Dr Stephen McCarron

Geography, ICARUS

Associate Professor
Head of Department

Rhetoric House
(01) 708 6147


Dr Stephen McCarron is a member of the international Quaternary research community, conducting research into Irish onshore and offshore sediment sequences. Since 2005 he has been teaching physical geography courses at Maynooth University in the Department of Geography and managing the Irish Sediment Core Research Facility (ISCORF).  He has most recently been part of the Local Organising Committee for the 20th International INQUA Congress, held in Dublin in July 2019, which attracted in excess of 2300 Quaternary researchers to Ireland.

Research Interests

My research involves the search for geological evidence of former ice sheet extents and dynamics on the island of Ireland and on its continental shelf. I am actively involved in a number of research projects with several research teams on aspects of the glacial records associated with past Irish Ice Sheets both onshore and offshore Ireland.
To this end I established a research laboratory at Maynooth University in 2009 to facilitate the analysis of sediment cores from palaeoclimatic archives. The Irish Sediment Core Research Facility (ISCORF) is a nationally accessible geoscience focussed laboratory comprising equipment, expertise, working and storage space dedicated to the analysis of sediment core physical properties. The lab clusters around a GeoTek Multi Sensor Core Logger (MSCL), a grouping of geophysical sensors that allow the rapid, non-invasive high precision quantification of sediment seismic velocity, magnetic susceptibility, bulk density, colour/visual reflectance and electrical resistivity.

Research Projects

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
Mapping Malin: A geological interpretation of the Malin Shelf. PI 01/02/2016 31/01/2018 91790
Mapping the shallow geology of the Porcupine Bank, west of Ireland PI 01/10/2014 30/09/2016 91790
Grant Aid for Ship Time - GATEWAYS II PI 03/03/2014 02/04/2014 0
COLDSTORE: Enhanced facilities for the extension of sediment core shelf life. PI The collection of sediment samples from the continental shelf waters around Ireland as part of the INSS and now INFOMAR research programmes, is an important part of national knowledge building regarding the type and quantity of sediment that blankets Irish offshore regions. The shelf is a focus for the development of many industries such as fisheries and renewable energy production, a national research priority. The data collected by the coring activity will form a baseline dataset for all marine activity involving the seabed and its substrate components e.g. gravel, sand, mud. The collection of physical properties data is the first step in the analysis chain, and is being conducted in NUIM at the purpose built Irish Sediment Core Research Facility (ISCORF), centred around a state-of-the-art core splitter and Multi Sensor Core Logger (MSCL-S). However, the sediment analysis procedural chain requires the opening of the cored sediments, exposing them to the rapidly dehydrating effects of the atmosphere. The primary method of preventing drying and hardening of the sediment samples, and thus prolonging their ‘shelf life’, is to store them in a cold environment. This has the effect of delaying evaporation of pore water from the core surfaces. The building of such a ‘cold room’, the ‘COLDSTORE’ facility alongside the existing sediment analysis laboratory sat NUIM will add the capacity to receive cores, database and preserve them in as effective a way as possible. Cold storage will allow a longer timespan for the training of students in the nature of marine sediments and provide a bank of sediment samples for the global research community to access; thus opening up the global network of sediment core repositories to Irish researchers in return. 05/12/2011 10/12/2012 60000
Grant Aid for Ship Time - GATEWAYS I PI The GATEWAYS campaign forms part of a growing international collaboration into the glacial history of the continental shelf south and west of Ireland involving researchers from Ireland, Italy and the UK. The campaign focused on two areas inferred to have acted as iceberg calving gateways related to former ice streams within the British-Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS), the Celtic Sea and the western Irish shelf. The overall objective was to acquire new information on the morphology and glacial to post-glacial stratigraphy of the mid- to outer shelf through the acquisition of geophysical profiles and seabed imagery and samples. This objective was complementary to INFOMAR interests in seabed mapping and a secondary objective was to acquire information of use for INFOMAR. The 22 day campaign took part in two legs, the Celtic Sea from 21 April to 02 May and the western shelf from 02-12 May. The campaign faced difficult weather conditions that resulted in X% down-time… The first leg was dogged by unfavourable weather that allowed only limited access to the northernmost ridges of the Celtic Sea, from which the first MBES-SBP data were obtained; downtime was minimised by acquiring data of interest to ongoing INFOMAR programmes (Old Head of Kinsale, Dunmanus Bay, Bantry Bay). The second leg also faced uncertain weather, but succeeded in acquiring seismic reflection profiles across the shelf moraines; in addition data were acquired from Galway Bay. 21/04/2012 12/05/2012 184000
RIDGES: Regionally IntegrateD GEological Mapping of the Celtic Sea PI 01/03/2010 30/11/2010 0

