Staff profile

Dr Jordan Phethean

Lecturer in Earth Sciences


Earth Sciences, Environmental Science


College of Science and Engineering


School of Science

Research centre

Zero Carbon Nature Based Solutions Research Centre




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



As an Earth Sciences Lecturer within the School of Science, I dedicate myself to excellence in teaching and research across a diverse range of Earth and Environmental Science topics.

I bring my world-leading research into the classroom to inspire the next generation, unravelling the enigmatic tectonic origins of Iceland (the world's lost 8th continent!) and teaching students to model ultra-deep aquifer systems to secure drinking water for future generations - just as I do for the €1,000,000 Horizon Europe RESCUE research project.

Teaching responsibilities

I teach on a wide range of modules for our BSc Earth Sciences, BSc Environmental Sustainability, and MSc GeoEnergy degree programmes, including:

I also supervise student research projects at BSc, MSc and PhD level.

In my strive for teaching excellence, I enjoy actively engaging in pedagogic research, which is currently focused on 'digital learning tools in the field'.

Research interests

My primary research areas include ultra-deep groundwater resources and plate tectonic theory. With a strong background in Earth sciences, geophysics, and numerical geodynamics, I am able to investigate Earth and environmental problems using a multi-disciplinary approach. Many of my current research projects are of interest to society, industry, and academia, including:

Whilst some of my research also addresses ongoing humanitarian crises:

Further research interests include:

My specific expertise includes: numerical groundwater simulations, plate tectonic modelling, gravity and potential field data, continental margin development, reflection seismics, GIS, geodynamic modelling, and structural geology.

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

  • Phethean, J.J.J., Peace, A.L., 2024. Dry ocean formation: Might some SDRs represent post-breakup non-classical oceanic crust? EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria
  • Longley, L., Phethean, J.J.J., Heron, P., 2024. Deciphering the Role of Plate Motion Changes and Inherited Structures in Mega-Transform Fault Development Using Geodynamic Numerical Models. EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria
  • Phethean, J. J. J., Papadopoulou, M., Peace, A. L., van Hunen, J., 2023 (Oral): Downwelling dense mantle residues and hotspot magmatism. EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria
  • Peace, A., Phethean, J.J.J., Li, Yang, Foulger, G.R., 2023. Iceland: mantle plume or microcontinent? A zircon study. EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria
  • Peace, A., Phethean, J.J.J., Li, Yang, Foulger, G.R., 2023. Deformable plate modelling of the NE Atlantic: Insights into the Iceland microcontinent and a continental Greenland-Iceland-Faroe Ridge. Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A
  • Ivanov, A.V., Foulger, G.R., Phethean, J.J.J., Pisarevsky, S.A., 2023. Wet melt ponding beneath thick lithosphere may explain continental flood basalt provinces. International Dyke Conference, Marrakesh, Morocco
  • Peace, A., Foulger, G.R., Rimando, J. and Phethean, J.J.J., 2023. The not-so-Great Meteor Hotspot cannot explain Eastern Canada seismicity. GeoCongress, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Peace, A., Schiffer, C., Jess, S., Phethean, J.J.J., 2022. Fault reactivation and halokinesis: an example from the Penobscot 3D seismic volume, offshore Nova Scotia, Canada. EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria
  • Foulger, G.R., Nikishin, A., Rodina, E., Startseva, K., Gernigon, L., Geoffroy, L., Phethean, J.J.J., Chernykh. A., 2022. The Arctic and NE Atlantic Realms: A comparison. EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria
  • Phethean, J.J.J., 2021 (Oral). Making microcontinents: Cleaving crust or partitioning by plume. Comparison of Opening Ocean Basins: North Atlantic & Western Pacific Marginal Seas international workshop series. Online
  • Peace, A., Schiffer, C., Jess, S., Phethean, J.J.J., 2021. Depth-dependent inversion of normal faults: Structural analysis of the Penobscot 3D seismic volume, offshore Nova Scotia. EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria
  • Longley, L., Martin, L., Satchwell, B., Tomlinson, L., Phethean, J.J.J., 2021. Microcontinent cleaving and enigmatic proto subduction events (?): The role of transpressional transforms in plate tectonics of the Indian and North Atlantic Oceans. EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria
  • Peace, A.L., Cadenas Martinez, P., Farangitakis, G.P., Phethean, J.J.J., Watremez, L., 2020. Structural inheritance and evolving rift kinematics in transform and oblique rift systems: A comparison of global examples. EGU General Assembly, Sharing Geoscience Online
  • Phethean, J.J.J., Chamberlain, K.J., Boulay, A., McLennan, L.J., Watson, A.P., 2019. Pedagogy of structural measurements in the field: A comparison of the compass clinometer vs digital field work apps on learning and retention for male and female students. AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, California, US
  • Phethean, J.J.J., Peace, A., Franke, D., Foulger, G., Schiffer, C., Welford, J.K., McHone, G., Rocchi, S., Schnabel, M., Doré, A., 2019. Pangaea dispersal and Large Igneous Provinces: Cause or effect? AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, California, US
  • Watson, A.P., Phethean, J.J.J., 2019. Clues of a Cryptic Collapse: New extension indicators identified from the Early Ordovician margin of Avalonia constrained as post Penobscotian Orogenic collapse. AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, California, US
  • Phethean, J.J.J., McCaffrey, K., Kalnins, L., van Hunen. J., 2019 (Oral). Plates Pushing Back: An example of lithospheric control over plate kinematics during Gondwana dispersal. EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria
  • Phethean, J.J.J., Peace, A.L., 2019 (Invited poster). Deformable plate tectonic models of Mesozoic continental breakup and transform system development in East Africa. EGU General Assembly, Vienna, Austria

Experience in industry

My PhD research was Sponsored by ENI, one of the 7 global energy supermajor corporations. During this project I worked closely with ENI, frequently visiting their head offices in Milan (Italy) for knowledge exchange and data interpretation.

International experience

Alongside working with many international research partners from Italy, Norway, Canada, France, China, Malta, Germany, and the USA as part of the RESCUE and ICE projects, I also undertake frequent remote research fieldwork campaigns in Iceland, Greenland, and elsewhere around the globe.

Additional interests and activities

In addition to presenting my research at conferences, as a research leader in my field I also convene and chair conference sessions:

Furthermore, I serve as Topical Editor for the following journal special issues:

Recent publications