Cuchlaine King

1922 - 2019

Geomorphologist Cuchlaine King died on December 17, 2019 at the age of 97. As a member of the geography department at Nottingham University since 1951, King’s studies addressed many landforms and landscapes, particularly beaches and glaciers.

At a time when scientific expeditions to remote locations were often closed to women, in 1953 she embarked on a university expedition to Iceland to study and survey glaciers. Later in the 1950s,and 1960s, she took part in the Cambridge expeditions on the Austerdalsbreen glacier in Norway and the Baffin Island, in Canada. 

Cuchlaine was born in Cambridge,where she later went on to study geography at Newnham College, graduating in 1943. Cuchlaine’s publications include Beaches and Coasts (1959), Techniques in Geomorphology (1966), and Glacial and Periglacial Geomorphology (1968). She was an early proponent of “quantitative geography”, the use of numerical and statistical techniques to describe and explain landform development. In 1961, Cuchlaine became one of only two women in the founding group of academics that became the British Society for Geomorphology. In 1981 she was awarded the Linton prize from the BSG for her contributions to the subject.

Cuchlaine is survived by a niece, Jane, and three nephews, Nicholas, Timothy and John.