Staff and Postgraduate Students
Professor Christine Peirce, B.Sc. Cardiff, Ph.D. Cantab (Geophysics), FRAS, FGS
Professor of Marine Geophysics, University of Durham (since Oct 2010)
Reader in Marine Geophysics, University of Durham (Oct 2003-Oct 2010)
Lecturer in Marine Geophysics, University of Durham (Oct 1990-Oct 2003)
Research Assistant, Marine Group, University of Cambridge (Apr 1990-Oct 1990)
Christine has more than 25 years of sea-going research experience applying marine geophysical methodologies to a wide range of geological targets. She has participated in 19 marine geophysical cruises, 9 as Principal or Co-principal Scientist. She has spent the majority of her post-PhD research career studying continental margins, subduction systems, mid-ocean ridges and oceanic islands, the latter from a flexural perspective.
Her research group in Durham is one of two remaining in the UK committed to the design, construction, development and use of seabed geophysical instrumentation and she is currently a Director of the Ocean Bottom Instrumentation Consortium that, initiated with JREI funds, aims to provide an extensive and broad range of seabed instrument platforms to the wider academic community.
Throughout her career she has served on many of the NERC’s peer review panels (Services and Facilities, Earth Sciences Peer Review Committee, Research Vessel Advisory Panel, Fellowships, ODP, Ocean Margins etc) and is currently a member of the NERC’s Marine Facility Advisory Board and reviews grant applications for NERC and NSF and articles for many leading journals. She is a member of American Geophysical Union, Fellow of the Geological Society of London, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and Member of the British Geophysical Association.
Membership of Organisations and Societies
1) Member American Geophysical Union
2) Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
3) Fellow of the Geological Society of London
4) Secretary of the British Geophysical Association
5) Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (formerly Member Institute of Learning and Teaching)
Associated Research Activities
*Ocean Bottom Instrumentation Consortium*
Director of the Ocean Bottom Instrumentation Consortium (OBIC) which is hosted at the University of Durham.
The Consortium's goal is to support marine geoscience by providing instrumentation and technical support to the research community, to industry and other organisations. The Consortium comprises academic institutions who have long track records in marine geophysical instrumentation and data acquisition, modelling and interpretation: the University of Durham; and the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. We employ engineers whose role is to maintain, operate at sea and continuously develop and upgrade the instruments, while senior scientists with many years` experience in ocean-bottom instruments fulfil the management role. OBIC are also interested in establishing research collaborations or commisioned research on behalf of others.
We have developed a model showing that accretion at mid-ocean ridges is a temporarily-variant process, that segmentation is not simply a result of focused magma supply and that crustal construction and spreading can be asymmetric within the axial region. Supporting observations include magma-filled axial magma chambers beneath: slow spreading ridges, overlap basins and offset basins all of which contradict existing models.
Research on the dynamics of rifting-to-spreading at the ocean-continent transition along the Atlantic margin, shows that the earliest crust was accreted at spreading rates ~5-10 times than currently observed, having significant implications for margin subsidence, sediment accumulation and hydrocarbon maturation. As such accumulations also load and flex the lithosphere we have shown that the Atlantic lithosphere become progressively stronger as loading continued whilst oceanic island loads are being used to determine the extent of dynamic topographic support and lithospheric reheating from hot spots.
Recently we have imaged a volcanic eruption and caldera collapse in progress on the seabed, measuring the caldera volume increase and the pattern of contemporaneous volcanic activity.
Such projects require high-resolution 3-D whole crustal datasets and we are actively developing multi-sensor instruments to support such research.
Board of Studies
Board of Examiners
Dissertation and Research Project Co-ordinator
- Construction of ocean-bottom instrumentation for use in geophysical experiments and microearthquake studies at sea
- Continental margin studies
- Magma chamber studies at mid-ocean ridges
- Marine seismology
- Invesitgation of lithospheric flexure, gravity and geoid anomalies associated with subduction zones, continental margins, oceanic islands and seamounts
- Peirce, C., Davidson, J.P. & Macpherson, C.G. (2006). Subduction: Integrated Earth-Ocean-Atmosphere System Processes and Hazard Assessment (SIPHA). NERC Town Meeting, Durham.
- Schultz, A., Peirce, C. & Lampitt, R. (2001). British Dynamics of Earth and Ocean Systems (B-DEOS). NERC Town Meeting, Cardiff.
- Wilson, D.J., Peirce, C., Watts, A.B. & Grevemeyer, I. (2009), Seismic constraints on the flexural response of the lithosphere to loading at the Cape Verde Swell, EOS Transactions of the AGU American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. S13B-1746.
- Tang, G., Barton, P.J., Henstock, T., McNeill, L., Dean, S., Vermeesch, P., Peirce, C. & Burchell, A.C. (2008), 3-D seismic refraction tomography in the Sumatra subduction zone, Eos Transactions of the AGU, Fall Meet.ing Supplement, Abstract U51A-0005 AGU Fall Meeting.
- Paulatto, M., Minshull, T.A., Henstock, T., Sparks, R.S.J., Baptie, B., Mailin, P., Kenedi, K.L., Voight, B., Shalev, E., Hammond, J., Ryan, G. & Peirce, C. (2008), A glimpse inside an active volcano: 2D inversion of acombined refracted and reflected arrivals at Montserrat, British Geophysical Association: Postgraduate conference. Durham University, UK..
- Minshull, T.A., Paulatto, M., Baptie, B., Dean, S., Hammond, J.O.S., Henstock, T., Kenedi, C.L., Malin, P., Peirce, C., Ryan, G., Shalev, E., Sparks, R.S.J. & Voight, B. (2008), Crustal structure of Montserrat and surrounding area from integrated onshore, ocean bottom and multichannel reflection seismic data, Eos Transactions of the AGU, Fall Meeting Supplement, Abstract V51C-2037 AGU, Fall Meeting.
- Wilson, D.J., Peirce, C., Watts, A.B. & Grevemeyer, I. (2008), Seismic constraint on the structure of the Cape Verdes swell, Eos Transactions of the AGU, Fall Meeting Supplement, Abstract S11C-1761 AGU Fall meeting.
- Wilson, D.J., Peirce, C., Watts, A.B. & Grevemeyer, I. (2008), Seismic constraints on the structure of the Cape Verdes swell, British Geophysical Aassociation: Postgraduates in Geophysics Meeting 2008. Durham University, UK.
- Kenedi, C.L., Sparks, R.S.J., Dean, S., Hammond, J.O.S., Malin, P., Minshull, T.A., Paulatto, M., Peirce, C., Ryan, G., Shalev, E. & Voight, B. (2008), Volcano-tectonic history of the island of Montserrat, West Indies, from seismic reflection data, Eos Transactions of the AGU, Fall Meeting Supplement, Abstract V53C-06 AGU Fall Meeting.
- Watts, A.B., Peirce, C., Hobbs, R.W., Rodger, M. & Greenroyd, C.J. (2007), Crustal structure and evolution of the NE Brazil Margin, Ocean Margins LINK Meeting. London.
- Greenroyd, C.J., Peirce, C., Rodger, M., Watts, A.B. & Hobbs, R.W. (2007), Crustal structure of the continental margin – implications for rifting and early spreading of the equatorial Atlantic, European Geophysical Union.
- Watts, A.B., Rodger, M., Peirce, C., Greenroyd, C.J. & Hobbs, R.W. (2007), Crustal structure, sediment loading, and flexure at the NE Brazil margin, Geological Society of London Bicentenary Meeting.
- Burchell, A.C., Peirce, C. & Minshull, T.A. (2007), Future development in seabed geophysical instrument platforms, New Advances in Geophysics, BGA Special Meeting. Geological Society, London.
- Greenroyd, C.J., Peirce, C., Rodger, M., Watts, A.B. & Hobbs, R.W. (2006), Crustal structure of the French Guiana continental margin - implications for rifting and early spreading of the equatorial Atlantic, Ocean Margins LINK Meeting. London.
