Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
Erin Harvey

Dr Erin Harvey

Myfyriwr ymchwil


I am a fourth year PhD student researching controls on the runout of extremely large post-earthquake debris flows following the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake with a particular focus on the role of grain size. I use a combination of remote sensing, fieldwork, laboratory analysis and numerical modelling in my research. I recently published the first chapter of my thesis in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, where we consider the implications of using different methods to measure mass movement GSDs: https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.5337.

Previously, I completed a BSc (hons) in Geography at Durham University in 2017, where I specialised in the hillslope processes route taking modules such as hillslope processes, understanding Earth's challenges, landslides, geochemistry and remote sensing. I then complete a Masters of Science by Research (MScR) also in the Department of Geography at Durham University with Professor Bob Hilton and Professor Alex Densmore. My thesis was titled "Landslides and organic carbon erosion: Reassessing the role of landslides as transient carbon stores in the western Southern Alps, New Zealand" and involved 3-weeks of fieldwork sampling landslide and river deposits. The project also involved preparing and analysing samples in an EA-IRMS to obtain carbon and nitrogen isotope values.  


  • Geomorphology/Earth surface processes
  • Natural hazards and risk
  • Landscape evolution
  • Sediment erosion and transport
  • Carbon erosion and transport





My current research focuses on how grain size controls the runout of post-earthquake debris flows in Wenchuan. As part of this research, I used five different techniques to measure the grain size of mass movement deposits; sieving, survey tape counts, Wolman pebble counts, manual photo counts and pyDGS. I analysed the measured grain size distributions (GSD) to determine which method(s) best captured the GSD and grain size percentiles in complex, heterogeneous deposits. I applied these findings to two post-earthquake debris flows in Wenchuan, where I conducted extensive fieldwork to derive subsurface and surface GSDs at a high resolution (sieving >13 000 kg of sediment and collecting >200 photos). I am now exploring how these distributions explain deposition mechanisms in the two debris flows. I am also modelling debris flow runouts using the model, Massflow. Here, I am varying boundary conditions to explore controls on debris flow runout extent.

My PhD is funded by NERC as part of the GW4+ DTP.


I have demonstated on the following modules as part of the Environmental Geography and Environmental Geoscience undergraduate courses;

  • EA1202 - Earth Surface Processes
  • EA1212 - Chemistry of the Environment
  • EA1204 - Geographical Information Systems
  • EA1206 - Environmental Geography Field Skills
  • EA1216 - Fundamentals of Environmental Geography
  • EA2211 - Environmental Field Skills
  • EA2213 - Process Geomorphology (Course tutor/lecturer in 2021)
  • EA3314: Switzerland Resedential Fieldcourse