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


  • 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)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • 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

  • 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 (PhD; Strathclyde, Glasgow, Leeds, Cardiff, Bristol)
  • Journal reviewer for JGR, JSG, Geology, EPSL, JVGR, JGSL, GRL



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 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)


  • Curtin University, Australia - Dr Nick Timms, Dr Chris Clark
  • University College London - Dr Tom Mitchell, Prof Phil Meredith
  • University of Strasbourg, France - Dr Mike Heap

Research Funding and 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

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


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