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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences

Geophysics Research Group

Group Statement

Durham University has a long and distinguished reputation for geophysical research into the solid Earth. The group has expanded in recent years, and current research activities span all scales from mantle dynamics to sediment compaction. Our particular strengths are in global geodynamics, marine geophysics, exploration geophysics, and sediment geomechanics:

  • Global geodynamics - numerical modelling of present and early Earth dynamics including plate-mantle interaction, subduction zones, mantle plumes, and melting anomalies; critical evaluation of mantle plume hypotheses; volcanic earthquakes.
  • Marine geophysics - plate kinematics; tectonic and volcanic processes at mid-ocean ridges; continental margins, ocean islands, and lithospheric flexure; design and development of seabed instrumentation platforms; seismic oceanography.
  • Exploration geophysics - high-resolution sub-surface imaging; sub-basalt imaging, synthetic seismograms; interpretation of 3D seismic reflection data; geothermal prospecting.
  • Sediment geomechanics - compaction, overpressure, and fluid flow in sedimentary basins; faulting processes; emplacement of igneous intrusions.
  • Seismic inversion modelling - joint inversion seismic simulation for complex models, Bayesian uncertainty analysis


Academic Staff

Research Staff

Technical Staff and Experimental Officers

Emeritus Staff

Research Student


Authored book

  • Foulger, GR (2010). Plates vs Plumes: A Geological Controversy. Wiley-Blackwell.

Journal Article

  • Heincke, Björn, Jegen, Marion, Moorkamp, Max, Hobbs, Richard & Chen, Jin (2017). An adaptive coupling strategy for joint inversions that use petrophysical information as constraints. Journal of Applied Geophysics 136: 279-297.
  • Shi, Zhanjie, Hobbs, Richard W., Moorkamp, Max, Tian, Gang & Jiang, Lu (2017). 3-D cross-gradient joint inversion of seismic refraction and DC resistivity data. Journal of Applied Geophysics 141: 54-67.
  • 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. (2014). The SEA-CALIPSO volcano imaging experiment at Montserrat: plans, campaigns at sea and on land, scientific results, and lessons learned. Geological Society of London Special Publication 39: 253-289.
  • 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 193(2): 798-819.
  • Watts, A.B., Peirce, C., Grevemeyer, I., Paulatto, M., Stratford, W., Bassett, D., Hunter, J., Kalnins, L. M. & de Ronde, C. (2012). Rapid rates of growth and collapse of Monowai submarine volcano in the Kermadec Arc. Nature Geoscience 5(7): 510-515.
  • Foulger, G.R. (2012). Are 'hot spots' hot spots? Journal of Geodynamics 58: 1-28.
  • Sheen, K. L., White, N. J., Caulfield, C. P. & Hobbs, R. W. (2012). Seismic imaging of a large horizontal vortex at abyssal depths beneath the Sub-Antarctic Front. Nature Geoscience 5(8): 542-546.
  • 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(B10): B10103.
  • Moorkamp, M., Heincke, B., Jegen, M., Roberts, A. & Hobbs, R. (2011). A framework for 3-D joint inversion of MT, gravity and seismic refraction data. Geophysical Journal International 184(1): 477-493.
  • Papenberg, C., Klaeschen, D. Krahmann, G. & Hobbs, R. W. (2010). Ocean temperature and salinity inverted from combined hydrographic and seismic data. Geophysical Research Letters 37: L04601.
  • Julian, BR & Foulger, GR (2010). Time-dependent seismic tomography. Geophysical Journal International 182(3): 1327-1338.
  • Julian, BR, Foulger, GR, Monastero, FC & Bjornstad, S (2010). Imaging Hydraulic Fractures in a Geothermal Reservoir. Geophysical Research Letters 37: L07305.
  • Jerram, Dougal A., Single, Richard T., Hobbs, Richard W. & Nelson, Catherine E. (2009). Understanding the offshore flood basalt sequence using onshore volcanic facies analogues: an example from the Faroe-Shetland basin. Geological Magazine 146(3 ): 353-367.
  • Foulger, G.R & Julian, B.R (2004). A powerful tool: Use of time-dependent MEQ tomography for monitoring producing geothermal reservoirs. Geotherm. Res. Council Bull 33: 120-126.