Professor Sandra Piazolo

Professor Sandra Piazolo


Current projects include

  • Melt pathways in the crust and mantle
  • The shocking truth of pseudotachylites: Pseudotachylites under scrutiny
  • Reaction fronts
  • Numerical modelling of strain localization and delocalization
  • Prediction of geophysical characteristics from microstructural analysis
  • Fault microstructures: What do they tell us?

Past projects include

  • Australian Research Council, Future Fellowship (Advanced), Flow characteristics of lower crustal rocks: Developing a toolbox to improve geodynamic models, (2012-2014)
  • Australian Research Council, Individual grant, Investigating the fundamental link between deformation, fluids and the rates of reactions in minerals, (2011-2016)
  • EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network, Delta-Min: Solvent mediated phase transformation (2008-2012)
  • European Collaboration Network (EUROCORES) EuroMinScI “Substructure Dynamics” (2006-2009)

Previous positions

  • 06.2016 – 01.2017 Assoc. Prof., Dept. Earth & Planetary Sciences, Macquarie University (MQ), Australia
  • 01.2012 – 05.2016 ARC Future Fellow Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences, MQ, Australia
  • 08.2010 - 12.2011 Lecturer, Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences, MQ, Australia
  • 03.2010 - 08.2010 Professor of Structural Geology and Tectonics, SU, Sweden
  • 12.2005 - 03.2010 Associate Professor of Structural Geology and Tectonics, SU, Sweden
  • 11.2004 - 11.2005 Senior Lecturer of Structural Geology and Tectonics, SU, Sweden

Teaching experience

  • Course Leader in 14 full time courses (undergraduate to PhD Level)
  • Teacher in additional 5 full time courses (undergraduate to PhD Level)
  • Course Leader in 3 university short courses (postgraduate level)
  • Teacher in 7 summer schools / workshops

Research interests

My main scientific interest is the understanding of micro- and mesoscale processes and their link to macro-scale phenomena. To achieve this, it is essential to quantify microstructures and thus micro-structural processes active during a variety of P-T-fluid conditions. In addition, the development of new techniques to observe, interpret and evaluate processes in the Earth and under planets is part of my research.

Fields of research interest include: (i) structural geology and large scale tectonics, (ii) microstructural and-chemical analysis of planetary and extraterrestrial materials, (iii) microdynamic modelling (mainly using the microdynamic modelling platform Elle (, (iv) experimental deformation and heating of rocks and analogue materials i.e. metals, ice, (v) field mapping, (vi) rheology and deformation mechamisms in rocks and ice.


<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>


  • Oct. 2017 Professor (Chair) in Structural Geology and Tectonics, University of Leeds
  • March. 2010 Professor (Chair) in Structural Geology and Tectonics, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Dec. 2005 “Docent” in Geology, SU, Sweden (Equivalent to promotion to Associate Professor)
  • Jan. 2001 PhD in geology at the University of Mainz, Germany.
  • Oct. 1997 “Diplom” (MSc) in Geology, University of Freiburg, Germany

Professional memberships

  • Geological Society of London

Student education

Past courses

Introductory Course to Geology, Field Mapping (all levels), Field techniques, Optical Microscopy, Structural Geology and Tectonics, Atoms to Mountain Belts, Rheology of the Earth, Marine Environments, Advanced quantitative tools in electron microscopy

Current courses at University of Leeds

  • SOEE2096 Advanced Fieldwork, Mapwork and Study Skills
  • SOEE 2095 Research and Career Skills
  • SOEE3490 Mountain Belt Processes
  • SOEE3450 Structural Geology
  • SOEE3073 Independent Mapping Projects
  • SOEE5309M MGeol Research Project

Research groups and institutes

  • Geodynamics and Tectonics
  • Ores and Mineralization
  • Rocks, Melts and Fluids
  • Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics
  • Planetary Exploration

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>