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Laurence Cowton

Laurence Cowton

Research Student 2013

Geophysical Monitoring of Geologic Carbon Storage

Fluid Dynamics of CO2 in Porous Media

Geophysics, Geodynamics and Tectonics

Bullard Labs.
Madingley Rise, Madingley Road

Office Phone: +44 (0) 1223 337060


2009 - 2013, MSci Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge
2013 - Now, PhD, "Seismic imaging and fluid dynamics of shallow CO2 plumes", University of Cambridge


Cowton, L. R.J. A. NeufeldN. J. WhiteM. J. BickleJ. C. White, and R. A. Chadwick (2016), An inverse method for estimating thickness and volume with time of a thin CO2-filled layer at the Sleipner Field, North SeaJ. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth12150685085, doi:10.1002/2016JB012895.


Outstanding Student Poster Award (OSPA) at American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting 2015

1st Prize, 2013 Neftex Earth Model Award, "Buoyancy Driven Plumes in Porous Media: Implications for CO2 Sequestration at the Sleipner Project"

Research Interests

My current research is focussed on the Sleipner Carbon Capture and Storage Project in the North Sea. The project has been injecting roughly 1 Mt CO&sub2 per year since 1996 into the Utsira Formation at roughly 1000 m depth. The aim of this project is to reduce the amount of CO&sub2 released into the atmosphere. 

Once the CO&sub2 has been injected into the subsurface it can be monitored using seismic reflection surveys. Because of the high impedance contrast between the CO&sub2 saturated sandstone with the surrounding reservoir rock, reflections from the CO&sub2 saturated layers are bright. This has allowed the migration of the CO&sub2 to be tracked through the reservoir using time-lapse seismic reflection surveys. It has been observed that the CO&sub2 resides in 9 distinct layers within the reservoir. The areal extents of the upper layers indicate rapid growth of these layers, while reflections from the deeper layers seem to indicate that the growth of these layers has slowed.

Current Research

Recently I have been focussing on measuring the thickness of the shallowest CO&sub2 layerat the Sleipner Field. This has allowed further constraints to be put on the horizontal and vertical migration of the CO&sub2 through the reservoir. 

I am also working on the fluid dynamics of buoyant fluids spreading in aquifers of variable confinement.

Research Supervision

Supervisors: Jerome Neufeld, Nicky White, Mike Bickle


Geophysics ; Seismology


  • Seismology

Key Publications

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