Professor Robert Holdsworth, BSc (Hons), PhD, FGS, FGSA
BSc (Liverpool)1981, PhD (Leeds)1987
Posts Held: Professor, Earth Sciences, University of Durham [10/04-present];
Reader, Geological Sciences, University of Durham [10/01-9/04];
Senior Lecturer, Geological Sciences, University of Durham [10/98 – 9/01];
Lecturer, Geological Sciences, University of Durham [10/89 – 9/98];
Lecturer, University of Reading [1/87 - 10/89];
Lecturer, Geology, University of Liverpool [9/85 - 1/87].
Career Research Highlights
Bob Holdsworth is the founder and leader of the Reactivation Research Group (RRG) in Durham. He is the leading international authority on the nature, causes and significance of fault reactivation during lithosphere deformation. He is also well-known internationally for his work in two other areas: oblique tectonics (transpression/transtension) and folding patterns in shear zones.
Most recently, he has been instrumental in establishing Durham RRG as a leading international group in the area of GPS-based digital capture of geological field data, its visualisation and analysis using GIS. In 2005, this led to the setting-up of the Durham Centre for Terrestrial Laser Scanning (CeTLS).
Bob has published 115 peer-reviewed papers and has edited 8 books. Since 2001, he has obtained research funding in excess of £700,000.
Committee and Society Service
1) Vice Chair, BGS Information Advisory Group [2004-present]
2) GSL Awards Committee [2001-2003]
3) GSL Book Editorial Committee [1998-2005]
4) President of the Tectonic Studies Group of the Geological Society of London (2003-5)
Conferences and workshops
A. Conferences convened and organised:
1) 2002. Joint conference with Geological Society of America & Australia: Transport & Flow Processes in Shear Zones’. London
2) 2004. TSG Annual Meeting: Research in Progress. Durham
3) 2005. TSG/Petroleum Group conference on ‘Compressive Deformation Within Passive Margins’. London
4) 2006. GSA Penrose Conference: ‘Unlocking the Spatial Dimension in 3D Earth Systems’. Durham
5) 2007. GSL Arthur Holmes Research Meeting: ‘Continental Tectonics and Mountain Building’.Ullapool, Scotland (Major Bicentenary Event)
B. Sessions convened and organised:
1) 2004. GSA Topical Session T91: ‘Low-angle Normal Faults and Faulting: Field Studies, Fault Rocks, Mechanics, and Weakening Mechanisms’. Denver
2) 2005. EGU General Assembly Session on Weak vs Strong Faults. Vienna
3) 2005. GSA Topical Session T145: ‘The Nature, Significance and Evolution of Trantensional Tectonic Regimes’. Salt Lake City
4)2006. EGU General Assembly session 'The Architecture, Evolution and Mechanical Behaviour of Fault Systems in Strike-Slip and Extensional Settings'. Vienna
1) Editor, Journal of Structural Geology [2004-present]
2) Series Editor, Special Publications of the Geological Society, London [1998-2005]
3) Editorial Board, Geology [2004-2006]
4) Editorial Board, Bull. Geol Soc Italia [2003-present]
1) 2005. GAC-MAC, Halifax, Canada
2) 2005. ‘Compressive Deformation Within Passive Margins’. London
3) 2005. GSA Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, USA
Prizes & Awards
1) April 2000: Lyell Fund of the Geological Society, London
2) January 2003: Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Durham
3) April 2004: Elected Fellow of the Geological Society of America
4) May 2005: PhD student, Nicola De Paola awarded the Fearnsides Prize by the Yorkshire Geological Society
5) January 2006: PhD student, Nicola DePaola wins Tectonic Studies Group Ramsay Medal for the best paper published by a postgraduate student (for De Paola et al. 2005, J. Struct. Geol. 27, 607-625)
6) May 2006: Aberconway Medal of the Geological Society, London.
7) May 2006: PhD student, Nicola DePaola wins Journal of the Geological society Young Author of the Year 2005 for best paper published by JGSL (De Paola et al. 2005. J, geol.Soc.London, 162, 471-480)
Recent & Current Grants
1) 2001. NERC Ocean Margins LINK. Quantifying fault zone evolution.
2) 2002. BGS/NERC. Structural architecture and reactivation of faults, NE England.
3) 2003. University PVF Award. Start-up funding for Geospatial Research Ltd.
4) 2003. Royal Society Median Tectonic Line project.
5) 2004. NERC Follow-up Fund. Commercialisation of GAVA.
