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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences

Structural Research Group

Group Statement

The Structural Geology Group investigates deformation at all scales in the lithosphere. The Group's fundamental aim is to understand the formation and evolution of basins, mountain belts and fault zones by integrating fieldwork and laboratory rock mechanics experiments with analysis of seismic reflection and remote sensing datasets. The Group specialises in the development and application of novel techniques to acquire and analyse geospatial and rock mechanics data. Our research links to the following Department of Earth Sciences themes: Solid Earth, Geoenergy, Resources and Waste, Geohazards.


Academic Staff

Research Staff

Research Student


Journal Article

  • Scott, E.M., Allen, M.B., Macpherson, C.G., McCaffrey, K.J.W., Davidson, J.P., Saville, C. & Ducea, M.N. (2018). Andean surface uplift constrained by radiogenic isotopes of arc lavas. Nature Communications 9: 969.
  • Phillips, Thomas B., Jackson, Christopher A.-L., Bell, Rebecca E. & Duffy, Oliver B. (2018). Oblique reactivation of lithosphere-scale lineaments controls rift physiography – the upper-crustal expression of the Sorgenfrei–Tornquist Zone, offshore southern Norway. Solid Earth 9(2): 403-429.
  • Phillips, Thomas B., Magee, Craig, Jackson, Christopher A.-L. & Bell, Rebecca E. (2018). Determining the three-dimensional geometry of a dike swarm and its impact on later rift geometry using seismic reflection data. Geology 46(2): 119-122.
  • Grocott, John & McCaffrey, Ken (2017). Basin evolution and destruction in an Early Proterozoic continental margin: the Rinkian fold–thrust belt of central West Greenland. Journal of the Geological Society 174(3): 453-467.
  • Walters, R. J., England, P. C. & Houseman, G. A. (2017). Constraints from GPS measurements on the dynamics of the zone of convergence between Arabia and Eurasia. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 122(2): 1470-1495.
  • Zhang, Y.Q., Song, S.G., Yang, L.M., Su, L., Niu, Yaoling, Allen, M.B. & Xu, X. (2017). Basalts and picrites from a plume-type ophiolite in the South Qilian Accretionary Belt, Qilian Orogen: Accretion of a Cambrian Oceanic Plateau? Lithos 278-281: 97-110.
  • Wilkinson, M.W., McCaffrey, K., Jones, R.R., Roberts, G.P., Holdsworth, R.E., Gregory, L., Walters, R.J., Wedmore, L., Goodall, H. & Iezzi, F. (2017). Near-field fault slip of the 2016 Vettore Mw 6.6 earthquake (Central Italy) measured using low-cost GNSS. Scientific Reports 7: 4612.
  • Walker, R.J., Healy, T.M., Wright, K.A., England, R.W., McCaffrey, K.J.W., Bubeck, A.A., Stephens, T.L., Farrell, N.J.C. & Blenkinsop, T.G. (2017). Igneous sills as a record of horizontal shortening: The San Rafael subvolcanic field, Utah. Geological Society of America Bulletin 129(9-10): 1052-1070.
  • Liu, Runchao, Allen, M.B., Zhang, Qiquan, Du, Wei, Cheng, Xiang, Holdsworth, R.E. & Guo, Zhaojie (2017). Basement controls on deformation during oblique convergence: Transpressive structures in the western Qaidam Basin, northern Tibetan Plateau. Lithosphere 9(4): 583-594.
  • Magni, V., Allen, M.B., van Hunen, J. & Bouilhol, P. (2017). Continental underplating after slab break-off. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 474: 59-67.
  • Allen, M.B., Walters, R.J., Song, S.G., Saville, C., De Paola, N., Ford, J., Hu, Z.X. & Sun, W.L. (2017). Partitioning of oblique convergence coupled to the fault locking behavior of fold-and-thrust belts: evidence from the Qilian Shan, northeastern Tibetan Plateau. Tectonics 36(9): 1679-1698.
  • Obaid, Ahmed K. & Allen, Mark B. (2017). Landscape maturity, fold growth sequence and structural style in the Kirkuk Embayment of the Zagros, northern Iraq. Tectonophysics 717: 27-40.
  • Nippress, Stuart E. J., Heyburn, Ross & Walters, R. J. (2017). The 2008 and 2012 Moosiyan Earthquake Sequences: Rare Insights into the Role of Strike Slip and Thrust Faulting within the Simply Folded Belt (Iran). Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 107(4): 1625-1641.
  • Stephens, T.L., Walker, R.J., Healy, D., Bubeck, A., England, R.W. & McCaffrey, K.J.W. (2017). Igneous sills record far-field and near-field stress interactions during volcano construction: Isle of Mull, Scotland. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 478: 159-174.
  • Bubeck, A., Walker, R.J., Imber, J., Holdsworth, R.E., MacLeod, C.J. & Holwell, D.A. (2017). Extension parallel to the rift zone during segmented fault growth: application to the evolution of the NE Atlantic. Solid Earth 8(6): 1161-1180.
  • Peace, Alexander L., Foulger, Gillian R., Schiffer, Christian & McCaffrey, Ken J.W. (2017). Evolution of Labrador Sea–Baffin Bay: Plate or Plume Processes? Geoscience Canada 44(3): 91-102.
  • Dichiarante, A.M., Holdsworth, R.E., Dempsey, E.D., Selby, D., McCaffrey, K.J.W., Michie, U., Morgan, G. & Bonniface, J. (2016). New structural and Re–Os geochronological evidence constraining the age of faulting and associated mineralization in the Devonian Orcadian Basin, Scotland. Journal of the Geological Society 173(3): 457-473.
