Professor of Geophysics, Durham University

I play a major role in co-ordinating the current global debate on whether deep mantle thermal plumes exist and give rise to “hot spot” volcanism. This has been described as the most important controversy in Earth Science today.

I founded and manage the website, an international forum for the debate. I initiated and convened two recent international conferences on the subject, edited two books, and wrote a single-author definitive book on the subject Plates vs. Plumes: A Geological Controversy, published by Wiley-Blackwell.

I also work in natural and induced micro earthquakes associated with geothermal areas, gas and oil reservoirs, hydraulic fluid injections in boreholes and tracking. I am being called upon more and more to work and advise in this field since the problem of earthquakes being induced by industrial activity is increasing a lot because of the extreme depletion of many exploited hydrocarbon reservoirs, and the introduction of new technologies such as carbon sequestration and fracking.

Full details of my profile can be found at


  • –present
    Professor of Geophysics, Durham University


Price Medal, Royal Astronomical Society