Professor Iain Stewart

Professor Iain Stewart

Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)


BSc Geography & Geology - Strathclyde University, 1986

PhD Geology - University of Bristol, 1990

Roles on external bodies

Chancellor, The Children's University (Plymouth)

President, Royal Scottish Geographical Society

President, Earth Science Teacher's Association

Honorary Vice President of the Geographical Association,and Primary Geography ‘Champion’

Patron, English Riviera Geopark, Scottish Geodiversity Forum, Dartmoor Search & Rescue (Plymouth branch), Friends of Langland Moss

Member, Scientific Board of UNESCO’s International Geological Programme (IGCP)

Member, Geography Expert Advisory Group

Member, Plymouth City Climate Change Commission


Member of the External Relations Committee, The Geological Society of London

Teaching interests


  • GLY006 Geoscience (Extended Science)
  • EAR113 Quantitative and Experimental Techniques (*)
  • EAR114 Introducing Geological Maps and Remote Sensing
  • EAR115 Introductory Fieldwork and Skills (Geology)
  • EAR211 Geospatial Techniques

Structural Geology / Geodynamics

  • EAR215  Structural Geology and Tectonics
  • EAR314 Advanced Tectonics


  • EAR318 Geohazards (*)

 MGeol / Masters Level

  • EAR512 MGeol Research Methods
  • EAR513 Continental Tectonics
  • EAR518 Communicating Earth Science (*)
  • EAR5204 Climate Change: Science and Policy

(*) Module Leader 



Staff serving as external examiners

Durham University Earth Sciences - MGeol (2012-present)

External Examiner, UCL Benfield Hazard Centre's PG Cert course on 'Natural Hazards for Insurers'  (2009-2012)

External Examiner - MSc Natural Hazards and Disaster Management, Kingston University (2009-2012)

Research interests

  • Active Tectonics
  • Earthquake Geology and Seismic Hazards
  • Coastal Geodynamics and Sea-Level Change
  • Geological Catastrophes and Human Response

Creative practice & artistic projects

Popular geoscience books:

Stewart, I. & Lynch, J. 2007. Earth: The Power of the Planet, BBC Books.

Stewart, I. 2005. Journeys From The Centre Of the Earth, Century Press.

TV Geology:

Currently in preparation

BBC Horizon: Sinkholes

Recently Broadcast

  • BBC Horizon Special, Shale Gas: The New Energy Rush (BBC2, June 2013)
  • Rise of the Continents, 4 x 1 hr series (BBC2, June 2013)
  • Volcano Live, 4 x 1 hr live broadcasts (BBC2, July 2012)
  • How to Grow A Planet, 3 x 1 hr series, BBC2 (Feb 2012)
  • Men of Rock, 
  •  3 x 1 hr series, BBC2 (Nov 2010/Jan 2011)
  • Making Scotland's Landscape, 5 x 1 hr series, BBC1 Scotland / BBC2 (Nov 2010)
  • How Earth Made Us, 5 x 1 hr series, BBC2 (2010) [US - 'How Earth Made History', National geographic Channel]
  • Hot Planet, 1hr, BBC1 (2010)
  • Earth: The Climate Wars, 3 x 1hr series, BBC2 (Sept 2008)
  • Earth – The Power of the Planet, 5x 1 hr series on BBC2 (autumn 2007) [USA - Earth – A Biography ,  on National Geographic]
  • Ten Things You Didn’t Know About … Volcanoes, Avalanches, Earthquakes, Tsunamis , 4 x 1 hour series on BBC2 (2006, 2008)
  • Journeys into the Ring of Fire - series of four 1-hour programmes for BBC2/4 & Discovery Science channel showing how geology has shaped the history of the Pacific Rim. (2006)
  • Journeys From The Centre Of The Earth – series of six 1-hour programmes for BBC2/4 & Discovery Science channel showing how geology has shaped the history of the Mediterranean world. (2005)
  • Rough Science – geoscience member of the 5-scientist investigations team for 2003/04 (4 th ) series of BBC2’s popular six-part ‘Rough Science’ programme. Broadcast: Jan/Feb 2004

Academic contributer to:

  • Naked Science – National Geographic (2008)

  • Inside the Ultimate...Earthquake, SKY (August 2005)
  • Inside the Ultimate...Volcano, SKY (August 2005)
  • Horizon - Science on the Box, BBC Horizon for UKTV (February 2005)
  • British Isles: A Natural History, BBC1 (Programme 2 Regional short - BBC Scotland) (Sept 2004)
  • Earthquake Storms, BBC Horizon (February 2003)
  • Helike – The Real Atlantis, BBC Horizon ( January 2002)


