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Professor Chris MacLeod

Professor Chris MacLeod


School of Earth and Ocean Sciences

+44 (0)29 2087 4332
+44 (0)29 2087 4326
2.23, Main Building, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT


  • oceanic detachment faults: deformation mechanisms, life cycle, 3D extent; magma-tectonic interactions
  • lower crustal accretion and lithospheric architecture at slow- and ultraslow-spreading ridges
  • magma chamber processes and mechanisms of construction of the lower crust at fast-spreading mid-ocean ridges (Hess Deep, Oman ophiolite)
  • geodynamic setting of ophiolites and relationship to intraoceanic subduction initiation
  • limits and limitations of the mid-ocean ridge–ophiolite analogy
  • Professor, Cardiff University (2009-present)
  • Chair ESSAC (Science Support & Advisory Committee of the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling, in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program) (2005-07)
  • Lecturer/Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University (1995-2009)
  • NERC Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Institute of Oceanographic Sciences Deacon Laboratory/University of Leicester/Cardiff University: “Application of borehole imaging techniques to structural geological studies with the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP): structure of the lower oceanic crust in Hess Deep” (1993-95)
  • NERC Post-doctoral Research Associate, Institute of Oceanographic Sciences Deacon Laboratory: “Tectonic evolution of the Lau Basin, SW Pacific, from structural studies of ODP core and geophysical well logs” (1991-93)
  • Open University Research Fellow: “Geological evolution of the Southern Troodos Transform Fault Zone, Cyprus” (1990-91)
  • Royal Society European Science Exchange Fellow, Universit√© de Montpellier 2, France: “Oceanic spreading axis segmentation in the Oman ophiolite” (1989-90)
  • PhD, Open University: “Tectonic Evolution of the Eastern Limassol Forest Complex, Troodos Ophiolite, Cyprus” (1988)
  • BSc Geology, Durham (1984)
We are currently unable to retrieve the list of publications. Visit our institutional repository.

I teach classroom modules in plate tectonics and geodynamics, and supervise Masters-level student research projects. I lead field courses in Cornwall and in Cyprus, and supervise geological mapping projects in Scotland and elsewhere.

I conduct observation-based, multi-disciplinary, meso-scale geological investigations of modern ocean floor and of ophiolites to address the processes of formation and deformation of ocean lithosphere at mid-ocean ridges. Whether on land or at sea I apply fine-scale mapping, structural geology, rock magnetics/palaeomagnetism, petrology, geochemistry and geophysics to answer fundamental geological questions about mid-ocean ridge processes. In the marine realm I have developed methodologies to reorientate IODP drillcore using wireline image logs and hence conduct structural geological/tectonic studies comparable to those applied on land. With the British Geological Survey I have also been prime mover behind the development and application of robotic seabed rock drills to collect directly orientated seafloor samples from hard-rock substrates.

. Current projects include:

  • SW Indian Ridge Lower Crust and Moho: drilling the lower crust and Moho at an ultraslow spreading ridge (International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 360:
  • Mid-Atlantic Ridge 13°N: multidisciplinary seismic investigation plus near-bottom mapping and sampling of oceanic core complexes to investigate detachment fault processes
  • Hess Deep, eastern equatorial Pacific: ROV sampling of the Hess Deep rift valley to decipher magma chamber processes beneath the fast-spreading East Pacific Rise, by means of a petrological, geochemical and microstructural study of a reconstructed lower crustal section
  • Oman ophiolite: (1) quantitative investigations of the limits and limitations of the Oman ophiolite–East Pacific Rise analogy; (2) geodynamics of the Oman ophiolite and implications for intraoceanic subduction initiation; (3) magma chamber models and lower crustal accretion mechanisms at fast-spreading ridges
  • Troodos ophiolite: (1) structure of the upper ocean crust and relationship between tectonism and magmatism during spreading in the presence of active detachment faulting; (2) transform fault processes, including palaeoseismicity and fluid flow

borehole core–image log integration for core reorientation and applications for structural and palaeomagnetic studies with IODP