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Adjunct Associate Professor
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Nick Direen is a Senior Geophysicist at ExxonMobil Exploration Company, currently based in Houston, USA, and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Earth Sciences, and the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. He received his BSc (Hons) and the University Medal from UTAS in 1995, and his PhD from UTAS in 1999, advised by Tony Crawford and Michael Roach.
Nick worked at Geoscience Australia as a research scientist from 1999 to 2002: in the Minerals Division, as part of the Australian Geodynamics CRC program investigating the tectonics and Cu-Au metallogeny of the Lachlan Orogen, and as part of a team investigating the Gawler Craton, Olympic Dam and related IOCG systems; then in the Petroleum and Marine Division as part of the Law of the Sea team defining the limits of the Australian and Antarctic continental shelves. In 2002 Nick was appointed as Lecturer in Geophysics and Tectonics at the University of Adelaide, where he was CI on two major ARC Linkage grants to investigate the Musgrave and Gawler provinces of SA, as well as running a research program on southern hemisphere rifted margins. Nick joined consulting group FrOG Tech as a structural geologist in 2006, and then worked worldwide with the upstream petroleum industry. He remained an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at U Adelaide until 2011, and was made an Honorary Associate at UTAS in 2008. He joined ExxonMobil in April 2013.
Nick was awarded the 2003 Stillwell Medal of the Geological Society of Australia (with Emeritus Professor Tony Crawford), the Howchin Medal of the SA Division of GSA, and an Early Career Researchers Fellowship from the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2004. He has also been nominated twice (2008, 2009) for the ENI New Frontiers of Hydrocarbons Prize by the Fondazione ENI Enrico Mattei for his research on volcanic rifted margins, and again for the Stillwell Medal in 2009. Nick was President of the ACT ASEG in 2000-2002, Chair of the GSA SA Division in 2007, and Chair of the GSA Tasmanian Division in 2008-2010.
Nick has an international reputation for his successes in unravelling the crustal architecture of basins and fold belts by integrating structural geology, seismic reflection, gravity and magnetic datasets, which have led to the recognition of major new hydrocarbon resources in Argentina and India, and discovery of new basins in all continents. He is also well known for his work on Antarctica and the Indian Ocean tectonic evolution, and for breakthroughs in onshore Australian geology in sediment-covered regions.
Nick's research at UTAS is funded by the ARC, and a private foundation, and focuses on Antarctica and rifted continental margins. Nick's research involves collaborations with a number of leading institutions in Spain, France, the UK and the USA. This fundamental research has challenged existing paradigms for how continents actually break up - and the profound consequences of this for petroleum exploration.
Authorised by the Head of School, Physical Sciences
29 May, 2015