Neal Iverson

  • Distinguished Professor



356 Science
2237 Osborn Dr.
Ames IA



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.

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.)

  • Iverson, N.R., S.E. Kruger, and C. Harding, in press. Absent drumlins beneath southern lobes of the Laurentide Ice Sheet: A new hypothesis based on Des Moines Lobe dynamics inferred from landforms. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms.
  • Fowler, J.R., and N.R. Iverson, in press. The relationship between the permeability and liquid water content of polycrystalline temperate ice. Journal of Glaciology.
  • Woodard, J.B., L.K. Zoet, N.R. Iverson, and C. Helanow, 2023. Inferring forms of glacier slip laws from estimates of ice-bed separation during glacier slip. Journal of Glaciology, 69(274), 324-332. jog.2022.63.
  • Fowler, J.R., and N.R. Iverson, 2022. A permeameter for temperate ice: first results on permeability sensitivity to grain size. Journal of Glaciology, 68(270), 764-774.
  • Zoet, L.K., N.R. Iverson, L. Andrews, and C. Helanow, 2022. Transient evolution of basal drag during glacier slip. Journal of Glaciology, 68(270), 741-750. jog.2021.131.
  • Adams, C.J.C., N.R. Iverson, C. Helanow, L.K. Zoet and C.E. Bate, 2021. Softening of temperate ice by interstitial water. Frontiers of Earth Science, 9:702761, doi: 10.3389/feart.2021.702761.
  • Woodard, J.B., J.K. Zoet, N.R. Iverson, and C. Helanow, 2021. Variations in hard-bedded topography beneath glaciers. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface, 126, e2021JF006326. doi: 10.1029/2021JF006326.
  • 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,
  • Iverson, N.R., C. Helanow, and L.K. Zoet, 2020. Debris-bed friction during glacier sliding with ice-bed separation. Annals of Glaciology, 60(80), 1-7. Doi:10.1017/aog.2019.46.
  • 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
  • Ives, L.R.W., and N.R. Iverson, 2019. Genesis of glacial flutes inferred from observations at Múlajökull, Iceland. Geology, 47(5), 387-390,
  • 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.


B.S. Iowa State University, 1983

Ph.D. University of Minnesota, 1989