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Research - Earth Sciences

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise completed in 2014 reported that 94% of research in Royal Holloway Earth Sciences has been classified as 4* world leading and 3* internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour. By this criterion, we are 2nd among UK universities. Our overall REF ranking puts us 9th, consistent with our history as one of the leading centres for Earth Science research in the UK.

Department research activity spans diverse topics designed to investigate the past, present and future of Planet Earth and its resources. Our research work ranges from ground-breaking blue-sky research, to very applied projects with high societal impact deliverables for industrial and government sponsors.

For convenience, our research activities have been divided into the three main themes highlighted below. As in any successful research environment, as well as the research done under these simple groupings, much research happens as internal collaborations between members of these groups and external collaborations at many other high-ranking research institutes globally.

green10 Global Environmental Change (GEC)
red10 Geodynamics & Sedimentary Systems (GSS)
blue10 Physics & Chemistry of Earth Processes (PCEP)



PhD research studies are supported by Research Council, industrial and College studentships, and projects cover the wide range of departmental research interests. Our postgraduate teaching and research activities strengthen links with a wide range of industrial and commercial partners within the oil, mineral, extraction, waste management and water industries.


Current research students and projects

ABOLHASSAN, Awad Tectono-stratigraphic evolution of the Exmouth Plateau, NW Shelf, Australia.
ABOU SHOUG, Reem Regional Tectonics, Factured Reservoirs, and Fluid Transport in Palaeozoic and Mesozoic Basins in Libya.
ADEOYE-AKINDE, Kayode New methods for forecasting the permeability of fractured reservoirs
AL TOFAIF, Saeed Ordovician Glacier Deposits Across Northwest Saudi Arabia: Stratigraphy, Geomorphology, and Deformation Within Alwizam Paleovalley Complex.
ALI, Dilshad Basin Analysis of the middle-late Jurassic successions of Kurdistan Region Northern Iraq.
ALSHALAN, Aliah Methane Emission in kuwait and their Isotopic Signature.
ALSHEHRI, Azizah Dyke emplacement, arrest, and volcanic hazard in the area of Harrat Lunayyir, Saudi Arabia.
ANTONATOS, Georgios Stratigraphic forward modeling and synthetic seismic imaging of carbonate strata.
BAZARGAN, Mohsen Numerical Analysis and experimental investigation of optimizing geothermal resources and decreasing risks and hazards.
BELENGUER, Jorge Salt Tectonics in the East Central Graben.
BRETT, Marianne Teleconnections in the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool recorded in Holocene speleothems.
BROWLOW, Rebecca Anomalies in Tropical Methane Emissions: Using Isotopes to Characterise Source Variability.
BULKAN, Sibel Geological and kinematic evolution of the North Anatolian Fault system, secondary and offshore strands
CADE, Shirley Emissions of nitrogen trace gases from forest soils: measured and modelled.
CHAN, Veronica The impact of nitrogen chemistry in snow on atmospheric oxidising capacity under modern and past climate change.
CHEN, Xuanyu Tephrochronology of Changbaishan Tianchi volcano and proximal-distal correlations between China and Japan.
CLARKE, Alexander Seismogenic zone input: the upper plate contribution in Costa Rica. Structural analysis of the Osa Melange.
CREASER, Adam Turbidite-Contourite Interactions on the Uruguayan Continental Margin: Implications for sedimentary stacking patterns and hydrocarbon exploration.
CROSETTO, Silvia Structural evolution and seismic hazard of the Kyaukkyan Fault, Myanmar.
DE MONTSERRAT NAVARRO, Albert Uniting Brittle and ductile deformation in extensional basins.
DENG, Hongdan Tectono-stratigraphic evolution of the Dampier Sub-basin and the Rankin Platform, Northern Carnarvon Basin, NW Shelf of Australia.
DRYMONI, Sandy Dyke propagation paths: The movement of magma from the source to the surface.
EL SHAAFI, Abdelsalam Volcano-tectonic evolution and geochemical of the Al Harj volcanic province, central Lybia.
FORBES INSKIP, Nathaniel New Methods for Maximising Shale Permeability and Minimising Risk During Hydraulic Fracturing.
FUKUNARI, Tetsuzo Permeability development and fluid transport in fractured reservoirs.
GALLOIS, Arnaud Outcrop analogue study of Mesozinic lacustrine carbonates; facies modeling and pore system analysis.
GUTIERREZ MORENO, Heraclio Structural evolution, modeling and petroleum system implications of Deepwater Fold-Thrust Belts in the Salina del Bravo Province, western Gulf of Mexico.
HUGHES, Alex Interaction of tectonic and gravity-driven deformation processes with deposition systems during syn-rift and post-rift sedimentary basin evolution
