School of Earth and Environmental Sciences


Photo of Dr Philip Benson

Dr Philip Benson

  • Qualifications: PhD CPhys FGS
  • Role Title: Reader in Rock Physics
  • Address: School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Burnaby Building, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth, PO1 3QL
  • Telephone: 023 92 842255
  • Email:
  • Department: Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Faculty: Science


I specialise in the relatively new discipline of Rock Physics, but with broad and cross disciplinary research interests in areas as diverse as geophysics, volcano-tectonics, and structural geology. My particular focus is to apply modern laboratory rock deformation techniques to simulate active tectonic areas such as deep subduction zones and active volcanoes, recording the induced seismicity that acts as a diagnostic to these deep crustal processes.

Teaching Responsibilities

Rock Mechanics (U20037)

Seismology (U20044)

Applications in Rock Mechanics (U23512)


Specific areas of active research include: 

  • Dyke movement and arrest: how material properties affect the movement of magmas and dyke structures during magma transport.
  • Mechanical properties of  crystal-bearing magma: Seismogenic lavas and eruption forecasting using laboratory AE location analysis and pore fabric characterisation.
  • Forecasting material failure and geological hazard via passive seismicity and attenuation.
  • Coupled Processes: linking Thermal-Hydraulic-Mechanical interactions in the shallow crust to passive seismic signals; Seismic precursors to earthquakes (‘Volcano-Tectonic’ and ‘Low Frequency’ harmonic events).
  • Porous Media & Anisotropy: Investigation of fluid flow (permeability) anisotropy from elastic-wave anisotropy and 3D pore fabric anisotropy.

Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

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