Personal statement

I am an earth scientist with expertise in earth surface processes, sedimentology and structural geology. My research focuses on combining novel and innovative techniques in luminescence dating, sedimentology, stratigraphy, geomorphology, and basin analysis to answer timely research questions in both pure and applied aspects of the Earth sciences.

An underlying theme to my research is the link between the geodynamic processes which shape our continents, and the geomorphic processes which modify these. Quantifying, modelling and monitoring earth system processes, from the local to global scale, and operating at timescales from millennia to minutes, is fundamental to predicting the impacts of global and environmental change.

Tasiilaq, E. Greenland


Tim Kinnaird completed a BSc (Hons) in Geosciences at the University of St Andrews in 2002, and a PhD in Geology at the University of Edinburgh in 2007. His doctoral work focused on the tectonic and sedimentary responses to incipient continental collision in the easternmost Mediterranean (Cyprus) as archived in the Mesozoic to Recent cover sediments of the island. The kinematic evolution of the Neogene basins in the southern part of Cyprus was inferred from sedimentary and structural evidence, coupled with the kinematic analysis of faults and folds. This was supplemented by dating of Plio-Pleistocene shallow-marine to continental sediments, relatively, by palaeomagnetic methods, and absolutely, by optically stimulated luminescence. The resulting, combined database was used to test several alternatice tectonic hypotheses for the regional tectonic setting, and present a new tectonic model for the evolution of the island.

He then joined CASP in 2008, as part of the East Greenland Team, in which the focus of his research turned to the Cenozoic evolution of the East Greenland margin. In this, the work he led on the base-Cenozoic (-basalt) unconformity in central East Greenland, which has shown beyond reasonable doubt that much of East Greenland was a high elevated plateau over an extensive area, was of particular regional significance. This study provided real base-level constrains on the elevation of the margin in the Early Eocene, with implications for the geodynamic evolution of the region, particularly, the exhumation/uplift history. It provided irrefutable evidence that many of the published Cenozoic reconstructions of this margin are incorrect, and will lead to a fresh appraisal of the thermal-history data. It also has important implications for the supply of sediment from this margin to the Norway-Greenland rift and is key to understanding sediment dispersal patterns in Mid-Norway.

In 2010 he joined the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC, University of Glasgow) as a research associate in Environmental Physics, with the remit of managing the commercial and research interests of the Luminescence Laboratories. In this position, he has had a key lead role in developing applied luminescence projects in environmental and archaeological sciences. To date, he has applied OSL/TL/IRSL dating in a variety of archaeological and geo-environmental settings, on quartz and feldspars, using standard luminescence approaches, and developing dose extension methods. Of late, I have contributed to the development of a new novel retrospective insitu luminescence thermometer, which has been applied to core materials from shallow boreholes in the Cairngorms, to explore whether the transience of geotherms following interglacial warming may explain the apparent high heat productivity-low heat flow paradox. Looking to the future, work is underway on inverting these luminescence signals to obtain thermal history data, and the extension into low-temperature luminescence thermochronology. This system is revealed to have a very low closure temperature, the lowest closure temperature system observed to date, which is very appropriate to produce data that can be used to constrain landscape evolution models.