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2024 Krueger, E.T.; Mouchi, V.; Monteys, X.; McCarron, S.; Lim, A.; Crowley, Q.G. (2024) 'Development and physical characteristics of the Irish shelf-edge Macnas Mounds, Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic'. International Journal of Earth Sciences, . [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2023 Delaney, C.A.; Adamson, K.; Linch, L.D.; Davis, S.; McCarron, S. (2023) 'Reconstructing terrestrial ice sheet retreat dynamics from hummocky topography using multiscale evidence: An example from central Ireland'. QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS, 308 . [Link] [DOI]
2022 Clark C.D.; Ely J.C.; Hindmarsh R.C.A.; Bradley S.; Ignéczi A.; Fabel D.; Ó Cofaigh C.; Chiverrell R.C.; Scourse J.; Benetti S.; Bradwell T.; Evans D.J.A.; Roberts D.H.; Burke M.; Callard S.L.; Medialdea A.; Saher M.; Small D.; Smedley R.K.; Gasson E.; Gregoire L.; Gandy N.; Hughes A.L.C.; Ballantyne C.; Bateman M.D.; Bigg G.R.; Doole J.; Dove D.; Duller G.A.T.; Jenkins G.T.H.; Livingstone S.L.; McCarron S.; Moreton S.; Pollard D.; Praeg D.; Sejrup H.P.; Van Landeghem K.J.J.; Wilson P. (2022) 'Growth and retreat of the last British–Irish Ice Sheet, 31 000 to 15 000 years ago: the BRITICE-CHRONO reconstruction'. Boreas, . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2021 Ó Cofaigh C.; Callard S.L.; Roberts D.H.; Chiverrell R.C.; Ballantyne C.K.; Evans D.J.A.; Saher M.; Van Landeghem K.J.J.; Smedley R.; Benetti S.; Burke M.; Clark C.D.; Duller G.A.T.; Fabel D.; Livingstone S.J.; Mccarron S.; Medialdea A.; Moreton S.G.; Sacchetti F. (2021) 'Timing and pace of ice-sheet withdrawal across the marine–terrestrial transition west of Ireland during the last glaciation'. JOURNAL OF QUATERNARY SCIENCE, 36 (5):805-832. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2021 Craven, KF; McCarron, S; Monteys, X; Dove, D (2021) 'Interaction of multiple ice streams on the Malin Shelf during deglaciation of the last British-Irish Ice Sheet'. JOURNAL OF QUATERNARY SCIENCE, 36 (2):153-168. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2021 James D Scourse, Richard C Chiverrell, RK Smedley, David Small, Matthew J Burke, Margot Saher, Katrien JJ Van Landeghem, Geoff AT Duller, CÓ Cofaigh, MD Bateman, Sara Benetti, Sarah Bradley, Louise Callard, DJA Evans, Derek Fabel, Geraint Thomas-Howard Jenkins, Stephen McCarron, Alicia Medialdea, Steven Moreton, Xianjiao Ou, Daniel Praeg, David H Roberts, Helen M Roberts, CD Clark (2021) 'Maximum extent and readvance dynamics of the Irish Sea Ice Stream and Irish Sea Glacier since the Last Glacial Maximum'. JOURNAL OF QUATERNARY SCIENCE, 36 (5):780-804. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2021 O'Reilly S.S.; Jordan S.F.; Monteys X.; Simpson A.J.; Allen C.C.R.; Szpak M.T.; Murphy B.T.; McCarron S.G.; Soong R.; Wu B.; Jenne A.; Grey A.; Kelleher B.P. (2021) 'Production of methane and gaseous compounds by surface microbial activity in a small pockmark field, Dunmanus Bay, Ireland'. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 255 :107340-107340. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2020 Coughlan, M; Toth, Z; Van Landeghem, KJJ; Mccarron, S; Wheeler, AJ (2020) 'Formational history of the Wicklow Trough: a marine-transgressed tunnel valley revealing ice flow velocity and retreat rates for the largest ice stream draining the late-Devensian British-Irish Ice Sheet'. JOURNAL OF QUATERNARY SCIENCE, 35 (7):907-919. [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2020 Toth, Z; McCarron, S; Wheeler, AJ; Wenau, S; Davis, S; Lim, A; Spiess, V (2020) 'Geomorphological and seismostratigraphic evidence for multidirectional polyphase glaciation of the northern Celtic Sea'. JOURNAL OF QUATERNARY SCIENCE, 35 (3):465-478. [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2020 Ó Briain O.; Marques Mendes A.R.; McCarron S.; Healy M.G.; Morrison L. (2020) 'The role of wet wipes and sanitary towels as a source of white microplastic fibres in the marine environment'. Water Research, 182 . [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Jordan S.; O'Reilly S.; Praeg D.; Dove D.; Facchin L.; Romeo R.; Szpak M.; Monteys X.; Murphy B.; Scott G.; McCarron S.; Kelleher B. (2019) 'Geophysical and geochemical analysis of shallow gas and an associated pockmark field in Bantry Bay, Co. Cork, Ireland'. