Dr Carl Stevenson

Dr Carl Stevenson

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Lecturer in Geology

Contact details

Earth Sciences, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Carl Stevenson is a structural geologist with a focus on the emplacement and subsurface distribution of igneous and volcanic rocks. His research uses rock magnetism, geophysics and petrology to determine the large-scale geometry and internal architecture of intrusions and has led to breakthroughs in understanding magma transport and accommodation in the Earth’s crust. This work has earned three academic awards including two best publications and the Geological Society President’s Award.


BSc in Geology, Queens University Belfast
PhD in Earth Sciences, University of Birmingham


Dr Stevenson was born in Northern Ireland and studied geology in Belfast before moving to Birmingham to study for PhD on granite emplacement. He was appointed lecturer in Geology at Birmingham in 2007.

2007-current Lecturer in Geology, GEES, University of Birmingham
2005-2007 Teaching fellow in Earth Sciences, University of Birmingham
2001-2005 PhD Earth Sciences (Birmingham) 
1998-2001 BSc Geology (Belfast)


Dr Stevenson teaches structural geology, geological mapping, field geology and ore geology. He has also been involved in integrating digital technologies into teaching and is part of an international initiative developed by Midland Valley Exploration, Glasgow (www.mve.com). Involving 14 geoscience departments and schools in universities from the UK, USA, Netherlands, Italy and Australia, the initiative aims to enhance 3D visualisation, interpretation and geological mapping in geoscience undergraduates.

Continental Deformation (Semester 1) 

Field Skills II (Semester 1) 

Deformation processes and maps (geological map interpretation, Semester 2) 

Research methods and project planning for geological mapping project (Semester 2) 

Geological Mapping project (coordinator)

Contribution to:

  • Topics in Geology (essay) 
  • Advances in Earth Sciences (essay) 
  • Mapping supervision (Ireland and Spain) 
  • Field Skills I 
  • Mineral deposits: formation, environmental impact and restoration 
  • Advanced projects

Field courses: 

  • Assynt 
  • Bude
  • Pembrokeshire

Postgraduate supervision

Carl Stevenson’s principal research uses rock magnetic techniques to measure very weak or subtle mineral alignment fabrics in igneous rocks. He is a specialist in anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) analysis. This technique can be employed in a number of different settings and Dr Stevenson uses it to detect ‘frozen in’ evidence for magma flow in igneous intrusions from granite plutons to dykes and sills that form the roots of deeply eroded ancient volcanoes. This data can then be used to test theories about how magma travels through the crust and how large igneous intrusions (or fossil magma chambers) are constructed, essentially assessing the volcano plumbing. Dr Stevenson is developing the application of AMS to study the fabrics of glacial sediments. If the sediment and till are frozen to the base of the glacier they will deform much less than if they are not frozen and behave like soft mud. AMS provides a wealth of information including the direction of ice flow and the conditions at the base of the glacier. Dr Stevenson welcomes enquiries from prospective doctoral researchers in his areas of interest.


Dr Carl Stevenson is a structural geologist with a focus on the emplacement and subsurface distribution of geological materials from magma to sediment to salt. His research uses rock magnetism, geophysics and petrology to determine the large-scale geometry and internal architecture of intrusions and has led to breakthroughs in understanding magma transport and accommodation in the Earth’s crust.

Other activities

Admin responsibilities

Geology Programme Leader
Deputy Chair Earth Sciences student-staff committee
Geosystems representative on School Web advisory committee

Other activity

Associate editor, Journal of the Geological Society London
Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group committee
Mineralogical Society Birmingham rep


Geological Society London (Fellow)
American Geophysical Union


Recent publications


Beresford-Browne, A, Jolley, D, Millett, J, Stevenson, C, Watt, S, Raine, R & Carter, E 2024, 'Depositional system and plant ecosystem responses to long-term low tempo volcanism, the Interbasaltic Formation, Antrim Lava Group', Geological Society, London, Special Publications, vol. 547. https://doi.org/10.1144/SP547-2023-75

Lawrence, A, Fowler, M, Kingsbury, C, Knott, T, Mark, D & Stevenson, C 2023, 'Slab failure or slab success? Examining the contributions of crust and mantle to post-subduction magmatism in the Ratagain Complex, NW Scotland', Lithos, vol. 448–449, 107139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lithos.2023.107139

