Katherine Daniels

Dr Katherine Daniels

Experimental Research Scientist
BGS Keyworth


I am an experienced geologist with a keen interest in understanding dynamical, fluid-driven Earth processes. My research currently focusses on experimental measurement of low permeability materials that can be used as barriers to flow. Specifically, my research aims to understand under what conditions low permeability materials can be used as engineered barrier systems for waste disposal (e.g. radioactive waste, landfill, CO2). I have also worked on underground carbon storage and the interaction between two different fluids in a geological reservoir, using analogue experiments to study the dissolution of CO2 into reservoir brines. Research for my PhD centred on the propagation and emplacement of dykes and how this influences the thermal state of the crust. I am also interested in the deformation of the crust on a number of scales, especially in response to fluid injection, and the resultant fracture patterns. I use computational and experimental analogue modelling of these phenomena, applying observations made in the field and the laboratory with those predicted by models.

Katherine Daniels’s Biography

  • 2015 – ongoing: Fluids Processes Team, within Minerals and Waste, BGS
  • 2013 – 2015: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • 2012 – 2013 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge
  • 2011 – 2011: NERC Policy Internship at the National Assembly for Wales
  • 2008 – 2012: PhD in Earth Sciences, University of Bristol
  • 2004 – 2008: MSci Hons. Geology (1st Class), University of Bristol

Research interests

  • CO2 sequestration; Fluid migration through rocks
  • Rock fracturing
  • Radioactive Waste Disposal
  • Fluid migration through rocks
  • Heat flow; Dyke injection; Plate separation; Rheological behaviour of rocks; Rock fracturing
  • Rheological behaviour of rocks
  • Energy Storage; Hydrogen
  • Hydrogen
  • Dyke injection
  • Plate separation

Current projects and collaborations

  • EURAD – A European collaboration working on safe radioactive waste management (including disposal). This project will develop a robust and sustained science, technology and knowledge management programme that supports timely implementation of radioactive waste management activities
  • Influence of temperature on clay-based material behaviour (HITEC workpackage of the EURAD project) – Improving THM understanding of clay based materials (host rock and buffer) exposed to elevated temperatures (>100°C) for extended durations. The project will evaluate whether or not elevated temperature limits (100-150°C) are feasible and safe for a variety of geological disposal concepts for high heat generating wastes (HHGW)
  • Mechanistic understanding of gas transport in clay materials (GAS workpackage of the EURAD project) – This project will provide data and develop process-level models to improve mechanistic understanding of transport processes in natural and engineered clay materials, including couplings with mechanical behaviour and impact on the clay properties
  • Bentonite Mechanical Evolution (BEACON) – This project will investigate the mechanical evolution of an installed bentonite barrier and the resulting sealing ability of the barrier giving a more detailed understanding of material properties and the fundamental processes that lead to bentonite homogenisation
  • Renewable Energy StOrage in UndeRground CavErns (RESOURCE) – Project to improve understanding of thermal damage and cavern integrity during rapid pressure cycling

ORCID: 0000000219641436

Google Scholar: Katherine Anne Daniels

Twitter: @katdanielsBGS

Key papers

  • Daniels, K A, Harrington, J F, Sellin, P, and Norris, S. 2021. Closing repository void spaces using bentonite: does heat make a difference? Applied Clay Science, 210, 106124, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clay.2021.106124.
  • Daniels, K A, Harrington, J F, Milodowski, A E, Kemp, S J, Mounteney, I, and Sellin, P. 2021. Gel formation at the front of expanding calcium bentonites. Minerals, Special Publication, 11 (2), 215, https://doi.org/10.3390/min11020215.
  • Harrington, J F, Daniels, K A, Wiseall, A C, and Sellin, P. 2020. Bentonite homogenisation in engineered cavities. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, 136, 104535, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrmms.2020.104535.
  • Paluszny, A, Graham, C C, Daniels, K A, Tsaparli, V, xenias, D, Salimzadeh, S, Whitmarsh, L, Harrington, J F, and Zimmerman, R., 2020. Caprock integrity and public perception studies of carbon storage in depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 98, 103057, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijggc.2020.103057.
  • Pegler, S S, Maskell, A S D, Daniels, K A, and Bickle, M J. 2017. Fluid transport in geological reservoirs with background flow. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 8, 536-571, doi:10.1017/jfm.2017.501.
  • Daniels, K A, Harrington, J F, and Jensen, M. 2017. Permeability measurements from a potential deep geological repository site. IHLRWM 2017, Charlotte, NC, April 9-13.
  • Daniels, K A, Harrington, J F, Zihms, S G, and Wiseall, A C. 2017. Bentonite permeability at elevated temperature. Geosciences, 7, 3, doi:10.3390/geosciences7010003
  • Daniels, K A, and Menand, T. 2015. An experimental investigation of dyke injection under regional extensional stress. Journal of Geophysical Research, 120, 2014–2035, doi:10.1002/2014JB011627.
  • Daniels, K A, Bastow, I D, Keir, D, Sparks, R S J, and Menand, T. 2014. Thermal models of dyke intrusion during development of continent–ocean transition. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 385, 145-153, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2013.09.018.
  • Phillips, J C, Humphreys, M C S, Daniels, K A, Brown, R J, and Witham, F. 2013. The formation of columnar joints produced by cooling in basalt at Staffa, Scotland. Bulletin of Volcanology, 75:715, doi:10.1007/s00445-013-0715-4.
  • Kavanagh, J L, Menand, T, and Daniels, K A. 2013. Gelatine as a crustal analogue: Determining elastic properties for modelling magmatic intrusions. Tectonophysics, 582, 101-111, doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2012.09.032.
  • Daniels, K A, Huppert, H E, Neufeld, J A, and Reiner, D. 2012. The current state of CCS: Ongoing research at the University of Cambridge with application to the UK policy framework. Electricity Policy Research Group Working Paper,1228, Cambridge Working Paper in Economics (CWPE),1257, available online at www.eprg.group.cam.ac.uk.
  • Daniels, K A, Kavanagh, J L, Menand, T, and Sparks, R S J. 2012. The shapes of dykes: Evidence for the influence of cooling and inelastic deformation. Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 124; no. 7/8; p. 1102–1112; doi: 10.1130/B30537.1.
  • Menand, T, Daniels, K A, and Benghiat, P. 2010. Dyke propagation and sill formation in a compressive tectonic environment, Journal of Geophysical Research, 115, B08201, doi:10.1029/2009JB006791.


