Chris is an Exploration Field Geologist, with over 25 years of problem-solving experience working in the Equatorial Tropics of Africa, Arabia and the Caribbean. His research theme is the evolution of African Rift basins from the Neoproterozoic to the modern day East African Rift System (EARS). For the last 15 years, in particular, Chris’ focus has been on the structural evolution and sedimentary dynamics of the Albertine Rift, which is the northern sector of the EARS Western Arm, invetsigating how tectonics and glacial – interglacial driven climatic cyclicity in East Africa together form a coupled dynamo that drives and controls the sedimentary fill of an early continental rift basin. Chris has conducted many geological field surveys and mapping in the Albertine Rift, both in Uganda and DR Congo.
Chris was also Chief Geologist for Dominion Petroleum Uganda, during its hydrocarbon exploration of the Lake Edward basin and has worked with most of the Industry Companies, Government Ministries and Corporations operating across East, Central and West Africa. His field experience in this part of the world has now led in to developing new projects prospecting for precious minerals; in particular, gold, placer diamonds and gemstones such as Tsavorite.
|The famous tree-climbing lions of Ishasha, Lake Edward Rift Basin, Uganda|
Drone photo looking south-west along the edge of the Lake Albert Rift Basin, northern Lake Albert, Uganda
The current major research project that Chris is directing is the ‘Albertine Rift Geosurvey’ (ARGO), for the Petroleum Authority Uganda (PAU). This involves field training and supervising up to 30 PAU personnel, split into 3 Field Teams, undertaking a new geological field survey of key areas within the Lake Albert and Lake Edward rift basins.
Chris specialises in teaching Field Geology which led to winning the Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence, in 2013. He has devised and run many Field Courses and Field Workshops for both University Undergraduates and Industry Geologists.
|Field Workshop in Neoproterozoic carbonates, SW of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, with geologists from the Ministry of Hydrocarbons, Dec, 2015||Measuring the dip of basement foliation, Butagota, SE Lake Edward, with geologists from Petroleum Exploration & Production Department, Uganda|
TCD Lecture modules taught by Chris include:
• Junior Fresh GSU11002/5: A Beginner’s Guide to Planet Earth – Introduction to Geology
• Senior Sophister GLU44010: Hydrocarbon Exploration in Rift Basins
Guest lecture on the Geology of the Albertine Rift, delivered at the University of Kinshasa
Recent Publications and Research Output
C. J. Nicholas (In Review: Publication date, March 2024). Sedimentary Dynamics in the Albertine Rift Valley, Equatorial East Africa. Memoir of the Geological Society London. 850 pp.
C. J.Nicholas (2023). Albertine Rift Geological Excursion Guide to the Pakwach Basin & Murchison Falls National Park, Northern Lake Albert. Petroleum Authority Uganda, Entebbe, Uganda. 38pp.
C. J.Nicholas (2023). Albertine Rift Geological Excursion Guide to the Kaiso-Tonya Area, Southern Lake Albert Basin, Uganda. Petroleum Authority Uganda, Entebbe, Uganda. 34pp.
C. J. Nicholas (2023). Albertine Rift Geological Excursion Guide to the Semliki Area, Southern Lake Albert Basin, Uganda. Petroleum Authority Uganda, Entebbe, Uganda. 30pp.
Ross McCabe, Christopher J. Nicholas, Bill Fitches, David Wray, Tim Pearce (2023). Chemostratigraphic and mineralogical examination of the Kilwa Group claystones, coastal Tanzania: An alternative approach to refine the lithostratigraphy. Journal of African Earth Sciences 197, 104746.
Helen K. Coxall, Tom Dunkley Jones, Amy P. Jones, Peter Lunt, Ian MacMillan, Gayatri I. Marliyani, Christopher J. Nicholas, Aoife O’Halloran, Emanuela Piga, Prihardjo Sanyoto, Wartono Rahardjo and Paul N. Pearson (2021). The Eocene−Oligocene transition in Nanggulan, Java: lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy and foraminiferal stable isotopes. Journal of the Geological Society, London. https://doi.org/10.1144/jgs2021-006
C. J. Nicholas (2021) Gold Concentrations in Vein Ore Samples, Kilima, Rungu-Wamba, DR Congo. Spentech DRC Mines Sarl, Internal Company Report. 17 pp.
C. J. Nicholas (2019) Geological Field Reconnaissance of the Onshore Dahomey Embayment, Republic of Benin. United Oil & Gas, Internal Company Report. 40 pp.
