Rock Mechanics Laboratory (RML),
School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences,
University of Portsmouth
Honorary research fellow, Rock & Ice Physics Laboratory (RIPL),
Department of Earth Sciences,
University College London
Contact: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Volcanotectonics and Geohazards: I extended the methods above, for the first time, to investigate fluid-driven seismicity in the shallow crust with particular focus on passive (triggered) seismicity in active volcanoes. These earthquakes in volcanic settings (known as Volcano-Tectonic, Hybrid and Low Frequency harmonic events) are diagnostic of conditions under the volcano and frequently detected before unrest. A new understanding of their generation in terms of fluid pressure, speed, and volume is now allowing new models to be developed for this important geological hazard, and better understand the key role that fluids have on the stability of volcanic flanks.Geo-energy and CO2 sequestration and storage: Fluids are ubiquitous in the Earth, providing energy directly (e.g. hydrocarbons) or indirectly (e.g. Geothermal energy) as well as providing storage for waste products ranging from nuclear isotopes to CO2. Knowledge of how to manage the subsurface will therefore be key in our desire to move to Net Zero, and mitigate impact on health and wellbeing. Current research has successfully developed novel new apparatus to safely simulate these processes at elevated pressure and temperature, and using differnent fluid, to safely test links between deep reservoir dynamics and squestration/storage potential.
[NERC NE/X000133/1] Forecasting Eruptions at Volcanoes after Extended Repose (FEVER) (with UCL and INGV)
|[RWM602] Fracturing of mudstone interbeds due to halite creep, and implications for the performance of a geological disposal facility for radioactive waste.
This new 4-year PhD research project will investigate the thermo-physical stability of rock masses for Geological Disposal Facility design. In particular it will design a long-term stability models using a suite of short-term laboratory tests to better understand the long-term risk profile for a deep disposal facility housed in rock featuring layers of halite (salt). This project is a collaboration with the British Geological Survey, with input from our commercial collaborators Ramboll (UK).
|[UKRI NE/V013106/1] Proof-of-concept Enzyme-Enhanced Carbon Capture and Storage in Basalts (CO2RE collaboration).
This project aims to pilot and demonstrate new enzyme boosting methods for CO2 sequestration as part of a funding call led and managed by the CO2RE consortium, in partnership with the Centre for Enzyme Innovation at the university of Portsmouth. The research builds on the recently demonstrated Carbfix project which sequesters CO2 by injecting fluid into natural (hot) basalt rocks found at depth in Iceland. Our project is conducting new pilot laboratory studies using cool basalt rocks (common in the UK) by using enzymes (carbonic anhydrase) to boost the process.
|[NERC NE/W00383X/1] Geological optimisation in mining operations: understanding heterogenetity and anisotropy (with PUC).
This NERC seedcorn project is developing a new understanding of instability and risk in rock masses during mining applications. It is a collaboration with Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile (Santiago), who add their expertise in mining engineering and modelling to our expertise in laboratory rock testing. The project aims to develop new risk and safety profiles for small (artesian) mines, which are particularly prone to instability due to rock anisotropy (directional strength) effects.
|Flank collapse controls on Stromboli volcano: new insights from combined rock physics and remote sensing (with Universities of Mainz and Turin).
This ongoing collaboration aims to simulate high pressure and high temperature processes operating during dyke movement in volcanic settings. Knowledge of this process is key to better understanding the eruption of magma, and how the stability of the volcanic edifice (rock mass) is influenced during the movement and emplacement of dyke swarms. Examples of unstable rock masses include volcano flank collapse problems as seen at Etna, Stromboli and El Hierro. We use a variety of methods including laboratory rock deformation and rock physics, remote sensing, and numerical situations to better understand the interaction between the soft magma and underlying sediments (e.g. carbonates and limestones particularly in the case of Mt Etna), and the harder basalts and other volcano products.
Multiscale techniques for imaging volcanic plumbing systems: from laboratory experiments to field scale (with Bristol, Mainz, Turin, DiaS and INGV).