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 225 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2019 Georgiopoulou, A.; Krastel, S.; Finch, N.; Zehn, K.; McCarron, S.; Huvenne, V. A. I.; Haughton, P. D. W.; Shannon, P. M. (2019) 'On the Timing and Nature of the Multiple Phases of Slope Instability on Eastern Rockall Bank, Northeast Atlantic'. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 20 (2):594-613. [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 McCarron S.; Praeg D.; Ó Cofaigh C.; Monteys X.; Thébaudeau B.; Craven K.; Saqab M.; Cova A. (2018) 'A Plio-Pleistocene sediment wedge on the continental shelf west of central Ireland: The Connemara Fan'. Marine Geology, 399 :97-114. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Delaney C.; McCarron S.; Davis S. (2018) 'Irish Ice Sheet dynamics during deglaciation of the central Irish Midlands: Evidence of ice streaming and surging from airborne LiDAR'. Geomorphology, 306 :235-253. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Small D.; Smedley R.; Chiverrell R.; Scourse J.; Cofaigh C.; Duller G.; McCarron S.; Burke M.; Evans D.; Fabel D.; Gheorghiu D.; Thomas G.; Xu S.; Clark C. (2018) 'Trough geometry was a greater influence than climate-ocean forcing in regulating retreat of the marine-based Irish-Sea Ice Stream'. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 130 (11-12):1981-1999. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2015 Szpak, MT; Monteys, X; O'Reilly, SS; Lilley, MKS; Scott, GA; Hart, KM; McCarron, SG; Kelleher, BP (2015) 'Occurrence, characteristics and formation mechanisms of methane generated micro-pockmarks in Dunmanus Bay, Ireland'. Continental Shelf Research, 103 :45-59. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2015 Praeg, D; McCarron, S; Dove, D; O Cofaigh, C; Scott, G; Monteys, X; Facchin, L; Romeo, R; Coxon, P (2015) 'Ice sheet extension to the Celtic Sea shelf edge at the Last Glacial Maximum'. QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS, 111 :107-112. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2014 McCarron S. (2014) 'Deglaciation of the Dungiven basin, north-west Ireland'. IRISH JOURNAL OF EARTH SCIENCES, 31 :43-71. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2013 Radu, T; Gallagher, S; Byrne, B; Harris, P; Coveney, S; McCarron, S; McCarthy, T; Diamond, D (2013) 'Portable X-Ray Fluorescence as a Rapid Technique for Surveying Elemental Distributions in Soil'. Spectroscopy Letters, 46 :516-526. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2012 Dr Stephen G McCarron (2012) 'Sedimentological models of glacially influenced deposition along the western Irish continental shelf'. QUATERNARY INTERNATIONAL, 279-280 :315-316.
2009 Clark, J; McCabe, AM; Schnabel, C; Clark, PU; McCarron, S; Freeman, SPHT; Maden, C; Xu, S (2009) 'Cosmogenic Be-10 chronology of the last deglaciation of western Ireland, and implications for sensitivity of the Irish Ice Sheet to climate change'. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 121 :3-16. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2007 Na Bhradaigh E.; McCarron S.; Walsh J.; Duffy P. (2007) 'Using GIS to map the evolution of the Gaeltacht'. Irish Geography, 40 (1):99-108. [Full-Text]
1999 McCabe, AM; Knight, J; McCarron, SG (1999) 'Ice-flow stages and glacial bedforms in north central Ireland: a record of rapid environmental change during the last glacial termination'. Journal of the Geological Society, 156 :63-72. [Full-Text]
1999 Knight, J., McCarron, S.G. and McCabe, A.M. (1999) 'Landform modification along a palaeo-ice stream, north central Ireland'. Annals of Glaciology, 28 :161-167. [Full-Text]
1998 McCabe, M; Knight, J; McCarron, S (1998) 'Evidence for Heinrich event 1 in the British Isles'. JOURNAL OF QUATERNARY SCIENCE, 13 :549-568. [Full-Text]


