Impacts of glacier retreat in the Peruvian Andes on river water quality

About the project or challenge area

Peruvian glaciers, like most tropical glaciers, have witnessed high rates of mass loss over the last 30 years due to warming temperatures and changing precipitation. While the consequent impacts upon the quantity of melt released are becoming better studied, impacts on water quality are poorly understood. Recent studies indicate a shift of river water chemistries towards acidic conditions with high metal toxicity, which has been linked to the retreat of glaciers over sedimentary rocks with a high metal sulphide content. This project forms part of a wider UK/Peruvian study, and aims to analyse the chemistries of several rivers draining Peruvian glaciers to ascertain controls on the inferred evolutionary pathway to toxicity.

Why choose this opportunity?

You will have the opportunity to take part in a fully-funded trip to the Peruvian Andes to undertake data collection (suitable experience permitting).

About you

Some prior study of chemistry and chemical weathering, previous field and laboratory experience.

How to apply

All students can apply using the button below, following the Masters by Research Admissions Statement (PDF, 187kB). Please note that this is an advertised project, which means you only have to complete Section A of the Masters by Research Statement Template (Office document, 68kB).



Your supervisor for this project will be Jemma Wadham in the School of Geographical Sciences. You can contact her at


Your co-supervisor for this project will be Chris Yates from the School of Geographical Sciences. You can contact him at +44 (0) 117 954 5303 or email

Find out more about your prospective research community

The Environmental Change theme is a vibrant community of researchers who integrate expertise across multiple disciplines to provide the evidence base and solutions to tackle the world's most pressing environmental challenges. Find out more about the Environmental Change research theme.

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