Dr Martin Degg

Head of Department

I am a physical geographer and geologist with a particular interest in natural hazard assessment and mitigation.


BSc, PhD, FGS, FRGS, C. Geog


The hazards that interest me most are those of a geological and geomorphological nature, including: tectonic hazards (earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis), landsliding and salt weathering. I am particularly interested in studying the impact of these hazards on ancient and modern built environments, and in trying to manage their future impact through research into hazard mapping (particularly using Geographical Information Systems (GIS)) and community based hazard response strategies.

My work on tectonic hazards has focused primarily on the Middle East and Latin America. The salt weathering research has focused on the damage caused by rising (saline) groundwater to Pharaonic and Greco-Roman archaeological sites in and around Cairo. The research into landslide hazard mainly concerns areas of Carboniferous geology in Central England, South Wales and NE Wales.

My teaching reflects these interests and many of the case studies I use are drawn from my own research experience. A lot of the exercises I set have an 'applied' feel to them; e.g. from studying the vulnerability of Latin American cities to earthquakes at Level 4 (Year 1), through to studies of the effects of weathering on building stones in Chester at Level 5 (Year 2), and landslide hazard assessment field and laboratory work at Level 6 (Year 3). I also co-lead an end of Level 4 undergraduate dissertation expedition to the margins of the Jøstedalsbreen Ice Cap in southern Norway, looking at glacial processes, sediments and landforms. At Level 6 I take students to Naples to study at first hand the policy and practice of volcanic hazard management.

Beyond the University, I have served on the Editorial Board of 'Geoscientist' (published by the Geological Society of London) for 14 years, and have attracted research funding from a range of agencies including: The Royal Society of London, The International Underwriting Association, The UK Transport Research Laboratory, The British Council and UNESCO. I am a Fellow of the HE Academy and a Chartered Geographer. I was joint recipient of the 2006 Geographical Association "Award for Excellence in Leading Geography".


PhD Supervision

Kirsten Besemer (2006-) ‘Trade liberalisation and rural household dynamics in S. Vietnam'.

Bryan Lipscombe (2005-) ‘Sustainability in UK Higher Education'.

Servel Miller (2003-07) ‘GIS and landslide hazard mapping in NE Wales'

Deborah-Anne Rowe (2006-) ‘Tsunami hazard mapping - West Coast of Jamaica'

Published work

Alexander, R., Hope, M. and Degg, M.R. (2007). Maintaining sustainable development - A case study: 'Ashton Hayes is Going Carbon Neutral', Local Economy, 22(1), pp.62-74.

Degg, M.R. and Chester, D. (2005).  Seismic and volcanic hazards in Peru: Changing attitudes to disaster mitigation, The Geographical Journal, 171(2), 125-145.

Degg, M.R. and Homan, J. (2005).  Earthquake vulnerability in the Middle East, Geography, 90(1), 54-66.

Degg, M. R., Shufflebotham, E. and Doornkamp, J. (2003). Earthquake Hazard Atlas: Chile. International Underwriting Association (London).  ISBN: 1-872207-30-8.

Degg, M.R., Chester, D., Duncan A. and Guest, J. (2001).  The increasing exposure of cities to the effects of volcanic eruptions: a global survey, Environmental Hazards: Human and Policy Dimensions, 2, 89-103.

Conference Contributions

17th Caribbean Geological Conference, San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 2005. 'A Preliminary Evaluation of Tsunami Hazard and Risk in Jamaica using GIS.' Miller, S. and Degg, M.

International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Annual Conference, Vancouver, Oct. 2005. 'Evaluating Student Perceptions of and Learning Experiences from a Geographical Expedition.' France, D., Street, R. and Degg, M.