I graduated from Keele University in 2015 with a first class degree in BSc Geoscience. My favourite areas of the course were sedimentology and structural geology so naturally I gravitated towards a petroleum masters. I studied for a masters in Integrated Petroleum Geoscience at the University of Aberdeen, achieving distinction, where I built on my passion for structural geology having written my masters project on inversion structures in 2D seismic data, offshore Croatia.

In 2017 I took the opportunity to become part of the Basin Dynamics Research Group at Keele University and the NERC oil and gas CDT where I wish to further progress myself as a geologist and offer new insights into my area of research.

Research and scholarship


Structural, stratigraphic and geodynamic controls on the evolution of the Carboniferous succession of northern England and southern Scotland.

The structural and geodynamic processes that have controlled the evolution of the Carboniferous basin system of northern England and southern Scotland, as well as interactions with the neighbouring North Sea, are very poorly understood. As a consequence, correlations of sedimentary fill, and sequence stratigraphical controls upon them, remain elusive. 

The main aim of this project will be to apply and further develop 3D lithosphere-scale tectonic modelling techniques in order to determine the interplay of geological and geodynamic processes that have controlled the evolution of the Carboniferous succession within the Northumberland Trough, Solway Basin, Stainmore Trough, Vale of Eden Basin and Midland Valley, as well as their offshore extensions and intervening areas of relative uplift such as the Alston Block, which contain large granitic intrusions within the pre-Carboniferous basement.

The models will be constrained by regional-scale cross-sections constructed from the BGS database and the public domain, with selected profiles sequentially restored to provide a “snapshot” of structural and stratigraphical architecture during the Carboniferous Period. Further constraint will be provided by the wealth of subsurface mining-related sedimentary data, combined with the field acquisition of structural data.

The study will provide insights into the importance of deep processes, such as depth-dependent extension, and how they interact with basin-controlling processes, such as bathymetry and sedimentary infill, within intra-continental, ‘basin and block’ settings.

In particular, model results will provide insights into the development of accommodation space through time in response to sea level, tectonics and sediment supply, providing a structural and geodynamic framework for the sequence stratigraphical interpretation of the Carboniferous succession within this relatively poorly understood basin system.


2015 Runner-up Third year John Myers Award

2016 Best MSc Integrated Petroleum Geoscience Student Prize

2016 Chevron ‘Best Team Contributor’ Award


  • Howell, L., Egan, S.S., Leslie, G., & Clarke, S.M. 2019 Structural and geodynamic modelling of the influence of granite bodies during lithospheric extension: application to the Carboniferous basins of northern England. Tectonophysics 755 47-63 DOI:10.1016/j.tecto.2019.02.008
  • Howell, L., Egan, S.S., Leslie, A.G., Clarke, S.M., Mitten, A. & Pringle J. 2019 The influence of low-density granite bodies on extensional basins. Geology Today

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