6) 2004. NStar Proof of Concept funding to Geospatial Research Ltd.
7) 2004. Statoil (UK) Ltd. Haltern Terrace Project/Statoil Lectureship (Phase 1).
8) 2004. Royal Society. Egyptian Fracture project.
9) 2005. Statoil (UK) Ltd. Halten Terrace Project/Statoil Lectureship (phase 2)
10) 2006. BP. Basement-influenced oblique tectonics.
11) 2006. ITF consortium (Shell, BG, DTI) Fractured Reservoir 3-D Digital Atlas.
1) Digital acquisition and visualisation of geological field data.
2) Flow kinematics in shear zones.
3) Reactivation tectonics in continental settings.
4) Rheological evolution of crustal-scale faults.
5) Strain partitioning in oblique deformation zones.
6) The initiation and growth of faults.
Journal papers: academic
- Walker, R.J., Holdsworth, R.E., Armitage, P.J. & Faulkner, D.R. (2013). Fault zone permeability structure evolution in basalts. Geology 41(1): 59-62.
- Holdsworth, R.E., van Diggelen, E.W.E., Spiers, C.J., de Bresser, J.H.P., Walker, R.J. & Bowen, L. (2011). Fault rocks from the SAFOD core samples: Implications for weakening at shallow depths along the San Andreas Fault, California. Journal of Structural Geology 33(2): 132-144.
- Smith, S.A.F., Holdsworth, R.E. & Collettini, R.E. (2011). Interactions between low-angle normal faults and plutonism in the upper crust: Insights from the Island of Elba, Italy. Geological Society of America Bulletin 123(1-2): 329-346.
- Walker, R.J., Holdsworth, R.E., Imber, J. & Ellis, D. (2011). Onshore evidence for progressive changes in rifting directions during continental break-up in the NE Atlantic. Journal of the Geological Society 168(1): 27-48.
- Wilson, R.W., Holdsworth, R.E., Wild, L.E., McCaffrey, K.J.W., England, R.W., Imber, J. & Strachan, R.A. (2010). Basement-influenced rifting and basin development: a reappraisal of post-Caledonian faulting patterns in the North Coast Transfer Zone, Scotland. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 335(1): 795-826.
- Collettini, C., Viti, C., Smith, S.A.F. & Holdsworth, R.E. (2009). The development of interconnected talc networks and weakening of continental low-angle normal faults. Geology 37(6): 567-570.
- Smith, S.A.F., Collettini, C. & Holdsworth, R.E. (2008). Recognizing the seismic cycle along ancient faults: CO2-induced fluidization of breccias in the footwall of sealing low-angle normal fault. Journal of Structural Geology 30(8): 1034-1046.
- Jefferies, S.P.,, Holdsworth, R.E.,, Shimamoto, T.,, Takagi, H.,, Lloyd, G.E., & Spiers, C.J. (2006). Origin and mechanical significance of foliated cataclastic rocks in the cores of crustal-scale faults: Examples from the Median Tectonic Line, Japan. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 111: B12303.
- Collettini, C, De Paola, N, Holdsworth, R.E & Barchi, M.R (2006). The development and behaviour of low-angle normal faults during Cenozoic asymmetric extension in the Northern Apennines, Italy. J. Struct. Geol
- Jefferies, S.P, Holdsworth, R.E, Wibberley, C.A.J, Shimamoto, T, Spiers, C.J, Niemeijer, A.R & Lloyd, G.E (2006). The nature and importance of phyllonite development in crustal-scale fault cores: an example from the Median Tectonic Line, Japan. Journal of Structural Geology 28(2): 220-235.
- De Paola, N, Holdsworth, R.E, McCaffrey,K.J.W & Barchi, M.R. (2005). Partitioned transtension: an alternative to basin inversion models. Journal of Structural Geology 27(4): 607-625.
- Healy, D, Jones, R.R & Holdsworth, R.E (2005). Three-Dimensional Brittle Shear Fracturing by Tensile Crack Interaction. Nature
- Collettini, C & Holdsworth, R.E (2004). Fault zone weakening and character of slip along low-angle normal faults: insights from the Zuccale fault, Elba, Italy. Journal of the Geological Society 161(6): 1039-1051.
- Holdsworth, R.E, Tavarnelli, E Clegg, P, Pinheiro, R.V.L, Jones, R.R & McCaffrey, K.J.W (2002). Domainal deformation patterns and strain partitioning during transpression: an example from the Southern Uplands terrane, Scotland. Journal of the Geological Society 159(4): 401-415.