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 Alcock, T, Bullen, D., Benson, P.M., and Vinciguerra, S. (2022), Temperature-driven micro-fracturing in Granite: the interplay between microstructure, mineralogy and tensile strength. Heliyon, In-Press.
 King, T., De Siena, L., Benson, P.M., and Vinciguerra, S. (2022), Mapping Faults in the Laboratory with Seismic Scattering 1: The Laboratory Perspective. Geophysical Journal International, In-Press.
 Ibemesi, P. and Benson, P.M. (2022), Effect of Pressure and Stress Cycles on Fluid Flow in Hydraulically Fractured, Low-Porosity, Anisotropic Sandstone. Rock Mech Rock Eng. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00603-022-03043-y
 Rowley, P., Benson, P.M., and Bean, C.J. (2021), Deformation controlled Long-Period seismicity in low-cohesion volcanic sediments. Nature Geoscience 14, 942. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-021-00844-8
 Fazio, M., Ibemesi, P., Benson, P.M., Bedoya-Gonzalez, D., and Sauter, M. (2021). The role of rock matrix permeability in controlling hydraulic fracturing in sandstones. Rock Mechanics & Rock Engineering. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00603-021-02580-2
 King, T., Vinciguerra, S., Burgess, J., Benson, P.M., & De Siena, L. (2021). Source mechanisms of laboratory earthquakes during fault nucleation and formation. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 126, e2020JB021059. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JB021059
 King, T., Benson, P.M., and De Siena, L., Vinciguerra, S. (2020). Acoustic emission waveform picking with time-delay neural networks during rock deformation laboratory experiments, Seismological Research Letters, 92 (2A), 923-932. https://doi.org/10.1785/0220200188
 Benson, P. M., Austria, D. C., Gehne, S., Butcher, E., Harnett, C. E., Fazio, M., and Tomas, R. (2020). Laboratory simulations of fluid-induced seismicity, hydraulic fracture, and fluid flow. Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment, 100169. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gete.2019.100169
 Gehne, S., Forbes Inskip, N. D., Benson, P. M., Meredith, P. G., & Koor, N. (2020). Fluid-Driven Tensile Fracture and Fracture Toughness in Nash Point Shale at Elevated Pressure. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 125(2), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019jb018971
 Benson, P.M., Austria, D. C., Gehne, S., Butcher, E., Harnett, C. E., Fazio, M., & Tomas, R. (2020). Laboratory simulations of fluid-induced seismicity, hydraulic fracture, and fluid flow. Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment, 24, 100169.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gete.2019.100169
 Gehne, S., Benson, P. M., Koor, N., Dobson, K. J., Enfield, M., & Barber, A. (2019). Seismo-Mechanical Response of Anisotropic Rocks Under Hydraulic Fracture Conditions: New Experimental Insights. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 124(9), 9562-9579. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JB017342
 Gehne, S., & Benson, P. M. (2019). Permeability enhancement through hydraulic fracturing: laboratory measurements combining a 3D printed jacket and pore fluid over-pressure. Scientific Reports, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-49093-1
 Butcher, E., Gibson, A., Benson, P.M, Koor, N.K, and, & Swift, G. (2019). Near infrared spectroscopic measurement of strain in rocks. Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy, 27(6), 430-438. https://doi.org/10.1177/0967033519872540
 Fazio, M., Alparone, S., Benson, P. M., Cannata, A., & Vinciguerra, S. (2019). Genesis and mechanisms controlling tornillo seismo-volcanic events in volcanic areas. Scientific Reports, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-43842-y
 Bakker, R. R., Violay, M. E. S., Vinciguerra, S., Fazio, M., & Benson, P. M. (2019). Constitutive Laws for Etnean Basement and Edifice Lithologies. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 124(10), 10074-10088. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JB017399