  • Karasözen, E., Nissen, E., Bergman, E. A., Johnson, K. L. & Walters, R. J. (2016). Normal faulting in the Simav graben of western Turkey reassessed with calibrated earthquake relocations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 121(6): 4553-4574.
  • Floyd, M. A., Walters, R. J., Elliott, J. R., Funning, G. J., Svarc, J. L., Murray, J. R., Hooper, A. J., Larsen, Y., Marinkovic, P., Bürgmann, R., Johanson, I. A. & Wright, T. J. (2016). Spatial variations in fault friction related to lithology from rupture and afterslip of the 2014 South Napa, California, earthquake. Geophysical Research Letters 43(13): 6808-6816.
  • Hussain, E., Wright, T. J., Walters, R. J., Bekaert, D., Hooper, A. & Houseman, G. A. (2016). Geodetic observations of postseismic creep in the decade after the 1999 Izmit earthquake, Turkey: Implications for a shallow slip deficit. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 121(4): 2980-3001.
  • Xu, X., Song, S.G., Allen, M.B., Ernst, R.E., Niu, Yaoling & Su, L. (2016). An 850–820 Ma LIP dismembered during breakup of the Rodinia supercontinent and destroyed by Early Paleozoic continental subduction in the northern Tibetan Plateau, NW China. Precambrian Research 282: 52-73.
  • Jotheri, J., Allen, M.B. & Wilkinson, T.J. (2016). Holocene avulsions of the Euphrates River in the Najaf area of western Mesopotamia: Impacts on human settlement patterns. Geoarchaeology 31(3): 175-193.
  • Elliott, J. R., Walters, R. J. & Wright, T. J. (2016). The role of space-based observation in understanding and responding to active tectonics and earthquakes. Nature Communications 7: 13844.
  • Hussain, E., Hooper, A., Wright, T. J., Walters, R. J. & Bekaert, D. P. S. (2016). Interseismic strain accumulation across the central North Anatolian Fault from iteratively unwrapped InSAR measurements. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 121(12): 9000-9019.
  • Sagi, D.A., De Paola, N., McCaffrey, K.J.W. & Holdsworth, R.E. (2016). Fault and fracture patterns in low porosity chalk and their potential influence on sub-surface fluid flow—A case study from Flamborough Head, UK. Tectonophysics 690(A): 35-51.
  • Garzanti, E., Al-Juboury, A.I., Zoleikhaei, Y., Vermeesch, P., Jotheri, J., Akkoca, BM, Obaid, A.K., Allen, M.B., Andó, S., Limonta, S., Padoan, M., Resentini, A., Rittner, M. & Vezzoli, G. (2016). The Euphrates-Tigris-Karun river system: Provenance, recycling and dispersal of quartz-poor foreland-basin sediments in arid climate. Earth-Science Reviews 162: 107-128.
  • Bruttoa, F, Muto, F, Loreto, M F De Paola, N, Tripodi, V, Critelli, S & Facchin, L (2016). The Neogene-Quaternary geodynamic evolution of the central Calabrian Arc: A case study from the western Catanzaro Trough basin. Journal of Geodynamics 102: 95-114.
  • Phillips, Thomas B., Jackson, Christopher A-L., Bell, Rebecca E., Duffy, Oliver B. & Fossen, Haakon (2016). Reactivation of intrabasement structures during rifting: A case study from offshore southern Norway. Journal of Structural Geology 91: 54-73.
  • De Paola, N., Holdsworth, R. E., Viti, C., Collettini, C. & Bullock, R. (2015). Can grain size sensitive flow lubricate faults during the initial stages of earthquake propagation? Earth and Planetary Science Letters 431: 48-58.
  • Mitchell, Thomas M., Smith, S.A.F., Anders, M.H., Di Toro, G., Nielsen, S., Cavallo, A. & Beard, A. D. (2015). Catastrophic emplacement of giant landslides aided by thermal decomposition: Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 411: 199-207.
  • Wang, H.L., van Hunen, J., Pearson, D.G. & Allen, M.B. (2014). Craton stability and longevity: The roles of composition-dependent rheology and buoyancy. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 391: 224-233.
  • Di Toro, G., Han, R., Hirose, T., De Paola, N., Nielsen, N., Mizoguchi, K., Ferri, F., Cocco, M. & Shimamoto, T. (2011). Fault lubrication during earthquakes. Nature 471(7339): 494-498.
  • Wilkinson, M., McCaffrey, K.J.W., Roberts, G.P., Cowie, P.A., Phillips, R.J., Michetti, A., Vittori, E., Guerrieri, L., Blumetti, A.M., Bubeck, A., Yates, A. & Sileo, G. (2010). Partitioned postseismic deformation associated with the 2009 Mw 6.3 L'Aquila earthquake surface rupture measured using a terrestrial laser scanner. Geophysical Research Letters 37: L10309.
  • Wilson, R.W, McCaffrey, K.J.W, Holdsworth, R.E, Imber, J, Jones, R.R, Welbon, A.I & Roberts, D (2006). Complex fault patterns, transtension and structural segmentation of the Lofoten Ridge, Norwegian Margin: using digital mapping to link onshore and offshore geology. Tectonics 25(4): TC4018.
  • McCaffrey, K.J.W, Jones, R.R, Holdsworth, R.E, Wilson, R.W, Clegg, P, Imber, J, Holliman, N & Trinks, I (2005). Unlocking the spatial dimension: digital technologies and the future of geoscience fieldwork. Journal of the Geological Society 162(6): 927-938.
  • Holdsworth, R.E (2004). Weak faults - rotten cores. Science 303: 181-182.
  • McCaffrey K.J.W, Petford, N, Cruden, A.R & Vignerosse, J.L (2000). Granitic magma formation, transport and emplacement in the Earth's Crust. Nature 408: 669-673.

