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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Dr Matthew Brain, BA (Oxon), MA (Oxon), PhD (Dunelm)

Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43513
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 320

Contact Dr Matthew Brain (email at matthew.brain@durham.ac.uk)

Biography

  • 2018 - present: Assistant Professor.
  • 2014 - 2018: Independent Research Fellow & Proleptic Lecturer.
  • 2010 - 2014: Postdoctoral Research Associate. COastal Rates of Behaviour and Activity (COBRA) funded by Cleveland Potash Ltd. Durham University, UK.
  • 2009 - 2010: Postdoctoral Research Associate. Boulby Geoscience Project funded by ONE NorthEast. Durham University, UK.
  • 2006 - 2009. Environmental Consultant. Golder Associates (UK) Ltd., Maidenhead and Leeds, United Kingdom.
  • 2002 - 2006: NERC-funded PhD: ‘Autocompaction of Mineralogenic Intertidal Sediments’. NERC Studentship Reference: NER/S/A/2002/10353. Department of Geography, Durham University, UK.
  • 1998 - 2001: BA (Hons) & MA Geography. St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford, UK.

Research Interests

My research focuses on the geotechnical properties of soils and rocks and how understanding deformation processes in earth materials in a variety of environments and at a range of spatial scales can aid our understanding of landform and landscape evolution. In particular, I am interested in developing understanding of deformation mechanisms, styles and rates through detailed laboratory testing, informed by and calibrated with field measurements of stress and environmental conditions.

I work with a range of earth materials obtained from geomorphic settings that vary in lithology, from soft estuarine muds and peats to the strong regionally metamorphosed rocks of active orogens, and in terms of the magnitude of ambient stresses. My research has applications in low and high energy coastal geomorphology, rock slope stability, landslide risk assessment and Quaternary/Sea Level science.

Research Groups

Research Projects

  • Coastal Behaviour and Rates of Activity (COBRA)

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • de Vilder, S.J., Rosser, N.J., Brain, M.J. & Vann Jones, E.C. Forensic rockfall scar analysis: Development of a mechanically correct model of rockfall failure. In: De Graff, J.V. & Shakoor, A. Landslides: Putting Experience, Knowledge and Emerging Technologies into Practice. Zanesville, Ohio: Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG); 2017:829-839.
  • Rosser, N.J., Williams, J., Brain, M.J. & Hardy, R.J. Insights into progressive rockfall failure from 4D scanning. In: Leith, K., Ziegler, M., Perras, M. & Loew, S. Progressive Rock Failure 2017 (Extended abstracts). ETH Zuerich; 2017.
  • Whadcoat, S.K., Rosser, N.J., Brain, M.J. & Hardy, R.J. Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Rockfalls in Hard Rock Coastal Cliffs. In: De Graff, J.V. & Shakoor, A. Landslides: Putting Experience, Knowledge and Emerging Technologies into Practice. Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG); 2017:633 - 644.
  • Brain, M.J., Rosser, N.J., de Vilder, S.J. & Tunstall, N. The effects of stress path and strain rate on the confined compressive strength and failure mode of brittle rocks. In: Leith, K., Ziegler, M., Perras, M. & Loew, S. Progressive Rock Failure 2017 (Extended abstracts). ETH Zuerich; 2017.
  • Benjamin, J., Rosser, N.J. & Brain, M.J. Rockfall detection and volumetric characterisation using LiDAR. In: Aversa, S., Cascini, L., Picarelli, L. & Scavia, C. Landslides and Engineered Slopes: Experience, Theory and Practice. CRC Press; 2016:389 - 396.
  • Brain, M.J. Compaction. In: Shennan, I., Long, A.J. & Horton, B.P. Handbook of Sea-Level Research. Wiley; 2015:452-469.
  • Parker, R.N., Petley, D.N., Densmore, A.L., Rosser, N.J., Damby, D. & Brain, M.J. Progressive failure cycles and distributions of earthquake-triggered landslides. In: Ugai, K., Yagi, H. & Wakai, A. Earthquake-Induced Landslides. Springer; 2012.
  • Nawawitphisit, S., Petley, D.N., Rosser, N.J., Lim, M., Brain, M.J. & Waugh, S. Temporal characteristics and controls on landsliding in glacial tills. In: Eberhardt, E., Frose, C., Turner, J. & Leroueil, S. Landslides and Engineered Slopes: Protecting Society through Improved Understanding. Taylor & Francis Group, London; 2012.
  • Lim, M., Rosser, N.J., Petley, D.N., Norman, E.C., Barlow, J. & Brain, M.J. Characterising coastal cliff erosional environments: microclimate-rock interactions. In: Williams, A.L., Pinches, G.M., Chin, C.Y., McMorran, T.J. & Massey, C.I. Geologically Active. CRC Press/Taylor and Francis Group, London; 2010.
  • Brain, M.J., Rosser, N., Petley, D., Lim, M., Barlow, J. & Norman, E. Dynamic rock strength in coastal rock cliffs. In: Williams, A.L., Pinches, G.M., Chin, C.Y., McMorran, T.J. & Massey, C.I. Geologically Active. CRC Press/Taylor and Francis Group, London; 2010.
  • Norman, E.C., Rosser, N.J., Petley, D.N., Lim, M., Barlow, J. & Brain, M.J. Exploring the relationship between tidal duration and energy delivery to a coastal cliff. In: Williams, A.L., Pinches, G.M., Chin, C.Y., McMorran, T.J. & Massey, C.I. Geologically Active. CRC Press/Taylor and Francis Group, London; 2010.

Doctoral Thesis

  • Brain, M.J. Autocompaction of Mineralogenic Intertidal Sediments. 2006.

Journal Article

Show all publications

Selected Grants

  • 2015: Characterising the post-seismic behaviour of damaged slopes - Nepal 2015. NERC Reference: NE/N007689/1. £51,520 .
  • 2015: Seismically-induced landslides in Chile: New tools for hazard assessment and disaster prevention. NERC Reference: NE/N000315/1. £156,011.
  • 2014: Coastal Behaviour and Rates of Activity (2014 - 19)
  • 2013: What makes landslides fail catastrophically during earthquakes? An innovative laboratory simulation of dynamic loading of hillslopes (£3640.00 from British Society for Geomorphology)
  • 2015: Coastal Behaviour and Rates of Activity (2015 -)

Supervises