 Castagna, A., Ougier-Simonin, A., Benson, P. M., Browning, J., Walker, R. J., Fazio, M., & Vinciguerra, S. (2018). Thermal Damage and Pore Pressure Effects of the Brittle-Ductile Transition in Comiso Limestone. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 123(9), 7644-7660. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JB015105
 Colombero, C., Comina, C., Vinciguerra, S., & Benson, P. M. (2018). Microseismicity of an Unstable Rock Mass: From Field Monitoring to Laboratory Testing. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 123(2), 1673-1693. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JB014612
 King, T., Benson, P. M., De Siena, L., & Vinciguerra, S. (2017). Investigating the apparent seismic diffusivity of near-receiver geology at mount St. Helens Volcano, USA. Geosciences (Switzerland), 7(4). https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040130
 Harnett, C. E., Benson, P. M., Rowley, P., & Fazio, M. (2018). Fracture and damage localization in volcanic edifice rocks from El Hierro, Stromboli and Tenerife. Scientific Reports, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-20442-w
 Gehne, S., & Benson, P. M. (2017). Permeability and permeability anisotropy in Crab Orchard sandstone: Experimental insights into spatio-temporal effects. Tectonophysics, 712-713, 589-599. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2017.06.014
 Fazio, M., Benson, P. M., & Vinciguerra, S. (2017). On the generation mechanisms of fluid-driven seismic signals related to volcano-tectonics. Geophysical Research Letters, 44(2), 734-742. https://doi.org/10.1002/2016GL070919
 Ghaffari, H. O., Griffith, W. A., & Benson, P. M. (2017). Microscopic evolution of laboratory volcanic hybrid earthquakes. Scientific Reports, 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep40560
 Bakker, R. R., Fazio, M., Benson, P. M., Hess, K. U., & Dingwell, D. B. (2016). The propagation and seismicity of dyke injection, new experimental evidence. Geophysical Research Letters, 43(5), 1876-1883. https://doi.org/10.1002/2015GL066852
 Ghaffari, H. O., Griffth, W. A., Benson, P. M., Xia, K., & Young, R. P. (2016). Observation of the Kibble-Zurek Mechanism in Microscopic Acoustic Crackling Noises. Scientific Reports. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep21210
 Bakker, R. R., Violay, M. E. S., Benson, P. M., & Vinciguerra, S. C. (2015). Ductile flow in sub-volcanic carbonate basement as the main control for edifice stability: New experimental insights. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 430, 533-541. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2015.08.017
 Kushnir, A. R. L., Kennedy, L. A., Misra, S., Benson, P., & White, J. C. (2015). The mechanical and microstructural behaviour of calcite-dolomite composites: An experimental investigation. Journal of Structural Geology, 70, 200-216. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsg.2014.12.006
 Benson, P. M., Vinciguerra, S., Nasseri, M. H. B., & Young, R. P. (2014). Laboratory simulations of fluid/gas induced micro-earthquakes: Application to volcano seismology. Frontiers in Earth Science, 2(4). https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2014.00032
 Vallianatos, F., Michas, G., Benson, P. M., & Sammonds, P. (2013). Natural time analysis of critical phenomena: The case of acoustic emissions in triaxially deformed Etna basalt. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and Its Applications, 392(20), 5172-5178. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physa.2013.06.051
 Zappone, A. S., & Benson, P. M. (2013). Effect of phase transitions on seismic properties of metapelites: A new high-temperature laboratory calibration. Geology, 41(4), 463-466. https://doi.org/10.1130/G33713.1
 Lavallee, Y., Benson, P. M., Heap, M. J., Hess, K. U., Flaws, A., Schillinger, B., and Dingwell, D. B. (2013). Reconstructing magma failure and the degassing network of domebuilding eruptions. Geology, 41(4), 515-518. https://doi.org/10.1130/G33948.1
