Professor David Healy
Professor David Healy

Professor David Healy

Personal Chair


School of Geosciences King's College University of Aberdeen Aberdeen AB24 3UE United Kingdom


  • Personal Chair, University of Aberdeen, UK (2021 – )
  • Visiting Academic, University of Manchester, UK (2020 –)
  • Reader, University of Aberdeen, UK (2016 – 2021)
  • Senior Lecturer, University of Aberdeen, UK (2011 – 2016)
  • Lecturer, University of Aberdeen, UK (2009 – 2011)
  • Research Fellow, Curtin University, Perth, Australia (2007 – 2009)
  • Fixed-Term Lecturer, Durham University, UK (2006 – 2007)
  • NERC-funded Postdoctoral Research Associate, Liverpool University, UK (2004 – 2006)
  • PhD student (& EPSRC-funded Postgraduate Research Assistant), Liverpool University, UK (2000 – 2004)
  • Independent software consultant (1988 – 2000)
  • Analyst/Programmer (1987 – 1988)
  • Technical Assistant (1985 – 1987)

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships
  • Personal Tutor
  • Module coordinator, GL3520 Igneous & Metamorphic Petrology
  • Rock Physics & Geomechanics Laboratory manager
  • Internal Examiner (MRes and PhD)
  • NERC demand management sift panel
  • Chair of School IT working group
External Memberships
  • Topical Editor, EGU Solid Earth, 2018-
  • NERC Peer Review College, 2012-
  • NERC Large Grants Panel, 2020-
  • NERC Standard Grants Panel, 2021-
  • Research Assessor for Carnegie Trust, 2014-
  • Treasurer of Tectonic Studies Group, Geological Society of London, 2012-2014
  • External Examiner (MRes, PhD; Strathclyde, Glasgow, Leeds, Cardiff, Bristol, Liverpool, Monash)
  • Journal reviewer for JGR, JSG, Geology, EPSL, JVGR, JGSL, GRL


Latest Publications

View My Publications


Research Overview

I am fascinated by deformed rocks and seek to understand, and then to explain, deformation through quantitative, physical models. My research interests span structural and metamorphic geology, rock physics and geomechanics.  I’m interested in the patterns and processes of localisation in deformed rocks, and in the mechanical, thermal and seismic anisotropies of dry and saturated rocks.

I tackle these problems through field work, laboratory experiments, theoretical analysis and numerical modelling.  I use numerical models to integrate observations with, and explore the consequences of, physical theory.  I strongly believe that models should be directed at investigation rather than simulation – i.e. based on a rigorous simplification of the physical processes involved to focus on the heart of the problem.

I use my commercial experience of software development to build robust and tested open source code.

  • Fractured rock physics
  • Fracture patterns, including their quantification in 2D & 3D using tensors, polymodal faulting
  • Rock physics, including laboratory & core data analysis & modelling, elastic anisotropy, poroelasticity, velocity anisotropy, permeability anisotropy
  • Geomechanics, including fault & fracture stability, probability of failure (shear & tensile)


  • University of Manchester - Prof Cathy Hollis, Dr Julian Mecklenburgh, Prof Ernie Rutter
  • Curtin University, Australia - Dr Nick Timms, Dr Chris Clark
  • University College London - Dr Tom Mitchell, Prof Phil Meredith
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile - Dr John Browning, Dr Gloria Arancibia, Prof Jose Cembrano
  • University of Portsmouth - Dr Phil Benson
  • University of Strasbourg, France - Dr Mike Heap

Funding and Grants

  • International Partner – Fluid flow in a variably fractured system – FONDECYT Regular (Chile); £250k
  • PI – Listening to the Sound of the City – NERC Discipline Hopping; £10k
  • PI – Quantifying the Anisotropy of Poroelasticity in Stressed Rock – NERC (UK); £354k (Aberdeen; £814k total with UCL)
  • PI – Quantifying fracture stiffness in basement reservoirs – BP; £8.5k
  • PI – Quantifying fracture patterns in basement reservoir analogues – Petrolia NOCO; £11.5k
  • Co-I – Assessment of Mesozoic sandstone units as possible reservoirs in the Mandawa Basin, Tanzania – EU Capacity Building Grant; €15k
  • International Partner – Subsurface Fluid Flow Through Fractures in Sedimentary Basins – ARC (Australia); AU$230k
  • PI – Quantifying the Anisotropy of Permeability in Stressed Rock – NERC (UK); £358k (Aberdeen; £834k total with UCL)
  • PI – Volcanic Petrophysics: Reservoirs, Seals and Drilling – VBPR (Oslo); £15k
  • PI – HP/HT Rock Deformation Apparatus – OGIC (SFC, UK); £587k
  • PI – Improving the Odds in Geomechanics – Wintershall (PhD for Sarah Weihmann); £120k
  • PI – Integrated Geological and Geophysical Characterisation of Fracture Zones – Hurricane Energy; £36k
  • PI – Quantifying Fault Stability – Total E&P UK (PhD for Natalie Farrell); £162k
  • PI – Petrophysics of Fractured Carbonates (Co-I Dr Joyce Neilson) – Total E&P UK and BG International, brokered by ITF (PhDs for Emma Michie, Tom Haines); £255k
  • PI – Quantifying Patterns of Brittle Damage in Fractured Rock – NERC New Investigator; £60k
  • PI – Petrophysics of Fractured Basement UoA COPS Postgraduate studentship (PhD for Roberto Rizzo); £60k
  • PI – Petrophysical Properties of Fractured and Altered Granites - Lundin Petroleum; £13k
  • PI – Fluid-saturated Ultrasonic Velocity Measurements on Core Plugs - AFES; £9k
  • Co-I – Predicting fracture patterns in sandstones in fold-thrust belts - NERC Open CASE PhD award, with Midland Valley (PhD for Hannah Watkins); £67k
  • Co-I – Building 3D Fracture Patterns from 1D Data  Ministry of Higher Education & Research, Kurdistan (PhD for Abdullah Awdal); £100k
  • Co-I – Imaging and Characterisation of Salt Diapir Flanks National Board of Science and Technology & Ministry of Energy, Mexico (PhD for Liliana Vargas Meleza);  £85k
  • Co-I – The Influence of Carbonate Depositional and Diagenetic Textures on Faulting in Carbonates – UoA COPS Postgraduate studentship (PhD for Tom Haines); £60k 

Teaching Responsibilities

  • GL2511 Introduction to Geophysics
  • GL3520 Igneous & Metamorphic Petrology
  • GL3525 Field Techniques 2
  • GL4023 Geological Mapping Project

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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Conferences

Contributions to Journals

Contributions to Specialist Publications