Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Reader in Geotectonics



+44 (0)20 7594 6465l.lonergan Website




2.51Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus






  • Reader in Geotectonics, Imperial College, 2002-
  • Royal Society University Research Fellow, Imperial College, 1996-2003
  • Fina Lecturer in Petroleum Structural Geology, Imperial College, 1994-1996
  • Research Geologist, Shell Research, Rijswijk, The Netherlands, 1992-1994
  • D.Phil. Department of Earth Sciences, Oxford University, 1988-1991
  • Research sabbatical, BP Exploration, 2006-2008
  • Visiting Scholar, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, California, 1999-2000
  • First Virtual Remote Field Trip taught at Imperial College 2020;


*NEW* Link to webinar on running virtual field trip for MSc class to Spanish Pyrenees; presented to GeoTectonics, and British Sedimentary Research Group communities world-wide; 28 April 2020

If you are interested in learning more about the scenery and geology of Italy -take a look at Lidia's talk at the Imperial Festival May 2016  

Research Interests

  • Gravity driven deformation and related sedimentary systems in deep water slope environments. More information
  • Formation of the South Atlantic passive margin. More information ** New Paper: McDermott, C., Lonergan, L., Collier JC, et al (2018) The geometry of seaward-dipping reflectors and implications for magma-influenced continental breakup, along the South American Atlantic margin. Tectonics. DOI:10.1029/2017TC004923
  • Shale tectonics  and fold growth in Caspian Sea
  • Salt Tectonics- onshore analogues, western Alps
  • Formation of Sichuan Basin, China
  • Deformation in sedimentary basins: insights from 3D seismic interpretation.
  • Development of polygonal fault systems in mudrocks and the link with compaction and fluid  flow in sedimentary basins.
  • Quaternary ice-sheets extents on the continental shelf of NW Europe; subglacial tunnel valleys. More information.
  • Sand remobilization and injection (clastic intrusion)

Invited Lectures and Presentations

  • Invited oral presentation "Seismic attributes and their use in interpreting structural and sedimentological relationships in sedimentary basins at SEISMIX 2016; Seismology at the cross-roads; Scotland, May 2016
  • Invited lecture on “The Geology and Scenery of Italy: The Role of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonic Plates”  in the XIII Settimana della Lingua Italiana nel Mondo: “Research, Discovery, Innovation: Italy of Knowledge” series; Italian Cultural Institute, Dublin, Ireland; 14-20 October 2013.
  • Invited oral presentation British Geophysical Association Annual Meeting- on Geophysics in Future Energy Challenges;  February 2013: "Advances in understanding 'deepwater' salt and shale dominated passive margins and the hydrocarbon challenges'.
  • Invited lecture to British Italian Society, London, September 2012: "Geology and Scenery: 100 Million years of Italian History".
  • Invited Oral Presentation in  INQUA 2011 session 88 "The British-Irish Ice Sheet: recent advances from terrestrial and marine investigations".
  • Keynote presentation AAPG Hedberg conference "Deepwater fold and thrust belts"; Italy October 2009.
  • AAPG US Distinguished Lecturer Tour 4-15 November 2002.
    Talks given at University of California, Davis; University of Colorado, Boulder; Four Corners Geological Society, New Mexico; Forth Worth Geological Society, Texas; Montana Geological Society; University of Oklahoma, University of Missouri, Rolla; University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
  • Geoscience 98, Symposia on Dynamics of Subduction and Orogensis, Keele April 1998.
  • GSA Penrose Conference, 1999. Mid-Cretaceous to Recent Plate Boundary Processes in the SW Pacific, New Zealand; March 1999.
  • GSSEPM “Deepwater reservoirs of the world”, December 2000, Houston, Texas.
  • Force Seminar on Polygonal Faults and Sand Injection; Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, Stavanger Norway 22 October 2002.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Pizzi M, Lonergan L, Whittaker AC, et al., 2020, Growth of a thrust fault array in space and time: An example from the deep-water Niger delta, Journal of Structural Geology, Vol:137, ISSN:0191-8141, Pages:1-20

Galindo PA, Lonergan L, 2020, Basin evolution and shale tectonics on an obliquely convergent margin: the Bahia Basin, offshore Colombian Caribbean, Tectonics, Vol:39, ISSN:0278-7407, Pages:1-32

McDermott C, Collier JS, Lonergan L, et al., 2019, Seismic velocity structure of seaward-dipping reflectors on the South American continental margin, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol:521, ISSN:0012-821X, Pages:14-24

Doughty-Jones G, Lonergan L, Mayall M, et al., 2019, The role of structural growth in controlling the facies and distribution of mass transport deposits in a deep-water salt minibasin, Marine and Petroleum Geology, Vol:104, ISSN:0264-8172, Pages:106-124

McDermott C, Lonergan L, Collier JC, et al., 2018, Characterization of seaward-dipping reflectors along the S. American Atlantic margin and implications for continental breakup, Tectonics, Vol:37, ISSN:0278-7407, Pages:3303-3327

Wang X, Lei Q, Lonergan L, et al., 2017, Heterogeneous fluid flow in fractured layered carbonates and its implication for generation of incipient karst, Advances in Water Resources, Vol:107, ISSN:1872-9657, Pages:502-516

Jolly BA, Whittaker AC, Lonergan L, 2017, Quantifying the geomorphic response of modern submarine channels to actively growing folds and thrusts, deep-water Niger Delta, Geological Society of America Bulletin, Vol:129, ISSN:1943-2674, Pages:1123-1139

Lonergan L, Jolly BA, Whittaker A, 2015, Growth history of fault-related folds and interaction with seabed channels in the toe-thrust region of the deep-water Niger delta, Marine and Petroleum Geology, Vol:70, ISSN:1873-4073, Pages:58-76

More Publications