Year Publication
2019 McCarron, S. (2019) The Quaternary Geology of Killiney Bay. Dublin, Ireland: Irish Quaternary Association.

Edited Book

Year Publication
2017 Coxon, P.; McCarron, S.G.; Mitchell, F.M (Ed.). (2017) Advances in Irish Quaternary Studies. Paris: Atlantis Press, [Link]
2010 McCarron, S.G.; Stefanini, B (Ed.). (2010) The Beara Peninsula. Dublin: Irish Quaternary Association,
2008 Whitehouse, N., Roe, H.M., McCarron, S. and Knight, J (Ed.). (2008) Field Guide to the north of Ireland. London: Quaternary Research Association,

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2017 Coxon, P; McCarron, S; Mitchell, F (2017) 'Introduction: Advances in Irish Quaternary Studies' In: ADVANCES IN IRISH QUATERNARY STUDIES. PARIS : ATLANTIS PRESS. [DOI]
2017 Coxon, P; McCarron, S; Mitchell, F (2017) 'Advances in Irish Quaternary Studies Preface' In: ADVANCES IN IRISH QUATERNARY STUDIES. PARIS : ATLANTIS PRESS.
2013 Dr Stephen G McCarron (2013) 'Glacial Geology and Geomorphology: Introduction' In: Warren, G.M. and Davis, S(Eds.). North Mayo. Dublin : IQUA.
2013 Dr Stephen G McCarron (2013) 'Offshore Evidence' In: Warren, G.M. and Davis, S(Eds.). North Mayo. Dublin : IQUA.
2012 Dr Stephen G McCarron (2012) 'Spaced and Timed in the New York Marathon' In: Fraser, A(Eds.). 0 at 40, Celebrating 40years of Geography at NUI Maynooth. Maynooth, Ireland : Dept. of Geography, NUI Maynooth. [Full-Text]
2009 Coxon, P. and McCarron, S.G. (2009) 'Cenozoic: Tertiary and Quaternary (until 11,700 years before 2000)' In: Holland, C.H. and Sanders, I.S(Eds.). The Geology of Ireland, 2nd ed. Edinburgh : Dunedin Academic Press. [Full-Text]
2008 McCarron, S.G. (2008) 'Introduction: glacial geology and geomorphology of the North of Ireland' In: Whitehouse, N. et al(Eds.). Field Guide to the north of Ireland. London : Quaternary Research Association.
2004 Knight, J., Coxon, P., McCabe, A.M. and McCarron, S.G. (2004) 'Pleistocene glaciations in Ireland' In: Ehlers, J. and Gibbard, P.L(Eds.). Quaternary Glaciations – Extent and Chronology. Holland : Elsevier B.V.

