FAULTS, FRACTURES AND FLUIDS
How do fluids and heat travel through the Earth?
Developing a fully quantitative understanding of the mechanisms and drivers that control the movement and reactivity of fluids and heat within the Earth's crust remains one of the most complex and pressing challenges within the solid Earth sciences. Making progress in this area will enable real, practical solutions to several key societal challenges. Improving resource security and diversity: Societal impact of our research will include de-risking resource and energy solutions (geothermal energy, water resources, oil and gas and mineral resource deposits, safe nuclear waste disposal, carbon capture and storage technologies), contribute to public policy and international development and train the next generation of world-class Earth Scientists.
GEOLOGY ON THE EDGE
Innovative and unique investigations of both grain boundary morphology and composition in crustal lithologies reveal local controls of porosity and permeability and debunk myths about rates of intergranular diffusion.
UNDERSTANDING BLOCKAGES IN GEOTHERMAL SYSTEMS
Geothermal has the potential to be a key renewable energy source with the transition away from fossil fuels. Geothermal relies on open fractures in the rocks to allow water circulation. In a project funded by the Carnegie Trust, Dr John MacDonald used clumped isotope analysis to determine the conditions of fracture filling in geothermal systems, a major barrier to energy generation efficiency. Working with GNS Science and geothermal power companies in New Zealand, he was able to determine the temperature of precipitation of calcite which blocked the fractures as well as improving the understanding of the hydrological models underpinning the geothermal system.
STYLOLITES AND BASIN ANALYSIS
We have developed a tool box to use stylolites for stress analysis as well as compaction indicators. New research presents a stylolite shape classification that can be used to determine chemical compaction and indicates that compaction on stylolites is underestimated by an order of magnitude. We continue to work on the role of stylolites for reservoir evolution and fluid barriers/fluid pathways.
NERC OIL AND GAS CDT
We have three students in the NERC Oil and Gas CDT. Janis Alexans is working on hydrofractures with simulations and experiments. Allan Hollinsworth studies basement faults and their relation to fluid flow in Uganda and the Outer Hebridies in Scotland. Eamon McKenna is working on heat flow and evolution of the Midland Valley in Scotland.
The purpose of FlowTrans – Flow and Transformation of Porous Media – is to investigate and understand the flow and transformation of porous media through a range of disciplines including physics, chemistry, earth sciences and mathematics.
FlowTrans ITN is a multidisciplinary network of academics, researchers and industry experts from across the world. This research has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement no 316889.
SUSTAINABLE FUTURES IN AFRICA NETWORK (SFA)
The Sustainable Futures in Africa (SFA) Network is an interdisciplinary collective that brings together researchers, educators, and communities of practice that acknowledge the situated and complex nature of practices and conceptions of sustainability. The Network aims to build understanding, research, and practice in socio-ecological sustainability in Africa.
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