- Rodger, M., Watts, A.B., Greenroyd, C.J., Peirce, C. & Hobbs, R.W. (2006), Gravity anomalies, crustal structure, and flexure at the NE Brazil rifted continental margin, Ocean Margins LINK Meeting. London.
- Rodger, M., Watts, A.B., Greenroyd, C.J., Peirce, C. & Hobbs, R.W. (2006), Gravity anomalies, crustal structure, and flexure at the NE Brazil rifted continental margin, European Geophysical Union.
- Peirce, C., Sinha, M., Topping, S., Gill, C. & Gardiner, A. (2006), Segmentation and volcanic cycles: their relationship and evolution at the southern Reykjanes Ridge, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, European Geophysical Union.
Journal papers: academic
- Wilson, D.J., Peirce, C., Watts, A.B. & Grevemeyer, I. (2013). Uplift at lithospheric swells – II: is the Cape Verde mid-plate swell supported by a lithosphere of varying mechanical strength? Geophysical Journal International
- Watts, A.B., Peirce, C., Grevemeyer, I., Paulatto, M., Stratford, W., Bassett, D., Hunter, J., Kalnins, L. & de Ronde, C. (2012). Rapid rates of growth and collapse of Monowai submarine volcano in the Kermadec Arc. Nature Geoscience 5(7): 510-515.
- Voight, B., Sparks, R., Shalev, E., Minshull, T., Paulatto, M., Annen, C., Kenedi, C., Hammond, J., henstock, T., brown, L., Kiddle, E., Malin, P., Mattioli, G., Carothers, L., Belousov, A., Clarke A., Ellett, L., Elsworth, D., Hidayat, D., Herd, R., Johnson, M., Lee, A., Miller, V., Murphy, B., Peirce, C., Ryan, G., Sldana, S., Snelson, C., Stewart, R., Syers, R., Widiwijayanti, C., Young, S. & Zamora, W. (2012). The SEA-CALIPSO volcano imaging experiment 1 at Montserrat: plans, campaigns at sea and on land, scientific results, and lessons learned. Geological Society of London Special Publication
- Contreras-Reyes, E., Grevemeyer, I., Watts, A.B., Flueh, E.R., Moeller, S., Papenberg, C. & Peirce, C. (2011). Deep seismic structure of the Tonga subduction zone: implications for mantle hydration, tectonic erosion, and arc magmatism. Journal of Geophysical Research 116: B10103.
- Kenedi, C.L., Sparks, R.S.J., Malin, P.E., Voight, B., Dean, S., Minshull, T., Paulatto, M., Peirce, C. & Shalev, E. (2010). Active faulting and oblique extension influence volcanism on Montserrat (West Indies): Evidence from offshore seismic reflection profiles. Geophysical Research Letters 37(37).
- Contreras-Reyes, E., Grevemeyer, I., Watts, A.B., Planert, L., Flueh, E.R. & Peirce, C. (2010). Crustal intrusion beneath the Louisville hotspot track. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 289: 323-333.
- Wilson, D.J., Peirce, C., Watts, A.B., Grevemeyer, I. & Krabbenhoeft, A. (2010). Uplift at lithospheric swells—I: seismic and gravity constraints on the crust and uppermost mantle structure of the Cape Verde mid-plate swell. Geophysical Journal International 182(2): 531-550.
- Paulatto, M., Minshull, T.A., Baptie, B., Dean, S., Hammond, J.O.S., Henstock, T., Kenedi, C.L., Kiddle, E.J., Malin, P., Peirce, C., Ryan, G., Shalev, E., Sparks, R.S.J. & Voight, B. (2010). Upper crustal structure of an active volcano from refraction/reflection tomography, Montserrat, Lesser Antilles. Geophysical Journal International 180(2): 685-696.
- Watts, A.B., Rodger, M., Greenroyd, C.J., Peirce, C. & Hobbs, R.W., (2009). Seismic structure, gravity anomalies and flexure of the Amazon continental margin, NE Brazil. Journal of Geophysical Research 114.
- Pim, J., Peirce, C., Watts, A.B., Grevemeyer, I. & Krabbenhoft, A. (2008). Crustal structure and the origin of the Cape Verdes Rise. Earth & Planetary Science Letters 272: 422-428.
