Imperial College London

December ESE Newsletter


Fieldwork in the Neuquén Basin, in the foothills of the Andes in Argentina

The latest news from ESE, including publications, fieldwork and PhD vivas.


Conference Talks, Lectures, and Seminars
Research Activity
Workshops and Courses
Impact and Media
PhD Vivas
Upcoming Events


Jackson, C.A-L. (2018). Growth of a Salt-Detached Normal Fault and Controls on Throw Rate Variability; Gudrun Field, South Viking Graben, Offshore Norway.  In: Rift-related coarse-grained submarine fan reservoirs; the Brae Play, South Viking Graben, North Sea (Turner, C.C., Cronin, B.T., eds.). AAPG Memoir 115, 423-444. DOI: 10.1306/13652189M1153254.

Jeofry, H., Ross, N., Le Brocq, A., Graham, A., Li, J., Gogineni, P., Morlighem, M., Jordan, T., and Siegert, M. J. (2018). Hard rock landforms generate 130 km ice shelf channels through water focusing in basal corrugations. Nature Communications 9, 4576 doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06679-z

Jordan, T.A., Martin, C., Ferraccioli, F., Matsuoka, K., Corr, H., Forsberg, R., Olesen, A. and Siegert, M. J. (2018). Geothermal anomaly facilitates ice-flow variability in East Antarctic Ice Sheet interior. Scientific Reports. 8:16785 doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-35182-0.

Lang P.S., Paluszny A., Nejati M., Zimmerman R.W. (2018) Relationship between the orientation of maximum permeability and intermediate principal stress in fractured rocks, Water Resourc. Res.

Magee, C., Ernst, R.E., Muirhead, J., Phillips, T.B., & Jackson, C.A-L. (2018). Magma Transport Pathways in Large Igneous Provinces: Lessons from Combining Field Observations and Seismic Reflection Data. In: Dyke Swarms of the World: A Modern Perspective (pp. 45-85). Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-981-13-1666-1_2

Moore R. E. T., Rehkämper M., Kreissig K., Strekopytov S., Larner F., (2018) Determination of major and trace element variability in healthy human urine by ICP-QMS and specific gravity normalisation. RSC Advances, 8, 38022-38035. DOI: 10.1039/C8RA06794E

Nugraha, H. D., Jackson, C. A. L., Johnson, H. D., Hodgson, D. M., & Reeve, M. T. (2018). Tectonic and oceanographic process interactions archived in the Late Cretaceous to Present deep?marine stratigraphy on the Exmouth Plateau, offshore NW Australia. Basin Research.

Setiawan N.B., Zimmerman R.W.  (2018) Wellbore breakout prediction in transversely isotropic rocks using true-triaxial failure criteria, Int. J. Rock Mech. Min. Sci., 112, 313-322.

Suttle M.D., Genge, M.J., Folco, L., Gemili, M. (2018). The formation of tailed cosmic spherules: metal bead loss in S-type micrometeorites. Space dust and debris in the vicinity of the Earth.

Suttle, M.D., Folco, L., Genge, M.J., Russell, S.S., Najorka, J., and van Ginneken, M. (2018) Intense aqueous alteration on C-type asteroids: perspectives from giant fine-grained micrometeorites. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 245, 352-373. doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2018.11.019

Suttle, M.D., Genge, M.J., Folco, L., Lin, Q., Russell, S.S. and Najorka, J., 2018. The atmospheric entry of fine-grained micrometeorites: the role of volatile gases in heating and fragmentation. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, doi: 10.1111/MAPS.13220-2921.

Turner, C.C., Cronin, B.T., Riley, L.A., Patruno, S., Reid, W.T.L.R., Hoth,S., Knaust, D., & Jackson, C.A-L. (2018) The South Viking Graben: Overview of Upper Jurassic Rift Geometry, Biostratigraphy, and Extent of Brae Play Submarine Fan Systems. In: Rift-related coarse-grained submarine fan reservoirs; the Brae Play, South Viking Graben, North Sea (Turner, C.C., Cronin, B.T., eds.). AAPG Memoir 115, 9-38. DOI: 10.1306/13652176M1153311

Conference Talks, Lectures and Seminars

Robert Zimmerman gave the invited plenary closing lecture at the 10th Asian Rock Mechanics symposium in Singapore on 2nd November, entitled "Failure of Anisotropic Rocks such as Shales, and Implications for Borehole Stability". The published proceedings paper that accompanied the talk was co-authored with past and present ESE PhD students Jasmin Ambrose and Beni Setiawan.

Chris Jackson visited Anadarko and ExxonMobil in Houston, Texas on 7th November to present the results of the Basin Research Group’s (BRG) ongoing research in the field of salt tectonics.

