Professor Douglas Paton

Professor Douglas Paton


I am currently the Chair in Structural Geology and Basin Analysis within the Institute of Applied Geosciences. My two main roles in my current position are Director of the Basin Structure Group and the Course Director of the MSc Structural Geology with Geophysics.


  • Director Basin Structure Group
  • Course Director: Hosted Aramco MSc Programmes
  • Course Director: MSc Structural Geology with Geophysics

Research interests

On the research side I look at the evolution and deformation of sedimentary basins using seismic interpretation and field observations. I have set up the Basin Structure Group which is an industry funded consortium investigating evolution of extensional basins and passive margins.

My research interests focus on the structural evolution and deformation of sedimentary basins and more particularly:

  • The interaction of tectonics, structural geology and sedimentology using both 3D sub-surface and 3D outcrop data sets. In particular a) using sedimentology / stratigraphy to understand temporal and spatial variations in faulting and folding, b) changes in sedimentology in response to tectonic variations and c) generation of 3D outcrop models to increase understanding of basin evolution.
  • The development of passive continental margins, and interaction of tectonics, subsidence, sedimentation and sea level fluctuations in controlling margin architecture and evolution.
  • Using integrated basin models to develop better predictive hydrocarbon generation and migration models.
  • Integrating sub-surface and field studies.

We are also working on both volcanic and highly extended margins to understand both their evolution as well as the impact this has on hydrocarbon exploration.

The Basin Structure Group is global in extent but we have a focus on the following areas:

  • South Africa
  • Namibia
  • Southern Atlantic more generally
  • Greenland
  • NW European margin
  • NW Shelf Australia
  • East African Rift
  • Offshore East Africa
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

My current teaching commitments at the University of Leeds include first year Dynamic Earth, third year Basin dynamics. I am also teaching on a number of modules on the MSc Structural Geology with Geophysics course and I am involved in supervision of the MSc projects.

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute of Applied Geoscience

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>