 Bruijn, R. H. C., Almqvist, B. S. G., Hirt, A. M., & Benson, P. M. (2013). Decoupling of paramagnetic and ferrimagnetic AMS development during the experimental chemical compaction of illite shale powder. Geophysical Journal International, 192(3), 975-985. https://doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggs086
 Benson, P. M., Heap, M. J., Lavallee, Y., Flaws, A., Hess, K. U., Selvadurai, A. P. S., and Schillinger, B. (2012). Laboratory simulations of tensile fracture development in a volcanic conduit via cyclic magma pressurisation. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 349-350, 231-239. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2012.07.003
 Nara, Y., Morimoto, K., Hiroyoshi, N., Yoneda, T., Kaneko, K., & Benson, P. M. (2012). Influence of relative humidity on fracture toughness of rock: Implications for subcritical crack growth. International Journal of Solids and Structures, 49(18), 2471-2481. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijsolstr.2012.05.009
 Vallianatos, F., Benson, P. M., Meredith, P., & Sammonds, P. (2012). Experimental evidence of a non-extensive statistical physics behaviour of fracture in triaxially deformed Etna basalt using acoustic emissions. EPL, 97(5). https://doi.org/10.1209/0295-5075/97/58002
 Lavallee, Y., Benson, P. M., Heap, M. J., Flaws, A., Hess, K. U., & Dingwell, D. B. (2012). Volcanic conduit failure as a trigger to magma fragmentation. Bulletin of Volcanology, 74(1), 11-13. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-011-0544-2
 Harrington, R. M., & Benson, P. M. (2011). Analysis of laboratory simulations of volcanic hybrid earthquakes using empirical Greens functions. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 116(11). https://doi.org/10.1029/2011JB008373
 Benson, P. M., Vinciguerra, S., Meredith, P. G., & Young, R. P. (2010). Spatio-temporal evolution of volcano seismicity: A laboratory study. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 297(1-2), 315-323. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2010.06.033
 de Rubeis, V., Vinciguerra, S., Tosi, P., Sbarra, P., & Benson, P. M. (2010). Acoustic Emission Spectra Classification from Rock Samples of Etna Basalt in Deformation-Decompression Laboratory Experiments. GeoPlanet: Earth and Planetary Sciences, 1, 201-211. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-12300-9_11
 Benson, P.M. (2010) in: Proofs, G., & Loa, M. Volcano seismicity in the laboratory. 2010 McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology, (June 2009). https://doi.org/10.1036/1097-8542.YB100208
 Ying, W. L., Benson, P. M., & Young, R. P. (2009). Laboratory simulation of fluid-driven seismic sequences in shallow crustal conditions. Geophysical Research Letters, 36(20). https://doi.org/10.1029/2009GL040230
 Nasseri, M. H. B., Schubnel, A., Benson, P. M., & Young, R. P. (2009). Common evolution of mechanical and transport properties in thermally cracked westerly granite at elevated hydrostatic pressure. Pure and Applied Geophysics, 166(5-7), 927-948. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00024-009-0485-2
 Clark, R. A., Benson, P. M., Carter, A. J., & Moreno, C. A. G. (2009). Anisotropic P-wave attenuation measured from a multi-azimuth surface seismic reflection survey. Geophysical Prospecting, 57(5), 835-845. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2478.2008.00772.x
 Benson, P. M., Vinciguerra, S., Meredith, P. G., & Young, R. P. (2008). Laboratory simulation of volcano seismicity. Science, 322(5899), 249-252. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1161927
 'Highlight' in: Burlini, L., & Di Toro, G. (2008). Geophysics: Volcanic symphony in the lab. Science, 322(5899), 207-208. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1164545
 Townend, E., Thompson, B. D., Benson, P. M., Meredith, P. G., Baud, P., & Young, R. P. (2008). Imaging compaction band propagation in Diemelstadt sandstone using acoustic emission locations. Geophysical Research Letters, 35(15). https://doi.org/10.1029/2008GL034723
 Benson, P. M., Thompson, B. D., Meredith, P. G., Vinciguerra, S., & Young, R. P. (2007). Imaging slow failure in triaxially deformed Etna basalt using 3D acoustic-emission location and X-ray computed tomography. Geophysical Research Letters, 34(3). https://doi.org/10.1029/2006GL028721