  • Daniels, K A, Harrington, J F, Cuss, R J, and Wiseall, A C. 2019. EURAD: the 2020 work plan for the HITEC work package. BGS Commercial-in-Confidence Report CR/19/086.
  • Kemp, S J, and Daniels, K A. 2019. Thermogravimetric and water activity analyses of bentonite materials for Wood Plc. BGS Commercial-in-Confidence Report CR/19/061.
  • Baryla, P, Bernachy-Barbe, F, Bosch, J A, Campos, G, Carbonell, B, Daniels, K A, Ferrari, A, Guillot, W, Gutiérrez-Álvarez, C, Harrington, J F, Iglesias, R J, Kataja, M, Mašín, D, Najser, J, Rinderknecht, F, Schäfer, T, Sun, H, Tanttu, J, Villar, M V, and Klaus Wieczorek. 2019. Bentonite mechanical evolution – experimental work for the support of model development and validation. Deliverable (D4.1/2) Report, European Commission.
  • Harrington, J F, and Daniels, K A. 2018. Bentonite homogenisation within engineered cavities: the evolution of swelling pressure during bentonite hydration. BGS Commercial-in-Confidence Report CR/18/126.
  • Harrington, J F, Graham, C C, Dobbs, M, Cuss, R J, Daniels, K A, Wiseall, A C, Parkes, D, Paluszny, A, Zimmerman, R W, Salimzadeh, S, Tsaparli, V, Tempone, P, Thomas, R N, Xenias, D, and Whitmarsh, L. 2018. CONTAIN D11: Integrated final results and conclusions. CONTAIN Report D11. BGS Open Report OR/18/023.
  • Daniels, K A, and Harrington, J F. 2017. The Response of Compact Bentonite during a 1D Gas Flow Test. BGS Open Report OR/17/067.
  • Harrington, J F, Daniels, K A, and Tamayo-Mas, E. 2017. Homogenisation on the laboratory scale: development of porewater pressure and stress in bentonite. BGS Commercial-in-Confidence Report CR/17/142.
  • Harrington, J F, Cuss, R J, Wiseall, A C, Daniels, K A, Graham, C C, and Tamayo-Mas, E. 2017. Scoping study examining the behaviour of Boom Clay at repository depths of interest to OPERA. COVRA Report OPERA-PU-BGS523&616.
  • Daniels, K A, Huppert, H E, Neufeld, J A, and Reiner, D., 2012 The current state of CCS: Ongoing research at the University of Cambridge with application to the UK policy framework. Energy Policy Research Group Working Paper, 1228, Cambridge Working Paper in Economics (CWPE), 1257, available online at eprg.group.cam.ac.uk

Conference Proceeding

  • Daniels, K A, Harrington, J F, and Jensen, M., 2017. Permeability measurements from a potential deep geological repository site. American Nuclear Society, 16th International High-Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference (IHLRWM 2017) Proceedings, Charlotte, NC, April 9-13.

Published outputs

  • Full UK Driving Licence
  • Programming languages: MATLAB, C++ (also basic proficiency in Python and Fortran 90)
  • Proficiency in LaTeX
  • Lecturing and fieldwork teaching
  • Basic Welsh language proficiency
  • Outreach and public engagement
  • Civil Service Sports Club Elite Competitors Funding award for representing England at the 2019 Touch World Cup.
  • GERC Early Career Researcher Development Fund award for attending the Clay Conference 2017.
  • GERC Early Career Researcher Development Fund award for attending the International High Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference 2017.
  • UKCCSRC 2013. Early Career Researcher Grant.
  • Staff and Alumni Prize (University of Bristol Earth Sciences) (2006).

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