Walking Through Landscape, 5 x 30 min, Radio Scotland (Oct-Nov 2010)

Britain's Labs, 5 x 15 min, Radio 4 (2010)

Cezanne’s Mountain (BBC Radio 4) 

Newspaper / web articles:

  • Stewart, I. 2002. ‘Rock The Nation’, The Guardian, 12 December.
  • Stewart, I. 2002 Echoes of Atlantis. BBC History website,
  • Stewart, I. 2000. ‘Echoes of Atlantis’, The Guardian, 26 October

    Research groups

    • Geodynamics and Palaeomagnetism
    • i-DAT (Institute of Digital Art & Technology)

      Special Research Volumes:

    • Ancient Earthquakes , 2010. Eds: Sintubin, M., Stewart, I., Niemi, T. Altunel, E., Geological Society of America Special Paper 471, 280p.
    • Neotectonics, Seismicity and Stress in Glaciated Regions , 2009. Eds: Pascal, C, Vermeersen, B., Stewart, I.S. Thematic issue of the Journal of the Geological Society, London. 
    • Active Faults in the Eastern Hemisphere. 2004. Eds: Morner, N.A., Stewart, I.S., Trifonov, V.G., Caputo, R., Nikonov, A.A., Kozhurin, A.I.,& Kopp, M.L. Tectonophysics Special Issue volume 380, nos. 3-4.
    • Brittle Microtectonics, Neotectonics and Archaeoseismicity. 2001. Eds: Dunne, W., Stewart, I.S. & Turner, J.P., Journal of Structural Geology, vol. 13, No.2/3, 500p.
    • Ice Sheets, Crustal Deformation and Seismicity, 2000. Eds: Stewart, I.S., Sauber, J. & Rose, J., Quaternary Science Reviews special issue, vol. 14/15.
    • The Archaeology of Geological Catastrophes, 2000. Eds: McGuire, W.J., Griffiths, D., Hancock, P.L. & Stewart, I.S., Geological Society, London, Special Publication, 171, 413p

    Research Metrics (WoK data):

    Total Articles in Publication List: 25
    Articles With Citation Data: 25
    Sum of the Times Cited: 541
    Average Citations per Article: 21.64
    h-index: 11

    Recent Research Articles:

    • Stewart, I.S. & Nield, T. 2012. Earth stories: context and narrative in the communication of popular geoscience. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 124, 699-712.

    • Martin, D., Thompson, A., Stewart, I., Gilbert, E., Hope, K., Kawai, G. & Griffiths, A. 2012. A paradigm of fragile Earth in Priestley’s bell jar. Extreme Physiology & Medicine, 1, 1-5.

    •  Donovan, K., Sidaway, J. & Stewart, I.S. 2011. Bridging the Geodivide. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 36, 9-14.

    • Pascal. C., Stewart, I.S. & Vermeersen, B.L.A. 2010. Neotectonics, seismicity and stress in glaciated regions. Journal of the Geological Society, 167, 361-362.

    • Smith, D.E., Stewart, I.S., Harrison, S., & Firth, C.R. 2009. Late Quaternary neotectonics and mass movement in south east Raasay, Inner Hebrides, Scotland. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 120, 145-154.

    • Stewart, I.S. and Morhange, C. 2009. Coastal Geomorphology and Sea Level Change. In: (Ed.: J.C. Woodward) The Physical Geography of the Mediterranean Basin, Oxford University Press.

    • Sintubin, M., Stewart, I., Niemi, T. & Altunel, E. 2008. Earthquake Archaeology – Just a Good Story? Seismological Research Letters, 79, 767-768.

    • Sintubin, M. and Stewart, I. 2008. A ‘Logical’ Methodology for Archaeoseismology.  A Proof of Concept at the Archaeological Site of Sagalassos (SW Turkey). Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 98 (5).

    • Stewart, I. and Donovan, K. 2008. Natural Hazards. In: S. Buckingham and M. Turner (Eds) Understanding Environmental Issues, SAGE Publishing. 

    • Dawson, A.G. and Stewart, I. 2008. Offshore tractive current deposition: the forgotten tsunami sedimentation process. In: Tsunamiites - features and implication (edited by T. Shiki, Tsuji, Y., Minoura, K. & Yamazaki, T.), Developments in Sedimentology, Elsevier. ISBN-13: 978-0-444-51552-0


    General Articles

    • Stewart, I. 2013. Disasters. In P. Bobrowski (Ed.)

      Encyclopedia of Natural Disasters

    • . Springer-Verlag: Dordrecht. pp.