C. J. Nicholas (2019) Tectono-stratigraphic Model for the Evolution of Onshore Republic of Benin. United Oil & Gas, Internal Company Report. 38 pp.
C. J. Nicholas (2019) Petroleum Prospectivity of Pre-Tertiary Play Systems in the Republic of Zambia, Southern Africa. United Oil & Gas, Internal Company Report. 57 pp.
C. J. Nicholas (2019) Exploration & Production Business Plan for Mining Concession 7626, Banalia, Tshopo District, Orientale Province, Democratic Republic of Congo. Origen SA, Internal Company Report. 33 pp.
Hudson, W. E. and Nicholas, C. J. In Review. Stratigraphy of the Mandawa Basin, southern coastal Tanzania. Journal of African Earth Sciences.
Handley, L., O'Halloran, A., Pearson, P. N., Hawkins, E., Nicholas, C. J., Schouten, S., McMillan, I. K., and Pancost, R. D. In Press. Changes in the hydrological cycle in tropical East Africa during the Eocene Thermal Maximum. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.
Nicholas, C. J. and Gold, S. E. P. 2012. Ediacaran - Cambrian Sirab Formation of the Al Huqf region, Sultanate of Oman. GeoArabia, 17 (No 1), p.49-98 (with 2 Enclosures).
Hellawell, J., and Nicholas, C. J. 2011. Acid treatment effects on the stable isotopic signatures of fossils. Palaeontology 54, DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2011.01108.x
Bown, P. R., Dunkley Jones, T., Lees, J. A. , Randell, R. D., Mizzi, J. A., Pearson, P. N., Coxall, H. K., Young, J. R., Nicholas, C. J., Karega, A., Singano, J., Wade, B.S. 2008. A Paleogene calcareous microfossil Konservat-Lagerstätte from the Kilwa Group of coastal Tanzania. Geological Society of America Bulletin 120, 3-12.
Nicholas, C. J., Pearson, P. N., McMillan, I. K., Ditchfield, P. W., Singano, J. M., 2007. Structural evolution of southern coastal Tanzania since the Jurassic. Journal of African Earth Sciences 48, 273-297.
Nicholas, C. J., and Pearson, P. N., 2007. Robert Jameson on the Isle of Arran, 1797-1799: in search of Hutton's 'Theory of the Earth'. In Wyse Jackson, P. N., (ed) Four Centuries of geological Travel: The Search for Knowledge on Foot, Bicycle, Sledge and Camel. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 287, 31-47.
MacGabhann, B. A., Murray, J. & Nicholas, C. J. 2007. Ediacaria booleyi: weeded from the Garden of Ediacara? In Vickers-Rich, P. & Komarower, P. (eds) The rise and fall of the Ediacaran biota. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 286, 277-295.
Pearson, P. N., and Nicholas, C. J., 2007. 'Marks of extreme violence': Charles Darwin's geological observations at St Jago (São Tiago), Cape Verde islands. In Wyse Jackson, P. N., (ed) Four Centuries of geological Travel: The Search for Knowledge on Foot, Bicycle, Sledge and Camel. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 287, 239-253.
Pearson, P. N., van Dongen, B. E., Nicholas, C. J., Pancost, R. D., Schouten, S., Singano, J. M., Wade, B. S., 2007. Stable warm tropical climate through the Eocene epoch. Geology 35, 211-214.
Nicholas, C. J., Pearson, P. N., Bown, P. R., Dunkley Jones, T., Huber, B. T., Karega, A., Lees, J. A., McMillan, I. K., O'Halloran, A., Singano, J. M. and Wade, B. S. 2006. Stratigraphy and sedimentology of the Upper Cretaceous and Paleogene Kilwa Group, southern coastal Tanzania. Journal of African Earth Sciences 45, 431-466.
Pearson, P. N., Nicholas, C. J., Singano, J. M., Bown, P. R., Coxall, H. K., van Dongen, B. E., Huber, B. T., Karega, A., Lees, J. A., MacLeod, K., McMillan, I. K., Pancost, R. D., Pearson, M., and Msaky, E. 2006. Further Paleogene and Cretaceous sediment cores from the Kilwa area of coastal Tanzania: Tanzania Drilling Sites 6-10. Journal of African Earth Sciences 45, 279-317.
