I am an Earth Scientist interested in global interactions of Earth processes and people. My research activities aim to achieve impact on and accelerate our energy transition to net zero.
I am Chief Scientist for the NERC led UKRI Carbon Storage Research Facility scoping study funded by the UKRI infrastructure fund; and a member of CoRWM (Committee on Radioactive Waste Management). I co-direct eRock, an open access resource of virtual outcrop models in conjunction with former PhD student Adam Cawood and the Fold-Thrust Research Group with colleague Rob Butler. I am a Director of Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS). For the remaining 40% of my time I focus on research across a range of topics: including how the crust deforms as a result of natural and anthropogenic processes, investigating uncertainties and human biases in subjective data interpretation and links between society and science. These research areas link to contemporary challenges including; carbon storage, communication of science, understanding and communicating scientific uncertainty, geothermal energy, and radioactive waste disposal.
I gained a first class degree from the University of Leeds followed by a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. I then worked across a range of sectors and interests from conservation and policy to technical consulting and academia. I have been at the University of Aberdeen, since 2010. In 2020 I was selected for the Homeward Bound global leadership initiative for Women in Science Technology Engineering, Maths and Medicine. I am one of 100 women from across the globe that together form Homeward Bound's Team 6. The 12 month leadership programme culminates in a voyage to Antarctica (currently delayed due to the COVID pandemic). I have set-up 'Breaking the Ice Ceiling' where I blog about the experience and talk to women leading global change on the breaking the ice ceiling podcast.
My research interests are broad spanning uncertainty analysis through to structural modelling.
- Uncertainty analysis of the interpretation of seismic image data.
- Structural modelling to inform interpretations and make predictions of strain and fractures.
- Fold-thrust geometries and formation damage.
- The role of fluids in the crust and deformation, fluid, rock interactions; particularly for carbon capture and storage (CCS), but with interests in radioactive waste disposal, geothermal energy and hydrogen storage.
- Model building from seismic image data and outcrop informtaion to build models, including the creation of virtual outcrops from LiDAR and photogrammetry.
- Perceptions and differences in expert opinion related to climate change and unconventional resources.
- The use of social media in scientific engagement and inquiry.
Structural Geology - I co-direct the industry funded consortium the Fold-Thrust Research Group, with Rob Butler. The group investigates uncertainties in interpretations for fold-thrust belts, fold thrust belt evolution, characteristics and fore-limb deformation. We often work collaboratively with Mark Cooper (Calgary). PhD students include Lauren Kedar funded through the NERC Oil and Gas CDT who is investigating strain partitioning and deformation styles in multi-layers and applying Raman Specroscopy techniques in collaboration with David Muirhead to determine thermal maturity. Ramy Abdallah, also funded through the NERC Oil and Gas CDT is investigating uncertainty in the interpretation of fold-thrust structures to inform machine learning algorithms. Phoebe Sleath funded through the GeoNetZero CDT is working in partnership with NAGRA (Swiss National Cooperative for Radioactive Waste Disposal). The Fold-Thrust Research Group tweets on @FoldThrust. PhD student Kinglsey Chiadikobi is working on seismic data from the Eastern Mediterranean investigating fault patterns.
Uncertainty in Interpretation - A significant part of my research worked has investigated Interpretational Uncertainty, focusing on areas of structural complexity, this work has been funded by Scottish Enterprise, NERC, BGS, and several companies, most recently Total in a collaboration with Florian Wellmann (Aachen) and Guillaume Caumon (Nancy). Between August 2018 and December 2019 I worked on a project funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh to investigate the psychologies of seismic image interpretation with Ben Tatler.
Sub-surface Fluid Pathways - I have been working on aspects of carbon capture and storage for several years, particularly focusing on the structural controls of fluid migration in the sub-surface. This started with work on fracture controlled fluid flow at the InSalah CCS project and has lead to a series of research projects including a UKCCSRC funded project investigating natural CO2 flux along a fault in South Africa. Completed PhD student Roy Ponfa Bitrus worked on 4D seimsic data from Sleipner to map the CO2 pathways using seismic attribute analysis, whilst Ali Jihad, using similar methodologies, has investigated the genesis of natural gas chimmneys in the Loyal Field, OffShore West Shetland. Between 2017 and 2019 I lead input into the ACT Acorn project on geological site characteristaion for potential storage sites in the UK. This EU project completed in February 2019 and brought together University partners across the UK (Liverpool, Edinburgh, Heriott Watt and Aberdeen) with Bellona and Raboud University, and was led by Pale-Blue Dot. I am currently chair of the steering committee for the scoping project for a UKRI CO2 Storage Test Bed. In 2021 a GeoNetZero CDT funded PhD student will be working with Adrian Hartley and myself on low enthalpy geothermal energy.
eRock - eRock launched in 2018 is a virtual geology project jointly led with former PhD student Adam Cawood. eRock aims to provide 3D virtual outcrops for fellow researchers, educational institutions and the general public. eRock tweets on @eRocktweets
Breaking the Ice Ceiling www.breakingtheiceceiling.com
In 2020 I applied for and was accepted on Homeward Bound a global initiative to increase the influence and impact of women leading with a Science Technology Engineering, Maths and medicine (STEMM) background in making decisions that shape the future of our planet. I will be part of TeamHB6. Starting in March 2021 I joined 100 other women from around the globe on a 12 month leadership programme that culminates in 2022 with a journey to Antarctica, global pandemic allowing. I want to use the opportunity to elevate women in STEMM and their active leadership in making positive World change. You can follow my journey on the breaking the ice ceiling webpage, where I am blogging about the experience, fundraising and have a podcast of conversations with Women Changing the World. If you want to find out more get in touch.
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Mapping faults in 3D seismic data: why the method mattersJournal of Structural Geology, 104976Contributions to Journals: Articles
Natural fracture patterns at Swift Reservoir anticline, NW Montana: the influence of structural position and lithology from multiple observation scalesSolid earth, vol. 14, no. 9, pp. 1005-1030Contributions to Journals: Articles
Continent-Ocean Transition or Boundary?: Crowd-sourced seismic interpretations of the East-India Passive MarginTectonics, vol. 42, no. 8, e2022TC007624Contributions to Journals: Articles
Tektonika: The Community-Led Diamond Open-Access Journal for Tectonics and Structural GeologyTektonica, vol. 1, no. 1Contributions to Journals: Articles
Geosciences and the Energy TransitionEarth Science, Systems and Society , vol. 3, 10072Contributions to Journals: Articles
Virtual and Digital Structural Geology IntroductionJournal of Structural Geology, vol. 168, 104821Contributions to Journals: Editorials
Learning outcomes, learning support and cohort cohesion on a virtual field trip: an analysis of student and staff perceptionsGeoscience Communication, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 307–323Contributions to Journals: Articles
Raman spectroscopy in thrust-stacked carbonates: an investigation of spectral parameters with implications for temperature calculations in strained samplesSolid earth, vol. 13, no. 9, pp. 1495–1511Contributions to Journals: Articles
Outcrop conservation: Promoting accessibility, inclusivity, and reproducibility through digital preservationThe Sedimentary Record, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 5-14Contributions to Journals: Articles
Subjective uncertainty and biasesInterpreting Subsurface Seismic Data. Bell, R., Iacopini, D., Vardy, M. (eds.). Elsevier, pp. 103-123, 21 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters