Timothy Kearsey Survey geologist and sedimentologist

Dr Tim Kearsey

Survey geologist and sedimentologist
BGS Edinburgh

Tim Kearsey is an expert in 3D geological modelling and Carboniferous stratigraphy and sedimentology. He has developed ranges 3D geological models for Glasgow, Singapore to address problems from hydrogeology to geotechnical properties and geothermal energy. He created the first onshore-offshore Carboniferous stratigraphy in the North Sea and Northern England and the National Quaternary Buried Valleys Map.
He was also involved in the discovery of the first vertebrate to come onto land and continues to have interests understanding of how terrestrial environments have shaped, and been shaped, by the evolution of life.



Timothy Kearsey’s Biography

  • 2009 – ongoing : Geologist, British Geological Survey
  • 2005 – 2009 : PhD University of Plymouth
  • 2001 – 2005 : MSci University of Birmingham, with an international year at the University of British Columbia, Geology


Research interests

  • Sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy
  • Paleosols and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction
  • Geostatistics in 3D geology and lithology
  • Interaction between the evolution of life and terrestrial sedimentology
  • Characterising the controls on Geological Rockhead. Focusing on identifying buried valleys
  • Digital Geological Modelling

Current projects and collaborations

  • 2019 – ongoing: Task lead for the National Geological Model: Deep Earth Model
  • 2017 – ongoing : Creator of National Buried Valleys Map. Identifying the locations of ancient river or subglacial (beneath a glacier) drainage networks across the UK.
  • 2017 – ongoing : Project Leader for GOForth: Geological Observatory Forth
  • 2012 – 2017 : TWEED: setting the trajectory of Tetrapod evolution: NERC-funded consortium project in collaboration with Cambridge, Leicester and Southampton universities and the National Museum of Scotland
  • 2014 – 2016 : 21st Century Roadmap: Palaeozoic project working with DECC, Oil and Gas UK and industry. Role: Stratigrapher and sedimentologist working on the Devon-Carboniferous stratigraphy of the North Sea.
  • 2005 – ongoing : GLS Clyde Basin Project — superficial and coalfield 3D modelling
  • 2012 – 2014 : Assynt Culmination Geological 3D Model
  • 2009 – ongoing : GSI3D and GOCAD stochastic and deterministic 3D model development including creation of 3D models in highly faulted and folded terrains


  • Kearsey, T I, Lee, J R, Finlayson, A, Garcia-Bajo, M, and Irving, A A M. 2019. Examining the geometry, age and genesis of buried Quaternary valley systems in the Midland Valley of Scotland, UK. Boreas, 48 (3).
  • Kearsey, T I, Millward, D, Ellen, R, Whitbread, K, and Monaghan, A A. 2019. Revised stratigraphic framework of pre-Westphalian Carboniferous petroleum system elements from the Outer Moray Firth to the Silverpit Basin, North Sea, UK. In: Monaghan, A A, Underhill, J R, Hewett, A J, Marshall, J E A, (eds.) Paleozoic plays of NW Europe. London, UK, Geological Society, London, 91-113.
  • Bennett, C E, Kearsey, T I, Davies, S J, Millward, D, Clack, J A, Smithson, T R, and Marshall, J E A. 2016 Early Mississippian sandy siltstones preserve rare vertebrate fossils in seasonal flooding episodes. Sedimentology. 10.1111/sed.12280 (In Press).
  • Clack, J A, Bennett, C E, Carpenter, D K, Davies, S J, Fraser, N N, Kearsey, T I, Marshall, J E A, Millward, D, Otoo, B K A, Reeves, E J, Ross, A J, Ruta, M, Smithson, K Z, Smithson, T R, and Walsh, S A. 2016. Phylogenetic and environmental context of a Tournaisian tetrapod fauna. Nature ecology and evolution, 1, 0002.
  • Kearsey, T, Bennett, C E, Millward, D, Davies, S J, Gowing, C J B, Kemp, S J, Leng, M J, Marshall, J E A, and Browne, M A E. 2016 The terrestrial landscapes of tetrapod evolution in earliest Carboniferous seasonal wetlands of SE Scotland. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 457, 52-69.
  • Kearsey, T, Williams, J, Finlayson, A, Williamson, P, Dobbs, M, Marchant, B, Kingdon, A, and Campbell, D. 2015. Testing the application and limitation of stochastic simulations to predict the lithology of glacial and fluvial deposits in Central Glasgow, UK. Engineering Geology, 187. 98 – 112.
  • Kearsey, T, Twitchett, R J, and Newell, A J. 2012. The origin and significance of pedogenic dolomite from the South Urals of Russia. Geological magazine, Vol. 149 (2), 291-307.
  • Newell, A J, Benton, M J, Kearsey, T, Taylor, G K, Twitchett, R J, and Tverdokhlebov, V P. 2012. Calcretes, fluviolacustrine sediments and subsidence patterns in Permo-Triassic salt-walled minibasins of the south Urals, Russia. Sedimentology, 59 (5). 1659-1676.
  • Kearsey, T, Twitchett, R J, Price, G D, and Grimes, S T. 2009. Isotope excursions and palaeotemperature estimates from the Permian/Triassic boundary in the Southern Alps (Italy). Palaeogeograph, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Vol, 279, 29-40.
  • Taylor, G K, Tucker, C, Twitchett, R J, Kearsey, T, Benton, M J, Newell, A J, Surkov, M V, and Tverdokhlebov, V P. 2009. Magnetostratigraphy of Permian/Triassic boundary sequences in the Cis-Urals, Russia: No evidence for a major temporal hiatus. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 281, 36-47.

Published outputs


  • ArcGIS and digital mapping
  • Geological mapping of Palaeozoic and Mesozoic terrains
  • Integrated GSI3D and GoCAD and ArcScene 3D modelling
  • Sedimentary field logging and facies analysis
  • Stable isotope geochemistry
  • Stochastic lithological modelling

Professional associations

  • Urban Geology Expert Group (UGEG) of EuroGeoSurveys
  • Fellow of the Geological Society
  • Member of the British Sedimentary Research Group
  • Member of the Quaternary Research Association

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