Chris Jackson attended the Applied Geodynamics Laboratory’s (AGL) AGM at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas on 8th and 9th November. Chris presented the results of salt tectonic-related research undertaken as part of his Visiting Scientist position in the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG). He also presented research by BRG PhD students Sian Evans, Clara Abu, and Aurio Erdi, as well as incoming post-doctoral research associate, Leonardo Pichel.

Genge, M.J., gave a talk at The Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, London on November 9th, 2018 titled “Interstellar micrometeorites near Earth “.

Adriana Paluszny visited Wuhan, China, where she gave a talk on 12 November entitled "Hydromechanical interaction effects on fluid flow in growing three-dimensional fracture networks" at the International Conference on Coupled Processes in Fractured Rock (CouFrac) 2018. On 14 November 2018 Adriana also gave an invited talk at the University of Wuhan, entitled "Generation of geologically realistic fracture networks for thermo-hydro-mechanical studies of rocks".

J-P Latham presented an Invited Talk entitled “Recent advances in hydro-mechanical modelling of fractured rocks using the finite-discrete element method” at CouFrac, Geological Media: Observation, Modeling, and Application, held in Wuhan, China November 12-14th. He also presented papers on behalf of members of Solidity and AMCG groups: Asiri Obeysekara et al. “Modelling Excavation-Induced Unloading on a Fracture Network using a Coupled Fluid-Solid Approach based on the Immersed Body Method” and Pan Yan et al. “Numerical Simulation of Blasting in Fractured Rocks using an Immersed-Body Fluid-Solid Interaction Model”.

His former PhD student, Dr Qinghua Lei, now lecturer in ETH Zurich, presented three papers

Ian Bastow gave an invited seminar at the Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics in Oslo, Norway on 21st November. The talk was entitled “The development of rifting and magmatism in Ethiopia: implications for the development of continent-ocean transition”.


Paluszny receiving CF Tsang awardAt the International Conference on Coupled Processes in Fractured Rock (CouFrac) meeting, Adriana Paluszny received the 1st Annual Chin-Fu Tsang Award for research on Coupled Processes in Fractured Rocks (see photo). Congratulations Adriana!

Qinghua's Best Oral Presentation Award at CouFracDr Qinghua Lei, lecturer in ETH Zurich and former student of J-P Latham, also won a best presentation award at CouFrac for his talk “Stress-induced flow heterogeneity on the bedding plane of fractured layered rock”. Congratulations Qinghua!

Research Activity

For September, October and November, the MAGIC research group hosted PhD Candidate Kaj Sullivan from the Dept. of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, Queen's University, Ontario, as part of his Kimperley Foundation's Hugh C. Morris Experiential Learning Fellowship. Kaj worked with Dr Rebekah Moore and Professor Mark Rehkämper on a project in collaboration with Professor Charles Coombs (Department of Surgery and Cancer) and Dr Fiona Larner (University of Oxford), using zinc stable isotope analysis to investigate breast cancer.

Ian Bastow travelled to Ethiopia in November for the planning stages of a new .$1M NERC-NSF funded project in Ethiopia and Kenya: the Turkana Rift Arrays Investigating Lithospheric Structure (TRAILS).  Starting in January 2019, and in collaboration with the Universities of Tulane (USA), Montana (USA), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and Nairobi (Kenya), project TRAILS will involve a deployment of seismometers and GPS stations across southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya for a year and a half. The resulting data will allow Ian and the team to determine how rifting is developing in one of East Africa’s remotest regions. The new data will also help fill a major coverage gap in our tomographic imaging of the African Superplume.

Phil Mannion and PhD students Cecily Nicholl and Jonathan Rio have been in Argentina the last three weeks, studying fossil crocodile and dinosaur remains in museums in Buenos Aires, La Plata, and the Welsh settlement of Trelew. This included the sauropod dinosaur Patagotitan, the largest known animal to have ever walked on land. They also found time to eat a Patagotitan-sized quantity of steak…

Phil, Cecily & Jonathan at Museo de La Plata, Argentina and Cecily as scale for the femur of the Patagotitan

Before returning to Imperial, while on an excursion to Xi’an China with Qinghua Lei (ESE PhD Alumnus), J-P Latham was heard beating the drum for engineering geology. He used the idea from his teaching of Engineering Geology that briefly mentions that the wind-blown deposits called “loess” is the geological setting of vast plains across China where the pits - The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor (Qin Shi Huang) - were discovered. J-P spoke about the digging of pits in loess deposits, with a fruit farmer of notoriety who in 1974 discovered some terracotta fragments when digging a well for water to nourish his persimmon and pomegranate orchards.

  • JP in Xian, China
  • JP Latham in Xian, China
  • JP Latham hits a big drum in Xian, China

    The Sustainable Gas Institute (SGI) announced the start of 25 new research projects at Imperial College through the Gas Innovation Fellowship programme (GIFP). GIFP is a collaborative programme between the University of São Paulo (USP), Imperial College London, Royal Dutch Shell and National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (known as CNPq). Three of the research projects are on CO2 storage and infrastructure, and will be based in the Department of Earth Sciences and Engineering under the supervision of Dr Sam Krevor. Read more here.

