Dr Marco Maffione

Profile photo of Dr Marco Maffione

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Associate Professor in Earth Sciences

Contact details

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

Dr Marco Maffione is a field geologist interested in global tectonics and large-scale tectonics processes operating at plate boundaries, including subduction initiation, ocean spreading, and deformation of orogenic systems. Since 2010 his research has focused on ophiolites, which he investigated in various locations, including Turkey, Cyprus, Albania, Greece, Oman, Canada and Tibet. He specialises in palaeomagnetism, structural geology, magnetostratigraphy, and magnetic fabrics. He is one of the managers for the PUMA paleomagnetic laboratory at Birmingham.

See Dr Marco Maffione's personal website


  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (University of Birmingham)  
  • BSc+MSc in Geology (University of Roma Tre, Rome)
  • PhD in Geophysics (University of Bologna, Bologna)


Dr Marco Maffione teaches on the following topics:

  • Atoms to Volcanoes
  • Earth Materials
  • Structural Geology
  • Earth Structures & Tectonics
  • Igneous & Metamorphic Petrology
  • Introductory Field & Research Skills
  • Spain field course
  • SW England field course


My research revolves around the broad field of tectonics. I investigate large-scale tectonic processes occurring at plate boundaries, including detachment faulting at mid-ocean ridges, subduction initiation mechanisms, the formation of mountain belts, and the origin of ophiolites. I use geophysical (paleomagnetic and magnetic fabric), structural geological, petrological, stratigraphic, and geochemical constraints to perform kinematic and paleogeographic reconstructions and develop tectonic models that can explain how fundamental processes of plate tectonics work.

Other activities

Dr Marco Maffione has participated as operation scientist (paleomagnetist) in two International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) expeditions, the “Izu-Bonin-Mariana Arc Origins” (Exp. 351 – 2014), and “Corinth Active Rift Development” (Exp. 381 – 2018).


Recent publications


Guilmette, C, van Hinsbergen, DJJ, Smit, MA, Godet, A, Fournier-Roy, F, Butler, JP, Maffione, M, Li, S & Hodges, K 2023, 'Formation of the Xigaze Metamorphic Sole under Tibetan continental lithosphere reveals generic characteristics of subduction initiation', Communications Earth and Environment, vol. 4, no. 1, 339. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-023-01007-w

Montheil, L, Philippon, M, Cornee, J-J, BouDagher-Fedel, M, van Hinsbergen, D, Camps, P, Maffione, M, Audemard, F, Brons, B, van der Looij, K & Munch, P 2023, 'Geological architecture and history of the Antigua volcano and carbonate platform: Was there an Oligo-Miocene lull in Lesser Antilles arc magmatism?', Geological Society of America Bulletin, vol. 135, no. 5-6, pp. 1566-1586. https://doi.org/10.1130/B36465.1

Maffione, M & Herrero-bervera, E 2022, 'A relative paleointensity (RPI)-calibrated age model for the Corinth syn-rift sequence at IODP Hole M0079A (Gulf of Corinth, Greece)', Frontiers in Earth Science, vol. 10, 813958. https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2022.813958

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

Maffione, M & Morris, A 2022, 'Timing of Tectonic and Magmatic Events in the Philippine Sea Plate Since 50 Ma From High-Resolution Magnetostratigraphy of IODP Site U1438', Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, vol. 23, no. 10, e2022GC010598. https://doi.org/10.1029/2022GC010598

van Hinsbergen, D, Steinberger, B, Guilmette, C, Maffione, M, Gürer, D, Peters, K, Plunder, A, McPhee, PJ, Gaina, C, Advokaat, E, Vissers, RLM & Spakman, W 2021, 'A record of plume-induced plate rotation triggering subduction initiation', Nature Geoscience, vol. 14, no. 8, pp. 626-630. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-021-00780-7

Cullen, T, Collier, RE, Hodgson, D, Gawthorpe, R, Kouli, K, Maffione, M, Kranis, H & Eliassen, G 2021, 'Deep-water syn-rift stratigraphy as archives of Early-Mid Pleistocene palaeoenvironmental signals and controls on sediment delivery', Frontiers in Earth Science, vol. 9, 715304. https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2021.715304

van Hinsbergen, D, Torsvik, T, Schmid, S, Matenco, L, Maffione, M, Vissers, RLM, Gürer, D & Spakman, W 2020, 'Orogenic architecture of the Mediterranean region and kinematic reconstruction of its tectonic evolution since the Triassic', Gondwana Research, vol. 81, pp. 79-229. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gr.2019.07.009

Mcneill, LC, Shillington, DJ, Carter, GDO, Everest, JD, Gawthorpe, RL, Miller, C, Phillips, MP, Collier, REL, Cvetkoska, A, De Gelder, G, Diz, P, Doan, M, Ford, M, Geraga, M, Gillespie, J, Hemelsdaël, R, Herrero-bervera, E, Ismaiel, M, Janikian, L, Kouli, K, Le Ber, E, Li, S, Maffione, M, Mahoney, C, Machlus, ML, Michas, G, Nixon, CW, Oflaz, SA, Omale, AP, Panagiotopoulos, K, Pechlivanidou, S, Sauer, S, Seguin, J, Sergiou, S, Zakharova, NV & Green, S 2019, 'High-resolution record reveals climate-driven environmental and sedimentary changes in an active rift', Scientific Reports, vol. 9, no. 1, 3116. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-40022-w

Van Hinsbergen, DJJ, Maffione, M, Koornneef, LMT & Guilmette, C 2019, 'Kinematic and paleomagnetic restoration of the Semail Ophiolite (Oman) reveals subduction initiation along an ancient Neotethyan fracture zone', Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 518, pp. 183-196. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2019.04.038

Guilmette, C, Smit, M, van Hinsbergen, D, Gürer, D, Corfu, F, Charette, B, Maffione, M, Rabeau, O & Savard, D 2018, 'Forced subduction initiation recorded in the sole and crust of the Semail ophiolite, Oman', Nature Geoscience, vol. 11, pp. 688-695. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-018-0209-2

McPhee, PJ, van Hinsbergen, D, Maffione, M & Altiner, D 2018, 'Palinspastic Reconstruction Versus Cross-Section Balancing: How Complete Is the Central Taurides Fold-Thrust Belt (Turkey)?', Tectonics, vol. 37. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018TC005152

Maffione, M & van Hinsbergen, DJJ 2018, 'Reconstructing plate boundaries in the Jurassic Neo-Tethys from the East and West Vardar Ophiolites (Greece and Serbia)', Tectonics. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017TC004790

Maffione, M, van Hinsbergen, D, de Gelder, G, van der Goes, F & Morris, A 2017, 'Kinematics of Late Cretaceous subduction initiation in the Neo-Tethys Ocean reconstructed from ophiolites of Turkey, Cyprus, and Syria', Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, vol. 122, pp. 3953–3976. https://doi.org/10.1002/2016JB013821

Maffione, M, Morris, A, Anderson, M, Omer, A & van Hinsbergen, D 2017, 'Rapid fore-arc extension and detachment-mode spreading following subduction initiation', Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 748, pp. 76-88. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2017.08.040

View all publications in research portal