Imperial College London

MrsGabrielaSalomao Martins

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Research Postgraduate







3.49PRoyal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





I am a PhD candidate from the Basins Research Group (BRG) at the Department of Earth Science and Engineering. I study the geological evolution of sedimentary basins, focusing on the interplay of tectonics and sedimentation. I am especially interested in salt-bearing sedimentary basins and the potential salt has to seal hydrocarbons and act as an underground repository for CO2, nuclear waste, and hydrogen.

PhD research

Salt welds: importance and characterisation

Salt flow results in areas of thickened and thinned salt, leading to the formation of a range of salt structures. One such structure is a salt weld - a surface marking the contact between rocks that were originally separated by a salt body, and which are now in direct contact as a result of the complete (or nearly complete) evacuation of salt due to solid-state flow and/or dissolution.  

Although salt welds represent where salt is missing, they can help to reconstruct the geological evolution of salt-bearing sedimentary basins. Depending on their precise thickness and composition, welds can also impact the petroleum prospectivity of sedimentary basins. Additionally, understanding the deformation associated with salt welds and their capacity for sealing or allowing the leakage of fluids is crucial for the storage of CO2 and nuclear waste in nearby salt diapirs.

In my PhD project, I aim to address: (i) the variability of geometry, thickness and composition of a multi-layered evaporite sequence; (ii) what influences the deformation caused by welding on adjacent rocks?; (iii) how does welding impact physical properties and spatial variation of adjacent rocks (e.g. porosity, velocity, and stress anomalies)?; (iv) factors controlling the capacity of salt welds to transmit or seal fluids.

To answer these research questions, I use seismic reflection and borehole data (geophysical logs and cores) from the Southern North Sea and field data from the Eastern High Atlas, Morocco.


2018 – present: PhD candidate Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London - UK.

Thesis: Salt welds – importance and characterisation.

2014 – 2016: MSc Geology /Basin Analysis, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro - Brazil.

Thesis:  Tectonic and stratigraphic evolution of the Horizonte and Paripueira evaporites in the Sergipe-Alagoas Basin and its implications for the South Atlantic Ocean opening.

2005 – 2010: BSc Geology, Universidade de São Paulo - Brazil

Grants & Scholarships

ESE networking fund for PhD students (Mar 2022): The Dept. of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London awarded funds to support networking with researchers from external institutions. I used this grant to cover costs for external researchers to participate in fieldwork undertaken in Morocco.

Andrew Whitham CASP Fieldwork Award (Mar 2020): CASP provides funding to support applied geological field research to students or early-career researchers. This grant supported my fieldwork on secondary salt welds in Morocco.

CAPES Full Doctorate abroad (Dec 2018 – Mar 2023): full scholarship for the PhD degree at Imperial College London, Call No. 48/2017 - Selection 2018.

GSA Annual Meeting International Travel Grant (Sep 2016): This travel grant was awarded to a small number of students from all over the world to participate in the GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, 2016. Students were selected on basis of the quality of their submitted abstracts.

SEG/Chevron Students Leadership Symposium Travel Grant (Oct 2015): Applicants for this programme worked to earn one of the 50 travel grant spots available to officers of active SEG Student Chapters to allow participation in the SEG Annual Meeting and SEG and Chevron Students Leadership Symposium in New Orleans, October - 2015.

Master's PRH-17/Petrobras (Mar 2014 – Oct 2016): full scholarship for MSc degree at Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Martins GS, Mohriak WU, Destro N, 2019, Synrift evaporite deposition and structural characterization of the onshore Alagoas subbasin, Interpretation-a Journal of Subsurface Characterization, Vol:7, ISSN:2324-8858, Pages:SH19-SH31

More Publications