Dr David Healy

Dr David Healy


Dr David Healy
Dr David Healy

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 273850
The University of Aberdeen School of Geosciences King's College University of Aberdeen Aberdeen AB24 3UE United Kingdom
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Fractured Rock Physics

Fractured Rock Physics

ResearcherID citations

Google Scholar citations


  • Reader, University of Aberdeen, UK (2016 - present)
  • 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, Physical & Chemical Feedback Processes During Dehydration Reactions, Liverpool University, UK (2005 – 2006)
  • NERC-funded Postdoctoral Research Associate, integrated Seismic Imaging and Modelling of Margins (iSIMM), Liverpool University, UK (2004 – 2005)
  • PhD student (& EPSRC-funded Postgraduate Research Assistant), Fractured Reservoirs - Elastic Dislocation Modelling (FREDMOD), Liverpool University, UK (2000 – 2004)
  • Independent software consultant (1988 – 2000)
  • Analyst/Programmer, Chevron Petroleum, London (1987 – 1988)
  • Technical Assistant, BP Exploration, London (1985 – 1987)

Research Interests

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 thoroughly tested code.

  • Fractured rock physics
  • Fracture patterns, including their quantification in 2D & 3D using tensors, polymodal faulting
  • Rock physics, including laboratory & core data analysis & modelling, velocity anisotropy, permeability anisotropy; clastics, carbonates, evaporites and basement (igneous & metamorphic)
  • Geomechanics, including fault & fracture stability, probability of failure (shear & tensile)


  • Adelaide University, Australia - Dr Ros King, Dr Simon Holford
  • Curtin University, Australia - Dr Nick Timms, Dr Chris Clark, Prof Steve Reddy
  • University College London - Dr Tom Mitchell, Prof Phil Meredith
  • University of Leicester - Dr Rich Walker
  • University of Strasbourg, France - Dr Mike Heap
  • Volcanic Basin Petroleum Research - Dr John Millett

Research Grants

  • 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
  • Co-I – 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

  • GL3520 Igneous & Metamorphic Petrology
  • GL3525 Field Techniques 2
  • GL4023 Geological Mapping Project
Further Info

External Responsibilities

  • NERC Peer Review College, 2012-
  • NERC Large Grants Panel, 2020-
  • Research Assessor for Carnegie Trust, 2014-
  • Topical Editor, EGU Solid Earth, 2018-
  • Treasurer of Tectonic Studies Group, Geological Society of London, 2012-2014
  • External Examiner (PhD; Strathclyde, Glasgow, Leeds, Cardiff, Bristol)
  • Journal reviewer for JGR, JSG, Geology, EPSL, JVGR, JGSL, GRL

Admin Responsibilities

  • Personal Tutor
  • Module coordinator, GL3520 Igneous & Metamorphic Petrology
  • Module coordinator, GL4023 Mapping Project
  • Rock Physics & Geomechanics Laboratory manager
  • Internal Examiner (MRes and PhD)
  • Member of University of Aberdeen internal NERC sift panel
  • Chair of School IT working group

Current PhD students

Maria Del Pilar Di Martino Perez – Unconventional reservoir imaging and geological interpretation in porous, heterogeneous environment via integrated seismic, petrophysical and mineralogical techniques (Aberdeen-Curtin Alliance Scholarship)

Marcus Duffy – The effects of igneous intrusions on the petroleum system (Elphinstone Scholarship)

Henry Eves – Testing models of dyke emplacement (Elphinstone Scholarship)

Johanna Heeb – Listening through rock salt: Quantifying petrofabrics and seismic velocity anisotropy of evaporites to improve seismic imaging (Aberdeen-Curtin Alliance Scholarship)

Yogendra Kumar – Quantifying fracture flow with the self-potential method (Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India)

Jesus Mezquita – Hydrogeophysical approaches for characterising fluid flow and storage in
weathered/fractured reservoirs and implications for hydrocarbon and groundwater
exploration in basement rocks (CONACYT Mexico)

Raisya Noor Pertiwi – The seismic response of hydraulically fractured, poorly consolidated mudstone and sandstone (Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education)

Submitted or Completed PhD students

Dr. O. Emmanuel Adewole – Overpressure in the Northern Niger Delta Basin, Nigeria: mechanisms, predictability and classification (funded by NDDC, Nigeria)

Dr. Abdullah Awdal – An investigation of fracture patterns in different tectonic settings: Insights for building 3D fracture patterns from 1D data (funded by Ministry of Higher Education & Research, Kurdistan)

Mr. Tim Davis – An open source Boundary Element Method code for structural geology and rock mechanics (self-funded; MSc by Research)

Dr. Natalie Farrell – Quantifying fault stability (funded by Total E&P UK); winner of the Ramsay Medal of the Tectonic Studies Group, Geological Society of London (2015)

Mr. Hozefa Godhrawala - Geomechanical models of Dunlin and Osprey (self-funded; MSc by Research)

Dr. Erin Gray – Deformation of Earth's upper mantle: insights from naturally occurring fabric types (funded by Australian Research Council)

Dr. Tom Haines – The evolution of petrophysical properties across carbonate hosted normal fault zones (funded by COPS scholarship, Total E&P UK & BG Group)

Dr. Niall Mark – Understanding the effect of igneous intrusions on the hydrocarbon system within the Flett Basin, West of Shetland (funded by JX Nippon)

Dr. Emma Michie – The influence of damage on the petrophysical properties of carbonate hosted fault zones (funded by Total E&P UK & BG Group)

Dr. Roberto Rizzo – Petrophysics of fractured basement (funded by College of Physical Sciences scholarship); winner of the Ramsay Medal of the Tectonic Studies Group, Geological Society of London (2019)

Dr. Lucas Rossetti – Stratigraphy and facies architecture of volcanic sequences (funded by BG Brazil and CNPq/Brazilian government)

Dr. Tara Stephens – Are sills a record of applied horizontal compression? (funded by NERC CENTA DTP)

Dr. Liliana Vargas Meleza – Characterisation of salt diapir flanks constrained by field data (National Board of Science and Technology & Ministry of Energy, Mexico)

Dr. Hannah Watkins – Predicting fracture patterns in sandstones in fold-and-thrust belts (funded by NERC CASE and Midland Valley)

Dr. Sarah Weihmann – Improving the odds in geomechanics (funded by Wintershall)