Department of Earth Science
Master's project - Energy, climate

Structural and geochemical investigation of subsurface basalts; implication for safe CO2 storage

This Master's project will be available from the intake of Autumn 2023. Contact the listed supervisors for more information.

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Project description
Climate change is one of the biggest global challenges in the present day. The changing climate has largely been driven by an unprecedented increase in the amount of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), in the atmosphere. Subsurface CO2 storage, particularly in geological formations, is critical to the success of the carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies targeted at reducing the amount of atmospheric CO2 and potentially reversing the climate change problem. Studies have shown that a range of geological formations can potentially act as CO2 storage reserviors, viz include, (i) sedimentary formations like saline aquifers, depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs, coal beds (conventional reservoirs), and (ii) mafic and ultramafic rocks like basalts (unconventional reservoirs). In the North Sea, although conventional reservoirs for CO2 storage have been extensively studied, unconventional reservoirs like basalts have received far less attention. Consequently, there is a lack of fundamental knowledge of the structural geometry, geochemical and petrophysical properties of basalts in the offshore North Sea volcanic province, and their implication as alternative targets for safe and long-term subsurface CO2 storage in the North Sea.

The proposed project aims to address the above knowledge gaps by using subsurface (seismic reflection, well logs, cores, and drill cuttings) dataset from the North Sea Rift System, and complementary outcrop analogues from Iceland and Faroe Islands, to investigate the potential of rift-related basalts as subsurface CO2 storage reservoirs in the North Sea.

Proposed course plan during the master's degree (60 ECTS):
The course plan will be discussed with the prospective student however, some of the following courses will be strongly recommended:


Thesis work:
Will involve ca. 10 days of fieldwork in Iceland or Faroe Island for structural mapping and sampling, and lab analysis.