Postgraduate research


Geophysics and Borehole Research

Professor Sarah Davies

  • Geological interpretation of physical properties and downhole log data for stratigraphic and resource (conventional and unconventional) analysis

Professor Richard England

  • Applications of Seismic and Potential Field Data to the Study of the Velocity structure, Tectonic structure, Composition, and Evolution of the Earth’s Crust and Upper Mantle
  • Relationship between Crust and Mantle Processes and Surface Topography
  • The emplacement of igneous intrusions into the upper crust

Dr Stewart Fishwick

  • Use of Seismology in Understanding the Structure and Evolution of the Lithosphere and Upper Mantle
  • Uncertainty in Tomographic Models
  • Relationship between Seismic Models and the Physical Properties of the Earth
  • How Geophysical Datasets can be Combined to Improve Our Knowledge of the Upper Mantle
  • Applicants with a strong background in Geophysics and their own funding who are interested in applying seismology to investigate upper mantle structure and the links with regional tectonics can find more information on Dr Fishwick’s research and are encouraged to contact him directly (

Professor Mike Lovell

  • Interdependence of Physical Properties of Rocks Using Measurements on Core and Downhole
  • Laboratory Studies of Electrical and Acoustic Properties
  • Hydrocarbon Reservoir Characterisation
  • Gas Hydrates

Tim Pritchard

Applications of petrophysics with respect to:

  • Predicting the performance of hydrocarbon bearing reservoirs
  • Rock physics for quantitative seismic interpretation
  • Geomechanics, hydrocarbon production optimization
  • Assuring well integrity
  • Data acquisition design in support of decision risk analysis as applied to the exploration, appraisal and development of conventional (clastic/carbonate) and unconventional (tight/shale and coal seam gas) formations

Professor Jens Zinke

Applications of petrophysics with respect to:

  • Coral (reef) paleoclimatology and paleoenvironments using stable isotopes and trace elements
  • Role of tropical oceans in climate change and variability
  • Human impacts on coral reef degradation
  • Coral Reefs in the Anthropocene

Palaeobiology Palaeoenvironments and Palaeoclimates

Professor Sarah Davies

  • Siliciclastic sedimentology, including analysis of the fine-grained (mudstone) record
  • The role of sedimentary processes in the distribution and preservation of organic matter 
  • Evolution of environments and ecosystems during Late Palaeozoic

Professor Sarah Gabbott

  • Taphonomy and geochemistry of Lagerstatten
  • Early vertebrate evolution and melanosomes in the fossil record
  • Decay experiments designed to inform on exceptionally preserved fossil interpretation
  • Role of Sediment Chemistry in Controlling Soft Tissue Preservation
  • Interpretation of Palaeobiology and Palaeoecology through Investigation of Soft Tissues

Dr Tom Harvey

  • Exceptionally preserved fossils and the Cambrian ‘explosion’
  • Small carbonaceous fossils’ as a new window onto ancient life and ecosystems
  • The origins and early evolution of animals, especially arthropods and other ecdysozoans
  • Ecological revolutions across the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic transition

Professor Mark Purnell

  • Diet and Feeding Mechanisms (and the Evolutionary Consequences) in Living and Fossil Vertebrates based on Tooth Microwear Texture analysis
  • Taphonomy of Exceptionally Preserved Soft-Bodied Organisms, and Experimental Analysis of Decay
  • Evolution, Diversity, and Palaeoecology of Extinct Jawless Vertebrates, with a particular interest in Conodonts (Evolutionary Relationships, Skeletal Architecture, and Functional Morphology)

Professor Mark Williams

  • Palaeobiology of Environmental and Climate Change using Fossil Distributions and Stable Isotopes
  • Exceptionally Preserved Fossil Faunas of the Early Palaeozoic
  • Micropalaeontology of Ancient Tsunami Deposits
  • Distribution Patterns and Palaeobiology of Early Palaeozoic Macroplankton and Marine Benthos
  • Forensic Exploration of Archaeological Rock Artefacts from their Contained Microfossils

