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Jon Hill
Senior Lecturer



Jon joined the department in 2014. His first degree was from the University of Edinburgh in Geophysics and then he went on to obtain a Masters in High Performance Computing (HPC) from Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC). He then continued at the University of Edinburgh by completing his Ph.D. in Geology. Afterwards, he worked at EPCC for three years before moving to Imperial College London, first as a post-doctoral research associate and then as a research fellow.

Jon is a numerical environmental scientist and he applies advanced numerical methods to understand the underlying chemical, biological and physical processes of natural systems. He has a diverse research background that spans HPC, sedimentology, physical oceanography and palaeobiology. His current research focus is on assessing the tsunami hazard to the UK from submarine slides in the Arctic and examining the environmental impact of wave and tidal energy devices around the UK. He also has interests in the physical oceanography and biogeochemistry of ancient and modern seas.

See Jon on Twitter, his group website, or on his personal web page.


Senior Lecturer

University of York


University of York
Research Fellow  Imperial College, London 
Postdoctora Research Assistant  Imperial College, London 
PhD, Geology  University of Edinburgh 
MSc, High Performance Computing (HPC)  Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC) 
BSc, Geophysics  University of Edinburgh 



Jon's research interests are focussed on applying the latest numerical techniques to a wide range of environmental phenomena, including in the ancient past. 

Jon held a personal research fellowship at Imperial College London after obtaining two grants as researcher Co-Investigator.

His current research looks at the tsunami risk to the UK (funded by NERC) and the environmental impacts of marine tidal devices (funded by EPSRC). He also has interests in trying to understand the underlying process that govern deposition of sedimentary successions in ancient epicontinental seas.


Will climate change in the Arctic increase the landslide-tsunami risk to the UK? 

Jon is a Researcher Co-Investigator on this £2.3M NERC funded project (NE/K000047/1)  which is joint with NOC, BGS, Universities of Manchester, Southampton, Cambridge, Dundee, and Aberdeen. Submarine landslides can be far larger than terrestrial landslides, and many generate destructive tsunamis. The Storegga Slide offshore Norway covers an area larger than Scotland and contains enough sediment to cover all of Scotland to a depth of 80 m. This huge slide produced a tsunami with a run up >20 m around the Norwegian Sea and 3-8 m on the Scottish mainland. The UK faces few other natural hazards that could cause damage on the scale of a repeat of the Storegga Slide tsunami. The Storegga Slide is not the only huge submarine slide in the Norwegian Sea. Published data suggest that there have been at least six such slides in the last 20,000 years. Given the potential impact of tsunamis generated by Arctic landslides, we need a rigorous assessment of the hazard they pose to the UK over the next 100-200 years, their potential cost to society, degree to which existing sea defences protect the UK, and how tsunami hazards could be incorporated into multi-hazard flood risk management. 

Large scale interactive coupled modelling of environmental impacts of marine renewable energy farms 

Jon is a Researcher Co-Investigator on this £1M EPSRC project (EP/J010065/1), which is lead by Queen's University Belfast. CEFAS is also involved. For the UK to fulfil its energy demand and renewable commitments by 2020, it is recognised by the Government that it will be necessary to have a significant input from marine renewable resources, both wave and tidal. This will require the deployment of arrays of large numbers (>50) to provide electrical energy on a commercially viable basis, the impact of which on the flow-field together with possible resulting effects on marine ecosystem processes is unknown. Forecasting the hydrodynamic changes resulting from array installation is difficult but is a core requirement of the industry. One approach is to develop 2- and 3-D linked hydrodynamic-ecological modelling which has the potential to allow forecasting of the effects of array installation.  

Ancient epicontinental seas

Understanding the environment in the ancient past is difficult. The rock record is incomplete and even worse, is time-averaged. By employing the latest numerical modelling to try and augment the rock record, we can understand ancient environments better. In order to do this we need to understand the key processes in epicontinental seas as most of the sedimentary rock record was deposited in them. Epicontinental seas were vast shallow seas, 10-100 times bigger than the modern North Sea, and hence learning what the important physical, chemical and biological processes were is difficult as we have no modern analogues to use. By using a mix of global and regional tidal models, 1D ocean models and field data (from places like Lyme Regis) we can build up a much more detailed picture on how these seas worked. 



1st Year:

  • Dynamic Earth
  • Physical Geography*
  • Environmental Geography Research
  • Environment Field Project*

2nd Year:

  • Earth Processes and Landforms*

3rd Year:

  • Environmental Hazards*
  • Coastal Geomorphology

MEnv year:

  • IPCC Science
  • Current Research in Environmental Geography

* indicates significant role in the module

Hill, Jon

Contact details

Dr Jon Hill
Senior Lecturer
Department of Environment and Geography
University of York
YO10 5NG

Tel: 01904 324480