School of GeoSciences

School of GeoSciences

Rachel Walcott - Royal Society of Edinburgh/BP Research Fellow

School of Geosciences at Drummond St, University of Edinburgh, EH8 9XP, Edinburgh, Scotland

Room 3.10, T: 0131 650 9140

Latest news:

Check out our session at the forthcoming AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, Dec 13-17, 2010

*******************: EP24: Linking Life to the Landscape *******************

Research Interests

My background is in metamorphic and structural geology but these days my research is primarily focussed on understanding how geological factors (such tectonic displacement and lithology) interact with climate and life to control the dynamics of the Earth’s surface. I am particularly interested in the 4D evolution of river basins as they provide the link between the present (surface processes) and the past (the sedimentary record). Moreover, river networks and their associated basins provide the basic fabric for the organisation and evolution of life on our planet. The tools used to conduct my research include GIS/python for empirical analysis, and numerical surface process modelling (CHILD/CASCADE) to explore surface dynamics and field work. Over the years this work has taken me to the Antarctic, Aegean, New Zealand, SE Africa, the Himalayas, the Andes, and the British Isles.

Specific Research Topics:
* The longterm impact of vegetation on surface processes (with Prof. Tibor Dunai, University of Cologne, DE)

* How tectonic and climatic forcing affects biogeographical processes (with Prof. Dave Craw, University of Otago, NZ)

* The relationship between tectonic forcing of catchments and sedimentation (with Dr Hugh Sinclair, University of Edinburgh)

* The morphological evolution of river networks


2008-: PhD:  Martin Hurst - Quantifying River Erosion Through Topography; (Co-supervisors Simon Mudd, Mikael Attal)

2008-09: MSc in Informatics:   Antonios Makrymallis - Mining Andean-to-Amazonian ecosystem data to understand underlying environmental factors; (Co-supervisor Jano van Hemert)

2006-07: MSc in GIS: Samatha Harrison - Geomorphometric analysis of Hebes Chasma , Mars using the GRASS GIS; (First supervisor). Now studying for a PhD in planetary science at the Open University.

2006-07: MSc in Remote Sensing: Afifa Al-Mawali - Geological mapping of the Bar Al Hikman area in Oman using hyperspectral data” (Second supervisor)

Courses taught

2009 - 'Martian Geomorphology'

2005-6 'Drainage development and tectonics'

2010 'Introduction to programming with Python'


2010     Walcott R.C. and H. D. Sinclair, (in review) Basin Morphology in the Himalaya and Tibetan Margin, Journal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface
2009    Walcott R.C. and M. A. Summerfield, Universality and variability in basin outlet spacing: implications for the two-dimensional form of drainage basins, Basin Research, doi 10.1111/j.1365-2117.2008.00379.
2008     Binnie, S., Walcott R.C., Dunai, T. and M.A. Summerfield Landscape Development: Addressing Old Questions with New Techniques (invited paper) Scottish Geographical Journal, 124, 140-153.
2008     Walcott, R. and M. Summerfield, Scale dependence of hypsometric integrals: an analysis of southeast African basins. Geomorphology, doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2007.08.00, y.
2001    Chamot-Rooke N, Rangin C, Le Pichon X, Rabaute A, Laurent O, Ego F, Lallemant S, Nielsen C, Pagot P, Tsang Hin Sun D, Walcott R, Bousquet R (2005b) DOTMED: a synthesis of deep marine data in eastern Mediterranean. Mém. Soc. Géol. France, 177, no. 64, 9 pl. + cdrom.
1998    Walcott C.R. and S.H. White, Constraints on the kinematics of post-orogenic extension imposed by stretching lineations in the Aegean region, Tectonophysics, 198, p.155-175.
1998    Walcott, C.R., The Alpine evolution of Thessaly (NW Greece) and late Tertiary Aegean kinematics, Geologica Ultraiectina, 162, 175 p.
1993    Walcott, C.R. and D. Craw, Subsolidus physical and chemical mixing of granite and gabbro during mylonitization, South Victoria Land, Antarctica, Journal of Structural Geology, 15, 12, p.1422-1441.
1993    Walcott, C.R. and D. Craw, Post-emplacement deformation of plutons and their metasedimentary host, Mt. Dromedary Area, South Victoria Land, Antarctica, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 36, p. 487-496.
1992    Craw D., A. D. Morrison and C.R. Walcott, Fluid inclusion evidence for widespread shallow hydrothermal activity in South Victoria Land, Antarctica, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 35, no.1, p. 21-29.

Other activities

Journal Reviewer: for JGR - Earth Surface, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Area, Computers and Geoscience, Geomorphology.

Fellowship Proposal Reviewer: for AURORA program, Science and Technology Research Council.

Committees: Research Staff Organisation (2006- present), ASCUS: Art Science Collaborative (2009)

  • , Python users group (2010),

    Recent Employment History

    08/2008 - present       Royal Society of Edinburgh/BP Research Fellow

    07/2008 - 09/2008      Research Fellow for CRONUS-EU (EU funded)

    05/2005 - 06/2008      Daphne Jackson Research Fellow (NERC-sponsored).

    And before this? It is a bit of long story but it involves a couple of children and several countries - B.Sc.(hons) &  a M.Sc.(with distinction) from the University of Otago in New Zealand, Ph.D. from  Utrecht University in the Netherlands, a Postdoc. at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, France.