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Basin Structure Group

Petroleum Leeds

Dr Douglas Paton

Associate Professor Structural Geology and Basin Analysis; Course Director: MSc Structural Geology with Geophysics


   Basin Analysis; Structural Geology; LIthospheric Extension


   +44 (0) 113 343 5238

   My LinkedIn Profile

Currently I am Associate Professor in Structural Geology and Basin Analysis at the University of Leeds and am the Director of the Basin Structure Group. 

My interest on extensional tectonics was fuelled by an undergraduate fieldtrip to Greece and after working with CASP in the South Atlantic I started a PhD at the University of Edinburgh. The PhD was on the role of basement structures on continental breakup and fault evolution in Southern Africa. After that I worked as a Conoco-Phillips funded PDRA looking at the structural controls on fairway deposition in the Zeta area, Northern North Sea.

I then moved to GFZ Potsdam where I applied basin analysis concepts to petroleum system modelling in the Orange Basin and became interested in the long term evolution of margins from inception through to break-up. After Potsdam I took up a Chevron sponsored Associate Research Professor position at the Colorado School of Mines in a research group focussing on structural controls on deep water clastic deposition.

I initially moved to Leeds as the BHP Billiton Lecturer in Structural Geology which included research on the structural evolution of the Sinu Accretionary Prism. Subsequently, I established the Basin Structure Group Joint Industry Project that is using seismic and field observations to understand better the process involved in sedimentary basin evolution. In addition to the research group I am also the Course Director of the MSc Structural Geology with Geophysics and MSc Petroleum Exploration.

My research interests focus on the structural evolution and deformation of sedimentary basins and more particularly:

  • The interaction of tectonics, structural geology and sedimentology using both 3D sub-surface and 3D outcrop data sets. In particular a) using sedimentology / stratigraphy to understand temporal and spatial variations in faulting and folding, b) changes in sedimentology in response to tectonic variations and c) generation of 3D outcrop models to increase understanding of basin evolution.
  • The development of passive continental margins, and interaction of tectonics, subsidence, sedimentation and sea level fluctuations in controlling margin architecture and evolution.
  • Using integrated basin models to develop better predictive hydrocarbon generation and migration models.
  • Integrating sub-surface and field studies.

Currently I am the Course Director of the MSc Structural Geology with Geophysics and the MSc Petroleum Exploration in collaboration with Jacobs University in Bremen.

My main teaching focus is on the MSc where I deliver a class on structural interpretation of seismic data and run the Spannish Pyrennes field trip in May.  I also supervisor a number of MSc projects each year.

In addition to MSc activites I run industry class room short courses on seismic interpretation in a variety of tectonic settings and a field trip to the Austrian Alps in which we consider sediment-structure interaction in clastic resevoirs.