School of Earth and Environment

Taija Torvela Dr Taija Torvela

Lecturer: Applied Structural Geology/Basin Analysis/Seismic Interpretation; Programme Manager: MSc Structural Geology with Geophysics

Telephone number: +44(0) 113 34 36620
Email address:
Room: 9.153

Affiliation: Institute of Applied Geoscience, Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics


I finished my PhD in 2007 at Abo Akademi University, Finland, on the 4D evolution of a crustal-scale shear zone in a Precambrian basement. After my PhD, I worked briefly for Magnus Minerals, conducting exploration in Central Finland, and then for Posiva as a structural geologist. Posiva is the organisation which is responsible for the final deposition of spent nuclear fuel in Finland into a crystalline basement repository. In 2009, I went to University of Aberdeen for a two-year post-doctoral fellowship. There, I was involved in the development of the Virtual Seismic Atlas,, and research projects on structural interpretation of seismic data, mostly from the perspective of the behaviour of the crystalline basement in both extensional and compressional environments, but also worked on deep-water fold and thrust systems.

After Aberdeen, I was appointed lecturer in structural geology and 3D modelling at the University of Helsinki. In Helsinki, I continued with research projects related to deep orogenic processes, specifically synorogenic mid-crustal extension and orogenic collapse, and the usability of seismic reflection data in researching crustal structures. I also continued with ores-related research, investigating the structure and the evolution of a 1.9 Ga volcanosedimentary basin in southern Finland and the associated sulphide mineralizations.

I moved to Leeds in the autumn of 2012. Here, I will continue to pursue my research interests in basement processes and deformation, both in convergent (orogenic) and in basin (extensional) environments, using e.g. seismic reflection data, field mapping, 3D modelling tools, and microanalytics. I'm also very interested in how deformation processes at various scales affect ore mineralisations, and how we can utilise structural geology knowledge in minerals exploration: for example, I'm supervising two PhD projects looking at orogenic gold deposits in the Caledonides of the British Isles and in Newfoundland.

I am the leader of the MSc Structural Geology with Geophysics since 2014, and the co-leader of the Ores and Mineralization Research Group at Leeds.


PhD, Abo Akademi University, 2007

HEA Fellow, ref PR081532, 2015


Geological Society of London, Fellow

IUGS TecTask, , officer and website manager

Research Interests

- Middle and lower crustal structures and processes during orogenesis, and especially behaviour and role of migmatites in accommodating large-scale strains

- Fold and thrust belts/orogenic wedges

- Relationships between geological structures and ore mineralisations, especially orogenic gold

- Behaviour of middle and lower crust during lithospheric stretching/basin formation

- Application of seismic data to the structural interpretation of the crystalline basement

- Investigating possibilitied to enhance basement seismic reflection data by using seismic attributes, to detect sub-kilometre-scale structures

- Integrating field work and geophysical interpretation

- Interpretational uncertainty

Teaching Interests

3D structures, field mapping, geodynamics of the lithosphere, geomechanics, applied structural geology, structural controls of ore mineralization (orogenic gold in particular), seismic interpretation (2D and 3D)

Support duties

Programme leader of MSc Structural Geology with Geophysics

Co-leader of Ores and Mineralization Research Group

Project details

Project title

Structural and mechanical properties of and processes within the migmatitic orogenic middle crust (PhD project; Amicia Lee)

Mineralized veins: how did they get there? A combined physiochemical approach to vein formation (PhD project; Georgian Manuc)

Structural controls of orogenic gold in Northern Ireland and wider implications orogenic gold mineralization models (PhD project; James Shaw)

Impact of faults on fluid flow in microbial and hydrothermal carbonates (PhD project; Dorothy Drayton)

Integration of hyperspectral and potential field data for hydrocarbon exploration in the Middle Benue Trough, Nigeria (PhD project; Ezekiel Yenne)

Structure of the Caledonian Thrust Front in Lapland (CaTFLap)