Neal Iverson


Dept:Geological And Atmospheric Sciences
Office:356 Science
2237 Osborn Dr.
Ames IA


B.S. Iowa State University, 1983
Ph.D. University of Minnesota, 1989

My research is devoted primarily to understanding glaciers and the spectacular imprint they leave on the landscape. Glacier dynamics and landscape modification are particularly sensitive to processes at glacier beds, which is the focus of much of my effort. This research involves field experiments at modern glaciers, field measurements in formerly glaciated landscapes, laboratory experiments, and the formulation of models aimed at characterizing glacial processes.
Current and proposed projects include the following:

  • Laboratory studies of the rheology of temperate ice
  • Laboratory studies of water flow through temperate ice
  • Field studies of glacial landforms (Iowa, Iceland, Canadian Rockies, Alps)
  • Laboratory studies of glacier sliding, erosion, and sediment transport with custom ring-shear devices
  • Modeling of bedrock erosion by glaciers
  • Modeling of glacier sliding

This research is funded primarily by the National Science Foundation, through grants awarded by Earth Sciences and Polar Programs. Most of these projects include student research opportunities. Enquiries from prospective students are very welcome.
Iverson Lab - Recent Field Sites Iverson Lab - Experimental Equipment

External Recognition
Arthur L. Day Medal, Geological Society of America, 2017
Fulbright Scholar, 2015
Kirk Bryan Award, Geological Society of America, 2012

Geol 474/574 - Glacial and Quaternary Geology; Geol 479/579 - Surficial Processes.
Typically more than half of students enrolled in these courses are majors in environmental science, civil engineering, agronomy, or anthropology. Field trips that explore the landforms and Quaternary sediments of Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are routine and important elements of these courses.

Recent Publications (A full publication list can be found here.)

Adams, C.J.C., N.R. Iverson, C. Helanow, L.K. Zoet and C.E. Bate, in review. Softening of temperate ice by interstitial water. Frontiers of Earth Science.

Zoet, L.K., N.R. Iverson, L. Andrews, and C. Helanow, in review. Transient evolution of basal drag during glacier slip. Journal of Glaciology.

Helanow, C., N.R. Iverson, L.K. Zoet and J.B. Woodard, 2021. A slip law for hard-bedded glaciers derived from observed bed topography. Science Advances, 7(20), eabe7798, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abe7798.

Zoet, L.K., and N.R. Iverson, 2020. A slip law for glaciers on deformable beds. Science, 368(6486), 76-78, doi: 10.1126/science.aaz1183.

Warbritton, M.J, N.R. Iverson, N.R., F. Lagroix, and A. Schomacker, 2020. Strain patterns in glaciotectonically thrusted sediments and conditions during thrusting. Journal of Structural Geology, 137, doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2020.104064.

Woodard, J.B., J.K. Zoet, Í.Ö. Benediktsson, N.R. Iverson, and A. Finlayson, 2020. Insights into drumlin development from ground-penetrating radar at Múlajökull, Iceland, a surge-type glacier. Journal of Glaciology, 66(259), 822–830. 10.1017/jog.2020.50

Thompson, A.C., N.R. Iverson, and L.K. Zoet, 2020. Controls on subglacial rock friction: experiments with debris in temperate ice. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface, 125,

Helanow, C., N.R. Iverson, L.K. Zoet and O. Gagliardini, 2020. Sliding relations for glacier slip with cavities over three-dimensional beds. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2019GL084924,

Woodard, J.B., L.K. Zoet, N.R. Iverson, and C. Helanow, 2019. Linking bedrock discontinuities to glacial quarrying. Annals of Glaciology, 60(80), 66-72, 10.1017/aog.2019.36

Iverson, N.R., C. Helanow, and L.K. Zoet, 2019. Debris-bed friction during glacier sliding with ice-bed separation. Annals of Glaciology, 60(80), 30-36, 10.1017/aog.2019.46.

Ives, L.R.W., and N.R. Iverson, 2019. Genesis of glacial flutes inferred from observations at Múlajökull, Iceland. Geology, 47(5), 387-390,

Minchew, B.M., C.R. Meyer, S.S. Pegler, B.P. Lipovsky, A.W. Rempel, G.H. Gudmundsson, and N.R. Iverson, 2019. Comment on: “Friction at the bed does not control fast glacier flow” by L.A. Stearns and C.J. van der Veen. Science, 363(6427), eaau6055, doi: 10.1126/science.aau6055.

Ugelvig, S.V., D.L. Egholm, R.S. Anderson, and N.R. Iverson, 2018. Glacial erosion driven by variations in melt-water discharge. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface, 123, 2863-2877, doi: 10.1029/2018JF004680.

Zoet, L.K., and N.R. Iverson, 2018. A healing mechanism for stick-slip of glaciers. Geology, 46, 807-810.

Finlayson, A., Phillips, E., Í.Ö. Benediktsson, Zoet, L.K., N.R. Iverson and J. Everest, 2018. Subglacial drumlins and englacial fractures at the surge-type glacier, Múlajökull, Iceland. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, doi: 10.1002/esp.4485.

Iverson, N.R., McCracken, R.G., Zoet, L.K., Í.Ö. Benediktsson, A. Schomacker, M.D. Johnson, and J. Woodard, 2017. A theoretical model of drumlin formation based on observations at Múlajökull, Iceland. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface, 122, 2302-2323. doi: 10.1002/2017JF004354.

Iverson, N.R., 2017. Determining glacier flow direction from till fabrics. Geomorphology, 299, 124-130.

Ugelvig, S.V., D.L. Egholm, and N.R. Iverson, 2016. Glacial landscape evolution by subglacial quarrying: A multi-scale computational approach. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface,121, 2042-2068, doi: 10.1002/2016JF003960.

McCracken, R.G., N.R. Iverson, Í.Ö. Benediktsson, A. Schomacker, L.K. Zoet, M.D. Johnson, T.S. Hooyer, and Ó. Ingolfsson, 2016. Origin of the active drumlin field at Múlajökull, Iceland: New insights from till shear and consolidation patterns. Quaternary Science Reviews, 148, 243-260.

Zoet, L.K., and N.R. Iverson, 2016. Rate-weakening drag during glacier sliding. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface, 121, 1206-1217, doi: 10.1002/2016JF003909.

Benediktsson, Í.Ö., S.A. Jónsson, A. Schomacker, M.D. Johnson, Ó. Ingolfsson, L.K. Zoet, N.R. Iverson, and J. Stötter, 2016. Progressive formation of modern drumlins at Múlajökull, Iceland: stratigraphic and morphological evidence. Boreas, 45, 567-583. 10.1111/bor12195.