IMAGBE, Lucky Flow Turbulence and Submarine Sediment transport; a case study of Agadir basin, Offshore Morocco, Northwest African Margin.
IMARISIO, Camilla Investigating the interaction of magma plumbing systems beneath Icelandic volcanoes: How close are they really to their neighbours.
ISMAIL, Rafika Tectono-sedimentary evolution and provenance of the Neogene sediments of the greater Sabah Margin, offshore NW Borneo
JOST, Benjamin Timing of magmatism, metamorphism and uplift in the Bird's Head, West Papua
KAEWKOR, Chanida Relationships between extensional basin structure and sedimentary systems in the western gulf of Thailand.
KOZLOWSKI, Estanislao Forward modeling of Mesozonic lacustinecarbonates: facies predictions and links to large-scale stratal architecture.
LAMARE, Maxim Characterisation of the BRDF of sea ice in response to deposited aerosols for the inter-calibration and validation of satellite RS products.
LIEBERMANN, Christof Provenance of Sediments from Sumatra, Indonesia.
LIU, Liang Cracking Continents : The China Syndrome.
MARTOS ALVAREZ, Raquel Global synoptic survey of the breakup unconformity
MELIA, Sam The Structural Geology of the Sorong Fault Zone using Seismic Data and Multibeam Assets
MIANAEKERE, Victoria Impact of early salt tectonic processes and sequence stratigraphic modelling on postpermian basin evolution and petroleum systems in the southern North Sea.
MOHAMMAD SAID, Yasir Oligocene through Early Miocene sedimentation in offshore Sarawak, NW Borneo - Studies of provenance, stratigraphy, and tectonics
MOHAMED, Basim The Tectono-Stratigraphic Evolution of the Ceduna Sub-basin, Southern Margin of Australia.
PEREZ DIAZ, Lucia Depth through time in the South Atlantic.
PEZZATI, Giovanni The tectono-stratigraphic evolution of westen Gorontalo Bay, Indonesia: A seismic and forward modelling study.
PREISS, Anna Thick-skinned and thin-skinned salt tectonic processes and synkinematic depocentre evolution in the North Sea Basin: Implications for trapping mechanisms and reservoir distribution.
ROS, Elena Influence of tectonic settling and extension velocity on basement and sedimentary architecture of rifted continental margins.
RUIZ, Alejandro Analysis of the tectono-stratigraphic evolution and salt tectonic processes of the salt basin in the southern Gulf of Mexico.
SAEED TAHIR, Azad Stratigraphy and sedimentology of the Mid-Late Jurassic successions Kurdistan Region, Northern Iraq.
SHEPHERD, Rosalie Oxidation of real atmospheric organic matter on interfaces of atmospheric aerosol does it activate cloud droplets.
SULTANA, Daniel Numerical modeling of marine carbonate shelf geometries and facies architectures.
SURYA NUGRAHA, Ega The celebes Molasse deposits in Sulawesi, Indonesia.
TAMARA, Javier Tectono-stratigraphic evolution of deepwater fold belts.
TARAMON GOMEZ, Jorge Combining plate tectonics movements and global flow models in a spherical geometry to study mantle flow, melting and epeirogeny during rift initiation and basin growth.
THIEBLEMONT, Antoine Contourite depositional and erosional features along the East African and Southeast American margins: trace-back past circulation settings
THOMSON, Paul-Ross Numerical modelling of reactive multiphase flow in low-porosity reservoirs.
TUCK-MARTIN, Amy Integration of plate-kinematic stress data with the regional stress history of sedimentary basins along the East and South African continental margins.
WALKER, Stephanie Geochronology of multiple orogenic events in the complex basement terrain of Shetland.
WEBB, Max Mapping the Australian-Pacific plate boundary in Western New Guinea
XIAO, Jie Understanding Non-uniqueness in Sedimentary Settings to Reduce Exploration Risk

This programme is offered to prospective students who wish to pursue research in a selected field of the Geological Sciences for a period of one calendar year full time or two calendar years part time and be awarded a Masters degree.


Current students and projects

Ailish Cronin Harmful algal blooms: recent occurrences and potential fossil record
Eddy Evans Sandy contourites in the Gulf of Cadiz: regional and conceptual implication based on quartz and heavy mineral analysis
Madelan Gowler Anthropological influences on Thames tributaries’ water quality: Emphasis on Phosphate, Nitrate, Ammonia and Metals
Anna Holbrook Analysis of molluscan faunas from Mesozoic marine shelf facies: Blue Lias Formation, Dorset, UK
Zoë Matthews Eruptive dynamics and hazards associated with obsidian bearing ignimbrites of the Geghama Volcanic Highland, Central Armenia: a textural insight
Susy Mercado Ruge 3D seismic analysis of Fluid Escape Pipes in the Exmouth Plateau, North West Australia. Implication for fluid-rock interactions in sedimentary basins
Khurram Shahzad Amplitude variation with offset (AVO) analysis of thin layers




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