Photo of Dr David McNamara

Dr David McNamara PhD

Senior Lecturer Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences


Personal Statement

David is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences, and Deputy Director of the Scanning Electron Microscopy Shared Research Facility. David's research and teaching centres on links between structure, stress, mineralisation, and fluid flow and how these geological features and processes effect energy-critical geosystems such as geothermal resources, mineral carbon capture, ore deposits, and geohazards such as slow slip earthquakes.

David completed his undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences from Trinity College Dublin in 2005. From there he went on to complete his PhD at the University of Liverpool in 2009 working to understand the micro-deformation processes of high grade eclogite facies metamorphic rocks in the Italian Alps. After finishing his PhD, David took a position as a research scientist and industry consultant in the Natural Resources Division of the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, New Zealand.

In New Zealand, David developed an expertise in geothermal resource characterisation, borehole image logging, and geomechanical modelling which he used to assist government agencies and energy companies develop geothermal resources in New Zealand, the USA, Nicaragua, and Indonesia. David’s further developed his research in subsurface structure and stress characterisation to become involved in the New Zealand Deep Fault Drilling Program, which drilled the Alpine Fault to understand its structural architecture and assess the earthquake risk of this plate boundary fault. David's research in geothermal subsurfaces also expanded to other aspects on the energy sector, including research on the geomechanics of New Zealand’s petroleum resources, and exploring the role faults play in CO2 capture and storage.

Current research project include understanding the link between stress field variation and slow slip earthquakes at the Hikurangi Subduction Margin in New Zealand, investigating hydrothermal mineral alteration processes at the mid-Atlantic Ridge with the International Ocean Discovery Program, exploring the geomechanical controls of carbon capture, storage and utilisation (CCUS) in the Irish Sea, exploring the potential for mineral carbonation in Ireland and the UK, and identifying fracture sealing mechanisms in energy critical resources such as geothermal reservoirs, CCS reservoirs, critical material resources.

Prizes or Honours

  • Adjunct Professor (Reykjavik University, 2017)
  • Honorary Research Associate (Victoria University Wellington, 2014)
  • Royal Society of New Zealand President’s Award (Royal Society of New Zealand, 2011)
  • Edge Prize (Trinity College Dublin, 2003)

Funded Fellowships

  • IODP 372 & 395C Expedition Shipboard Participation (Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), 2020 - present)
  • IODP 372 Expedition Shipboard Participation (2018 - 2020)
  • Understanding Petroleum Source Rocks, Fluids, and Plumbing Systems (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2015 - 2019)
  • Geothermal Supermodels (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2013 - 2017)
  • Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship (Irish Research Council, 2018 - 2021)
  • iCRAG-GSI Environmental Geosciences Postgraduate Studentship (Science Foundation Ireland, 2018 - 2022)