- Greenroyd, C.J., Peirce, C., Rodge, M., Watts, A.B. & Hobbs, R.W. (2008). Do fracture zones define continental margin segmentation? - Evidence from the French Guiana margin. Earth & Planetary Science Letters 272(3-4): 553-566.
- Greenroyd, C., Peirce, C., Rodger, M., Watts, A.B. & Hobbs, R.W. (2007). Crustal structure of the French Guiana margin, West Equatorial Atlantic. Geophysical Journal International 169(3): 964–987.
- Greenroyd, C.J., Peirce, C., Rodger, M., Watts, A.B. & Hobbs, R.W. (2007). Demerara Plateau - the structure and evolution of a transform passive margin. Geophysical Journal International
- Peirce, C., Sinha, M., Topping, S. & Gill, C. (2007). Morphology and genesis of slow-spreading ridges - seabed scattering and seismic imaging within the oceanic crust. Geophysical Journal International 168(1): 59-89.
- Shillington, D., Minshull, T.A., Peirce, C. & O'Sullivan, J. (2007). P and S wave velocities of consolidated sediments from a seafloor seismic survey in the North Celtic Sea Basin, offshore Ireland. Geophysical Prospecting 56: 197-211.
- Papadopoulos, T.D., Goulty, N., Voulgaris, N.S., Alexopoulos, J.D., Fountoulis, I., Kambouris, P., Karastathis, V., Peirce, C., Chailas, S., Kassaras, J., Pirli, M., Goumas, G. & Lagios, E., (2007). Tectonic structure of Central-Western Attica (Greece) based on geophysical investigations - preliminary results. Bulletin of the Geological Society of Greece 37: 12p.
- Rodger, M., Watts, A.B., Greenroyd, C., Peirce, C. & Hobbs, R.W. (2006). Evidence for unusually thin oceanic crust and strong mantle beneath the Amazon fan. Geology 34(12): 1081-1084.
- Minshull, T.A., Sinha, M.C. & Peirce, C. (2005). Multi-disciplinary, sub-seabed geophysical imaging - a new pool of 28 seafloor instruments in use by the United Kingdom Ocean Bottom Instrument Consortium. Sea Technology 46(10): 27-31.
- Peirce, C., Gardiner, A. & Sinha, M.C. (2005). Temporal and spatial cyclicity of accretion at slow-spreading ridges - evidence from the Reykjanes Ridge. Geophysical Journal International 163(1): 56-78.
- Day, A.J. & Peirce, C. (2002). Ocean-bottom seismograph tomographic experiments- a consideration of acquisition geometries vs. resources. Geophys. J. Int 151(2): 543-566.
- Peirce, C., Turner, I.M. & Sinha, M.C. (2001). Crustal structure, accretionary processes and rift propagation: a gravity study of the intermediate-spreading Valu Fa Ridge, Lau Basin. Geophys. J. Int 146(1): 53-73.
- Day, A.J., Peirce, C. & Sinha, M.C. (2001). Three-dimensional crustal structure and magma chamber geometry at the intermediate-spreading, back-arc Valu Fa Ridge, Lau Basin- results of a wide-angle seismic tomographic inversion. Geophys. J. Int 146(1): 31-52.
- Goulty, N.R., Peirce, C., Flatman, T.D., Home, M. & Richardson, J.H. (2000). Magnetic survey of the Holy Island Dyke on Holy Island, Northumberland. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society 53(2): 111-118.
- Navin, D.A., Peirce C. & Sinha, M.C. (1998). The RAMESSES experiment - II. Evidence for accumulated melt beneath a slow-spreading ridge from wide-angle refraction and multichannel reflection seismic profiles. Geophys. J. Int 135: 746-772.
- Grevemeyer, I. & and the Scientific Party. (2008). Tonga Thrust Earthquake Asperity at Louisville Ridge (TOTAL).
- Grevemeyer, I. & and the Scientific Party. (2005). Cape Verde Hotspot: A Seismic Refraction study of Isostasy and Magmatic underplating (CHRISMA).