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Prof Ken McCaffrey


BSc Belfast (1986), PhD Dunelm (1990)

AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Professor in the Department of Earth SciencesLevel 2 East Wing Annex Rm 251+44 (0) 191 33 42322


3/00- present






Earth Sciences, University of Durham,

Professor, Earth Sciences from October 2013

Reader, from October 2008, Senior Lecturer, from October 2004, Lecturer, from 2000.

Royal Society Industrial Fellow (50% FTE)

Director – Centre for Research in Earth Energy System (CeREES)

7/95 - 2/00


Dept of Geological Sciences Kingston University, Kingston upon Thames, UK

Lecturer, Senior Lecturer from 1997)

10/91 – 6/95

Geology Department, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Postdoctoral Fellow, Temporary Lecturer from 1993.



University of Durham - Ph.D. Awarded 1990.

Thesis: ‘The emplacement and deformation of granitic rocks in a transpressional shear zone: The Ox Mountains Igneous Complex'

Higher Education


Queen’s University Belfast

Geology B.Sc. (Honours)

Committee and Society Service

2013 – present — Member of Petroleum Group Committee, Geological Society of London

2000 – 2002 — Member of Science Committee, Geological Society of London

2000 – 2002 — Secretary, Tectonic Studies Group

Conferences and Workshops

2016 -- Fifty years of the Wilson Cycle Concept in Plate Tectonics Geological Society london Co-convenor

2011  — Tectonic Studies Group Annual Meeting

2011  — New constratints on active fault zones. AGU

2011  — Shale and Coal Basins of North East England: Opportunities for Research and Industry Collaboration - NPESMD, India School of Mines

2009  — Lead Convener, Virtual Fieldtrips session, 7th Petroleum Geology Conference

2009  — Tectonic reactivation and Fault Zone weakening. AGU

2006  — Unlocking 3D Earth Systems – Harnessing New Digital Technologies to Revolutionize Multi-Scale Geologic Models. GSA Penrose Meeting – University of Durham

2004  — Tectonic Studies Group Annual Meeting – University of Durham

2002  — Transport and Flow processes within Shear Zones - Geological Society, London

2001  — Hydrocarbons in Crystalline rocks - Geological Society, London

2001  — Deformation at Convergent Margins – European Union Geosciences XI Strasbourg

2001  — Vertical and horizontal coupling and decoupling processes in Orogenic Belts – American Geophysical Union, San Francisco

Editorial Roles

2006 – 2012 '— Specials' editor for the Geological Society of London

Editor Visual Geosciences

Invited Keynotes

Invited International Lectures

2012 — Natural Fractures in Shale gas basins of NE England, Geoshale Conference, Warsaw.

2011 — ‘Shale basins of NE England: Opportunities for research and Industry collaboration’, Industry/Academia collaboration session, Indian Geological Congress, Indian School of Mines Dhanbad.

2011 — ‘Virtual fieldwork using terrestrial laser scanning and Google Earth’– Google Earth: Visualizing the Possibilities for Geoscience Education and Research, GSA Penrose at Google HQ, San Francisco

2010 — From Depositional Systems to Sedimentary Successions on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, Norwegian Petroleum systems, Stavanger

2010Digital Geospatial methods in Earth Sciences’ Italian National Geophysical & Volcanology – Pisa, Italy

2007 — Capturing Detailed Outcrop Geology using Terrestrial Laser Scanning (Lidar) and other digital technologies: Current status and Future directions’(Jones R.R. & McCaffrey, K.J.W) AGU San Francisco

2006 Magma Chamber Processes and Geometries 'What is a magma chamber? The role of sheet in the assembly of intrusions' session GSA Salt Lake City.

2002 — ‘Dimensional Data and Growth Models for Tabular Intrusions’ Laccolith and sill intrusion meeting, Freiberg, Germany

1998 — ‘Magmatic versus tectonic influences on granite emplacement’ AGU Annual Spring meeting – Boston

1997 — ‘Tabular plutonic sheets: Geometry and emplacement’ GAC/MAC annual meeting – Ottawa

1996 — ‘Scale invariant geometry of tabular sheet intrusions?’ Syntectonic crystallisation of igneous rocks – Vaxenburg, Austria

Prizes & Awards

2005 — Murchsion Fund - Geological Society

2001 — Durham University Excellence in teaching Award

1993 — Ramsay medal

Research interests

  • tectonic and mechanical processes of active normal faults and earthquake activity
  • high resolution 3D/4D modelling of continental margins
  • reservoir models of fractured reservoir analogues including shale basins
  • Geoinformatics methods and applications
  • the geometrical and kinematic evolution of deformation zones
  • magmatic and mineralised systems
  • visualisation and analysis of geological architecture
  • tectonic and magmatic interactions
  • structural characterisation of fault and shear zones

Research groups

  • Geoenergy, Resources and Waste
  • Geohazards
  • Structural Research Group

Awarded Grants

  • 2016: Inspire: Identifying North Sea Palaezozoic Prospectivity(£239948.00 from Oil and Gas Authority)
  • 2016: Rapid Investigation of Co- and Post-Seismic Deformation Resulting From the 24th August 2016 Amatrice Earthquake (M 6.2)(£4902.63 from Natural Environmental Research Council)
  • 2012: Clair Sponsored Studentship(£140000.00 from BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd)
  • 2012: Earthquake hazard from 36-CI exposure dating time and Coulomb stress transfer(£45707.00 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
  • 2012: Geoenergy Research Visit from Jammu University(£567.20 from Epsrc)
  • 2012: Petroleum Habitats in Magma-rich Margins(£120000.00 from Shell)
  • 2011: Characterising fracture systems in mixed volcanic and sedimentary sequences: Implications for petroleum potential in the West of Shetland Province(£94609.50 from OMV (UK) Ltd)
  • 2011: Laser Scan: Namibia(£13200.00 from Royal Holloway University of London)
  • 2010: NERC CASE Studentship(£12000.00 from Epsrc)
  • 2009: A LiDAR and field study of surface rupture and post-seismic slip for the 6th April 2009 L'Aquila Earthquake (M6.3)(£27350.74 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
  • 2008: Evolution of Fluvial Systems, Central Iberian Basin Spain - Studentship(£75000.00 from BG International Limited)

Esteem Indicators

  • 2021: Dewey Medal 2021: Awarded by the Geological Society of London for fieldwork and mentoring contributions

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Tectonics: Faults and Fracture systems, Earthquakes, Laser scanning, digital mapping, structural geology


Chapter in book

Journal Article


  • Holdsworth, R.E. & McCaffrey, K.J.W. (2016). Understanding the Clair field basement and its associated fracture systems: implications for reservoir appraisal. Confidential Final report for the Clair JVG.
  • Holdsworth, R.E., McCaffrey, K., Jones, R. & Imber, J. (2007). Outcrop Data as an Analogue to HEX Lewisian Basement Acreage: Characterisation of Lewisian Fracturing in Scotland & the Møre-Trøndelag Fault Zone in Norway. Consultancy Report commissioned by Hurricane Exploration plc. Consultancy Report commissioned by Hurricane Exploration plc.
  • Jones, R. Imber, J., Holdsworth, R.E. & McCaffrey, K. (2007). Outcrop Data as an Analogue to HEX Lewisian Basement Acreage: Analysis of Fracturing on Lewis & Harris, Outer Hebrides. Consultancy Report commissioned by Hurricane Exploration plc. Consultancy Report commissioned by Hurricane Exploration.

Supervision students