Dr Jonathan Lee

Applied Quaternary geologist
BGS Keyworth


Jon joined BGS shortly after completing his PhD in 2003 and is a specialist in Quaternary Geology with an expertise in UK Quaternary stratigraphy, glacial processes, glacitectonics and geological mapping (onshore and offshore). He also possesses extensive field experience working in the UK (including East Anglia, the Midlands, East Yorkshire, Devon and Anglesey) and internationally (including Norway, Germany, UAE and Korea) on geology within lowland glacigenic terrains, sedimentary basins, modern desert environments, coastal sabkha and anthropogenic systems. Jon currently coordinates that Training Programme within the BGS National Geoscience team.

Jonathan Lee’s Biography

  • 2020 – ongoing: UK Quaternary Research Theme lead
  • 2016 – 2019: BGS Skills Leader: Geology & Earth Observation
  • 2005 – 2013: Honorary Research Associate, Royal Holloway University of London
  • 2003 – ongoing: Quaternary Geologist, British Geological Survey
  • 2000 – 2003: PhD, Royal Holloway University of London, Quaternary Geology
  • 1998 – 1999: MSc, Royal Holloway University of London, Quaternary Science
  • 1997 – 1998: IHS Energy, Petroleum Geologist
  • 1994 – 1997: BSc Hons, Kingston University, Geology and Phys Geography


Research interests

  • Quaternary history of the UK especially Eastern England, the North Sea and Irish Sea basins
  • Glacial geology and geomorphology including glacitectonics
  • Onshore-offshore Quaternary stratigraphic correlations
  • Quaternary tectonics and faulting

Current projects and collaborations

  • Offshore England – Strategic high-resolution seabed mapping of the UK continental shelf around England
  • UK Quaternary – Lead for thematic research theme – current focus on a new Quaternary Domains and Rock at Surface datasets
  • Yorkshire Wolds Geological Mapping – Co-industry funded project remapping the bedrock and Quaternary geology of the Yorkshire Wolds to enhance understanding of groundwater behaviour
  • National Training Programme – Coordinating and developing new training program for geologists within the National team as part of the ‘Maps and Models for the 21st Century’ strategic objective


