The evolution of Late Quaternary alluvial landscapes in northern Oman


  • Stipendiary Lecturer in Physical Geography at St Catherine's College
  • Profile

    Sam is a SEAHA (Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology) Centre for Doctoral Training student funded by the EPSRC. He holds a BA in Geography from the University of Oxford and an MRes from UCL, also funded under the SEAHA program by the EPSRC. His research focuses on understanding the geomorphology of hydrological systems in northern Oman, with broader interests in how Quaternary environmental changes in the region impacted Hominids including early humans.

    Outside of his research, Sam is passionate about environmental science communication. He has written multiple times for Anthroposphere and is an Assistant Knowledge Manager for weADAPT. He has also assisted on undergraduate fieldwork and lab teaching.

    Awards and Funding

    • 2018-2022 Engineering and Physical Science Research Council Doctoral Training Scholarship
    • 2018 J.C.A Meldrum Fieldwork Prize for physical geography fieldwork
    • 2017-2018 Emmanuelle Scholarship, Regent’s Park College

    Current Research

    Sam’s current research aims to holistically understand the geomorphic evolution of alluvial landscapes in northern Oman by taking a source-to-sink approach. This involves reconstructing hydrological systems through an integrated approach, employing sedimentary archives from multiple landforms such as alluvial fans, rivers and lake deposits. He will compare catchments in the region, one extending out from the west of the Hajar Mountains to the Rub’ al Khali desert, and one extending from the east of the mountains to the coast. This is in order to understand the nuance in the response of these systems to regional-scale changes in Indian Ocean Monsoon dynamics, as well as smaller-scale geomorphic controls, and the resulting complexity in landscape and environmental change during the Late Quaternary. Archaeological records in south eastern Arabia increasingly show that the region was important for human habitation and that early humans were incredibly adaptable to changing environmental conditions. Thus, understanding the complexity of hydrological changes in the region is critical to underpinning understandings of our species.

    In order to achieve this, the project will use OSL dating to provide a chronological framework for reconstructing past environmental changes. There will also be a strong element of GIS to understand controls on alluvial fan evolution on both sides of the Hajar Mountains, such as catchment hydrology and base level. Multi-spectral remote sensing will also be integrated as a novel approach to understanding landscape evolution through the weathering characteristics of alluvial fan surfaces.

    Current Teaching