Imperial College London

Emeritus ProfessorPhilipAllen

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Emeritus Professor of Sedimentary Geology



philip.allen Website CV




Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus






Philip Allen is a process-oriented Earth scientist with particular interests in the interactions and feedbacks between the solid Earth and its 'exosphere' through the critical interface of the Earth's surface. His research projects include topics in basin analysis, sedimentology, geomorphology and tectonics, using theory, laboratory analysis, field studies and numerical modelling.

He held a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award for 2006-2011, and was the recipient of the Lyell Medal (Geological Society of London) in 2007. He received a Rector's Research Award for 2007 at Imperal College. He was elected to Council of the Geological Society in 2008 and was Secretary (chairman) of the Science Committee 2009-2012. In 2020 he received the Twenhofel Medal from the Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists (SEPM).

Philip Allen takes rigorous, quantitative, multifaceted approaches to problems involving the interactions between the solid Earth and surface processes. He has made contributions to the understanding of sedimentary basins associated with mountain building, the geology of climate in deep time, and the functioning of sediment routing systems. He has supervised and mentored 26 graduate students and 14 postdoctoral workers/research associates. He has written 5 books and over 100 peer-reviewed publications.

Academic Positions:

2005- Chair in Earth Science, Imperial College London

2001-2005 Professor of Physical Sedimentary Systems, Department of Earth Sciences, ETH-Zurich, Switzerland

1996-2001 Professor of Geology & Mineralogy, Department of Geology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

1985-1996 University Lecturer, Department of Earth Science, Oxford University

1981-1985 University Lecturer, Department of Geology, Cardiff University, Wales

Recent Measures of Esteem


2020 Twenhofel Medal, Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists (SEPM)

2017 Sediment Routing Systems: The Fate of Sediment from Source to Sink. Cambridge University Press, 407pp

2014 Co-convenor, Geological Society of London William Smith meeting on "The Future of Sequence Stratigraphy: Evolution or Revolution?", 22-23 September, Burlington House, London

2014-2017 International Collaborator, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Computational Geoscience and Earth Modelling

2014-2018 Royal Society International Networking Panel

2013 Allen, P.A. & Allen, J.R., Basin Analysis: Principles and Application to Petroleum Play Asessment, Third Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, 619pp

2013-2016 Physical Sciences Panel, Royal Society Newton International Fellowships

2012-2015 Australian Research Council Discovery Grants and Early Career Research Awards assessment panel

2010 Convenor, Royal Society-Kavli International Seminar on ''Building a UK-European Research Network in Earth Surface Dynamics''

2010 Convenor, Geological Society of London William Smith Meeting on ''Landscapes into Rock''

2008-2012 Chair, Science Committee, Geological Society of London

2007 Lyell Medal, Geological Society London

2007-10 £1.07 million Statoil funding for sediment routing system research

2006-11 Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award

2005 Allen, P. A. and Allen, J. R. Basin Analysis: Principles and Applications, second edition, Blackwell Publishing, 549pp

2004 William Smith Lecturer, Geological Society London

Invited Lectures and Presentations

External Courses

September 2008: 1-week course at the Scuola di Geologia Strutturale Giampolo Pialli, University of Perguia. Course entitled 'Foreland basin systems of western Europe'.

February 2010: 1-week course on 'Basin Analysis', University of Perugia, Italy

January 2012: 4-day course on 'Basin Analysis', University of Perugia

Other Significant Activities

Co-convenor (with Dr James Etienne), International Workshop on Snowball Earth Hypothesis, July 17-21, 2005, Centro Stefano Franscini, Ascona, Switzerland

Convenor, Conference (William Smith Meeting) on 'Landscapes into Rock', 21-23 September 2010, Geological Society of London

Convenor, Royal Society International Kavli Seminar on 'Building a UK-European Research Network in Earth Surface Dynamics', 18-19 November 2010, Chicheley Hall, Buckinghamshire

Co-convenor, Session on 'Tectonics, sedimentation and surface processes: from the erosional engine to basin deposition', sponsored by Geological Society of America and Geological Society of London, EGU, Vienna, 7-11 April 2013

Plenary Lectures

Recent invited lectures

4 October 2004: Geological Society of London, 2004 William Smith Lecture, 'Time scales of tectonic landscapes and their sediment routing systems'.

2 February 2005:Department of Earth Sciences, ETH-Zuerich, Switzerland, Kolloquium, 'Snowball Earth: beautiful theory, ugly facts'.

22 February 2005: School of Geosciences, University of Glasgow, 'Tectonics, landscapes and sediment transport'.

20 July 2005: SEPM Regional Conference European Section, Gwatt, Switzerland, 'Functioning of sediment routing systems in regions of continental extension'.

7 February 2006: Department of Earh Sciences, Cambridge University, 'Extreme climate change in deep time'.

20 April 2006: School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, 'Extreme climate change in deep time'.

17 July 2006: International workshop on Snowball Earth hypothesis, Centro Stefano Franscini, Ascona, Switzerland, 'Palaeogeography and basin analysis of the Huqf Supergroup of Oman:context for Neoproterozoic glaciation'.

20 November 2006: Department of Earth Sciences, Oxford University, 'Snowball Earth: beautiful theory, ugly facts'.

30 November 2006: Geological Society of London, Conference on Global Infracambrian Petroleum Systems, keynote talk entitled 'Snowball Earth and the Neoproterozoic of the Gondwanan periphery'.

13 February 2007: University College London, 'Snowball Earth: beautiful theory, ugly facts'.

16 October 2007: University of Liverpool, 'Extreme climate change in deep time'.

2-7 May 2010: EGU Vienna, 'Response of ersoional and depositional landscapes to tectonic perturbation'

April 2011: EGU Vienna, Session on Teleconnections: Far-field links in sedimentary source-to-sink systems, invited talk on 'Volume balance model for dispersal of particulate sediment in geological source-to-sink systems'.

November 2011: Swiss Geoscience Meeting, Zuerich, invited talk on 'The Qs Problem: Sediment mass balance in proximal foreland basin systems'.

September 2012: Invited talk on 'The transformation of surface sediment fluxes into rock', William Smith Meeting on "Strata and Time".

April 2013: Talk on 'Sediment budget of a tectonically active palaeo-sediment routing system (Eocene, southern Pyrenees), European Union of Geosciences (EGU), Vienna. 

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Duller RA, Whittaker AC, Fedele JJ, et al., 2010, From grain size to tectonics, Journal of Geophysical Research-earth Surface, Vol:115, ISSN:2169-9003

Armitage JJ, Allen PA, Cratonic basins and the long-term subsidence history of continental interiors, Journal of the Geological Society, Vol:167, Pages:61-70

Allen PA, Etienne JL, 2008, Sedimentary challenge to Snowball Earth, Nature Geoscience, Vol:1, ISSN:1752-0894, Pages:817-825

Allen PA, 2008, From landscapes into geological history, Nature, Vol:451, ISSN:0028-0836, Pages:274-276

More Publications