  • Tye, A M, Evans, D L, Lee, J R, Robinson, D A. 2022. The role of post UK-LGM erosion processes in the long-term storage of buried organic C across Great Britain – A ‘first order’ assessment. Earth Science Reviews, Vol. 232, 104126.
  • Eddey, L J, Bateman, M D, Livingston, S J, Lee J R. 2022. New geomorphic evidence for a multi-stage proglacial lake associated with the former British-Irish Ice Sheet in the Vale of Pickering, Yorkshire, UK. Journal of Quaternary Science, Vol. 37, 1407-1421.
  • Lee, J R, Haslam, R, Woods, M A, Rose, J, Graham, R L, Ford, J R, Schofield, D I, Kearsey, T I, Williams, C N. 2020. Plio-Pleistocene fault reactivation within the Crag Basin, eastern UK: implications for structural controls on landscape development within an intraplate setting. Boreas, Vol. 49, 685-708.
  • Lee, K A, Lee, J R, Bell P. 2020. A review of Citizen Science within the Earth Sciences: potential benefits and obstacles. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, Vol. 131, 605-617.
  • Mellett, C L, Phillips, E, Lee J R, Cotterill, C J, Tjelta, T I, James, L, Duffy, C. 2020. Elsterian ice-sheet retreat in the southern North Sea: antecedent controls on large-scale glaciotectonics and subglacial bed conditions. Boreas, Vol. 49, 129-151.
  • Kearsey, T I, Lee, J R, Finlayson, A G, Garcia-Bajo, M, and Irving, A A M. 2019. Examining the geometry, age and genesis of buried Quaternary valley systems in the Midland Valley of Scotland, UK. Boreas, 49, 658-677.
  • Lee, J R, Candy, I, and Haslam, R. 2018 The Neogene and Quaternary of England: landscape evolution, tectonics, climate change and their expression in the geological record. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, 128, 452-481.
  • Phillips, E R, Evans, D J A, van der Meer, J J M, and Lee, J R. 2018. Microscale evidence of liquefaction and its potential triggers during soft-bed deformation within subglacial traction tills. Quaternary Science Reviews, 181. 123-143.
  • Dove, D, Evans, D J A, Lee, J R, Roberts, D H, Tappin, D, Mellet, C L, Long, D, and Callard, L. 2017. Phased occupation and retreat of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet in the southern North Sea: geomorphic and seismostratigraphic evidence of a dynamic ice lobe. Quaternary Science Reviews, 163, 114-134.
  • Lee, J R, Phillips, E, Rose, J, and Vaughan-Hirsch, D. 2016. The Middle Pleistocene glacial evolution of northern East Anglia, UK: a dynamic tectonostratigraphic-parasequence approach. Journal of Quaternary Science, 32, 231-260.
  • Busby, J P, Lee, J R, Kender, S, Williamson, J P, and Norris, S. 2016. Regional modelling of permafrost thicknesses over the past 140 kyr: implications for permafrost development in Great Britain. Boreas, 45, 46-60.
  • Busby, J P, Lee, J R, Kender, S, Williamson, J P, and Norris, S. 2015. Modelling of the impact of permafrost on a UK based radioactive waste geological disposal facility. Proceeding of the Geologists’ Association, 126, 664-674.
  • Lee, J R, Wakefield, O J, Phillips, E, and Hughes, L. 2015. Sedimentology and structural evolution of a relict subglacial to subaerial drainage systems and its hydrogeological implications: an example from Anglesey, north Wales, UK. Quaternary Science Reviews, 109, 88-110.
  • Bateman, M D, Hitchens, S, Murton, J B, Lee, J R, and Gibbard, P L. 2014. The evolution of periglacial patterned ground in East Anglia, UK. Journal of Quaternary Science, 29, 301-317.
  • Lee, J R, Phillips, E, Booth, S J, Rose, J, Evans, H M, Pawley, S J, Warren, M, and Lawley, R S. 2013. A polyphase glacitectonic model for ice-marginal retreat and terminal moraine development: the Middle Pleistocene British Ice Sheet, northern Norfolk, UK. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, 124, 753-777.
  • Lee, J R, and Phillips, E. 2013. Glacitectonics – a key approach to examining ice dynamics, substrate rheology and ice-bed coupling. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, 124, 731-737.
  • Phillips, E, and Lee, J R. 2013. Development of a subglacial drainage system and its effect on glacitectonism within the polydeformed Middle Pleistocene (Anglian) glacigenic sequence of north Norfolk, eastern England. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, 124, 855-875.
  • Vaughan-Hirsch, D P, Phillips, E, Lee, J R, and Hart, J K. 2013. Micromorphological analysis of polyphase deformation associated with the transport and emplacement of glacitectonic rafts at West Runton, north Norfolk, UK. Boreas, 42, 376-394.
  • Böse, M, Lüthgens, C, Lee, J R, and Rose, J. 2012. Quaternary glaciations of northern Europe. Quaternary Science Reviews, 44, 1-25.
  • Farrant, A R, Ellison, R A, Thomas, R J, Pharoah, T C, Newell, A J, Goodenough, K M, Lee, J R, and Knox, R O’B. 2012. The Geology and Geophysics of the United Arab Emirates. Volume 6: Geology of the western and central United Arab Emirates. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 364pp.
  • Lee, J R, Busschers, F S, and Sejrup, H P. 2012. Pre-Weichselian Quaternary glaciations of the British Isles, The Netherlands, Norway and adjacent marine areas south of 68°N: implications for long-term ice sheet development in northern Europe. Quaternary Science Reviews, 44, 213-228.
  • Thierens, M, Pirlet, J, Colin, C, Latruwe, K, Vanhaecke, F, Lee, J R, Stuut, J-B, Titschack, J, Huvenne, V A I, Dorschel, B, Wheeler, A J, and Henriet, J-P. 2012. Ice-rafting from the British-Irish ice sheet since the earliest Pleistocene (2.6 million years ago): implications for long-term mid-latitudinal ice-sheet growth in the North Atlantic region. Quaternary Science Review, 44, 229-240.

Published outputs


  • Quaternary geology
  • Clastic sedimentology: glacigenic fluvial, marine and aeolian systems
  • Heavy mineralogy
  • Geological mapping (onshore and offshore) of Quaternary and low-deformation bedrock terrains


  • 2002 : Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education Teaching


  • 2018 –2019 : Honorary President: Geological Society of Norfolk
  • 2004 : The Lewis Penny Medal from the Quaternary Research Association

Professional associations

  • 2001 – ongoing : Member of the Geological Society of Norfolk
  • 1998 – ongoing : Member of the Quaternary Research Association

Boards and commitees

  • 2017 – ongoing : Advisory Board Member: Department of Geography, University of Sheffield
  • 2014 – ongoing : Editor (Quaternary): Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association
  • 2014 – 2018 : Publications Secretary: Quaternary Research Association
  • 2012 – 2014 : Book Review Editor: Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association
  • 2007 – 2010 : Executive Committee Member: Quaternary Research Association
  • 2002 – 2007 : Committee Member: Geological Society of Norfolk

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