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Curriculum Vitae

Name                      Roger Clive SEARLE

Date of birth          24 October 1944

Place of birth         St. Ives, Huntingdonshire

Nationality             British

Family                     Married, three children

Address (office)       

Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK


0191 334 2307


0191 334 2301

[email protected]


  • B.A., University of Cambridge (Natural Sciences Tripos, Physics major), 1966 (M.A., 1970);
  • Ph.D., University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Geophysics), 1969

Present position

  • Professor of Geophysics (Emeritus), University of Durham

Previous positions

  • 1989-2010: Professor o0f Geophysics, University of Durham
  • 1988-1989: Senior Principal Scientific Officer/Grade 6 (IM), Institute of Oceanographic Sciences.
  • 1978-1988: Principal Scientific Officer/Grade 7, Institute of Oceanographic Sciences.
  • 1973-1978: Senior Scientific Officer, Institute of Oceanographic Sciences.
  • 1970-1973: Assistant Professor, Haile Sellassie I University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  • 1982-1983: Visiting Scientist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California.
  • 2003: Guest Investigator, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA

Professional Associations

  • Royal Astronomical Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • European Geophysical Union

Awards and Esteem

  • Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, 2012
  • Price Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2011
  • Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship, 2010-2012
  • Adjunct Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2005-2009         
  • Leverhulme Study Abroad Fellowship, 2003
  • University of Durham Sir Derman Christopherson Research Fellowship, 1996-97
  • NATO Senior Scientists Fund, 1982-1983
  • Royal Society Maurice Hill Research Fellowship, 1982-1983

Service to the community – international

  • Chairman, International Ocean Drilling Program Site Survey Panel, 2004 – 2006
  • Member, International Ocean Drilling Program Site Survey Panel, 2003 – 2007
  • Chairman of InterRidge, 1994-1996
  • Member, InterRidge Steering Committee, 1993-1998
  • Joint Editor, Marine Geophysical Researches, 1986-1992
  • Member and U.K. representative, NEA Seabed Working Group, Site Selection Task Group, 1980-1987
  • Chairman, NEA/SWG Site Selection Task Group, 1981-1983.
  • Regular reviewer for G-cubed, JGR, Nature, EPSL, etc.

University Service:

  • Head of Department, 1990-1993; 1998-2002
  • Member, Senate (1990-93; 1998-2002)
  • Member, Senate Committee on Continuing Education (1990-93)
  • Member, Staffing Policy Committee (1992-94)

Other UK Professional Service

  • Member, NERC Geological Sciences Research Grants Committee (1985-88 and 1994-1997).
  • Member, BRIDGE Steering Committee (1992-1994)
  • Member, NERC Environmental Systems Science Centre Steering Committee, University of Reading (1998-2003)
  • Member, UKIODP Steering Committee, 2003-present
  • Member, British Antarctic Survey Review Group (1999)
  • Member, NERC Ship-Time Assessment Committee (1993)
  • Geophysical Editor, Journal of the Geological Society of London (1984-1987).
  • Specialist Advisor, Research Assessment Exercise 2001

Research experience


  • Gravity, magnetic and seismological studies of the East African Rift Valleys and Afar.
  • Recognition of extensive crustal thinning and mafic intrusion associated with rift floors;
  • Contributions to crustal structure of rifted and non-rifted parts of NE Africa.


  • Geophysical studies of abyssal plain and lower continental rise sedimentation processes.
  • Geophysical characterisation of Madeira Abyssal Plain basement and sediments;
  • First side-scan sonar mapping and characterisation of Saharan Slide mass wasting deposits;
  • Geophysical and geological research into potential oceanic radioactive waste disposal.
  • Development of site selection criteria for oceanic waste disposal sites;
  • Selection and characterisation of potential study sites for oceanic waste disposal;


  • Geophysical studies of mid-plate tectonics and volcanism in ocean basins. 
  • Recognition of King’s Trough (NE Atlantic) as an ancient rifted hot-spot trace and part of the Eocene Eurasia-Iberia plate boundary;
  • Mapping trace of Cretaceous Molokai Fracture Zone and detailing the tectonic processes associated with a major change in seafloor spreading direction.
  • First extensive sidescan mapping of mid-plate volcanism;
  • Contributions to studies of submarine volcano (seamount) morphology and origin;
  • Mapping extent, distribution and limits of hot spot volcanism in central Pacific.
  • Development of processing and analysis techniques for sidescan and multibeam sonar.
  • Development of digital slant-range correction for GLORIA;
  • Development of radiometric corrections for beam pattern, beam spreading, refraction;
  • Development of combined sidescan and bathymetric displays for improved interpretation;
  • Investigation of effects of lithology and angle of incidence on sonar imaging.


