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Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Dr Matthieu Cartigny

Personal web page

Research Fellow in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41855
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 501

Contact Dr Matthieu Cartigny (email at

Research Overview

My research focusses on the dynamics of geophysical flows, their associated morphologies and the eventual deposits that are left in the rock record. I use field measurements, experiments, numerical models and the sedimentary record to test morphodynamic hypothesis from different perspectives. I am fascinated by the autonomous behaviour observed in these processes and the broad scope of beautiful patterns that they produce.

Currently, my research is mainly focused on direct observations of turbidity currents in settings varying from large submarine canyons to small delta front channels. These observations include the first deep ocean measurements of unprecedented Mississippi-River-size, week-long flows. These flows show a complete new flow structure, where a dense frontal parts of the flow outruns a dilute quasi-steady trailing body. Other datasets include ~100 individual smaller flows occurring in delta channels, which now allow us to constrain for the first time what it takes for a small flow to ignite into a fully develop turbidity current. More generally, I am trying expand on our observation capabilities by bringing in techniques that are new to this field, such as CHIRP systems to image dense basal layers on turbidity currents, electronic resistivity tomography to measure dense basal layer non-intrusively in the laboratory, acoustic inversion techniques to explore sediment concentration within deep-ocean turbidity currents and fully three-dimensional numerical modelling techniques to study the link between supercritical flows and their related bedforms.

In my future research I want to expand my research scope to other geophysical flows. This is currently being reflected in modelling work on sediment waves on submarine flanks of volcanoes to constrain submarine continuation of pyroclastic flows, and by linking sedimentological signatures to morphological seafloor features in a large glacially formed trough on the Antarctic shelf.


  • Ms Maria Azpiroz
  • Mr Age Vellinga
  • Mr Will Symons
  • Mr Jamie Hizzett
  • Mr Jan de Leeuw
  • Ms Sophie Hage
  • Ms Zoë Roseby
  • Mr Florian Pohl
  • Ms Daniela Vendettuoli

Research Groups

Research Interests

  • Morphodynamics of geophysical flows
  • Sedimentology
  • Turbidity currents
  • Sediment transport
  • Bedform

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Conference Paper

Show all publications

Selected Grants

  • 2017: Direct Monitoring of Field Scale Turbidity Currents (Joint Industry Project))
  • 2017: How do deep-ocean turbidity currents behave that form the largest sediment accumulations on Earth? (NERC-NE/R001952/1)
  • 2016: Experiments on cyclic steps in mixed sediments (Joint Industry Project)
  • 2016: First high resolution direct measurements for powerful turbidity currents that reach the deep ocean (NERC-NE/L009358/1)
  • 2016: International efforts for direct monitoring of active turbidity currents at global 'test sites' (NERC-NE/M017540/1)
  • 2016: New field-scale calibration for turbidity current impact modelling (NERC-NE/P009190/1)
  • 2015: Studying geohazards through quantification of field-scale turbidity current (NERC-NE/M007138/1)
  • 2014: Spatial variations in grounding-line proximal facies Anvers Trough, Antarctica (CGS-BAS)
  • 2014: Bedform dynamics in submarine channels (Joint Industry Project)
  • 2014: Deposits of high-density flows in reworked carbonate sediment (IAS)
  • 2014: First detailed synchronous sediment-concentration and velocity data for submarine turbidity currents (NERC-NE/K011480/1)
  • 2014: Novel laboratory facilities to study submarine geohazards (NERC-NE/L008130/1)
  • 2014: Wave ripple in mixtures of cohesive clay and cohesionless sand (EU-HYDRALAB)
  • 2013: From turbidity current process to lithofacies and system architecture (Joint Industry Project)
  • 2013: Linking 3D bedforms in outcrop and numerical modelling (IAS)
  • 2011: Sedimentary architecture of channel-lobe transitions (Joint industry Project)