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Prof Ken McCaffrey, BSc Belfast (1986), PhD Dunelm (1990)

Professor, Director of CeREES in the Department of Earth Sciences
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42322
Room number: Level 2 East Wing Annex Rm 251

Contact Prof Ken McCaffrey (email at

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Tectonics: Faults and Fracture systems, Earthquakes, Laser scanning, digital mapping, structural geology


Professor, Earth Sciences from October 2013 

2011 – present — Director, Centre for Research into Earth Energy Systems

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2000 – 2013  Lecturer, Geological Sciences,  University of Durham, 

1997 – 2000 — Senior Lecturer, Geological Sciences, Kingston University, Kingston upon Thames, UK

1995 – 1997 — Lecturer, Geological Sciences, Kingston University, Kingston upon Thames, UK

1993 – 1995 — Lecturer, Geology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

1991 – 1993 — Postdoctoral Fellow, Geology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

1990 – 1991 — Post Doctoral Fellow, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

1990 — University of Durham Ph.D.

Queen’s University Belfast - Geology B.Sc. (Honours)

Career Research Highlights

Ken McCaffrey is a Professor in Earth Sciences at Durham University. He has made sigificant contributions to the fields of continental tectonics, particularly basement inheritance and igneous intrusion and fractured reservoir description.

His work has placed Durham as a leading international group in the area of geoinformatics and structural analysis, 3D visualisation and analysis. In 2005, this led to the setting-up of the Durham Centre for Terrestrial Laser Scanning (DuTLS). He is Director of University spin-out company Geospatial Research Ltd.

He completed a 4 year Royal Society Industry fellowship working part-time at BP Exporation on basement inheritance in geological systems. He is now Director of CeREES (Centre for Geoenergy) at Durham University

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Committee and Society Service

2013 – present — Member of Petroleum Group Committee, Geological Society of London

2000 – 2002 — Member of Science Committee, Geological Society of London

2000 – 2002 — Secretary, Tectonic Studies Group

Conferences and Workshops

2011  — Tectonic Studies Group Annual Meeting

2011  — New constratints on active fault zones. AGU

2011  — Shale and Coal Basins of North East England: Opportunities for Research and Industry Collaboration - NPESMD, India School of Mines

2009  — Lead Convener, Virtual Fieldtrips session, 7th Petroleum Geology Conference

2009  — Tectonic reactivation and Fault Zone weakening. AGU

2006  — Unlocking 3D Earth Systems – Harnessing New Digital Technologies to Revolutionize Multi-Scale Geologic Models. GSA Penrose Meeting – University of Durham

2004  — Tectonic Studies Group Annual Meeting – University of Durham

2002  — Transport and Flow processes within Shear Zones - Geological Society, London

2001  — Hydrocarbons in Crystalline rocks - Geological Society, London

2001  — Deformation at Convergent Margins – European Union Geosciences XI Strasbourg

2001  — Vertical and horizontal coupling and decoupling processes in Orogenic Belts – American Geophysical Union, San Francisco

Editorial Roles

2006 – 2012 '— Specials' editor for the Geological Society of London

Editor Visual Geosciences

Invited Keynotes

Invited International Lectures

2012 — Natural Fractures in Shale gas basins of NE England, Geoshale Conference, Warsaw.

2011 — ‘Shale basins of NE England: Opportunities for research and Industry collaboration’, Industry/Academia collaboration session, Indian Geological Congress, Indian School of Mines Dhanbad.

2011 — ‘Virtual fieldwork using terrestrial laser scanning and Google Earth’– Google Earth: Visualizing the Possibilities for Geoscience Education and Research, GSA Penrose at Google HQ, San Francisco

2010 — From Depositional Systems to Sedimentary Successions on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, Norwegian Petroleum systems, Stavanger

2010Digital Geospatial methods in Earth Sciences’ Italian National Geophysical & Volcanology – Pisa, Italy

2007 — Capturing Detailed Outcrop Geology using Terrestrial Laser Scanning (Lidar) and other digital technologies: Current status and Future directions’(Jones R.R. & McCaffrey, K.J.W) AGU San Francisco

2006 Magma Chamber Processes and Geometries 'What is a magma chamber? The role of sheet in the assembly of intrusions' session GSA Salt Lake City.

2002 — ‘Dimensional Data and Growth Models for Tabular Intrusions’ Laccolith and sill intrusion meeting, Freiberg, Germany

1998 — ‘Magmatic versus tectonic influences on granite emplacement’ AGU Annual Spring meeting – Boston

1997 — ‘Tabular plutonic sheets: Geometry and emplacement’ GAC/MAC annual meeting – Ottawa

1996 — ‘Scale invariant geometry of tabular sheet intrusions?’ Syntectonic crystallisation of igneous rocks – Vaxenburg, Austria

Prizes & Awards

2005 — Murchsion Fund - Geological Society

2001 — Durham University Excellence in teaching Award

1993 — Ramsay medal

Research Interests

  • Geoinformatics methods and applications
  • High resolution 3D/4D modelling of continental margins
  • Magmatic and mineralised systems
  • Reservoir models of fractured reservoir analogues including shale basins
  • Structural characterisation of fault and shear zones
  • Tectonic and magmatic interactions
  • Tectonic and mechanical processes on active normal faults and earthquake activity
  • The geometrical and kinematic evolution of deformation zones
  • Visualisation and analysis of geological architecture

Selected Publications

Books: sections

  • McCaffrey, K.J.W., Hodgetts, D., Howell, J., Hunt, D., Imber, J., Jones, R.R., Tomasso, M., Thurmond, J. & Viseur, S. (Published). Virtual fieldtrips for petroleum geoscientists. In Petroleum Geology: From Mature Basins to New Frontiers—Proceedings of the 7th Petroleum Geology Conference. Vining, B. & Pickering, S.C. Geological Society, London. 19-26.

