I am a structural geologist interested in the deformation of the Earth’s upper crust with a particular interest in fault and fracture networks and active tectonics. My research combines classic structural observations with modern analytical techniques using field studies as well as geophysical and remote sensing datasets (multibeam bathymetry, LiDAR, 2D/3D seismic reflection data, aerial photography, satellite imagery etc.). Current research themes include:
- Growth and development of fault networks;
- Topological characterisation and fluid flow in fracture and fault networks;
- Evolution and development of basins and rift systems;
- Interaction between magmatic and tectonic processes in active rift systems;
- Seismogenic hazard assessment;
- Application and use of GIS and Geophysical datasets as a tool for structural geology and tectonics.
- 2019. Tipping the balance: Shifts in sediment production in an active rift setting. Geology. 259-262.
- 2019. Spatial distribution of damage and strain within a normal fault relay at Kilve, UK. Journal of Structural Geology. 194-209.
- 2019. High-resolution record reveals climate-driven environmental and sedimentary changes in an active rift. Scientific Reports.
- 2018. Topology, connectivity and percolation in fracture networks. Journal of Structural Geology. 167-177.
- 2018. NetworkGT: A GIS tool for geometric and topological analysis of two-dimensional fracture networks. Geosphere. 1618-1634.
- 2018. High-angle, not low-angle, normal faults dominate early rift extension in the Corinth Rift, central Greece. Geology. 115-118.
- 2018. Graph theory and the analysis of fracture networks. Journal of Structural Geology.
- 2018. Earthquake clustering and energy release of the African?Arabian rift system. Bulletin of The Seismological Society of America (BSSA). 155-162.
- 2018. Are landscapes buffered to high-frequency climate change? A comparison of sediment fluxes and depositional volumes in the Corinth rift, central Greece, over the past 130 k.y. Geological Society of America Bulletin.
- 2017. The topology of evolving rift fault networks: Single-phase vs multi-phase rifts. Journal of Structural Geology. 192-202.
- 2017. Quantifying structural controls on fluid flow: Insights from carbonate-hosted fault damage zones on the Maltese Islands. Journal of Structural Geology. 43-57.
- 2017. Interacting faults. Journal of Structural Geology. 1-22.
- 2017. Inclusion of Topological Measurements into Analytic Estimates of Effective Permeability in Fractured Media. Water Resources Research. 9424-9443.
- 2017. Changes of scaling relationships in an evolving population: The example of "sedimentary" stylolites. Journal of Structural Geology. 118-133.
- 2016. Topological characteristics of simple and complex normal fault networks. Journal of Structural Geology. 68-84.
- 2016. Rapid spatiotemporal variations in rift structure during development of the Corinth Rift, central Greece. Tectonics. 1225-1248.
- 2016. Glossary of fault and other fracture networks. Journal of Structural Geology. 12-29.
- 2018. Outcrop fracture characterization for geothermal reservoirs: challenges in optimizing inputs for reservoir models.
Dimmen, V., Rotevatn, R., Peacock, D.C.P., Nixon, C.W., Nærland, K., 2017. Quantifying structural controls on fluid flow: insights from carbonate-hosted fault damage zones on the Maltese Islands. Journal of Structural Geology 101, 43-57.
Peacock, D.C.P., Nixon, C. W., Rotevatn, A., Sanderson, D.J., 2017. Interacting faults. Journal of Structural Geology 97, 1-22.
Duffy, O.B., Nixon, C. W., Bell, R.E., Jackson, C.A-L., Gawthorpe, R.L., Sanderson, D.J., Whipp, P.S., 2017. Topology of evolving rift fault networks: Single-phase vs multi-phase rifts. Journal of Structural Geology 96, 192-202.
Peacock, D.C.P., Korneva, I., Nixon, C.W., Rotevatn, A. 2017. Changes of scaling relationships in an evolving population: The example of “sedimentary” stylolites. Journal of Structural Geology 96, 118-133.
Peacock, D.C.P., Nixon, C. W., Rotevatn, A., Sanderson, D.J., Zuluaga, L.F., 2016. Glossary of fault and fracture networks. Journal of Structural Geology, 92, 12-29.
Nixon, C.W., McNeill, L.C., Bull, J.M., Bell, R., Gawthorpe, R., Henstock, T., Christodoulou, D., Ford, M., Taylor, B.,Sakellariou, D., Ferentinos, G., Papatheodorou, G., Leeder, M., Collier, R., Goodliffe, A., Sachpazi, M., Kranis, H., 2016. Rapid spatiotemporal variations in rift structure during development of the Corinth Rift, central Greece. Tectonics, 35, 1225-1248.
