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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences

Theme Statement:

Investigating the solid Earth in all its aspects, from crust to core, from micrometre to kilometre lengthscales, and from second to billion-year timescales, is a major focus of research activity at Durham. Key processes that shape the solid Earth are addressed by a wide range of disciplines, including geophysics, geochemistry, structural geology and volcanology. To interrogate the planet, our scientists use an array of techniques and methods, such as fieldwork, numerical models, laboratory-based rock mechanics, isotope and geochemical analysis and seismology. This enables us to continually advance our understanding of the planet we live on. Here you can find out more information on the people, projects and equipment involved in our exciting solid Earth research.


Mark AllenSimon MathiasChristine PeirceGillian FoulgerRichard HobbsEd LlewellinNicola De PaolaJeroen van HunenColin MacphersonDave SelbyPaula MartinKevin BurtonYaoling Niu

Postdoctoral Researchers

Alex Gonzalez-NakazawaGeorge CooperMadeleine Humphreys

The Solid Earth Current Research Projects

Durham Investigator(s) Sponsor Title Value Dates
Dr. Tom Phillips Leverhulme Fingerprinting structural inheritance: its styles and expression in rift systems £84,779 01/10/2021
Prof. Richard Hobbs
Prof. Christine Peirce
NERC Consortium Grant OSCAR - Oceanographic and Seismic Characterisation of heat dissipation and alteration by hydrothermal fluids at an Axial Ridge * £537,361 01/11/2018
Dr. Madeleine Humphreys
Prof. Colin Macpherson
NERC Consortium Grant Mantle volatiles: processes, reservoirs and fluxes * £385,498 31/08/2020
Prof. Colin Macpherson
Prof. Jeroen van Hunen
NERC Consortium Grant Volatile Recycling at the Lesser Antilles Arc: Processes and Consequences * £322,347 31/12/2019
Dr. Nic de Paola
Prof. Bob Holdsworth
Dr. Stefan Nielsen
EU ITN network CREEP – Complex RhEologies in Earth dynamics and industrial Processes * £170,520 31/03/2019
Prof. Colin Macpherson Leverhulme Fingerprinting Interaction of Magma and Carbonate rocks in Java: an explosive volcanic brew
£49,714 30/06/2019
Prof. Jeroen Van-Hunen Marie Curie Subitop - Understanding subduction zone topography through modelling of coupled shallow and deep processes * £160,331 29/02/2020
Prof. Kevin Burton NERC Quantifying the Chemistry of Sulphide in the Core and its Influence on the Composition of the Silicate Earth * £228,302 31/12/2018
Prof. Christine Peirce NERC Role and extent of detachment faulting at slow-spreading mid-ocean ridges * £363,370 31/08/2020
Prof. Jereon Van-Hunen NERC The Feedback Between Volatiles and Mantle Dynamics * £273.265 31/12/2020
Prof. Jeroen Van-Hunen NERC £65,191 01/04/2019
Dr. Madeleine Humphreys NERC 31/03/2021
Dr. Philip Heron Horizon 2020
Marie Skłodowska-Curie
Individual Fellowships
TEROPPLATE: Testing the role of thermo-chemical piles in the generation and continuation of plate tectonics * £195,454 31/01/2020
Dr. Julie Prytulak NERC The Distribution of Oxygen in Earth’s Mantle £66,250 01/01/2020
Dr. Madeleine Humphreys Royal Society Fractionation and volatile evolution in arc magmas £277,566 30/06/2019

Associated Research Groups



Structural Geology



Associated Research Facilities