Edited works: contributions

  • McCaffrey, K.J.W, Grocott, J, Garde, A.A. & Hamilton, M.A. (2004). Attachment formation during partitioning of oblique convergence in the Ketilidian orogen, South Greenland. In Vertical Coupling and Decoupling in the Lithosphere. Grocott, J., McCaffrey, K.J.W., Taylor, G. & Tikoff, B. London: Geological Society. Geological Society Special Publication 227: 231-248.

Essays in edited volumes

  • Jones, R.R, McCaffrey, K.J.W, Wilson, R.W & Holdsworth, R.E (2005). Digital field data acquisition: towards increased quantification of uncertainty during geological mapping. In Geological Prior Information: Informing Science and Engineering. Curtis, A. & Wood, R. London: Geological Society. Geological Society Special Publication 239: 43-56.

Journal papers: academic

  • Wilkinson, M.W., McCaffrey, K.J.W. , Roberts, G.P. Cowie, P.A. Phillips, R.J., Degasperi, M. Vittori, E. & Michetti, A.M. (2012). Distribution and Magnitude of Post-seismic Deformation of the 2009 L’Aquila 1 Earthquake (M6.3) Surface Rupture Measured Using Repeat Terrestrial Laser Scanning. Geophysical Journal International 189(2): 911-922.
  • Peulvast,J-P, Bonow J.M., Japsen P, Wilson R.W. & McCaffrey, K.J.W. (2012). Morphostructural patterns and landform generations in a glaciated passive margin: the Kobberminebugt-Qaqortoq region of South Greenland. Geodinamica Acta 24(1): 1.
  • Faure Walker J.P., G.P. Roberts, P.A. Cowie, I. Papanikolaou, A.M. Michetti, P. Sammonds,, M. Wilkinson, K.J.W. McCaffrey, & R.J. Phillips (2012). Relationship between topography, rates of extension and mantle dynamics in the actively-extending Italian Apennines. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 325-326: 76-84.
  • Abdunaser, K.M. & McCaffrey, K.J.W (2012). Rift architecture and evolution: the Sirt Basin, Libya. Marine and Petroleum Geology
  • Hansen, J., Jerram, D.A., McCaffrey, K. & Passey, S. (2011). Early Cenozoic saucer-shaped sills of the Faroe Islands: an example of intrusive styles in basaltic lava piles. Journal of the Geological Society 168(1): 159-178.
  • 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.
  • Jones, R.R, McCaffrey, K.J.W, Clegg, P, Wilson, R.W, Holliman, N.S, Holdsworth, R.E, Imber, J & Waggott, S (2009). Integration of regional to outcrop digital data: 3D visualisation of multi-scale geological models. Computers & Geosciences 35(1): 4-18
  • Jones, R.R., Kokkalas S & McCaffrey KJW (2009). Quantitative analysis and visualization of nonplanar fault surfaces using terrestrial laser scanning (LIDAR)-The Arkitsa fault, central Greece, as a case study. Geosphere 5: 465-482.
  • Guo J.L, McCaffrey K, Jones R & Holdsworth, R (2009). The spatial heterogeneity of structures in high porosity sandstones: Variations and granularity effects in orientation data. Journal of Structural Geology 31(7): 628-636.
  • 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.
  • Wilson, R.W, Klint, K.E.S, Jensen, F.S, van Gool, J.A.M, McCaffrey. K.J.W & Chalmers, J.A (2005). Faults and fractures in central West Greenland: onshore expression of continental break-up and sea-floor spreading in the Labrador-Baffin Bay Sea. Geological Survey of Greenland Bulletin
  • McCaffrey, K.J.W, Holdsworth, R.E, Imber, J, Clegg, P, De Paola N, Jones, R.R, Hobbs, R, Holliman, N & Trinks, I. (2005). Putting the geology back into Earth Models. Eos 86(46): 461-466.
  • De Paola, N, Holdworth, R.E & McCaffrey, K.J.W (2005). Strain partitioning, reactivation and lithological control during complex transtensional faulting: an example from the 90-Fathom Fault, NE England. J. Geol Soc. London 161: 471-480.
  • De Paola, N, Holdsworth, R.E & McCaffrey, K.J.W (2005). The influence of lithology and pre-existing structures on reservoir-scale faulting patterns in transtensional rift zones. J. Geol Soc. London 162: 471-480.
  • 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.
  • Cruden, A.R & McCaffrey, K.J.W (2001). Growth of plutons by floor subsidence: implications for rates of emplacement, intrusion spacing and melt-extraction mechanisms. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth Part A: Solid Earth & Geodesy 26(4-5): 303-315.
  • 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.
  • McCaffrey K.J.W & Petford, N (1997). Are granitic intrusions scale invariant? Journal of the Geological Society of London 154 1-4 154: 1-4.
  • McCaffrey, K.J.W (1992). Igneous emplacement in a transpressive shear zone: Ox Mountains igneous complex. J. Geol Soc. London 149: 221-235.

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