Barbara Maher: Professor of Physical Geography.


My research interests, global in scope, are in Environmental Magnetism, for purposes of retrieving  palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental information from the magnetic records of soils, and from terrestrial and marine sediments of Quaternary age.

Awards and distinctions

2005: Award of the Charles Chree Medal, Institute of Physics, for 'pioneering contributions to the study of magnetic signals from the geological record as a means of determining climatic changes'.

Chair of the Rock Magnetism Working Group, International Union for Geodesy and Geophysics.

Current Projects:


Sourcing of fluvial sediments, Burdekin River, NE Queensland (NERC-funded), with the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the CSIRO.


Magnetic tracing of iceberg-rafted debris and windblown dust in the N. Atlantic, present-day and Last Glacial Maximum (a NERC-funded studentship, recently completed by Dr Sarah Watkins, Lancaster University). 


Palaeoclimatic reconstructions from the Quaternary loess and palaeosol sequences of NC China (work in collaboration with Prof. Ann Wintle, Institute for Geography and Earth Science, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and Prof.  Roy Thompson, Dept of Geology and Geophysics, University of Edinburgh), and from the Russian steppe (with Drs Alekseev and Alekseeva, Institute for Basic Biological Problems, Puschino, Russia).  


Magnetic biomonitoring of vehicle-derived pollution.


Magnetic proxies of dust in Quaternary marine sediments (NERC-funded). 


Sourcing of sediments in the Coral Sea using magnetic inclusion mineralogies (NERC-funded).


Palaeomagnetic dating of archaeological sites (with Bristol University and Queen Mary College, London).


Synthesis of ferrimagnets of controlled mineralogy and grain size. 

  Recent Projects:

bulletPalaeoclimate and palaeomagnetic dating from deep-sea magnetic records, ODP Leg 133 holes, the Coral Sea, NE Australia (Leverhulme Trust-funded).
bulletSources of the climate signal recorded by magnetic variations in ODP Leg 117 holes, from the Indian Ocean. This was a NERC (UK)-funded project, with Dr Mark Hounslow. 
bulletPalaeomagnetic dating (using secular variation studies) of Holocene near-shore sediments, in the Humber estuary and on the N. Norfolk coast. This work was part of two Land-Ocean Interaction Studies (LOIS) projects run at UEA.
bulletSediment fingerprinting and sourcing, Humber estuary and inland sediment sources, using rock magnetic properties. This was also part of a LOIS-funded project.
bulletThe grain-size dependence of rock magnetic properties in magnetite and maghemite powders.
bulletMagnetic properties of soils, and their causal associations with soil-forming conditions, especially climate.

Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award Holder, Centre for Environmental Magnetism & Palaeomagnetism,
Lancaster Environment Centre, University of Lancaster, Farrer Avenue, Lancaster, LA1 4YQ UK

Tel. +44 (0)1524 510268
Fax: +44 (0)1524 510269
Email: b.maher using univ address of:

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