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 Oliver Francis

Oliver Francis

Research student,

1.22, Main Building, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT


I am currently a 3rd year PhD student aiming to graduate in summer 2020.

I am interested in the impact that earthquakes have on mountain ranges and how these may affect risk and hazards for the people that live in these areas. The focus of my PhD has been trying to understand how the sediment produced by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake has been distributed across the landscape and how it has changed in the years since.

I am currently a member of the British Society for Geomorphology Post Grad Forum, Cardiff Pint of Science Planet Earth planning committee and I am also an active demonstrator on internal fieldtrips and modules.


  • Natural hazards

  • Earth surface processes

  • Geomorphology


Research interests

My PhD was funded through a grant collaborating with Chinese scientists based in Chengdu in Sichuan looking at reducing the risk of earthquake induced hazards. Through this project I have been involved in work relating to modelling debris flows, remote sensing natural hazards and social vulnerability. 

I am currently working on understanding how long the sediment produced by large earthquakes can remain in a mountain range and how it may affect surface processes and risk. To do this I use a wide range of tools including remote sensing, modelling, GIS. With our Chinese colleagues we recently published a paper in the journal Landslides outlying our initial findings.

I have presented on this work at; Mege 2018 conference in Chengdu, 2018 RGS annual meeting, 2018 BSG annual meeting, 2019 EGU annual meeting and the 2019 BSG annual meeting.

I am also involved in a project based on my master’s thesis studying the impact of deforestation on the floodplains of the Kinabatangan in Borneo. I was able to map deforestation through time using Landsat imagery and collaborate with ecologists to help quantify the impact of the loss of habitat and connectivity on local wildlife populations.


The fate of landslide debris after large earthquakes



Dr T.C. Hales

Director, Sustainable Places Research Institute and Reader