Professor Jan Zalasiewicz

  • Stratigraphy and Sedimentology, particularly of Palaeozoic Terrains in the UK and Poland
  • Graptolite Palaeontology and Biostratigraphy
  • Mud Rock Diagenesis and Low Grade Metamorphism
  • Quaternary Facies and Palaeoenviornments, including Assessment of Contemporary (‘Anthropocene’) Environmental Change

Volcanoes, Tectonics and Minerals Resources

Dr Tiffany Barry

  • Mantle dynamics: geochemistry and 3D spherical numerical modelling to examine questions of mantle mixing~
  • Intraplate volcanism: from the big to the small. Using volcanology and geochemistry, they all pose problems for understanding how the mantle and crust interact
  • Application of geochemistry (wholerock, mineral and isotopic), to investigate fundamental Earth processes
  • Geologic time, including the links between geochronology and stratigraphy

Professor Mike Branney

  • Physical volcanology: using sedimentology and structural techniques to deduce processes
  • Large explosive eruptions, frequencies and effects; formation of calderas
  • Pyroclastic density currents; sedimentology of ignimbrites and catastrophic sediments
  • Flow processes in lava flows, ignimbrites, dykes and vents: kinematics and ductile deformation
  • Field areas include Italy, central Mexico, Yellowstone hot-spot track USA, the Canary Islands, South Korea, Philippines and the English Lake District

Dr Dave Holwell

  • The nature and genesis of magmatic Ni-Cu-PGE deposits
  • Developing exploration models for magmatic-hydrothermal ore deposits
  • The geology of critical metal ore deposits
  • 3D microanalysis of ores

Dr Gawen Jenkin

  • Novel green solvents for environmentally-benign mineral processing
  • Hydrothermal mineralisation, in particular gold in Scotland, Ghana, Mauritania, Tanzania, Ethiopia and the Solomon Islands
  • Stable and radiogenic isotopes in fluid-rock interaction and hydrothermal mineralisation
  • Mineral carbonation for CO2 sequestration
  • Sediment geochemistry as paleoenvironmental indicators

Dr Andrew Miles

  • Granite magma genesis, its timing and emplacement
  • Accessory minerals and their application to silicic magma genesis and crustal evolution
  • Magmatic processes associated with copper porphyry deposits
  • The geothermal potential of granite plutons

Dr Marc Reichow

  • Volcanology, igneous and metamorphic petrology
  • Petrogenesis, timing and emplacement of large igneous provinces
  • Environmental impact of large scale volcanism including explosive super-eruptions
  • Deciphering magma evolution through mineral and whole rock analysis (isotopic and chemical)
  • High-precision radio isotopic dating techniques (40Ar/39Ar; U-Pb)

Dr Daniel Smith

  • Hydrous magmas and magmatic-hydrothermal systemsEpithermal and porphyry-type ore deposits
  • Critical metal resources
  • Mineral economics

Dr Richard Walker

  • The kinematics, geometry, and mechanics of fault zones, and the influence of existing structures and anisotropy in their development
  • Rock physical and mechanical properties applied to natural fault and fracture systems
  • Quantitative analysis of faults, fault zones, and fractures, particularly with respect to fluid flow characteristics through time
  • Terrestrial and planetary volcanic plumbing systems, including: caldera formation and evolution; and the mechanics of, and controls on, sheet intrusion emplacement
  • The effects of dyke and sill emplacement on host rock physical and mechanical properties

Professor Jan Zalasiewicz

  • Stratigraphy and Sedimentology, particularly of Palaeozoic Terrains in the UK and Poland
  • Graptolite Palaeontology and Biostratigraphy
  • Mud Rock Diagenesis and Low Grade Metamorphism
  • Quaternary Facies and Palaeoenviornments, including Assessment of Contemporary (‘Anthropocene’) Environmental Change

Back to top