Martin Ross

Martin Ross
Associate Professor, Applied Quaternary Science, Associate Dean Graduate Studies
Location: EIT 2045
Phone: 519-888-4567 x38171


Martin Ross aims to understand the Earth’s recent past; more specifically, the glaciations of the Quaternary Period, which encompasses the last 2.6 million years of Earth’s history.

Reconstructing past glaciations helps scientists better understand how glaciers have modified the surface of the Earth and its shallow subsurface. This knowledge can be applied to a wide range of problems including mineral exploration under glacial sediment cover, natural hazards, and water resources in glaciated watersheds.

Research Interests

  • Applied Quaternary geology (e.g. hydrostratigraphy, drift exploration),
  • 3D geologic modeling and GIS,
  • Glacial geology, sedimentology, sediment geochemistry, shallow geophysics
  • Geohazards: Risks and Prevention
  • Climate Change and Geosciences
  • Protection of Surface and Groundwater Resources
  • Sustainable Water Use and Management

Scholarly Research

Professor Ross' research is focused on past glacial environments with particular emphasis on glacial sediment-landsystems, landscape evolution of glaciated terrains, and related applications (e.g. drift prospecting and hydrostratigraphy). The general goals are to: advance our understanding of ice sheet dynamics; determine the origin of complex subglacial landform assemblages; establish the net effect of glaciations on sediment dispersion and; establish subsurface sedimentary architecture of glaciated terrains. The approach is multi-faceted, involving the examination of glacial features and sediments in the field or from borehole samples and logs, as well as in the laboratory (e.g. sediment properties and composition, geochronology). He also uses high-resolution shallow geophysics (e.g. seismic, Ground-penetrating radar [GPR]), satellite imagery and digital elevation models, as well as computer geomodeling tools to visualize, analyze and interpret the data in their spatial context. His research group is particularly active in investigating the imprint of palaeo-ice streams, the glacial erosion and dispersal patterns in Arctic Canada, as well as the stratigraphy and hydrostratigraphy of glaciated terrains at various scales from buried valleys to continental sediment cover. More information on his current projects can be found on the following websites: Integrated Multi-Parameter Footprints of Ore Systems: The Next Generation of Ore Deposit Models - NSERC-CMIC Industrial Research Network Slave Province Surficial Materials and Permafrost Study - Northwest Territories Geological Survey


  • 2004, Doctorate Earth Sciences, Université du Québec (INRS Research Institute), Canada
  • 1997, Master of Science Earth Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Canada
  • 1994, Bachelor of Science (BSc) Earth Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Canada


  • 2016 Chair of the Canadian Sedimentology Research Group (CSRG)
  • 2015 Guest Editor (Journal of Sedimentary Geology)
  • 2015 Vice-Chair, Canadian Sedimentology Research Group (CSRG)
  • 2012-present Graduate Officer, Department of Earth & Env. Sciences, U. Waterloo
  • 2012-2014 Geological Association of Canada (GAC), Council member, Chair Science Program
  • 2011-2012 Geological Association of Canada (GAC), Council member, Science Program Committee
  • 2005-present Reviewer for several national and international scientific journals and funding agencies
  • 2007-present UW representative, Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists
  • 2009-2010 FQRNT Panel member – Subcommittee Environnement/Sol/Air B
  • 2008-2009 NSERC reviewer – Strategic Projects, Panel A and Panel B
  • 2007 FQRNT reviewer – Early career researcher program

Professional Associations

  • Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario (Registered Professional Geoscientist)
  • Geological Association of Canada
  • Canadian Quaternary Association
  • Canadian Geomorphology Research Group
  • Geological Society of America
  • American Geophysical Union

Affiliations and Volunteer Work

  • Waterloo Artificial Intelligence Institute
  • Water Institute


  • EARTH 333 - Introductory Sedimentology
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023
  • EARTH 440 - Quaternary Geology
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Atkinson, L.A., Ross, M., Stumpf, A.J., 2014. Three-dimensional hydrofacies assemblages in ice-contact/proximal sediments forming a heterogeneous "hybrid" hydrostratigraphic unit in central Illinois, USA. Hydrogeology Journal, 22(7): 1605-1624. doi. 10.1007/s10040-014-1156-7
  • Trommellen, M.S., Ross, M., 2014. Distribution and type of sticky spots at the centre of a deglacial streamlined lobe in northeastern Manitoba, Canada. Boreas. 10.1111/bor.12064
  • Trommelen, M.S., Ross, M., Campbell J.E., 2014. Ribbed moraines in northern Manitoba, Canada: Characteristics and formation as part of asubglacial bed mosaic near the core regions of ice sheets. Quaternary Science Reviews 87: 135-155.