Dr David K Muirhead


Lecturer (permanent academic).


Dept Geology and Petroleum Geology, University of Aberdeen, AB24 3UE.
01224 274209

Email address: dmuirhead@abdn.ac.uk

Research interests

  • Response of organic matter to high temperatures
  • Raman spectroscopy of carbon
  • Organic and non-organic interactions
  • Geofluids

Research summary:

Research primarily focused on response of organic matter to high temperatures applied to basin evolution and astrobiology (igneous intrusion, regional metamorphism, atmospheric entry). Recently work has been focused on application of Raman spectroscopy to precambrian shales and microbial fossils, the evaluation of drilled gases through hydrocarbon exploration and application of light gas isotopic analyses of biodegraded oils. All work involves a combination of fieldwork (UK, US), laboratory techniques (petrography, geochemistry) and inter-disciplinary collaboration, especially across academia and industry for technique development, design and deployment.

Grant funding from within the past 6 years:

Co-Investigator of JX-Nippon funded PhD, The Petroleum Systems West of Shetland, £135,000.

Co-Investigator of NERC CDT funded PhD, (Oct 2017 start).

Co-Investigator of OGA funded Rockall Frontier Basins Research, Post-Doc, £250,000.

  • Research publications (2010-2016)
    Muirhead, D.K., Parnell, J., Spinks, S. & Bowden, S.A. Characterisation of Organic Matter in the Torridonian Using Raman Spectroscopy. Geological Society of London Special Publications: Earth System Evolution and Early Life – a Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier. (In press).
  • Nick Schofield, Dougal A. Jerram, Simon Holford, Stuart Archer, Niall Mark, Adrian Hartley, John Howell, David Muirhead, Paul Green, Donny Hutton and Carl Stevenson. Sills in Sedimentary Basins and Petroleum Systems, in Breitkreuz, Christoph, Rocchi, Sergio (Eds.) Physical Geology of Shallow Magmatic Systems (in press). (2015).
  • Schofield, N., Holford, S., Millett, J., Brown, D., Jolley, DW., Passey, SR., Muirhead, D., Grove, C., Magee, C., Murray, J., Hole, M., Jackson, C. & Stevenson, C. (in press). ‘Regional Magma Plumbing and emplacement mechanisms of the Faroe-Shetland Sill Complex: Implications for magma transport and petroleum systems within sedimentary basins’. Basin Research. 2015.
  • Alabi, OO., Edilbi, ANF., Brolly, C., Muirhead, D., Parnell, J., Stacey, R. & Bowden, SA. ‘Asphaltene detection using Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS)’. Chemical Communications, vol 51, no. 33, (2015). pp. 7152-7155.
  • Rowe, MD. & Muirhead, D. (2015). Drilling fluid analysis using time-of-flight mass spectrometry, Patent No. US 20150260035 A1, IPC No. H01J49/26, H01J49/00, E21B49/00.
  • Muirhead D. K., Parnell J., Taylor C., and Bowden S.A. A kinetic model for the thermal evolution of sedimentary and meteoritic organic matter using Raman Spectroscopy. Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis, 96: 2012. pp153-161.
  • Parnell J., Bowden S.A., Muirhead D., Blamey N., Westall F., Demets R.,Verchovsky S., Brandstatter F., and Brack A. Preservation of organic matter in the STONE 6 artificial meteorite experiment. Icarus 212: 2011; pp 390-402.
  • John Parnell, Adrian Boyce, Scott Thackrey, David Muirhead, Paula Lindgren, Charles Mason, Colin Taylor, John Still, Stephen Bowden, Gordon R. Osinski, and Pascal Lee. Sulfur isotope signatures for rapid colonization of an impact crater by thermophilic microbes. Geology, v. 38; no. 3; 2010; p. 271–274.