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Mr Tom Lees

Research Postgraduate (PhD)

MSci MSc CGeol FGS UK RoGEP Professional

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Research Postgraduate (PhD) in the Department of Geography  
Research Postgraduate (PhD) , Hazards and Surface Change  


  • 2020 - present: PhD Researcher, Durham University
  • 2012 - 2020: Engineering Geologist, Southern Testing Laboratories Ltd
  • 2011 - 2012: MSc Engineering Geology, University of Portsmouth
  • 2010 - 2011: Mudlogging Geologist, Geoservices Ltd
  • 2006 - 2010: MSci Geoscience, Durham University
Research Interests

My research focuses on the mechanical properties of rocks, and how changing weather conditions cause rocks to weaken and crack. I am invetigating how these changes in weather conditions affect the rate - and location - of rock cracking over different timescales. When and where rocks crack affects the timing of rock falls.

My work combines laboratory and field-based experiments with numerical modelling.

In the laboratory I am conducting 'environmentally controlled' rock damage testing. My field experiment 'listens' to cracking as it occurs in rocks, and matches the cracking to complex patterns in weather conditions and the ctemperature and moisture conditions inside the rock. The results from the laboratory and field experiments will be used to inform the numerical modelling, in which I will scale up the observed behaviours to cliff-sized rock slopes.

Research interests

  • Rock mechanics
  • Engineering geology
  • Rock weathering
  • Rock slope failure
  • Landslides

Research groups