Michael is Professor of Tectonics at the University of Cambridge. Undergraduate degree from Cambridge, DPhil from Oxford, held post-docs in Zimbabwe (University research fellowship) and Leeds (NERC), 1978-83 Lecturer, Geology, University of Western Australia. He is a fellow of AGU and the Royal Society.
He is currently a member of the NERC ESAG Science Advisory Group and has recently been a member of Royal Society & RAE Shale Gas Review panel, the Independent Review Committee on Radioactive Waste Disposal and the Royal Society Working Group on future marine resources. Previously he served on a number of ODP (Ocean Drilling Program) and IODP (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program) committees including chairing the UK-IODP committee and chairing the committee that wrote the science plan for the current program. His research combines field based, petrological and geochemical research projects with physical modelling in order to understand better the important processes which control global evolution. Most of the research has been related to tectonic processes within the solid Earth but most recently he has been working on solid earth-hydrosphere-atmosphere interactions and especially geological carbon storage.
The work on solid earth-hydrosphere-atmosphere interactions investigates the controls on long-term climate change through an understanding of river chemistry. The major long-term mechanism for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is through weathering of silicates on the continents with the CO2 transported by rivers to the ocean where it is deposited as a carbonate. Our research examines how much the erosive exhumation of the Himalayas is responsible for climatic cooling over the last 50 myr.
The work on geological carbon storage includes work on the CO2 injection in the Sleipner field in the North Sea, on a site with leaking natural CO2 at Green River, Utah, on sampling a real-time CO2 injection experiment, and modelling of multiphase flow of CO2 and brine in heterogeneous media to elucidate rates of capillary and dissolution trapping.
Other interests include the thermal evolution of mountain belts, the tectonic processes which operated in the early Earth, the physical processes which control melting within the Earth and determining the significance of fluid-flow in metamorphic rocks.