Rocks and Wiggles

Dr. Kirstie Wright

MY RESEARCH INTERESTS

While I study many aspects of geology, I am primarily interested in volcanic and sedimentary systems, seismic stratigraphy and basin analysis. I use a variety of subsurface information, such as seismic reflection surveys (similar to giving the Earth an ultrasound), borehole and core data, field studies and outcrop analogues.

 

I am also motivated to work in multi-disciplinary teams and collaborate with people from different fields, as I've found it's the best way to see the most interesting science and learn new subjects. This can also involve working on applied geological research with collaboration between academia and industry to solve existing and future needs.

Sedimentary Systems 


Offshore deep-water basins contain vast quatities of sedimentary rock. These can be deposited by a variety of high energy, short period events such as submarine slides, turbidity currents and debris flows, or by low energy, long period events such as hemipelagites and contourites.

 

Recognising how clastic sediment is transported into the deep marine environment and the different types of deposits can be important for economic resources, offshore infrastructure and geohazard mitigation. I am particularly interested in submarine landslides and the resulting mass transport deposits, which if large enough can generate tsunamis which pose a risk to surrounding coastlines and the associated communities.

Offshore canyons along the UK Continental Shelf from the GMRT MapTool

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Volcanic Systems

Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) are extremely voluminous accumulations of volcanic rocks that occur over a short geological period (1-5 Ma). They consist of extensive intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks that can create new crust, alter climate and cause mass extinctions. They have been recognised across the world and often form at the edges of continental break up, when rifting is accompanied by significant mantle upwelling.

I am interested in understanding the evolution of LIPs and how volcanic rocks can record changes in the development of volcanic rift basins. Specifically this is by using volcanic stratigraphy and geomorpholgy, and comparison to modern analogues.

Development of a lava delta on Hawaii during the 2018 eruption

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Subsurface Data Analysis

Subsurface data provides a window into the earth below, allowing us to gain access to preserved landscapes, ancient rocks and a record of geological history that we would otherwise be unaware of. I am interested in using and integrating various subsurface information, including but not limited to, seismic, gravity, magnetic, wireline and core data.

This can be used to primarily to understand how sedimentary basins grow and develop over time, together with the important depositional and tectonic events. Reconstuction of the geological history of the basin can be revelant for energy resources, hydrology, offshore infrastructure and geohazard mitigation.

Seismic reflection data from the Faroe-Shetland Basin, OGA NDR

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