Other Journal

Year Publication
2017 Craven, K.F., McCarron, S.G., Monteys, X. (2017) 'A regional seismostratigraphy for Quaternary deposits on the Malin Shelf, northwest of Ireland' Geophysical Research Abstracts, 19 :2243-2243.
2017 Delaney, C., McCarron, S., Adamson, K., Davis, S. (2017) 'A Three-Dimensional Approach to Investigating Hummocky Terrain using Airborne Lidar and Ground-Penetrating Radar' Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies, 19 :10216-10216.
2016 Smedley, R., Chiverrell , R., Duller, G., Scourse, J., Small, D., Fabel, D., Burke, M., Clark , C., Mc Carroll , D., Mc Carron , S., O’Cofaigh , C., Roberts, D. (2016) 'Improved age constraints for the retreat of the Irish Sea Ice Stream' Geophysical Research Abstracts, 18 :774-774.
2016 Thébaudeau, B., McCarron, S., Monteys, X., Renken S. (2016) 'The ridges of the northern Porcupine Bank, west of Ireland: discussion on their structure, sedimentology and potential subglacial origin' Geophysical Research Abstracts, 18 :6395-6395. [Full-Text]
2016 Thébaudeau, B., Monteys, X., McCarron, S. (2016) 'The Seabed and Shallow Geology Mapping of the Porcupine Bank, West of Ireland' AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting Abstracts, .
2009 McCarron, S.G. (2009) 'Why study the long term climate history of Ireland?' Milieu, 32 :8-9. [Full-Text]
2007 McCarron, S.G. (2007) '‘Good Cubans do not need ..’ or some reflections on a changing Cuba' Milieu, 30 :35-38.

Conference Publication

Year Publication
2012 Georgiopoulou A.; Benetti S.; Shannon P.; Haughton P.; McCarron S. (2012) Submarine Mass Movements and Their Consequences - 5th International Symposium Gravity flow deposits in the deep rockall trough, northeast atlantic [DOI]

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2019 Stephen McCarron, Zsuzsanna Tóth, Andrew Wheeler, Stefan Wenau, Stephen Davis, Aaron Lim, Volkhard Spiess (2019) Geomorphological and seismostratigraphic evidence for multidirectional polyphase glaciation of the northern Celtic Sea 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) Dublin, Ireland, 24/07/2019-31/07/2019.
2019 Stephen McCarron, Mudasar Saqab, Kieran Craven, Daniel Praeg, Benjamin Thebaudeau, Xavier Monteys (2019) Quaternary ice sheet limits on the continental shelf west of Ireland 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) Dublin, Ireland, 24/07/2019-31/07/2019. [Full-Text]
2019 Daniel Praeg, Stephen McCarron, Dayton Dove, Daniela Accettella, Andrea Cova, Lorenzo Facchin, Xavier Monteys (2019) Submarine geomorphology of the Celtic Sea continental shelf and the southern extent of glaciation on the Atlantic margin of Europe 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) Dublin, Ireland, 24/07/2019-31/07/2019.
2019 Cathy Delaney, Kathryn Adamson, Lorna Linch, Stephen Davis, Stephen McCarron (2019) Reconstructing the Last Irish Ice Sheet in the Irish Midlands: Mapping Hummocky Topography using LiDAR and Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) Dublin, Ireland, 24/07/2019-31/07/2019.
2016 Tóth, Z., Wheeler, A. J., McCarron, S.G., Monteys, X. (2016) Esker ridges and seismostratigraphic evidence for a southerly ice flow extending onto the present nearshore continental shelf of the Celtic Sea, SE Ireland American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting New Orleans, USA, .
2017 Craven, K.F., Monteys, X., McCarron, S.G. (2017) Supervised classification of continental shelf sediment off western Donegal American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting New Orleans, USA, .
2009 (2009) Progress in Evaluating Ireland's Offshore Archives IQUA Spring Meeting TCD Dublin, .


Year Publication
2000 McCarron, S.G. (2000) Late Devensian Glaciation of the North of Ireland. University of ulster: [Thesis]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2024) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
Irish Quaternary Association Chairperson 15/03/2005 - 14/03/2008
Irish Quaternary Association Secretary 14/03/2008 - 18/03/2011
Irish Quaternary Association Member 25/03/1994 -
Quaternary Research Association Member 25/03/1994 -


Employer Position From / To
Maynooth University Associate Professor 05/09/2005 -
Trinity College Dublin Contract Lecturer 01/09/2003 - 31/05/2005
Geological Survey of Ireland Project Geologist 01/02/1998 - 31/01/2001
University of Ulster Research Assistant 01/04/1994 - 31/03/1997


Start date Institution Qualification Subject
University of Ulster D.Phil Glacial Geology
University of Leicester M.Sc. Geographical Information Systems
Queen's University of Belfast B.Sc. Geography

Teaching Interests

In my teaching and research at Maynooth University I have focused on describing and interpreting Earth processes and history.  I teach multiple undergraduate and postgraduate modules every year in collaboration with many colleagues in Geography and soon within a newly established BSc in Biological and Geographical Sciences programme I currently co-direct.