    Workshops and Courses

    On the 28th November there was a workshop on "Transitioning between academia and industry" for Postdocs in the department (organised by ESE Postdoc reps Sam Royle and Rebekah Moore). Dr Karen Hinxman of the PFDC ran a team-based activity on transferable skills and skills based CVs. There was also a panel discussion and Q&A session with two ESE academic staff members (Professor Ann Muggeridge and Professor Joanna Morgan) and three external panelists, Dr Melissa Plail (Editor, Nature Geoscience), Dr Richard Court (Statistics at Department of Education, UK Gov.) and Dr Richard Matthewman (Grant Management, Kings College London).

    Impact and Media

    On 7 November, the Department of Earth Science and Engineering made time to talk about stress for National Stress Awareness Day.

    Scientific Reports publication by Jordan, T.A., Martin, C., Ferraccioli, F., Matsuoka, K., Corr, H., Forsberg, R., Olesen, A. and Siegert, M. J.  featured in BBC Science and Environment News: “South Pole: Rock ‘hotspot’ causes ice sheet to sag”.

    Chris Jackson featured on the DORA (San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment) webinar series, discussing the uses and abuses of metrics in academic assessment. Last year, the College became a signatory to (DORA). The adoption of DORA means that Imperial will no longer consider journal-based metrics, such as journal impact factors, to judge the quality of individual papers when making decisions on the hiring and promotion of academic staff. The podcast and related blog can be found here.

    Chris Jackson featured on the award-winning podcasts, Scientists not the Science, (12th November) to talk about his academic and non-academic background, and his past and present inspirations. Created and hosted by Stuart Higgins, a Research Associate in the Department of Materials, the podcast focuses on the culture of being a scientist.

    Chris Jackson appeared on the OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association) webinar, which this month focused on Open Science (29th November). Watch the recording of the webinar.

    Dick Selley gave an interview on the Newdigate earthquakes for the Dorking & Leatherhead Advertiser, recycled in the news feeds ‘SurreyLive’ and 'GetSurrey'.


    Chris at North Ealing SchoolChris Jackson visited North Ealing School to talk about ROCKS! to three classes of Year 3 students (19th November). Armed with slides, videos, and rock samples, he discussed the formation of the different rock types, and introduced the concept of the rock cycle. He hopes it will lead to a spike in Geology applicants to ESE in around 10 year’s time…

    Dr Rebekah Moore was invited to participate in a public engagement interview at the Wellcome Collection on the 21st November, where she had the opportunity to talk with people from a wide variety of scientific and non-science backgrounds about the field of stable isotope geochemistry and its multidisciplinary applications (in health and agricultural research). 


    Chris Jackson visited the Neuquén Basin, in the foothills of the Andes in Argentina, to conduct fieldwork as part of the Lobe 3 project (25th October-2nd November). The Lobe 3 project focuses on the sedimentology, stratigraphy, and evolution of deep-water lobes in topographically complex basins.

    • Field trip in the foothills of the Andes in Argentina
    • On fieldwork in Argentina
    • Rays of sunshine streaming through dark clouds over hills in Argentina, on earth science fieldwork
    • Outcrop in Argentina
    • Measuring an outcrop in Argentina

      PhD Vivas

      The following had their viva in November and till date in December: Francisco (Pancho) Reyes, Georgios (Yorgos) Deskos, Helen Lacey, Jack, Jiashun Yao, Sam Brooke, and Yousef Al-Khulaifi.  Congratulations to you all!

      Upcoming Events

      ESE will be celebrating the festive season with a Hollywood Glamour Christmas party on Friday 14th December.

      The next Sustainable Gas Institute white paper explores whether natural gas can play a role in decarbonising the transport sector. Natural gas has been suggested as an alternative transport fuel to help combat transport emissions, particularly in shipping and goods transportation. However, there is still some disagreement as to the potential for natural gas to provide significant improvements over emissions emerging from the current transport system. The Sustainable Gas institute’s latest White Paper will assesses the scope for natural gas to reduce these emissions from current levels. The report launch takes place on Monday 28th January at LT200 in City and Guilds Building by 17.00. Dr Jamie Speirs, the first author of the paper, will be joined by a panel from University College London and Rolls Royce. A drinks reception will follow the event. Please do register via Eventbrite. Find more details here.

      Continuing in the New Year, Grad Soc will be hosting a series of events to promote social interaction and networking between PhD students. Watch out for afternoon teas and coffees.


      Jemimah-Sandra Samuel

      Jemimah-Sandra Samuel
      Department of Earth Science & Engineering


      Postdoctoral-researchers, Research, Sustainability, Geology
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