Tackling energy head on

John Underhill

We are tackling energy and applied geoscience issues, head on and forensically, to address the fundamental energy and environmental challenges that face us.

Professor John Underhill, Chief Scientist and Shell Chair of Exploration Geoscience

Professor John Underhill's research integrates surface geological exposures with subsurface - seismic and borehole - data to address fundamental questions about how sedimentary basins form, subside and are deformed. The forensic geoscience undertaken by his Edinburgh-based research group combines geological fieldwork and core descriptions with geophysical tools including gravity and magnetic data, electrical well log analysis and high fidelity seismic interpretation.

This research impacts on petroleum exploration through the recognition of source rock kitchen areas, structural closures, stratigraphic traps and prospective play fairways - vital in determining the best geological storage sites for carbon sequestration, which will only increase in importance as countries seek to address greenhouse gas emissions.

Real-world impact

Our Chief Scientist and Shell Chair of Exploration Geoscience, Professor Underhill is also the the Lyell Academic Lead for Earth Science, and the Academic Lead for the Centre for Doctoral Training in Oil and Gas, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). This £8million national centre is supported by 11 leading companies and is training 90 PhD researchers to become the next generation of geoscientific and environmental experts in oil and gas.

"Few academics have made a more significant contribution to our understanding of UK Continental Shelf geology", according to the Geological Society, on awarding Professor Underhill its prestigious Lyell Medal, their top geological award first given in 1876.

Read more from Professor Underhill.

Key information

John Underhill