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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research Group: Geology and Geophysics

Currently Active: 

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.

Group Overview

Our specific research strengths include:

  • the tectonics and dynamics of active plate boundaries and continental margins including sub-seabed fluid flow processes
  • continental slope and deep-water sedimentation processes including mass-wasting, geohazards, environmental geology and ecosystems
  • the role of fault system growth and evolution in crustal deformation
  • coastal and continental shelf sedimentary environments and processes including the interaction with engineering structures
  • high resolution quantitative and qualitative analysis of the seabed and immediate sub-surface using active and passive acoustics and controlled source electromagnetics

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

To find out more about our current activities please visit the Geology & Geophysics Blog

Contact: Dr Justin Dix

Associated research themes

Coastal and Shelf Processes


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.

Coastal Laboratories

The geology and geophysics research group operates three labs focusing on the study of coastal and shelf sea hydrodynamics and sediment dynamics. Our Coastal Processes and the Coastal Dynamics labs host a range of straight, recirculating and annular flumes equipped with a variety of high-frequency instruments and sensors, and are used for teaching and research into boundary layers, sediment transport and scour, submarine gravity flows and flow/sediment interactions with biota. The Sediment Analysis Lab is equipped with a range of tools used to analyse cohesive and non-cohesive sediment samples, including particle size distribution, grain texture and composition, and bulk sample properties; including a settling column and a Laser Sizer.


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 programmes in CSEM surveys - for both academic and applied research topics.

Geosciences Advisory Unit (GAU)

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

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.

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.

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




Postgraduate opportunities

PhD Project Titles

3D Modelling of Heat Dissipation from Offshore High Voltage Cables *

A Global Seismic Investigation of the Tectonic Plate

Assessing the integrity of carbon capture and storage (CCS) reservoirs by using a combined experimental and modelling approach

Automating the analysis of high-resolution sidescan sonar data to support marine habitat monitoring *

Bayesian inversion of controlled source electromagnetic data for a laterally variable subsurface

BEACHNUT: an active wireless sensor to measure granular dynamics of gravel transport

Caribbean Subduction: Seismic Imaging Melt and Volatiles in the Lesser Antilles

Characterising the volcanic and geochemical record of continental breakup in Afar

Characterising seabed surface layer dynamics: Modelling bed changes in estuaries

From deep hydrothermal structure to rock physic models of sulphide deposits at mid-ocean ridges with controlled source electromagnetic data

High-resolution seismic imaging of fluid escape structures in the North Sea *

Overpressure development in rapidly deposited salt basins. Application to the Salt Giant on the Mediterranean Basin

Rift fault activity and interaction at ultra high resolution, geophysical and drilling data analysis from Greece and East Africa

The Weakest Link: Triggering of giant submarine landslides

Understanding the causes of millennial scale geomagnetic change: A benchmark record and new global synthesis for late Pleistocene

Using autonomous underwater vehicles to monitor seafloor habitats and ecosystems in remote and developing regions

Using cluster analysis to quantify earthquake patterns in space and time globally

* signifies projects with additional CASE funding.

Research Staff

List of all staff members in Geology and Geophysics
Staff MemberPrimary Position
Najeeb AladwaniPostgraduate research student
Charlotte Emily AldredPostgraduate research student (NERC CDT in Oil and Gas)
Carl L AmosEmeritus Professor
Lewis BaileyPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
Andy BarkerSenior Tutor
Gaye BayrakciResearch Fellow in Geophysics
Bhargav BoddupalliPostgraduate research student
Jonathan BullProfessor in Geology and Geophysics
Ben CallowPostgraduate research student
Emma L ChambersPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
Chen ChenPostgraduate research student
Ben ChichesterPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
Clementine ChirolPostgraduate research student
Callum ClayPostgraduate research student (NERC CDT in Oil & Gas)
Michael Stanley DalePostgraduate research student
James DaveyPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
John DavisExperimental Officer
Maria De La FuentePostgraduate research student
Justin DixProfessor in Marine Geology & Geophysics
Adeline Marie DutrieuxPostgraduate research student
Amy L ElsonPostgraduate research student
Michael FaggetterPostgraduate research student
David M FriesPostgraduate research student, Marie Curie Initial Training Network
Ryan J GallacherPostgraduate research student
Romina GehrmannResearch Fellow in Marine Electromagnetics
Thomas GernonAssociate Professor in Earth Science
Michael James GrantEnterprise Fellow in Marine Archaeology
Sophie HagePostgraduate research student
Nicholas HarmonLecturer in Geophysics
Maarten HeijnenPostgraduate research student (Marie Curie ITN fellow)
Tim HenstockProfessor of Geophysics
Stephen P HicksPostdoctoral Research Fellow in Passive Source Seismology
Emma HornPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
Finnigan Illsley-KempPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
Hachem KassemTeaching & Research Fellow in Coastal Morphodynamics and GIS
Derek KeirAssociate Professor in Geophysics
Jens C KrügerPostgraduate research student, Marie Curie Research Fellow
Aude LavayssierePostgraduate research student
Jianghui LiResearch Fellow
Leigh MarshVisiting Fellow
Lisa McNeillProfessor of Tectonics
Timothy A MinshullProfessor
Mohamad Anas Mohamad AnnuarPostgraduate research student
Vanessa MonteleonePostgraduate research student
Richard PalmerPostgraduate research student
Daniel PosseePostgraduate research student
David PricePostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
David PricePostgraduate research student (NEXUSS)
Giuseppe ProvenzanoPostgraduate research student
David RileyPostgraduate research student
Ben RochePostgraduate research student
Catherine A RychertAssociate Professor in Geophysics
Ryan ScottPostgraduate research student (NEXUSS)
Melanie SiegburgPostgraduate research student
Iain StobbsPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
Esther SumnerLecturer in Sedimentology
Saikiran TharimenaVisiting Fellow
Matthew TruellPostgraduate research student
Daniela VendettuoliPostgraduate research student
Lissette VictoreroPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
Millie WattsPostgraduate research student
Emma WattsPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
Alexander WebberPostdoctoral Research Fellow
Martin WeeksOcean Bottom Instrument Engineer
Graham K WestbrookVisiting Professor
Bob WhitmarshEmeritus Professor
Chuang XuanLecturer
Xiaodong YangPostgraduate research student
Naima Karolina YiloPostgraduate research student
Naiyu ZhangPostgraduate research student
Barbara ZihlmannPostgraduate research student

