Imperial College London

Dr Fred Richards

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering




+44 (0)20 7594 7402f.richards19 CV




2.54Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





N.B. My personal website is, please check there for the most up-to-date news and a complete research profile!


I am interested in understanding the surface expression of deep Earth dynamics and structure. My past research has focused on constraining and modelling the impacts of mantle convection on surface elevations and landscape evolution. This work has helped to reconcile numerical models and observations of this so-called ‘dynamic’ topography, while revealing that convectively driven vertical motions may occur at rates of up to 100 m per million years. These fast-evolving perturbations have significant implications across the Earth Sciences as they may destabilise polar ice sheets, alter ocean circulation via closure of ocean gateways, and control locations of resource-bearing sedimentary basins. My current work aims to integrate geological and geophysical observations with numerical models to better constrain dynamic topography and glacial isostatic adjustment in order to assess their impact on polar ice mass change and palaeo-sea level estimates. These outputs will serve as useful tie points to calibrate ice sheet models, reducing uncertainty in projections of future sea-level rise.

Topics of Interest:

Mantle dynamics, glacial isostatic adjustment, marine geophysics, geology, sea-level change, ice dynamics, palaeoclimate, mineral resources, inverse theory, igneous and metamorphic petrology, geomorphology, basin analysis, stratigraphy. 

Academic Positions and Education:

2023 – Present: Lecturer, Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London.

2019 – 2022: Imperial College Research Fellow, Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London.

2018 – 2019: Schmidt Science Fellow, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University.

2014 – 2018: PhD, Bullard Laboratories, Department of Earth Sciences. University of Cambridge.

2010 – 2014: MEarthSci, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford.



Richards F, 2023, Geodynamically corrected Pliocene shoreline elevations in Australia consistent with mid-range projections of Antarctic ice loss, Science Advances, ISSN:2375-2548

Rovere A, Pico T, Richards F, et al., 2023, Influence of reef isostasy, dynamic topography, and glacial isostatic adjustment on sea-level records in Northeastern Australia, Communications Earth & Environment, Vol:4

Hazzard JAN, Richards FD, Goes SDB, et al., 2023, Probabilistic Assessment of Antarctic Thermomechanical Structure: Impacts on Ice Sheet Stability, Journal of Geophysical Research-solid Earth, Vol:128, ISSN:2169-9313

Huston DL, Champion DC, Czarnota K, et al., 2023, Zinc on the edge—isotopic and geophysical evidence that cratonic edges control world-class shale-hosted zinc-lead deposits, Mineralium Deposita, Vol:58, ISSN:0026-4598, Pages:707-729

Hollyday A, Austermann J, Lloyd A, et al., 2023, A Revised Estimate of Early Pliocene Global Mean Sea Level Using Geodynamic Models of the Patagonian Slab Window, Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, Vol:24

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