Dr Mark Coughlan
- Research Fellow
Dr Mark Coughlan is a Research Fellow in the iCRAG geohazards research spoke under the supervision of Dr Mike Long, working in conjunction with Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions Ltd. Mark graduated with a BSc in Geology from University College Cork in 2009. He completed his PhD in Marine Geology in 2014, also from University College Cork, having spent a one-year placement at the MARUM Centre, University of Bremen. Following his PhD, Mark spent three years working for renewable energy developers Gaelectric as a Project Manager in their Offshore Wind Section and as a Project Geologist on the Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) project at Islandmagee. His general research interests include:
- Quaternary history of the NW European shelf:
- Seabed morphodynamics linked to glacial processes;
- Quaternary stratigraphy of the Irish Sea and North Sea.
- Seafloor and shallow sub-seafloor geological characterisation:
- Constraint mapping and site investigation techniques;
- Sediment transport, bedform dynamics and scour impacts;
- Geohazard assessment, including shallow gas and fluid seepage at the seafloor;
- Anthropogenic impacts in the marine environment.
The Climate Action Plan (CAP) 2019 targets at least 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy for Ireland by 2030 with the Offshore Renewable Energy Development Plan (OREDP) identifying a long-term potential of 70 GW of offshore renewable energy (ORE) within 100 km of the Irish coastline. The common challenge in developing ORE is the variable geological structure and dynamics of the seabed. There is a clear need for detailed geological mapping and geotechnical assessments to support the siting of ORE, either through direct developer support or the establishment of offshore development zonation. On this basis, Map-MORE has been set-up to answer the following central research question: What are the key seabed characteristics affecting potential offshore wind deployment in Ireland?
Since 2006 the INFOMAR (Integrated Mapping for the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s Marine Resource) Programme has been mapping Ireland’s seabed, providing key baseline geophysical and geological datasets. However, at present there is a paucity of geotechnical offshore data in Ireland to supplement these datasets and to generate meaningful ground models in order to overcome engineering challenges and prepare impact assessments for ORE development. The Map-MORE project has identified a number of innovative site investigation techniques that can provide reliable solutions enabling technical barriers to be overcome. These include:
- Free-fall Cone Penetration Testing (FF-CPT) and;
- Multichannel Analysis of Surface Waves (MASW).
The Map-MORE project aims to integrate these survey data with the INFOMAR mapping products using advanced techniques to develop “Intelligent Ground Models”, which combine interpreted seismic horizons with geological understanding and acquired CPT data to allow synthetic data to be generated at any location within the investigated area. These models can be calibrated and validated through laboratory testing of samples.
- Postdoctoral Researcher
- Earth Science in Society
- Geohazards and Geoengineering