Professor Zoe Shipton

Civil and Environmental Engineering


Personal statement

My research is concerned with the structural and permeability architecture of faults. Understanding 3D fault structure is key to answering many questions concerning the evolution of fault zone structures and the migration of fluids through the Earth's crust. My research focuses on four main areas

1) How do faults act as high permeability conduits? Will this type of fault allow potentially undesirable fluids, for example contaminated water or CO2, to escape from geological storage sites? Many “leaky” CO2 reservoirs are controlled by faults, and faults are responsible for controlling the formation of some ore bodies [PhD students: Megan Heather-Cooley, Nilay Gulyuz, Stewart Beattie, Ali McCay (2014), Neil Burnside (2010), Heather Moir (2010), Ben Dockrill (2006), Jonny Willson (2006). Post-docs: Yannick Kremer, Stuart Gilfillan, Jamie Kirkpatrick, Aisling Soden, Jen Roberts]

2) Low permeability faults often produce hydrocarbon traps or barriers to fluid flow.What controls the distribution of structural elements in the faults, and how does each structural element contribute to overall fault zone permeability? Is there any scaling of fault elements that would allow us to predict fault zone properties in the subsurface? [PhD students: Silvia Sosio de Rosa, Yannick Kremer (2014), Rachael Ellen (2013), Aisling Soden (2008), Aileen Bright (2006)]

3) Earthquakes are the tangible evidence of relative movements across fault zones.The processes of earthquake rupture propagation are critically dependent on fault structure and geometry. These processes can also potentially be controlled by changing fluid pressure on fault surfaces. Can we understand these processes by looking at faults exhumed from the depths where earthquakes are known to have nucleated? [PhD students: Brigitte Vogt, Jamie Kirkpatrick (2008), Susan Lawther (2011)]

4) How can we constrain uncertainty in geological models? Measurements of petrophysical fault properties can be incorporated into models of bulk fault properties, but how can we optimise data collection to capture variability? How much does our previous experience influence the way we interpret data? [PhD student Euan Macrae (2013), Post-docs: Clare Bond, Jen Roberts].

Each of these problems can be addressed by detailed characterization of fault zone structures and their permeability and physical properties. My research has a strong multidisciplinary approach and includes collaborations with geologists, civil and environmental engineers and statisticians.


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Natural hydrogen seeps as analogues to inform monitoring of engineered geological hydrogen storage
McMahon Christopher J, Roberts Jennifer J, Johnson Gareth, Edlmann Katriona, Flude Stephanie, Shipton Zoe K
Geological Society Special Publication Vol 528, pp. 461-489 (2023)
Could faults provide conduits for fluid escape? New field data in the vicinity of the Otway International Test Centre
McMahon Christopher J, Roberts Jen, Shipton Zoe, Johnson Gareth, Feitz Andrew, Tenthorey Eric, Gallagher Stephen
2nd EAGE Workshop on Fluid Flow in Faults and Fractures, pp. 1-2 (2023)
Mechanochemical processing of silicate rocks to trap CO2
Stillings Mark, Shipton Zoe K, Lunn Rebecca J
Nature Sustainability Vol 6, pp. 780-788 (2023)
Multiphase deformation, fluid flow and mineralization in epithermal systems : inferences from structures, vein textures and breccias of the Kestanelik epithermal Au-Ag deposit, NW Turkey
Gülyüz Nilay, Shipton Zoe K, Kuşcu İlkay
Turkish Journal of Earth Sciences Vol 32, pp. 75-95 (2023)
Modelling the near-wellbore rock fracture tortuosity : role of casing-cement-rock well system, perforation and in-situ stress
Xi Xun, Yang Shangtong, Shipton Zoe, Cai Meifeng
International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences Vol 157 (2022)
Mixed-mode fracture modelling of the near-wellbore interaction between hydraulic fracture and natural fracture
Xi Xun, Shipton Zoe K, Kendrick Jackie E, Fraser-Harris Andrew, Mouli-Castillo Julien, Edlmann Katriona, McDermott Christopher I, Yang Shangtong
Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering Vol 55, pp. 5433-5452 (2022)

More publications

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Professional Activities

European Geoscience Union (EGU) 2020
European Geoscience Union (EGU) 2020
European Geoscience Union (EGU) 2020
Fracking Bad Language
Communicating Geoscience: Building Public Interest and Promoting Inclusive Dialogue
Strathclyde-Sapienza workshop: knowledge exchange on gas monitoring and studying fluid flow in faults

More professional activities


Unlocking the Economic Opportunity of Minewater Geothermal Resources in Scotland-PhD support
Shipton, Zoe (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 31-Jan-2025
GigaWattHour Subsurface Thermal Energy storAge: Engineered structures and legacy Mine shafts: STEaM
Shipton, Zoe (Principal Investigator) Burnside, Neil (Co-investigator) Tuohy, Paul Gerard (Co-investigator) Yang, Shangtong (Co-investigator) Johnson, Gareth (Research Co-investigator)
13-Jan-2022 - 12-Jan-2025
Doctoral Training Partnership 2020-2021 University of Strathclyde | Deeming, Katherine
Shipton, Zoe (Principal Investigator) Pytharouli, Stella (Co-investigator) Roberts, Jen (Co-investigator) Deeming, Katherine (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 01-Jan-2025
Heat Flow in Complex Minewater Geothermal Systems (Studentship 1) – Numerical Modelling of Heat Transport, Storage and Fate in Minewater Systems (“Studentship”)
Burnside, Neil (Principal Investigator) Shipton, Zoe (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2025
Heat Flow in Complex Minewater Geothermal Systems (Studentship 2) – Digital Twin for Integration of Minewater Resources into Engineering Systems (“Studentship”)
Burnside, Neil (Principal Investigator) Shipton, Zoe (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2025
Developing an integrated geothermal resource risk assessment toolkit
Burnside, Neil (Principal Investigator) Shipton, Zoe (Co-investigator) Bremaud, Maelle (Post Grad Student)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2024

More projects

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Professor Zoe Shipton
Civil and Environmental Engineering

Tel: Unlisted