas, Antarctic Peninsula region. Bulletin of the American Geological Society, 120, No. 5-6, 709-731.

Smellie, J.L. 2008.  Basaltic subglacial sheet-like sequences: evidence for two types with different implications for the inferred thickness of associated ice. Earth-Science Reviews, 88, No. 1-2, 60-88.

Hillenbrand, C.-D., Moreton, S.M., Caburlotto, A., Pudsey, C.J., Lucchi, R.G., Smellie, J.L., Benetti, S., Grobe, H., Hunt, J. and Larter, R.D. 2008. Volcanic time-markers for marine isotopic stages 6 and 5 in Southern Ocean sediments and Antarctic ice cores: implications for tephra correlations between palaeoclimatic records. Quaternary Science Reviews, 27, 518-540.

Smellie, J.L., Johnson, J.S., McIntosh, W.C., Esser, R., Gudmundsson, M.T., Hambrey, M.J. and van Wyk de Vries, B. 2008. Six million years of glacial history recorded in the James Ross Island Volcanic Group, Antarctic Peninsula. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 260, 122-148.

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