Ian Glasspool

Head of Geological Collections, Adjunct Curator and Paleobotany Collections Manager

Collections Center


The evolution of fire systems in deep time and their impact on paleoecology and broader Earth system processes.

The origins of coal-forming macerals and their significance in the interpretation of organic petrology.

Late Paleozoic paleobotany and its implications for paleoclimate and coal-geology.


EDUCATION & PREVIOUS ACADEMIC POSITIONS                             

1991 B.Sc. Biochemistry, King’s College London, U.K.

1996 B.Sc. Environmental Geoscience, Cardiff University, U.K.

2000 Ph.D. Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London, U.K. "The Palaeoecology of Permian Gondwana Coals"

2001-2002 Post-doctoral  Research Associate, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London, U.K.

2002-2003 Post-doctoral Research Scholar, Department of Geology and Zoology, National Museums of Scotland, U.K.  

2003 Leverhulme Special Research Fellow, Department of Earth, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, Cardiff University, U.K.

2003-2004 Post-doctoral Research Scholar, Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London, U.K.


  • WANG, H., SHAO, L.-Y. LI, M.-H., ZHANG, P.-F. GLASSPOOL,I.J., WHEELEY, J.R., WIGNALL, P.B., YI, T.-S. ZHANG, M.-Q., HILTON, J.M. 2011. Sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy of the Lopingian (Late Permian) coal measures in southwestern China. International Journal of Coal Geology 85, 168-183.
  • GLASSPOOL, I.J., SCOTT, A.C., 2010. Phanerozoic concentrations of atmospheric oxygen reconstructed from sedimentary charcoal. Nature Geoscience 3, 627 – 630.
  • BELCHER, C.M., MANDER, L., REIN, G.  JERVIS, F.X., HAWORTH, M., HESSELBO, S.P., GLASSPOOL, I.J., MCELWAIN, J.C. 2010. Increased fire risk associated with global warming across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary. Nature Geoscience 3, 426-429.
  • SCOTT, A.C. KENIG, F., PLOTNICK, R.E., GLASSPOOL, I.J., CHALONER, W.G., EBLE, C.F., 2010. Evidence of multiple late Bashkirian to early Moscovian (Pennsylvanian) fire events preserved in contemporaneous cave fills. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 91: 72-84
  • GLASSPOOL, I.J., COLLINSON, M.E., SCOTT, A.C., BRAIN, A.P.R., PLOTNICK, R.E., KENIG, F., 2009. An ultrastructural investigation of early Middle Pennsylvanian megaspores from the Illinois Basin, USA. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 156, 62-78.
  • PLOTNICK, R.E., KENIG, F., SCOTT, A.C., GLASSPOOL, I.J., EBLE, C.F., LANG, W.J., 2009. Pennsylvanian paleokarst and cave fills from northern Illinois, U.S.A.: a window into late Carboniferous environments and landscapes. Palaios 24, 627-737.
  • COLLINSON, M.E., STEART, D.C., HARRINGTON, G.J., HOOKER, J.J., SCOTT, A.C., ALLEN, L.O., GLASSPOOL, I.J., GIBBONS, S.J., 2009. Palynological evidence of vegetation dynamics in response to palaeoenvironmental change across the onset of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum at Cobham, Southern England. Grana 48, 38–66.
  • WILLIAMS, D.J.A., HOFMANN, B.A., GLASSPOOL, I.J.,2008. Coalification in Carboniferous sediments from the Lötschberg base tunnel. Swiss Journal of Geosciences 101, 651–658.
  • PLOTNICK, R.E., KENIG, R., SCOTT, A.C., GLASSPOOL, I.J., 2008. Exceptionally well-preserved paleokarst and Pennsylvanian cavefills. In: Curry, B. (Ed.), Deglacial history and paleoenvironments of Northern Illinois. ISGS Open File 2008-1, 79-87.
  • PLOTNICK, R.E., KENIG, R., GLASSPOOL, I.J., SCOTT, A.C., 2008. Kaskaskia paleokarsts of northern Illinois. Karst Waters Institute Special Publication 14, 163-167.
  • PANCOST, R.D., STEART, D.S., HANDLEY, L., COLLINSON, M.E., HOOKER, J.J., SCOTT, A.C., GRASSINEAU, N.V., GLASSPOOL, I.J., 2007. Increased terrestrial methane cycling at the Paleocene–Eocene thermal maximum.Nature 449, 332-335.
  • SCOTT, A.C., GLASSPOOL, I.J., 2007. Observations and experiments on the origin and formation of inertinite group macerals.International Journal of Coal Geology 70, 43-66.
  • COLLINSON, M.E., STEART, D.C., SCOTT, A.C., GLASSPOOL, I.J., HOOKER, J.J., 2007. Episodic fire, run-off and deposition at the Eocene-Eocene boundary. Journal of the Geological Society of London 164, 87-97.
