skip to content

Department of Earth Sciences


  J. JacksonThe distinctive feature of this grouping is the investigation of a very broad spectrum of structural, tectonic and geodynamical processes using quantitative physical models based on land-, marine- and space-based observations. We have a strong tradition of interfacing theoretical and observational analyses in geophysics and tectonics with advances in petrology, geochemistry and mineral sciences. Work at the BP institute and the Institute of Theoretical Geophysics is an integral part of this research and connects the Department closely with the Departments of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, and Chemical Engineering.  We have a long history of research in modelling and observation of tectonic and geodynamic processes, with strong national and international collaboration in many aspects of space-based observation combined with fieldwork. The research of several staff involves in some aspects of seismology: from the development of theoretical, computational or analytical methods to the study of earthquake sources and crustal, lithosphere or deep-Earth structure.   An extensive collection of seismometers and new computational facilities have strategically enhanced our research in all areas of seismology and geodynamic modelling.

This is a vibrant training environment, for a career either in industry or academia, backed up by excellent research facilities.


Research is ongoing in:

  • Melt generation, and especially the relationship between composition, isotopic ratios and mantle stirring. The distribution of alkali basalts and kimberlites, and their relationship to lithospheric thickness.
  • The relationship between shear-wave velocity and temperature, and hence to lithospheric thickness of the continents. Control of continental tectonics, especially the geometry of fold-mountain belts and variations in elastic thickness, by the structure of the lithosphere.
  • Investigations of active faulting in earthquakes, through combined use of seismology, GPS, InSAR, geomorphology and Quaternary geology, from details of individual earthquakes to regional investigations of large continental areas. This effort is also networked and coordinated within the COMET group (, of which we are founding members..
  • The extent to which vertical motions of the continents are controlled by lithospheric stretching and/or by mantle circulation. This interest is pursued in close collaboration with the hydrocarbon industry who often fund projects and provide datasets.
  • Field deployments of networks of seismometers to study tectonics and lithosphere structure, as well as magma chambers in active volcanic regions. Areas of current work include Iceland, Iran, India, Indonesia and the Himalaya-Tibet region.
  • Use of innovative controlled-source seismic techniques to map and monitor fluid flow and cracking in the subsurface, including application to water movement, CO2 sequestration and hydrocarbon reservoirs.
  • The use of earthquake seismology, in association with mineral physics, to investigate the structure and composition of the Earth's deep interior.
  • The development of innovative theoretical and computational methods for solid Earth geophysics, including work on geophysical inverse problems and seismic tomography.
  • Understanding the relationship between mantle upwelling, lithospheric structure and plate motion, with a particular focus on plume melting, edge-driven convection and shear driven upwelling, and their implications for intra-plate volcanism.
  • Continental growth and evolution, and the relationship between the crust and lithospheric mantle over time. The use of multiple geophysical datasets, which can jointly constrain crust and upper mantle structure, forms a crucial part of this work.
  • The BP Institute is focusing on multiphase fluid flow through porous media and is located at the Bullard Laboratories.

We welcome applications from students with backgrounds in geology, geophysics, physics or mathematics.

Recent publications in this area.

Office phone Email address
Dr David Al-Attar +44 (0) 1223 348935
Conor Bacon
Patrick W. Ball +44 (0) 1223 337191
Neeraja Bhamidipati
Professor Michael James Bickle FRS +44 (0) 1223 333484
Dr Alistair Boyce
Ben Conway-Jones
Dr Alex Copley +44 (0) 1223 748937
Dr Sanne Cottaar +44 (0) 1223 748938
Kathryn Dodds +44 (0) 1223 764919
Clare Donaldson +44 (0) 1223 37183
Hannah Galbraith-Olive
Kieran Gilmore
Dr Charlotte Gladstone +44 (0) 1223 765705
Dr Tim Greenfield
Dr Tak Ho +44 (0) 1223 34938
Megan Holdt
Tom S Hudson +44 (0) 1223 337188
Professor James Jackson +44 (0) 1223 337197
Dr. Jennifer Jenkins +44 (0) 1223 337180
Lizzie Knight
Zhi Li +44 (0) 1223 337180
Harry Telajan Anak Linang
Fiona M. Llewellyn-Beard +44 (0) 1223 333482
Matthew Maitra +44 (0) 1223 333493
Carl Martin
Dan McKenzie
Fergus McNab +44 (0) 1223 337179
Sophie Miocevich +44 (0) 1223 333425
Dr Jerome A Neufeld +44 (0) 1223 765709
Aisling O'Kane +44 (0) 1223 337191
Conor O'Malley +44 (0) 1223 337196
Dr Camilla Penney +44 (0) 1223 37192
Dr Simone Pilia +44 (0) 1223 748943
Professor Keith Priestley +44 (0) 1223 337195
Stephen Pugh +44 (0) 1223 337180
Professor Nicholas Rawlinson +44 (0) 1223 337193
Dr John F. Rudge +44 (0) 1223 765545
Stuart Russell
Dr Chunendra K. Sahu
Ana Patricia Santana +44 (0) 1223 337064
Leonardo Siqueira +44 (0) 1223 337060
Mr Jonathan Daniel Smith +44 (0) 1223 337059
Dr Simon Stephenson +44 (0) 1223 33400
Frank Syvret
Chia-Yu Tien
Omry Volk
Deborah Wehner
Professor Robert White +44 (0) 1223 337187
Professor Nicky White +44 (0) 1223 337063
Dr Sam Wimpenny
Tom Winder
Dr Nigel Woodcock +44 (0) 1223 333430
Professor Andy Woods +44 (0) 1223 765702