World Class Research Facilities

The Department of Earth Science and Engineering is housed in Imperial’s grand traditional building, with all the state-of-the-art laboratories and research facilities that you would expect in a world-leading university. 

Our courses will begin on schedule in the Autumn and we plan to reopen our campuses. We are looking forward to seeing you in person, if travel and visa arrangements allow. If you can’t travel to campus in time for the start of term, we want to reassure you that we have made plans which make it possible to offer you a high-quality remote educational experience during the Autumn term. 

Your teaching will be a combination of on-campus (in-person) and remote learning (online). We call this ‘multi-mode’ delivery.Depending on official government guidance throughout the entirety of next academic year, the ‘multi-mode’ balance may be subject to change. We hope to be able to offer you increased on-campus or in-person teaching and learning activities throughout the year. 

For more information about multi-mode delivery, your learning experience and the steps we’ll be taking to keep you safe on campus if you are able to join us, please see our Covid 19 information for applicants and offer holders page or contact your course admissions tutor.





Find out more about the research facilities:

Analytical Laboratories

The Earth Sciences and Engineering Department hosts state-of-the-art analytical and imaging facilties, the laboratories include

The Qatar Carbonates and Carbon Storage Multiscale Imaging Lab

A state of the art reservoir condition coreflooding and x-ray imaging laboratory constructed with major support from Shell, Qatar Petroleum, the Qatar Science & Technology Park and the departments of Earth Science & Engineering and Chemical Engineering at Imperial College as a part of the Qatar Carbonates and Carbon Storage Research Centre (QCCSRC) at Imperial College London.

The LODE laser lab

located in the analytical suite at the Natural History Museum is a state-of-the-art laser ablation ICP-MS facility, generously funded by Anglo American and Rio Tinto.

Stable Isotope facilities

The carbonate group operates the "Qatar Stable Isotope Lab", which is equipped with new instrumentation purchased in part using research funds allocated to us by the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) in the framework of a $70 millions project on carbon capture and storage.

Clean Room Laboratory

MAGIC research group operate a 90 m2 clean room laboratory is designed for the preparation of complex natural samples for subsequent analyses of trace metal concentrations and isotope compositions. A wide range of samples are handled, including meteorites, terrestrial rocks and sediments, seawater, atmospheric and marine particulates, and biological materials.

Palaeomagnetism Laboratory

Dr. Adrian Muxworthy of IARC runs the palaeomagnetism laboratory allowing for the detailed analysis and characterisation of magnetic minerals.

Analytics Resources

State-of-the-art transmission electromicroscopy, gas- and liquid-mass spectroscopy, and chemical detection laboratories are operated by the Earth Sciences and Engineering Department as well has in partnership with institutes such as The National History Museum. 

Electric-Kinetic Laboratory
Laboratory equipment for measuring self-potential (SP) at reservoir conditions with application to reservoir and aquifer monitoring, IOR/EOR, rock characterisation.

To find out more about the wide-range of resources and facilities that research in the department regularly use, please visit the indivdual research group sites.


State-of-the-art in-house software for modelling and simulation have been developed by the department over the last few decades for application in a wide-variety of physical and engineering processes. Research has culminated in the development of major numerical codes such as 

  • EVENTis a general purpose finite element neutral particle radiation transport code and has been used to model radiation exchange in atmospheres, complex radiation shielding problems and near infrared optical tomography. EVENT also forms the radiation module of the coupled radiation/hydrodynamics code FETCH, used for modelling the criticality of fissile solutions.
  • FETCH was developed in order to model process criticality accidents involving fissile solutions, porous media and granular material - together with large-scale coupled behaviour of innovative nuclear reactors. FETCH consists of three modules: a radiation module EVENT; a fluids module Fluidity and a linking module which provides the interface between the radiation and fluids modules.
  • Firedrake is an automated system for the portable solution of partial differential equations using the finite element method (FEM). Firedrake enables users to employ a wide range of discretisations to an infinite variety of PDEs and employ either conventional CPUs or GPUs to obtain the solution.
  • Fluidity is an open-source, multiphase CFD and marine modelling framework including novel unstructured and adaptive mesh capabilities and the ability to run efficiently on massively parallel supercomputers.
  • Full-waveform inversion (FWI) is a computational technique for analysing seismic data that can build high-resolution high-fidelity three-dimensional quantitative models of physical properties in the subsurface.
  • Imperial College Finite Element Reservoir SimulaTor (IC-FERST) is an oil reservoir simulator and Darcy porous media flow solver.
  • Imperial College Geomechanics Toolkit (ICGT) is a C++ based, three-dimensional finite element simulator for fracture growth and fragmentation of brittle rocks. It models fluid flow and transport through fractured rocks with geomechanically-generated apertures, and simulates thermo-poro-elastic deformation of porous fractured rocks. ICGT interacts closely with CSMP++, and uses adaptive remeshing to adapt the 3D mesh to the evolving geometry as the simulation progresses.   
  • Open Performance portablE SeismiC Imaging (OPESCI) is a framework for subsurface imaging. Its development focus on exploiting modern trends in computer science and numerical analysis to achieve performance portability across modern many-core computer architectures while maintaining a high level abstraction that allows rapid research, development and deployment.
  • OpenTidalFarm is an open-source software for the simulation and optimisation of large arrays of tidal turbines utilising efficient adjoint-based algorithms.
  • QGIS meshing plugins can be used to mesh realistic domains. See the meshing pages for further details.
  • Spud is a generic system for defining, writing and processing options files for scientific computer models.
  • V-GeST is a suite of Virtual Geoscience Simulation Tools for modelling discontinuous systems, i.e. particulate, granular, blocky, layered, fracturing and fragmenting systems.


High performance computing

As well as access to high-performance systems within each research group, the department has wide access to 3 supercomputers housed in the ICT data centre as part of the HPC service. These systems provide a substantial computing capacity to researchers at the college. This accelerates current projects which use HPC as a major tool. In addition, researchers who are currently constrained to desktop computing resources are able to expand the scope of their research by using the facilities.

Click for more information about HPC resources for research.

ESE Computing Labs

ESE has a number of computing labs available for use by students in the following rooms in the Royal School of Mines. All machines have 21" monitors unless stated  otherwise.

G.36 - 56 x HP EliteDesk 800 G3 SFF (i5-7500 CPU @ 3.40GHz, 16GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 730) - single monitor

3.34 - 30 x HP EliteDesk 800 G6 TWR (i7-10700 CPU @ 2.90GHz, 16GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER) - single monitor

3.35 - 35 x HP EliteDesk 800 G6 TWR (i7-10700 CPU @ 2.90GHz, 16GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER) - single monitor

3.36/7 - 60 x HP EliteDesk 800 G2 TWR (i7-6700 CPU @ 3.40GHz, 16GB RAM, NVIDIA Quadro K620) - dual 19" monitors

3.38 - 65 x HP EliteDesk 800 G2 DM (i7-6700 CPU @ 3.40GHz, 8GB Ram, Intel HD Graphics 530) - single monitor

NB: All machines in the computing labs are running Windows 10 Enterprise. Users of these shared resources should be reminded that the machines are restarted weekly for maintenance reasons and that it is the user's responsibility to maintain up-to-date backups of any data stored locally. User data stored locally are periodically removed for maintenance and security reasons (a 30-day profile deletion policy is enforced by ICT on shared computing resources). All users agree and accept the College's Conditions of use for IT facilities.