Chapter in book

  • Cruden, A.R., McCaffrey, K.J.W. & Bunger, A. (2018). Geometric scaling of tabular igneous intrusions: implications for emplacement and growth. In Physical Geology of Shallow Magmatic Systems: Dykes, Sills and Laccoliths. Breitkreuz, Christoph & Rocchi, Sergio Cham: Springer. 11-38.
  • Schiffer, C., Peace, A., Phethean, J., Gernigon, L., McCaffrey, K., Petersen, K.D. & Foulger, G. (2018). The Jan Mayen microplate complex and the Wilson cycle. In Fifty Years of the Wilson Cycle Concept in Plate Tectonics. Wilson, R.W., Houseman, G.A., McCaffrey, K.J.W., Dore, A.G. & Buiter, S.J.M. London: Geological Society of London. 470: 393-414.
  • Lăpădat, Alexandru, Imber, Jonathan, Yielding, Graham, Iacopini, David, McCaffrey, Kenneth J.W., Long, Jonathan J. & Jones, Richard R. (2016). Occurrence and development of folding related to normal faulting within a mechanically heterogeneous sedimentary sequence: a case study from Inner Moray Firth, UK. In The Geometry and Growth of Normal Faults. Childs, Conrad Holdsworth, Robert E., Jackson, Christopher A.-L., Manzocchi, Thomas, Walsh, John J. & Yielding, Graham London: Geological Society of London. 439: 373-394.