  • Geophysical studies of mid-ocean ridge spreading centres and fracture zones.
  • Recognition of extensive normal faulting associated with all spreading centres;
  • High-resolution (~1km) mapping of spreading and transform plate boundaries, leading to improved poles of rotation and accurate maps of ridge segmentation;
  • Recognition of multi-strand nature of fast-slipping transform faults;
  • Comprehensive quantification of strain at segment scale;
  • Discovery of en echelon axial volcanic ridges on the Reykjanes Ridge and partition of strain between axial fissuring and off-axis faulting.
  • High-resolution studies of the morphology of ridge-axis volcanoes.
  • Geophysical studies of propagating rifts and oceanic microplates.
  • Obtained first image of a propagating rift tip, confirming continuous rift propagation as a tectonic process;
  • Recognition of “bookshelf faulting” as a mechanism for regional deformation and major tectonic rotation during rift propagation;
  • First comprehensive imaging and tectonic mapping of oceanic microplates;
  • Recognition of importance of regional and local scale propagating rifting in development of microplates;
  • Confirmation of major, continuous rotation in microplates;
  • Modelling stresses and driving forces in microplates

Current studies:

  • Investigation of effects of ultra slow spreading rate and cold mantle on the tectonic and magmatic processes of lithospheric generation;
  • Geodynamics of oceanic core complexes;
  • Use of high resolution magnetometry for investigations of mid-ocean ridge tectonic and volcanic studies;
  • Investigation of detailed structure and history of axial volcanic ridges.
  • Participated in 37 research cruises; principal scientist on 18 cruises.
  • Over 130 scientific publications, h-index = 26.  

International collaboration

  • I have carried out collaborative projects with:
  • Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Canada;
  • Bundesanstalt fur Geowissenschaft und Rohstoffe, Hanover;
  • Hawaii Institute of Geophysics / SOEST;
  • Japan Marine Science and Technology Institute (JAMSTEC)
  • IFREMER, France;
  • Institut de Physique du Globe, Paris;
  • Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory;
  • Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo.
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography;
  • Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest, France;
  • University of California, Santa Barbara;
  • University of Rhode Island;
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Recent international meetings convened

  • April 2003, Nice: High resolution acoustic imaging and geological sampling studies of young ocean floor, Special Session TS5.07, EGS-AGU-EUG Joint Assembly.
  • March 2000, London: The Nature and Tectonic Significance of Fault Zone Weakening (with R. Holdsworth, J. Magloughlin and R. Strachan); Geological Society of London, Geological Society of America, InterRidge.
  • May 1996, Woods Hole: The Oceanic Lithosphere and Scientific Drilling into the 21st Century (member of convening committee); ODP.
  • September 1993, Durham: Segmentation and Fluxes at Mid-Ocean Ridges: A Symposium and Workshops (with J. Lin and J. Sinton); InterRidge.

Selected invited international seminars

  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, September 2006: Asymmetric volcanic and tectonic development of the very slow spreading Southwest Indian Ridge.
  • Scripps Institution of oceanography, February 2005: Volcanic and tectonic development of the very slow spreading Southwest Indian Ridge near 64°E
  • University of New Hampshire, November, 2003: Faulting on slow and ultra-slow spreading ridges:  MAR 29deg N and SWIR 64deg E.
  • University of Rhode Island, November, 2003: The use of high-resolution imaging sonars to study the structure and early evolution of slowly spread oceanic lithosphere.
  • Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, October, 2003. Faulting on slow and ultra-slow spreading ridges:  MAR 29°N and SWIR 64°E.
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, November, 2003: Faulting on slow and ultra-slow spreading ridges:  MAR 29°N and SWIR 64°E.
  • Peking University, Beijing, China, October 2003. The early evolution of Mid-Atlantic Ridge lithosphere.
  • University of Utrecht,  March 1999, Symposium “The Ocean Floor”.
  • University of Tokyo/University of Chiba/JAMSTEC/Geological Survey of Japan, invited lecture tour, June 1997. Detailed structure and tectonic development of a slow spreading segment, Mid-Atlantic Ridge 29°N.
  • Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute, June 1997. Detailed structure and tectonic development of a slow spreading segment, Mid-Atlantic Ridge 29° N.
  • Taiwan National Ocean University, June 1997. Detailed structure and tectonic development of a slow spreading segment, Mid-Atlantic Ridge 29° N.
  • Taiwan National Yat-Sen University, June 1997.  Multibeam Data Processing.

Teaching experience

  • Undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in geophysics, Earth structure, oceanography, forontiers in Earth science research, scientific writing.  External examiner at Edinburgh, Leicester, Liverpool and East Anglia Universities.
  • Supervisor of eleven completed PhD students..  Examiner of over 24 postgraduate research theses, including several overseas.