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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences

Profile

Professor Christine Peirce, B.Sc. Cardiff, Ph.D. Cantab (Geophysics), FRAS, FGS

Professor of Marine Geophysics in the Department of Earth Sciences
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42315
Room number: Rm 317

Contact Professor Christine Peirce

Biography

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 30 years of sea-going research experience applying marine geophysical methodologies to a wide range of geological targets. She has participated in more than 30 marine geophysical cruises, 20 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 of the American Geophysical Union
2) Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society - currently Vice President (Geophysics)
3) Fellow of the Geological Society of London - currently Council member
4) Member 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

*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.

email: info@obs.ac.uk
www: http://www.obs.ac.uk/

Research Highlights

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.

Departmental Duties

Board of Studies
Board of Examiners
Dissertation Co-ordinator

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2015: Current - Council Member of the Geological Society of London:
  • 2015: Current - Vice President (Geophysics) of the Royal Astronomical Society:
  • 2014: Winner - Coke Medal - Geological Society of London:
  • 2013: Current - Member of the NERC Marine Facilities Advisory Board:
  • 2013: Current - Member of the NERC Peer Review College:
  • 2011: Previously - Member of the Royal Astronomical Society Medals Panel (Geophysics):
  • 2011: Previously - Secretary of the British Geophysical Association:
  • 2010: Current - Member of the British Geophysical Association:
  • 2010: Current - Member of the National Oceanography Association Advisory Panel:
  • 2010: Previously - Member of the British Geophysical Association Executive Committee:
  • 2008: Current - Member of the NERC Geophysics Equipment Facility Advisory Board:
  • 2008: Previously - NERC User Group Head - Geophysics: Advisor to the NERC on all matters marine geophysical. Community representative and advisor on NERC funding and equipment facilities.
  • 2007: Current - Contract Holder and Manager of the NERC Ocean-Bottom Instrumentation Facility:
  • 2007: Current - Fellow of the Higher Education Academy:
  • 2005: Current - Chair of the Ocean-Bottom Instrumentation Consortium:
  • 2005: Current - Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society: Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • 2005: Current - Member of the American Geophysical Union: Member of the American Geophysical Union
  • 2005: Current - Member of the Institute of Learning and Teaching: Member of the Institute of Learning and Teaching (ILTHE)
  • 2005: Previously - EU OBS Facility Management Panel: Member of the EU OBS Facility Management Panel
  • 2005: Previously - NERC Peer Review College - including grading and interviewing panels:
  • 2005: Previously - NERC Peer reviewing of grant applications: Member of the NERC's Peer Review College
  • 2003: Previously - NERC Earth Sciences Peer Review Committee: Past member of the NERC's Earth Sciences Peer Review Committee (ESPRC)
  • 2003: Previously - NERC Ocean Margins LINK Peer Review Committee: Past member of the NERC's Ocean Margins LINK Peer Review Committee (ESPRC Representative)
  • 2003: Previously - NERC ODP Peer Review Committee: Past member of the NERC's ODP Peer Review Committee (ESPRC Representative)
  • 2000: Current - Peer reviewing for national and international journals and research councils:
  • 2000: Previously - NERC British Initiative on Mid-Ocean Ridges (BRIDGE) Data Archive Committee: Past member of the NERC British Initiative on Mid-Ocean Ridges (BRIDGE) Data Archive Committee
  • 2000: Previously - NERC Research Vessel Advisory Panel: Past member of the NERC Research Vessel Advisory Panel
  • 2000: Previously - NERC Services and Facilities Committee: Past member of the NERC's Services and Facilities Committee
  • 1995: Previously - JAGSPEI advisory committee on seismic instrumentation: Past member of the JAGSPEI advisory committee on seismic instrumentation

Research Groups

Research Interests

  • 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

Teaching Areas

  • Level 2 - Fieldcourse - geophysics

    (40 hours/year.)
  • Level 2 - Geophysical Data Applications

    (30 hours/year.)
  • Level 2 - Geophysical Methods in Geoscience

    (30 hours/year.)
  • Level 2 - Tutorials

    (6 hours/year.)
  • Level 3 - Dissertation Supervisions

    (6 hours/year.)
  • Level 4 - Research Project Supervisions

    (6 hours/year.)
  • Level 1 - Tutorials (6 hours/year.)
  • Level 3 - Dissertation Co-ordinations (10 hours/year.)

Selected Publications

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