Pearson, P. N., Nicholas, C. J., Singano, J. M., Bown, P. R., Coxall, H. K., van Dongen, B. E., Huber, B. T., Karega, A., Lees, J. A., Msaky, E., Pancost, R. D., Pearson, M., and Roberts, A. P. 2004. Paleogene and Cretaceous sediment cores from the Kilwa and Lindi areas of coastal Tanzania: Tanzania Drilling Project Sites 1 - 5. Journal of African Earth Sciences 39, 25-62.
Pearson, P. N., Ditchfield, P. W., Singano, S., Harcourt-Brown, K. G., Nicholas, C. J., Olsson, R. K., Shackleton, N. J., and Hall, M. A. 2001. Warm tropical sea surface temperatures in the Late Cretaceous and Eocene epochs. Nature 413, 481-487.
Evans, S. E., Manabe, M., Cooke, E., Hirayama, R., Isaji, S., Nicholas, C. J., Unwin, D., and Yabumoto, Y. 1998. An Early Cretaceous tetrapod assemblage from Japan. Bulletin of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History.
Nicholas, C. J. 1996. The Sr isotopic evolution of the oceans during the 'Cambrian Explosion'. Journal of the Geological Society, London. 153, 243-254.
Butterfield, N. J. and Nicholas, C. J. 1996. Burgess Shale-type preservation of both non-mineralizing and 'shelly' Cambrian organisms from the Mackenzie Mountains, northwestern Canada. Journal of Paleontology. 70, 893-899.
Nicholas, C. J. 1994. New stratigraphical constraints on the Durness Group of NW Scotland. Scottish Journal of Geology. 30, 73-85.
Nicholas, C. J., Henwood, A. A. and Simpson, M. 1993. A new discovery of early Cretaceous (Wealden) amber from the Isle of Wight. Geological Magazine. 130, 847-850.
Clarke, N. D. L., Nimmo, F. and Nicholas, C. J. 1993. A new occurrence of Scottish plesiosaurian remains from the Island of Skye. Scottish Journal of Geology. 29, 197-199.
Geological Surveys and Reports for the Petroleum Industry (*indicates currently confidential, but available for publication at a later date)
*Nicholas, C. J. 2011. The Onshore Solid geology of Exploration Area 1: Murchison Falls National Park and Pakwach Basin, northern Lake Albert, Uganda.. Tullow Oil Ltd. 57pp (includes A0 1:50 000 geological map sheet).
*Nicholas C. J. 2011. Initial results of a new geological field survey of Block V, southern Lake Edward, Demoscratic Republic of Congo. Soco DRC Ltd. 30pp (includes preliminary 1:100 000 scale geological map sheet).
*Nicholas C. J. and Newth, I. R. 2009. Summary technical evaluation of Exploration Area 4B, Ugandan Lake Edward. Dominion Petroleum Ltd. 125pp.(includes 2 x A0-size 1:100,000 geological map sheets, plus 3 x A0-size Prospect Montages).
*Nicholas, C. J. and Goodwin, N. 2009. Hydrocarbon seeps and slicks in the Lake Edward – Lake George basins, Uganda. Dominion Petroleum Ltd. 100pp.
Nicholas, C. J. and Gold, S. 2008.Field guide to the Sarab Formation of the Huqf: Lithostratigraphic equivalent to the subsurface Ara Group. Internal field guide, Petroleum Development Oman.
Nicholas, C. J., and Abeinomugisha, D., 2008. The Geology of Onshore Block 4B, South-East Lake Edward, Uganda: Initial Report. Dominion Petroleum Ltd. 120pp (includes 3 x A0-size geological map sheets and stratigraphy enclosures).
Nicholas, C. J., 2006. Mandawa Basin geological field survey; preliminary results. Dominion Petroleum Ltd. 20pp. (includes 3 x A1-size 1:50 000 geological map sheets, 1 x A0-size sheet of scale cross sections and 1 x A0-size sheet of stratigraphic correlations).
Nicholas, C. J., 2006. The Precambrian - Cambrian Ara Group in outcrop, Huqf region, south Oman. Exploration Report, Petroleum Development Oman. pp.70.
Nicholas, C. J. 2000. Exploring Geology on the Isle of Arran. Cambridge University Press. 234pp.
Nicholas, C. J., in Evans, S. E. and Manabe, M. 1998.Shokawa Village in the Cretaceous. 2. Shokawa Village, Gifu Prefecture, Japan. 27 pp. [In Japanese].
Robert Mallet: An Ingenious Victorian. A ten panel travelling exhibition for the RDS in 2010 to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth in Dublin of Robert Mallet, 'Father of Seismology'.