    Related Projects

    List of related projects to Geology and Geophysics
    Related ProjectsStatus
    iCOASST - integrating coastal sediment systemsActive
    3D Chirp - Decimetre resolution sub-bottom profilingActive
    Arctic Hydrate Dissociation as a Consequence of Climate Change: Determining the vulnerable methane reservoir and gas escape mechanismsActive
    BLUE MINING: Breakthrough solutions for sustainable deep-sea mining value chainActive
    Characterising Seismic Anisotrophy Beneath Ocean BasinsActive
    Critical Metals in Porphyry Copper DepositsActive
    Dynamics of gas hydrates in polar environmentsActive
    ECO2 sub-seabed CO2 Storage: analysis of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle DataActive
    Effects of Posidonia oceanica on sediment transport: implications for the protection of shorelinesActive
    Evolution of faulting and magmatism during volcanic rifting in the Ethiopian RiftActive
    Fluid flow associated with the Alpine Fault, South Island, New ZealandActive
    Geo-archaeology - New high-resolution 3D seismic imagingActive
    Geological storage of CO2 into oceanic crustActive
    Great Barrier Reef: How reef morphology and sea level affects wave transmissionActive
    Igneous Reservoirs: Controls on Porosity and PermeabilityActive
    Imaging continental breakup with ocean bottom seismic techniques: Galicia Bank continental marginActive
    Impact of seabed properties on the ampacity and reliability of cablesActive
    Improved mineral exploration and exploitation strategiesActive
    The influence of reefs on coastal oceanography, erosion and recoveryActive
    Landslides glide plane mechanics using seismic reflection data and numerical modellingActive
    Structure, fluid flow and earthquake potential of the Makran Subduction Zone, PakistanActive
    Overpressure Development in Deep Basins: Linking Measures and Models Active
    Passive Imaging of the Lithosphere-Asthenosphere Boundary (PI-LAB)Active
    Pb-Zn mineralisation within the Limerick Basin (SW Ireland): A role for volcanism?Active
    Physical Properties of Oceanic Lower Crustal and Uppermost Mantle Rocks from Atlantis Massif, Mid-Atlantic Ridge Active
    Quantifying and Monitoring Potential Ecosystem Impacts of Geological Carbon Storage (QICS)Active
    The response of offshore Arctic methane hydrate to ocean warming during the next three centuriesActive
    Rips and risk: An investigation of the hazard signatureActive
    Sediment-water column exchange of nutrients in coastal and shelf-sea watersActive
    Sediment transport pathways offshore between Poole and Christchurch BaysActive
    Storms and Their Seismic Signals: Can seismometers be used to study oceans?Active
    Structure and structural permeability of active rift systems, examples of the Kermadec Arc, SW Pacific and the Main Ethiopian Rift, EthiopiaActive
    Sumatran Earthquake Segment Boundaries ConsortiumActive
    Surge Watch: An interactive and multi-purpose database of coastal flooding events for the UKActive
    Integration of CSEM and seismic data for mapping gas hydrates at CNE03Active
    The Porcupine Basin ProjectActive
    The Taphonomy of Historic Wreck SitesActive
    Trans-Haiti: Crustal-scale geodynamics of the Hispaniola boundary in the CaribbeanActive
    Venice lagoonActive
    Vertical turbulence structures in the benthic boundary layer as related to suspended sedimentActive
    Volcanic edifice collapse: processes, timing, and impact on volcano evolution Active
    Windermere ResearchActive
    Active fault kinematics during non-volcanic rifting in East AfricaDormant
    Interaction between tectonic deformation and magmatism during volcanic rifting in AfarDormant
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