    Other academic activities


    Media Conferences

    Invited Speaker at Discovery Channel’s ‘Scientist Pitching Session’ at the International Congress of Science Producers, Berlin, (23-25 Oct 02).

    Invited presentation at UNESCO Broadcast Media and Climate Change Conference, Paris, (4-5 Sept 09)

    Public Lecture Tours

    Swan Hellenic lecture series, Aegean & Black Sea cruise (13-20 June 09)

    Scottish Royal Geographical Society (SRGS) lecture tour, (9-11 Feb 10)

    Public lectures at UK Science Festivals

    TECHFEST science festival, University of Aberdeen (18 Sept 07)

    Cheltenham Science Festival (7 June 08)

    Edinburgh Science Festival (17 April 10)  

    British Science Festival, Aston University, Birmingham (18 Sept10) [ 200 people]  

    TECHFEST science festival, University of Aberdeen (24 Sept 10) [160 people]  

    'Special' Invited Lectures'

    Geography & Geosciences Public Christmas Lecture, University of St Andrews, (14 Dec 07)

    Royal Geographical Society public lecture, Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton (21 Oct 08)

    150th Anniversary Dinner of the Geological Association, London (31 Oct 08)

    Public talk in the International Year of Planet Earth lecture series, Catholic University Leuven, Belgium (9 Dec 08)

    Royal Geographical Society Christmas Lecture (13 Dec 08)

    Royal Irish Academy lecture, Belfast (19 Jan 09)

    New Year public lecture for the Irish Geological Association [190 attendees], Trinity College, Dublin (23 Jan 09)

    2009 LR Moore Public Lecture, Sheffield University (16 Apr 09)

    ‘Centenary of Geography’ public lecture, Glasgow University (20 August 09)

    Geologist Association's "Festival of Geology' event, UCL, London (31 Oct 09)

    Liverpool Geological Society, 150th Anniversary Distinguished Visitor's Address (13 Dec 09)

    GSNI/BGS Harold Wilson memorial lecture, Belfast (18 Jan 10)

    Keynote lecture at "Communicating Earth Science to the Public" session and Panel discussion, GeoCanada 2010, Calgary, Canada (10-14 May 10)  

    Keynote at BGS 175th Anniversary Symposium, Royal Institution, London (28 Oct 10) [200]  

    Keynote at ‘4 Decades of Earth Sciences’ Open Day, Open University (9 Oct 10)  

    Keynote at ‘UK Landscape Conference’, Liverpool (8-10 Nov 10)  

    Keynote at SNH/BGS Geodiversity conference; Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh (1 Dec 10)

    Public lecture – ‘The Making of Scotland’s Landscape’, The Hub, Edinburgh (2 Dec 10)

    Environmental / Climate Change Events

    Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineer’s (CIBSE) Low-Carbon Performance Awards, Grosvenor Hotel, London. (6 Feb 08)

    ‘Green It If You Mean It’ campaign launch; Houses of Parliament, London (28 Feb 08)

    Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) annual conference, Bournemouth (4 June 08)

    Invited address to launch Plymouth's Climate Change Action Plan, National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth  (16 Dec 09)

    Opening keynote address at Royal Irish Association / Northern Ireland Environment Link conference on ‘Climate Change – Dealing With Reality’, Belfast (20 Jan 09)

    Natural England's London's Foundations event, Greenwich (15 Oct 09)

    Eco Business Fayre, Guildhall, Plymouth (27 Oct 10)

    Plymouth Climate Change Commission Update event, Council House, Plymouth (29 Oct 10)

    Keynote Lectures to Geography / Earth Science Education Conferences

    Association for Science Education (ASE) annual conference, Liverpool (4 Jan 08)

    Scottish Association of Geography Teachers (SAGT) Annual Conference (25 Oct 08) Geologists' Association's Rockwatch Conference, Burlington House, London (25 Nov 08)

    Geographical Association’s Annual Conference, Manchester University (18 April 09)

    Earth Science Teachers’ Association (ESTA) annual conference , Southampton (18 Sept 09)

    Philip Allan Student Conference for A levels students, London (24 Nov 09) [1200 pupils and teachers]

    Philip Allan Updates Student Conference for A Level Students; Manchester (10 Dec 09) [350 pupils and teachers]

    Philip Allan Updates Teacher Conference for A Level Students; Hilton Olympia, London (11 June 1010) [150 teachers]

    GCSE Science Live, Colston Hall, Bristol (18 Nov 10)  

    Keynote Geoscience Presentations

    The Geological Society of London Bicentennial Conference, London, UK - Careers Forum (12 Sept 07)

    Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI) TELLUS Project conference, Belfast, NI. (17 Oct 07)

