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Prof Nicola De Paola

Professor of Structural Geology and Rock Mechanics

AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Professor of Structural Geology and Rock Mechanics in the Department of Earth SciencesRm 247 
Fellow in the Durham Energy Institute  


2021 - Present: Professor of Structural Geology and Rock Mechanics (Durham University)

2012 - 2020: Associate Professor of Structural Geology and Rock Mechanics (Durham University)

2007 - 2012: Assistant Professor (Lecturer) of Structural Geology and Rock Mechanics, (Durham University) 

2005 – 2007: Post-doctoral Research Associate University of Perugia (Italy).

Research Themes and Methods

Nicola’s research themes are in the study of fault and earthquake mechanics. Throughout his career, Nicola has adopted a multidisciplinary research approach that combines fieldwork and microstructural observations with rock physics and mechanics experimental datasets. Nicola established the Rock Mechanics Laboratory (RML) at Durham University in 2012, and has since developed major UK Research Council (e.g., NERC, UKUH) and industry funded (e.g., MAERSK, DONG) programmes. Recent work carried out in the RML at Durham University contributes to our understanding of the processes that control earthquake rupture propagation, including induced seismicity. Nicola’s core research interests in fault and earthquake mechanics have broaden to include human induced seismicity studies. In particular, recent projects and studies address the issues posed by induced seismicity in enhanced geothermal systems.

Research groups

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

Awarded Grants

  • 2021: Project 535699: COA Extension #52 NE/R017840/1(£0.00 from Natural Environmental Research Council)
  • 2021: Testing The Limitations Of Empirical Traffic Light Systems Used To Manage The Hazard Of Fluid Induced Seismicity.(£15830.59 from )
  • 2018: SHAPE-UK: Impact of hydraulic fracturing in the overburden of shale resource plays: Process-based evaluation(£126763.03 from Natural Environmental Research Council)
  • 2015: CREEP: Complex RhEologies in Earth dynamics and industrial processes(£173549.30 from European Commission)
  • 2015: High frequency acquisition system for the dynamic measurement of stress, strain and friction in laboratory-produced earthquakes(£173000.00 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
  • 2012: Clair Sponsored Studentship(£140000.00 from BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd)
  • 2008: IMAGING THE 3D POROSITY/PERMEABILITY(£79000.00 from Maersk Oil & Gas AS)


Chapter in book

Journal Article

Supervision students