Personal profile



BA in Geological Sciences (University of Cambridge) 1986

DPhil in Marine Geophysics (University of Oxford) 1989

My group


Teaching and administration

Neil currently contributes teaching in Yr 2 Geophysical Techniques (EART20271), submarine channels within Yr 2 Integrated Subsurface Systems (EART20020), field geophysics within Yr 2 Environmental Field course (EART20042), Yr 2 tutorials (EART20050) and two weeks on the Measuring and Predicting module of the MSc in Pollution and Environmental Control (EART60101).  Neil is year 3 coordinator for the geoscience BSc degrees, in the peer review college for the faculty and a member of the faculty Practical Teaching and Learning Group.


Neil is a marine earth scientist. He gained his D.Phil. from Oxford University in 1989 for his work on the tectonic evolution of the Indian Ocean Triple Junction based on GLORIA long-range sidescan sonar. Since then, he has broadened his interests to address a variety of problems concerning the creation of oceanic crust at ridges and subsequent modification by faulting, sedimentation, erosion and growth of volcanic structures as well as coastal geology. The work is based largely on multibeam and sidescan sonar and supported by technical work on sonar data processing and analysis.

Subsequent to gaining his D.Phil. Neil spent two years at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, New York (1990-1991), where he worked on quantifying sidescan sonar and seabed penetration by these instruments, with funding from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. In 1993, following a year working for a company surveying routes for submarine telecommunications cables, he developed seabed classification methods based on multibeam sonar data at the University of New Brunswick. Later in 1993, he returned to the UK to take up a NERC Research Fellowship at Durham University, where he pursued ideas on quantifying sediment accumulation on young oceanic crust, numerical modelling of the Equatorial Pacific sediment deposits and other projects on mid-ocean ridges and triple junctions. In 1996, Neil dived on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in Nautile, the French submersible, as part of a project aimed at understanding how major faults develop at the ridge.

Neil moved to Oxford University and Wolfson College in 1997 to take up a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. There, he worked on a number of problems quantifying ocean floor structures, including the spatial distribution of lithologies at mid-ocean ridges, the geomorphology of rock escarpments and the morphology of volcanic seamounts and islands, including the recently discovered giant landslides of the Canary Islands.

In Cardiff, Neil worked with PhD student Thierry Schmitt on coastal sand banks, as well as on the quantifying the geomorphology of continental slopes and volcanic islands. His teaching included coastal processes and geomorphology as well as hydrographic surveying. Neil also served on the NERC peer review committee for Earth Sciences (2001-2004) and took part in the Royal Society's scheme pairing research fellows with members of parliament, for which Neil worked with Julie Morgan, MP for Cardiff North.

In Manchester, Neil is pursuing a range of research on quantifying and modelling seabed morphology in a variety of settings including continental margins, the Red Sea and around volcanic islands, in particular, the Azores.

Research interests

Marine geology and geophysics - details can be found on Neil's personal web pages at

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Oxford University

Award Date: 31 Dec 1989

Bachelor of Science, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Jul 1986

External positions

Grants panel of the Geological Society, The Geological Society

2015 → …

External examiner, MSc in Applied Marine Geoscience, Bangor University

1 May 20141 Jun 2017

External examiner, BSc in Geophysics with Geology, University of Durham

1 Jan 20131 Jul 2016

Areas of expertise

  • QE Geology
  • marine geophysics
  • marine geology
  • marine geomorphology
  • sonar

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute


Dive into the research topics where Neil Mitchell is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or