    Geological Society of London conference  In the Footsteps of the Founding Fathers, London, UK (13 Nov 07)

    European Space Agency’s ‘Small Satellites Systems and Services – The 4S Symposium’, Rhodes, Greece (26-30 May 08)

    UN Workshop on Integrated Space Technology Applications Support to Managing Potentially Hazardous Events, Glasgow (26-27 Sept 08)

    Public Q & A Panel Moderator, Quaternary Research Association (QRA) Annual Discussion Meeting, Durham University (4 Jan 10)

    Royal Scottish Geographical Society lecture; Perth Concert Hall, Perth (9 Feb 2010) [ 300 people]

    Royal Scottish Geographical Society lecture, Albert Halls, Stirling (9 Feb 2010) [ 200 people]

    Royal Scottish Geographical Society lecture, Airdrie Arts Centre, Airdrie (9 Feb 2010) [ 80 people]

    ‘Marsh Awards’, Natural History Museum, London (11 Nov 10)

    NERC Lunchtime seminar, Polaris House, Swindon (10 Dec 10)

    University / Professional Society Talks

    Archaeology & Geography department, University of Exeter (31 Jan 08)

    PCSB Geological Society, University of Leicester. (4 Feb 08)

    Environmental Science, Stirling University  (13 Oct 08)

    Annual Lapworth Lecture at University of Birmingham (20 Oct 08)

    Southampton Oceanography Centre (28 Oct 08)

    CEESR Annual Lecture, Kingston University (26 Nov 08)

    2008 Norma-Wilkinson Lecture at the University of Reading (3 Dec 08)

    University of Manchester (Earth Sciences) (10 Dec 09)

    SW Geologists Association lecture, Cardiff University (23 Jan 10)

    West Midlands Geology Society, Birmingham University (2 Feb 10)

    School and College Talks

    Wellington Geographical Association , Wellington School (23 Sept 08)

    South Devon Geographical Association, Torquay Boys Grammar School (16 Oct 08)

    Devonport High School, Plymouth (24 Nov 08)

    Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith, London (25 Nov 08)

    Wells Cathedral School, Wells, Devon (4 Dec 08)

    Truro School, Cornwall (5 Dec 08)

    Christmas lecture, St Bedes School, Manchester [320 pupils and teachers; 11 schools]  (11 Dec 08)

    Geoscience Schools talks [400 pupils and teachers] at W5 conference centre, Belfast (21 Jan 09)

    Methodist College, Belfast [500 pupils and teachers] (22 Jan 09)

    Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester [400 people, 7 schools] (28 Sept 09)

    King Edwards VI Five Ways, Birmingham [500 people, 24 schools] (29 Sept 09)

    St Albans School, St Albans [100 people] (1 Oct 09)

    Geoscience Schools Day event, W5 conference centre, Belfast (20 Jan 10)

    Truro School Graduation / Prize Giving Ceremony(2 July 10)

    High Arcal School ‘Gifted and Talented Day’, Dudley (12 July 2010) [100 pupils and teachers]

    Berkhamstead School (27 Sept 2010) [ 300 people]

     Prestigious Clubs & Societies

    Anglo-Peruvian Society, London. (24th April 08)

    Reform Club, Pall Mall, London (20 July 10)

    English Riviera Geopark events

    Geopark Guidebook Launch (4th Oct 10) 

    Royal Terrace Gardens / Rock Walk Opening,  Torquay (4th Oct 10)  

    Local groups/bodies

    Buckfast Abbey, Devon. (13 Oct 07); Exeter Museum, Exeter. (15 Nov 07); University of Plymouth, Plymouth (6 Dec 07); Annual 6th Form Presentation Evening of Saltash College, Plymouth [100] (19 Dec 07); Torquay Museum, Torquay [185] (28 Jan 08); Plymouth SciBar – ‘Climate change – what is it all about?’ [30] (3 June 08); Dartington Hall, Totnes (22 Sept 08); Coeliac charity, Derriford Medical Centre [50] (22 Nov 08); Torquay Museum, Torquay [190] (13 Oct 09); Newton Abbot Probus Club (12 Jan 09); Bishopsteighnton Probus Club (19 Jan 10); Plympton Rotary Club (28 Jan 10), Plymton Rotary Club (29 Oct 10); Millfields Trust AGM (16 Nov10)

    University of Plymouth talks

    VC’s Research & Innovation Conference, Plymouth University (28 Apr 08)

    Geography 6th form Conference’, Plymouth University (7 July 08)

    Geography 6th form Conference’, Plymouth University (17 Sept 09)

    Host - VC's Enterprise Awards (17 Sept 09)