  • STEART, D. C., COLLINSON, M. E., SCOTT, A. C., GLASSPOOL, I. J., HOOKER, J. J., 2007. A petrographic determination of the palaeobotany of contrasting lignites from Cobham, England that occur either side of the carbon isotope excursion associated with the Eocene-Eocene thermal maximum. Acta Palaeontographica 47, 109-125.
  • SCOTT, A.C., GLASSPOOL, I.J., 2006. Controls on the diversification of Paleozoic fire systems: vegetation, climate or atmosphere?Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences103 (29) 10861-10865.
  • GLASSPOOL, I.J., EDWARDS, D., AXE, L., 2006. Charcoal in the Early Devonian: a wildfire derived Konservat-Lagerstätte. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology. 142, 131-136.
  • GLASSPOOL, I.J., SCOTT, A.C., 2005. An early Carboniferous (Mississippian), Tournaisian, megaspore assemblage from Three Mile Plains, Nova Scotia, Canada. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 134, 219-236.
  • GLASSPOOL, I.J., COLLINSON, M.E., HILTON, J., WANG, S.-J., 2005. Foliar physiognomy and palaeoclimate: applying angiosperm-based models to Permian-aged gigantopterids. In. Lucas S. G., Zeigler, K.E., (eds). The Nonmarine Permian. Bulletin of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science; 30, 90-94.
  • CRELLING, J.C., GLASSPOOL, I.J., GIBBINS, J.R., SEITZ, M., 2005. Bireflectance Imaging of Coal and Char Specimens. International Journal of Coal Geology 64, 204-216.
  • SCOTT, A.C., GLASSPOOL, I.J., 2005. Charcoal reflectance as a proxy for the emplacement temperature of pyroclastic flow deposits. Geology 33, 589-592.
  • GLASSPOOL, I.J., EDWARDS, D., AXE L., 2004. Charcoal in the Silurian as evidence for the earliest wildfire. Geology 32, 381-383.
  • GLASSPOOL, I.J., HILTON, J., COLLINSON, M.E., 2004. Defining the gigantopterid concept: a reinvestigation of Gigantopteris (Megalopteris) nicotianaefolia Schenk. Palaeontology 47, 1339-1361.
  • GLASSPOOL, I.J., HILTON J., COLLINSON, M.E., WANG S.-J., LI C.-S., 2004. Foliar physiognomy in Cathaysian gigantopterids and the potential to track Palaeozoic climates using an extinct plant group. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 205, 69-110.
  • HILTON, J., WANG, S.-J., GALTIER, J., GLASSPOOL, I.J., STEVENS, L., 2004. An Upper Permian permineralized plant assemblage in volcaniclastic tuff from the Xuanwei Formation, Guizhou Province, southern China, and its palaeofloristic significance. Geological Magazine 141: 661-674.
  • GLASSPOOL, I.J.,2003. A review of Permian Gondwana megaspores, with particular emphasis on materials collected from coals of the Witbank Basin of South Africa and the Sydney Basin of Australia. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 124, 227-296.
  • GLASSPOOL, I.J., 2003. A short communication validating the species Singhisporites tubbus Glasspool. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 123, 271.
  • GLASSPOOL, I.J., 2003. Hypautochthonous-allocthonous coal deposition in the Permian, South African, Witbank Basin No. 2 seam; a combined approach using sedimentology, coal petrology and palaeontology. International Journal of Coal Geology 53, 81-135.
  • GLASSPOOL, I.J., 2003. Palaeoecology of selected South African export coals from the Vryheid Formation, with emphasis on the role of heterosporous lycopsids and wildfire derived inertinite. Fuel 82, 959-970.
  • GLASSPOOL, I.J., HILTON, J., COLLINSON, M.E., WANG, S.-J., 2003. Foliar herbivory in Late Palaeozoic Cathaysian gigantopterids. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 127, 125-132.
  • GLASSPOOL, I.J., 2000. A major fire event recorded in the mesofossils and petrology of the Late Permian, Lower Whybrow coal seam, Sydney Basin, Australia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 164, 373-396.
  • GLASSPOOL, I.J., 2000. Megaspores from the Permian Lower Whybrow coal seam, Sydney Basin, Australia. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 110, 209-227.
  • GLASSPOOL, I.J., HEMSLEY, A. R., SCOTT, A. C., GOLITSYN, A., 2000. Ultrastructure and affinity of Lower Carboniferous megaspores from the Moscow Basin, Russia. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 109, 1-31.
  • HEMSLEY, A.R., GLASSPOOL, I.J., 1999. Megaspore ultrastructure. pp. 121-125. In: Jones, T.P., Rowe, N.P., (eds). Fossil plants and spores: modern techniques. The Geological Society of London.

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