Dr Andy Emery, geologist and geophysicist. Seismic interpretation, landscape evolution, sedimentary environments.
Dr Andy Emery, geologist and geophysicist
research interests | key skills | jobs and education
Past landscapes for offshore wind
I research the recent geological history of the subsurface using bathymetry data, high-resolution seismic reflection data, geotechnical logs, and sediment samples from boreholes and vibrocores.
The British-Irish Ice Sheet had profound effects on the evolution of landscapes preserved in the subsurface of the North Sea. Glacial landforms, postglacial rivers, submerged coastlines, and marine bedforms comprise the complex subsurface, all with different sediment signatures and properties.
The results of my research feed into ground models for offshore wind. By better constraining sedimentary architecture, I help to identify the best sites for turbine foundation placements, and influence their design that can withstand cyclic loading, and encounter minimal scour.
Coastal evolution under sea-level rise
My research also helps understand how past climate changes affected our coastlines. The rates of sea-level rise experienced after the last ice age, during the Holocene, are similar to those projected for the next century by the IPCC reports.
I reconstruct ancient shorelines using seismic reflection data correlated to vibrocores. The geomorphic interpretation, combined with sedimentary environment, allows me to understand how coastlines evolved during sea-level rise, and the drivers of coastal change, such as inherited topography.
Timing and dynamics of retreat of the British-Irish Ice Sheet
The fact that a large ice sheet used to cover most of Britain and Ireland fascinates, me as it leaves in the landscape records that can be read to understand how ice sheets behave. My research interests cover not only glaciation in the North Sea, but also the landscapes local to me in Yorkshire.
My interpretation of seismic reflection data is revealing landforms and their stratigraphic evolution, which inform how the ice sheet responded during its retreat. In Yorkshire, LiDAR (light detection and ranging) and field studies show the effect of cold-based glaciation on the landscape.
It is a shame that the British-Irish Ice Sheet is the “best-constrained palaeo-ice sheet in the world” (Chris Clark), yet so little information is accessible to the public about it. That is my motivation for writing articles for A-level students and the public for Bethan Davies‘s excellent AntarcticGlaciers website.
Geosciences and the energy transition
With a broad background in geosciences, a previous specialisation in pore pressure and geomechanics, and experience in the energy industry, I am fascinated with how geology and geophysics can aid the transition to low-carbon energy. Geoscience is crucial in meeting net-zero and zero-emissions targets.
Not only focussed on offshore wind, my RA role at Leeds focussed on what the key geological research questions are in CCS, geothermal, hydrogen, compressed air and heat storage, and disposal of nuclear waste.
Of particular interest are the potential geological assets the UK could have, and how competing subsurface interests can be managed to become complimentary subsurface interests. The role of geoscience in making offshore wind more sustainable is a key research question for me.
For all my publications and conference records, as well as other academic positions and achievements, check out my cv page.
jobs and education
find the rest of my cv here
Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions: Project Geologist
Producing geological ground models to support offshore wind farm planning.
University of Hull: PDRA in Seabed Sediment Dynamics
Studying effects of offshore wind farms on seabed sediments using satellite data. Observing how suspended sediment interacts with tidal currents around wind turbines at the Race Bank offshore wind farm using repeat Sentinel-2 satellite imagery.
Research Assistant in Energy Transition, University of Leeds
Using my broad background in structural geology, geomechanics, sedimentology and geophysics to understand the key research questions that need addressing as we transition to clean energy, such as geothermal and offshore wind, storage of energy such as hydrogen or compressed air, or disposal of waste, such as CCS and nuclear waste disposal facilities.
PhD: Glacial and postglacial landscape evolution at Dogger Bank since the Last Glacial Maximum
(2016 – 2020)
Using the fantastic, and vast, Dogger Bank windfarm site investigation datasets, I unravelled part of the complex history of ice, rivers and coasts of Dogger Bank, and how topography played a key role in the landscape evolution and process response over a 30,000 year timescale.
Geologist, Ikon GeoPressure
(2011 – 2016)
Pore pressure and geomechanics consultancy, studying how fluids flow (or don’t) in the subsurface, and how pore pressure in basins evolves over geological and human timescales.
MSc Structural Geology with Geophysics, University of Leeds
(2010 – 2011)
Masters dissertation on salt tectonics in the Central Graben of the North Sea.
BSc Geological Sciences, University of Leeds
(2006 – 2009)