 Benson, P. M., Meredith, P. G., & Schubnel, A. (2006). Role of void space geometry in permeability evolution in crustal rocks at elevated pressure. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 111(12). https://doi.org/10.1029/2006JB004309
 Jones, S., Benson, P. M., & Meredith, P. (2006). Pore fabric anisotropy: Testing the equivalent pore concept using magnetic measurements on synthetic voids of known geometry. Geophysical Journal International, 166(1), 485-492. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-246X.2006.03021.x
 Vinciguerra, S., Trovato, C., Meredith, P. G., Benson, P. M., Troise, C., & de Natale, G. (2006). Understanding the seismic velocity structure of Campi Flegrei caldera (Italy): From the laboratory to the field scale. Pure and Applied Geophysics, 163(10), 2205-2221. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00024-006-0118-y
 Schubnel, A., Benson, P. M., Thompson, B. D., Hazzard, J. F., & Young, R. P. (2006). Quantifying damage, saturation and anisotropy in cracked rocks by inverting elastic wave velocities. Pure and Applied Geophysics, 163(5-6), 947-973. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00024-006-0061-y
 Benson, P. M., Schubnel, A., Vinciguerra, S., Trovato, C., Meredith, P., & Young, R. P. (2006). Modeling the permeability evolution of microcracked rocks from elastic wave velocity inversion at elevated isostatic pressure. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 111(4). https://doi.org/10.1029/2005JB003710
 Vinciguerra, S., Trovato, C., Meredith, P. G., & Benson, P. M. (2005). Relating seismic velocities, thermal cracking and permeability in Mt. Etna and Iceland basalts. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, 42(7-8 SPEC. ISS.), 900-910. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrmms.2005.05.022
 Benson, P. M., Meredith, P. G., Platzman, E. S., & White, R. E. (2005). Pore fabric shape anisotropy in porous sandstones and its relation to elastic wave velocity and permeability anisotropy under hydrostatic pressure. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, 42(7-8 SPEC. ISS.), 890-899. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrmms.2005.05.003
 Benson, P. M., Meredith, P. G., & Platzman, E. S. (2003). Relating pore fabric geometry to acoustic and permeability anisotropy in Crab Orchard Sandstone: A laboratory study using magnetic ferrofluid. Geophysical Research Letters, 30(19). https://doi.org/10.1029/2003GL017929
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- Jan. 2012 to present: Reader in Rock Physics, Rock Mechanics Laboratory, University of Portsmouth, U.K.
- Nov. 2010 to present: Research Fellow, Rock and Ice Physics Laboratory, University College London, U.K.
- Jan. 2010 to Aug. 2010: Postdoctoral Fellow, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
- Sept. 2009 to Dec. 2009: Research Associate (visiting professor), Experimental volcanology laboratory, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat, Munich, Germany.
- April 2005 to Aug. 2009: EU Marie-Curie Research Fellow in rock physics, Lassonde Institute of Engineering Geoscience, University of Toronto, Canada.
- 2004: Ph.D. in Geophysics, Dept. Earth Sciences, University College London, U.K.
- 1998: M.Sc. in Exploration Geophysics (1998), School. of Earth Sciences, University of Leeds, U.K.
- 1997: M.Phys. Physics with Astrophysics (1997), Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Leicester University, U.K.
* Member, NERC peer review college (2012-present).
* Postgraduate tutor (School of Earth Sciences: 2015-2020).
* Editorial board, Tectonophysics (Elsevier). http://www.journals.elsevier.com/tectonophysics/editorial-board/
* Editorial board, Royal Society Open Science. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/rsos/editorial-board/
* Academic co-representative, EPOS board of national scientific representatives for the UK.
See my full ORCID profile here: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2120-3280
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