BSc (Hons), PhD, FGS, PGCert, FHEA



Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 274209
The University of Aberdeen Dr David K. Muirhead Rm 138a Dept. Geology & Petroleum Geology Meston Building Kings College Aberdeen AB24 3UE


David is a geologist and petroleum geochemist, with further interests in mineralogy, astrobiology and planetary science. He has previously held positions within Halliburton as a logging geologist and subsequently a geochemist, with a strong focus on global research & development within the company.

During his time at Halliburton, David was responsible for overseeing and developing new technologies and interpretation standards for real-time geochemical analyses for gas-in-mud data. R&D efforts were focused on both conventional and unconventional reservoirs (fractured basement, interbasaltics, HPHT) in the UK North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Central Europe and the Middle East.

David obtained his BSc in Earth Science from the University of Glasgow and then his PhD from the University of Aberdeen.


Research Interests

Contact Metamorphism

Intrusion and petroleum system interactions

Raman spectroscopy of carbon

Petroleum geology

Organic geochemistry


Geology of Scotland

Current Research

  • The effects of igneous intrusions on petroleum systems with respect to thermal maturity and extractable organic matter potential.
  • Thermal alteration of sedimentary rocks in fold and thrust belts.
  • Application of Raman Spectroscopy to sedimentary organic matter to assess thermal maturity.
  • Correlation between organic geochemical and inorganic geochemical analyses.


Dr Mathew D. Rowe, Halliburton Surface Data Logging, Louisiana.


Teaching Responsibilities

Director of PGT Programmes, School of Geosciences

Course Coordinator
GL1005 Earth Through Geological Time
GL1505 Earth's Materials

GL2015 Petrology and Mineralogy

Course Tutor
GL2510 Introduction to Field Geology 

GL3026 Field and Mapping Techniques

GL4028 Petroleum Geology: Geochemistry and Geofluids

Further Info

External Responsibilities

Education Committee, Geological Society of London. (2013 - 2016)

Admin Responsibilities

Director of PGT Programmes, School of Geosciences

College of Physical Sciences College Council (2013 - 2016)

College of Physical Sciences Teaching and Learning Committee (2013 - 2016)

Personal Tutor


CONFIDENTIAL: Patents Disclosed and/or Filed (International, US) relating to:


Mud gas extraction.

Technique design and application.

Analytical methodology.



Muirhead, D.K., Bowden, S., Parnell, J. Raman Spectroscopy Applied to Pyrolysis Residues: Terrestrial and Extra-Terrestrial Case Studies (Intrusions and meteorites) (poster). 7th Research Symposium, Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology, University of Aberdeen, February 2009.

Muirhead, D.K., Parnell, J., Sephton, M.A. Raman Spectroscopy Applied to Meteorite Pyrolysates: A Study of The Murchsion Carbonaceous Chondrite (poster). 39th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Houston, Texas, March 2008.

M. R. M. Izawa, A. J. Wright, P. J. A. McCausland, R. L. Flemming, D. K. Muirhead,and J. Parnell. Combined in situ Micro X-Ray Diffraction and Raman Study of Carbonaceous Matter in Ureilites and Terrestrial Materials (poster). 39th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Houston, Texas, March 2008.



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Contributions to Journals


  • Mark, NJ., Schofield, N., Pugliese, S., Watson, D., Holford, S., Muirhead, D., Brown, R. & Healy, D. 'Igneous intrusions in the Faroe Shetland basin and their implications for hydrocarbon exploration: new insights from well and seismic data'. Marine and Petroleum Geology.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2017.12.005
  • Muirhead, DK., Bowden, SA., Parnell, J. & Schofield, N. (2017). 'Source rock maturation owing to igneous intrusion in rifted margin petroleum systems'. Journal of the Geological Society , vol 174, no. 6, pp. 979-987.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1144/jgs2017-011
    [Link] http://jgs.lyellcollection.org/content/jgs/174/6/979.full.pdf
  • Parnell, J., Baba, M., Bowden, S. & Muirhead, D. (2017). 'Subsurface biodegradation of crude oil in a fractured basement reservoir, Shropshire, UK'. Journal of the Geological Society , vol 174, no. 4, pp. 655-666.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1144/jgs2016-129
    [Online] AURA: Subsurface_biodegradation_of_crude_oil_in_a_fractured_baseme...
  • Schofield, N., Holford, S., Millett, J., Brown, D., Jolley, D., Passey, SR., Muirhead, D., Grove, C., Magee, C., Murray, J., Hole, M., Jackson, CAL. & Stevenson, C. (2017). 'Regional Magma Plumbing and emplacement mechanisms of the Faroe-Shetland Sill Complex: Implications for magma transport and petroleum systems within sedimentary basins'. Basin Research, vol 29, no. 1, pp. 41-63.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1111/bre.12164
    [Online] AURA: Schofield_et_al_FSSC_accepted_2015.pdf
  • Alabi, OO., Edilbi, ANF., Brolly, C., Muirhead, D., Parnell, J., Stacey, R. & Bowden, SA. (2015). 'Asphaltene detection using Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS)'. Chemical Communications, vol 51, no. 33, pp. 7152-7155.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1039/C5CC00676G
    [Online] AURA: C5CC00676G.pdf
  • Muirhead, DK., Parnell, J., Taylor, C. & Bowden, SA. (2012). 'A kinetic model for the thermal evolution of sedimentary and meteoritic organic carbon using Raman spectroscopy'. Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis , vol 96, pp. 153-161.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1016/j.jaap.2012.03.017
    [Online] AURA: 1_s2.0_S0165237012000800_main.pdf
  • Parnell, J., Bowden, SA., Muirhead, D., Blamey, N., Westall, F., Brack, A., Demets, R., Verchovsky, S. & Brandst├Ątter, F. (2011). 'Preservation of organic matter in the STONE 6 artificial meteorite experiment'. Icarus, vol 212, no. 1, pp. 390-402.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2010.11.029
  • Parnell, J., Boyce, A., Thackrey, SN., Muirhead, DK., Lindgren, P., Mason, C., Taylor, CW., Still, JW., Bowden, S., Osinski, GR. & Lee, P. (2010). 'Sulfur isotope signatures for rapid colonization of an impact crater by thermophilic microbes'. Geology, vol 38, no. 3, pp. 271-274.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1130/G30615.1

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings


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