Morley, C.K. & Nixon, C.W., 2016.Topological characteristics of simple and complex normal fault networks. Journal of Structural Geology, 84, 68-84.
Ayele, A., Ebinger, C.J., van Alstyne, C., Keir, D., Nixon, C.W., Belachew, M., Hammond, J.O.S, 2015. Seismicity and the Tendaho Dam safety, Afar (Ethiopia): risk implications for downstream population. Geol. Soc. London. Spec. Publ., 420.
Sanderson, D.J. & Nixon, C.W., 2015. The use of topology in fracture network characterization. Journal of Structural Geology, 72, 55-66.
McNeill, L.C., Sakellariou, D., Nixon, C.W., 2014. Drilling to resolve the evolution of the Corinth Rift. Eos Transactions. 29, 170.
Nixon, C.W., Sanderson, D.J., Bull, J.M., 2014. Localized vs distributed deformation associated with an active normal fault, Whakatane, New Zealand. Journal of Structural Geology 69, 266-280.
Nixon, C.W., Sanderson, D.J., Dee, S., Bull, J.M., Humphreys, R., Swanson, M., 2014. Fault interactions and reactivation within a normal fault network at Milne Point, Alaska. AAPG Bulletin. 98(10), 2081-2107.
Nixon, C.W., Sanderson, D.J., Bull, J.M. 2012. Analysis of a strike-slip fault network using high resolution multibeam bathymetry, offshore NW Devon U.K.. Tectonophysics, 541-543, 69-80.
Nixon, C.W., Sanderson, D.J., Bull, J.M. 2011. Deformation within a strike-slip fault network at Westward Ho!,Devon U.K.: Domino vs conjugate faulting. Journal of Structural Geology, 33, 833-843.
The Corinth Active Rift Development Expedition is planned and conducted by the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling Science Operator (ECORD-ESO) as part of the International Ocean Discovery Programme (IODP). The project aims to address key scientific questions related to continental rifting through drilling the offshore syn-depositonal sedimentary sequence of the offshore Corinth Rift, Greece. The Corinth Rift has been forming over the last 5 million years and is a rare example of continental rifting in its initial stages of development. The main active rift today (1.5-2.5 million years old) has a closed drainage system, high sedimentation rates and high extension rates. This makes it an ideal natural laboratory to examine early rift development and how the landscape responds to tectonic and climate forcing factors. Furthermore, with high rates of extension and sedimentation, it may be possible to gain an insight into the rifting process with unprecedented resolution in both space (1-10’s kms) and time (20-50 thousands of years). The key scientific questions revolve around the following themes:
- Structural Evolution - how does the rift actually evolve and grow and over what timescale and at what rate? How does the activity on faults change with time?
- Surface Processes – how does the development of the rift and movement on the faults modify the movement of sediments into the rift? How does the landscape respond to the rift tectonic changes and regional and global climatic changes?
- Natural Hazards – as one of the most seismically active areas in Europe, what are the implications for earthquake activity in this and other developing rift?
- Paleoclimate reconstruction – what was the climate in the Eastern Mediterranean like in the past? Can we reconstruct high-resolution records for past environments and climates from the sediments deposited within the rift?
This is a VISTA project, led by myself, funded by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in association with Statoil. The project aims to investigate and characterise normal fault networks in different rift basins at a range of scales, using novel topological concepts, and to examine the geological factors that control the evolution and spatial variation in network topology. The research will greatly improve topological analyses and understanding of fault network growth, development and connectivity, hence, greatly improving our knowledge of brittle deformation in the Earth's Crust. This research is directly applicable to hydrocarbon exploration and production as it relates to the geometry and size of structural traps and trap compartmentalisation, and it also relates to fault connectivity and structural controls on fluid flow at both geological and production time-scales. The projects specific objectives are:
- Characterising the temporal and spatial development of topology at a range of scales;
- Understanding the impact of fault segment growth, interaction and linkage within a normal fault network on the evolution of network topology and connectivity;
- Investigating the controlling influence of strain rate and pre-existing structure on the spatial variability of topology, focusing on the comparison of single-phase vs multiphase rifting;
- Establishing a classification system based on topology of different fault networks;
- Developing 3-dimensional topology as a tool for analysing normal fault networks and assessing fault connectivity, clustering and compartmentalisation within networks.
The ANIGMA project is focussed on developing and integrating analysis of fault and fracture networks into fluid flow models and simulations with particular reference to fractured geothermal reservoirs. We are working closely with applied mathematicians to produce much improved fluid flow models and realistic reservoir models using field-based analogues. An important aspect of this geological-mathematical approach is the integration of topology and other fracture network properties that characterise and assess connectivity within networks.