Lawrence, A, Maffione, M & Stevenson, C 2022, 'Mush ado about the Ratagain Complex, NW Scotland: insights into Caledonian granitic magmatism and emplacement from magnetic fabric analyses', Scottish Journal of Geology, vol. 58, no. 1, sjg2021-018. https://doi.org/10.1144/sjg2021-018

Lymer, G, Cresswell, D, Reston, T, Bull, JM, Sawyer, DS, Morgan, JK, Stevenson, C, Causer, A, Minshull, T & Shillington, DJ 2019, '3D development of detachment faulting during continental breakup', Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 515, pp. 90-99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2019.03.018

Magee, C, Stevenson, C, Ebmeier, S, Keir, D, Hammond, J, Gottsmann, J, Whaler, K, Schofield, N, Jackson, C, Petronis, M, O'Driscoll, B, Morgan, J, Cruden, AL, Vollgger, S, Dering, G, Micklethwaite, S & Jackson, M 2018, 'Magma Plumbing Systems: A Geophysical Perspective', Journal of Petrology. https://doi.org/10.1093/petrology/egy064

Anderson, P, Stevenson, C, Cooper, M, Meighan, I, Reavy, J, Hurley, C, Inman, J & Ellam, R 2017, 'A refined model of incremental emplacement based on structural evidence from the granodioritic Newry igneous complex, Northern Ireland', Geological Society of America Bulletin, vol. 130, no. 5-6, pp. 740-756. https://doi.org/10.1130/B31756.1

Schofield, N, Murray, J, Stevenson, C, Holford, S, Millett, J, Brown, D, Jolley, D, Passey, S, Muirhead, D, Grove, C, Magee, C, Hole, M & Jackson, C 2017, 'Regional magma plumbing and emplacement mechanisms of the Faroe-Shetland Sill Complex: implications for magma transport and petroleum systems within sedimentary basins', Basin Research, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 41–63. https://doi.org/10.1111/bre.12164

Fleming, E, Stevenson, C, Fairchild, I, Benn, DI, Petronis, MS & Hambrey, MJ 2016, 'Glacitectonism, subglacial and glacilacustrine processes during a Neoproterozoic panglaciation, north‐east Svalbard', Sedimentology, vol. 63, no. 2, pp. 411–442. https://doi.org/10.1111/sed.12251

Magee, C & Stevenson, C 2016, 'Lateral magma flow in mafic sill complexes', Geosphere, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 809-841. https://doi.org/10.1130/GES01256.1

Fairchild, I, Stevenson, C, McMillan, E, Fleming, E, Grassineau, N, Bonnand, P, Parkinson, I, Halverson, G & Hambrey, M 2016, 'The Late Cryogenian Warm Interval, NE Svalbard: chemostratigraphy and genesis', Precambrian Research, vol. 281, pp. 128-154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.precamres.2016.05.013

Magee, C, O'Driscoll, B, Petronis, MS & Stevenson, C 2016, 'Three-dimensional magma flow dynamics within subvolcanic sheet intrusions', Geosphere, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 842-866. https://doi.org/10.1130/GES01270.1

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Stevenson, C 2018, Structures related to the emplacement of shallow-level intrusions. in Physical Geology of Shallow Magmatic Systems. Advances in Volcanology, Springer.

Stevenson, C 2016, Shape and intrusion history of the Late Caledonian Newry Igneous Complex, Northern Ireland. in Unearthed: impacts of the Tellus surveys of the north of Ireland. Royal Irish Academy, pp. 145.


Schofield, N, Jerram, D, Holford, S, Archer, S, Mark, N, Hartley, A, Howell, J, Muirhead, D, Green, P, Hutton, D & Stevenson, C 2016, Sills in Sedimentary Basins and Petroleum Systems. in Advances in Volcanology. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/11157_2015_17


Greene, S, Antell, G, Atterby, J, Bhatia, R, Dunne, E, Giles, S, Groh, S, Hanson, E, Hilton, J, Knight, H, Kraftl, P, Morgan, E, Rhodes, I, Rockey, F, Singh, S, Stevenson, C, Sun, S, Warren, B, Wheeley, J & Yamoah, K 2021 'Safety and belonging in the field: a checklist for educators' EarthArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31223/x53p6h

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