Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research Group: Geology and Geophysics

The Geology and Geophysics Research Group includes about 60 staff and PhD students. We are among the most active research groups in this field in Europe.

Currently Active: Yes

Group Overview

Our specific research strengths include:

  • the tectonics and dynamics of active plate boundaries and continental margins including subseabed fluid flow processes
  • deep-water sedimentation processes including mass-wasting, geohazards, environmental geology and ecosystems
  • the role of fault system growth and evolution in crustal deformation
  • high resolution geophysics, including geophysical marine archaeology and sediment acoustics.

Our work is underpinned by world-class facilities for controlled source electromagnetic sounding, ocean bottom seismology, sea floor imagery, and the analysis of cores and other sea-bottom samples.

Contact: Dr Justin Dix

Associated research themes

Web links


Selected publications associated with this group from the University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints):


Members of staff associated with this group:

Research projects

Research projects associated with this group:

3D Chirp - Decimetre resolution sub-bottom profiling

Igneous Reservoirs: Controls on Porosity and Permeability

Controls on Megathrust Earthquake Segmentation

Overpressure Development in Deep Basins: Linking Measures and Models

Fluid flow associated with the Alpine Fault, South Island, New Zealand

Active fault kinematics during non-volcanic rifting in East Africa

Great Barrier Reef: How reef morphology and sea level affects wave transmission

Frequency and emplacement dynamics of huge submarine landslides in the Norwegian and Greenland Basins: Implications for landslide-tsunami hazard

BLUE MINING: Breakthrough solutions for sustainable deep-sea mining value chain

Sediment-water column exchange of nutrients in coastal and shelf-sea waters

Dynamics of gas hydrates in polar environments

Geo-archaeology - New high-resolution 3D seismic imaging

Landslides glide plane mechanics using seismic reflection data and numerical modelling

Hydrodynamic and Geotechnical Controls of Scour Around Offshore Monopiles

Imaging continental breakup with ocean bottom seismic techniques: Galicia Bank continental margin

RiftVolc - Rift volcanism: past, present and future

Quantifying and Monitoring Potential Ecosystem Impacts of Geological Carbon Storage (QICS)

How are submarine slopes pre-conditioned to fail?

Segmentation, fault structure and tsunamigenesis of the Sumatran Subduction Zone

Pb-Zn mineralisation within the Limerick Basin (SW Ireland): A role for volcanism?

Arctic Hydrate Dissociation as a Consequence of Climate Change: Determining the vulnerable methane reservoir and gas escape mechanisms

Windermere Research

Tidal inlet stability on Urdaibai Estuary, Spain

Venice lagoon

The influence of reefs on coastal oceanography, erosion and recovery

Structure and structural permeability of active rift systems, examples of the Kermadec Arc, SW Pacific and the Main Ethiopian Rift, Ethiopia

Active-source seismic refraction across the Sumatra subduction zone

Trans-Haiti: Crustal-scale geodynamics of the Hispaniola boundary in the Caribbean

Inversion of very-high-resolution reflection data to quantify sediment properties

Surge Watch: An interactive and multi-purpose database of coastal flooding events for the UK

Sumatran Earthquake Segment Boundaries Consortium

Impacts of W class ferries on saltmarsh erosion

Geology and Geophysics

ECO2 sub-seabed CO2 Storage: analysis of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Data

Environmental Controls on the State of HV Cables under the Seafloor

Evolution of faulting and magmatism during volcanic rifting in the Ethiopian Rift

Galicia 3D - Exploring ancient continental breakup west of Spain

The Porcupine Basin Project

Passive Imaging of the Lithosphere-Asthenosphere Boundary (PI-LAB)

Characterising Seismic Anisotrophy Beneath Ocean Basins

Magmatic and Tectonic History of Iceland’s Western Rift Zone at Lake Thingvallavatn

Volcanic edifice collapse: processes, timing, and impact on volcano evolution

The Taphonomy of Historic Wreck Sites

Arctic methane at a tipping point: Estimating the amount of sub seabed methane

Critical Metals in Porphyry Copper Deposits

The response of offshore Arctic methane hydrate to ocean warming during the next three centuries

Integration of CSEM and seismic data for mapping gas hydrates at CNE03

Rips and risk: An investigation of the hazard signature

Sediment transport pathways offshore between Poole and Christchurch Bays

Storms and Their Seismic Signals: Can seismometers be used to study oceans?

Seasonally resolved Lateglacial climate variability from the laminated sediments of Windermere

Impact of aquaculture on the British Columbian coastal zone

Faulting in the Whakatane Graben, New Zealand

Vertical turbulence structures in the benthic boundary layer as related to suspended sediment

Sailing Away: Global Seismic Imaging of the Oceanic Plates

iCOASST - integrating coastal sediment systems

Geological storage of CO2 into oceanic crust

Interaction between tectonic deformation and magmatism during volcanic rifting in Afar

Effects of Posidonia oceanica on sediment transport: implications for the protection of shorelines

Modern lacustrine, late-glacial and post-glacial environments and processes in Windermere, UK - Dormant

Structure, fluid flow and earthquake potential of the Makran Subduction Zone, Pakistan

Impact of seabed properties on the ampacity and reliability of cables

Improved mineral exploration and exploitation strategies

Mapping physical properties using reflection coefficients, a global approach


Facilities Linked to Geology and Geophysics include:

Geosciences Advisory Unit (GAU)

GAU-Radioanalytical is an industry and government-agency focussed organisation that offers specialist radioanalytical research and analytical services.

Research Vessels

We have two vessels based at NOCS that are available to staff and students of Ocean and Earth Science. R.V. Callista and R.V. Bill Conway.

Rock Preparation and Thin-Sectioning Laboratory

This facility primarily focuses on making high quality sections of a range of materials for teaching and research. Cutting services, vacuum impregnation and staining techniques are also available.

Palaeomagnetism and Environmental Magnetism Laboratory

This facility houses state-of-the-art instrumentation as well as a shielded room to support paleomagnetism, rock and mineral magnetism, magnet stratigraphy, and palaeoenvironment related research.

X-Ray Diffraction Facility

The XRD facility located at NOCS provides a service for the qualitative or quantitative analysis of rock samples to determine bulk mineralogy and/or clay mineralogy.

High Resolution Marine Geophysics

We have over 20 years experience of collecting high resolution geophysical data for research projects as diverse as small object detection (including forensic work); wreck based surveys, Quaternary natural and archaeological landscape studies, neotectonics, and large scale sedimentological and structural analysis.

3D Chirp

3d Chirp is a surface-towed sub-bottom profiling system capable of imaging the upper tens of metres of the sub-surface on three dimensions with decimetric horizontal and centimetric vertical resolution.


The Ocean Bottom Instrumentation Consortium aims to provide the academic and commercial communities with access to multi-sensor, versatile seabed instruments to enable sub-surface geophysical imaging at high vertical and lateral resolution.

Seafloor EM

The university is equipped to carry out field research programes in CSEM surveys - for both academic and applied research topics.