Kate Swanger  is an Associate Professor in the Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department at UMass Lowell.

Kate Swanger

Associate Professor

College of Sciences
Environmental Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Climate Change Initiative


Earth Surface processes & paleoclimatology, with an emphasis on glacial geology, permafrost processes & high-latitude climate change

Research Interests

Earth Surface processes & paleoclimatology, with an emphasis on glacial geology, permafrost processes & high-latitude climate change

My current research themes focus on the response of Antarctic ice sheets to late Cenozoic climate change, quantifying earth surface processes with rigorous field experiments and numerical modeling, and investigating the role of buried glacier ice in permafrost processes and their potential as climate archives.


  • Ph.D.: Geomorphology, (2009), Boston University - Boston, MA
  • BS: Anthropology, (2002), University of Oregon - Oregon

Selected Awards and Honors

  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Honor (2004), Scholarship/Research - NSF
  • Phi Beta Kappa (2002), Service, University - University of Oregon
  • Summa cum laude (2002), Scholarship/Research - University of Oregon

Selected Publications

  • Winsor, K., Swanger, K.M., Babcock, E.L., Dickson, J.L., Valletta, R.D., Schmidt, D. (2020). Origin, structure and geochemistry of a rock glacier near Don Juan Pond, Wright Valley, Antarctica. Antarctic Science.
  • Winsor, K., Swanger, K.M., Babcock, E., Valletta, R., Dickson, J. (2020). Rock glacier characteristics serve as an indirect record of multiple alpine glacier advances in Taylor Valley, Antarctica. Cryosphere.
  • Swanger, K.M., Babcock, E., Winsor, K., Valletta, R.D. (2019). Rock glaciers in Pearse Valley, Antarctic record outlet and alpine glacier advance from MIS 5 through the Holocene. Geomorphology, 336.
  • Swanger, K.M. (2017). Buried ice in Kennar Valley: a late-Pleistocene remnant of Taylor Glacier. Antarctic Science.
  • Swanger, K.M., Lamp, J.L., Winckler, G., Schaefer, J.M., Marchant, D.R. (2017). Glacier advance during MIS 11 in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Nature Scientific Reports.
  • Swanger, K.M., Marchant, D.R., Schaefer, J.M., Winckler, G., Head, J.W. (2011). Elevated East Antarctic outlet glaciers during warmer-than-present climates in southern Victoria Land. Global and Planetary Change.
  • Kowalewski, D.E., Marchant, D.R., Swanger, K.M., Head, J.W. (2011). Modeling vapor diffusion within cold and dry supraglacial tills in Antarctica. Geomorphology.
  • Swanger, K.M., Marchant, D.R., Kowalewski, D.E., Head, J.W. (2010). Viscous flow lobes in central Taylor Valley, Antarctica: origin as remnant buried glacial ice. Geomorphology.
  • Swanger, K.M., Marchant, D.R. (2007). Sensitivity of ice-cemented Antarctic soils to greenhouse-induced thawing: are terrestrial archives at risk? Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 259 347–359.
  • Staiger, J.W., Marchant, D.R., Schaefer, J.M., Oberholzer, P., Johnson, J.V., Lewis, A.R., Swanger, K.M. (2006). Plio-Pleistocene history of Ferrar Glacier, Antarctica: implications for climate and ice sheet stability. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 243 489–503.

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Origin and climatic significance of rock glaciers in the McMurdo Dry Valleys: assessing spatial and temporal variability (2014), Grant - National Science Foundations Office of Polar Programs
    Swanger, K.M.
  • Collaborative Research: Multi-nuclide approach to systematically evaluate the sca (2011), Grant -
    Swanger, K.M. (Principal)