My name is Dr. David Gold and I am a geologist specialising in basin analysis, carbonate sedimentology, petrography, and biostratigraphy of larger benthic foraminifera. I have been a full-time geologist since 2008 having pursued a life-long interest in rocks and fossils since I was a child. I have always had a great love for the planet we inhabit, both in terms of earth system processes, extant and extinct life, and how these two interact. I felt the best way to develop my love for Planet Earth was to go to university and find out more about how it worked.
University of Portsmouth 2008-2011
I began studying ‘Palaeobiology & Evolution’ at the University of Portsmouth in 2008. I originally decided to study Palaeontology as when I was a child this was always something that I had wanted to do. I enjoyed learning about the taxonomy and evolutionary histories of many extant and extinct groups of vertebrate and invertebrate organisms. This also led to learning about some of the remarkable adaptations these organisms have through studying their anatomy and the comparative anatomy between organisms is something that still holds my interest to this day.
I soon learned that for fossils to be truly useful a good knowledge of the sediments that house them is required, and thus began my love for sedimentology. In some (most?!) cases the sedimentology of a sample is much more interesting than the fossils it contains. I believe that palaeontology and sedimentology are not mutually exclusive but compliment each other. A good grasp of the environmental preferences of the organisms and the depositional textures/fabrics within the rocks can tell us much about when and where these rocks were deposited, with implications for what the adjacent depositional environments are. Further study of the subsequent diagenetic textures/fabrics of the rock formed after it has been deposited gives insights into what processes the rock has been subjected to as it has been buried, and in some cases brought back to the surface.
I left the University of Portsmouth in 2011 with a First-Class Honours degree, having been awarded the ‘Palaeobiology & Evolution Project Prize’ for my final year dissertation on the ‘Taphonomy and Diagenesis of ammonites from the Whitby Mudstone Formation of the Yorkshire Lias’ which was also nominated for the 2011 BSRG prize in undergraduate sedimentology. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the University of Portsmouth and would recommend it to any potential student thinking about a career in geoscience. I found the lecturers both knowledgable and inspiring, some of whom continue to support and inspire me to this day.
Southeast Asia Research Group (SEARG) 2011-2014
Having left Portsmouth I joined the Southeast Asia Research Group (SEARG) at Royal Holloway, University of London to work on a PhD project based in the little-explored island wilderness of New Guinea. SEARG have a long history of working in many regions of Southeast Asia (including Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and the Philippines to name a few) and has contributed significantly to the present day understanding of the history of this tectonically complex region. This is some feat as the research group is small and projects extend across a wide area, and I feel incredibly privileged to have been a part of it. The research group is funded by a consortium of oil & gas companies and much of the work is conducted closely with industry research interests.
The start of my PhD project was a steep learning curve as I was working on basin analysis that required me to have a good understanding of structural geology, something I had neglected at Portsmouth. But I soon found myself enjoying learning new concepts under the expert tutelage of my supervisor and staff in the Earth Sciences Department of Royal Holloway. My project also enabled me to spend a combined total of 6 months in the dense jungles of New Guinea.
Fieldwork in New Guinea is as challenging as it is rewarding. I feel extremely lucky to have been given the opportunity to spend such a long time in such a beautiful place and meeting some incredible animals and people along the way, as well as being given the responsibility to help with the logistics of conducting fieldwork in the area to industrial clients. I will be posting a lot more about fieldwork in New Guinea on this site in the near future.
By the time I had finished at Royal Holloway I had learned a great deal about structural geology, plate tectonics, and basin analysis, as well as furthering my skills in palaeontology and carbonate sedimentology. This contributed to me becoming the ‘well-rounded’ geologist that (I hope!) I am today. During my time at SEARG I helped established working relationships with the University of Papua (Universitas Negeri Papua or UNIPA) from academic collaboration with the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, and it is rewarding to know that I have left a legacy at SEARG for future and continuing work with UNIPA contributing to the better understanding of the region of West Papua in New Guinea.
I received my PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2014 although I am continuing to publish the results of my research (which I will talk about in future) as part of SEARG and hope to conduct further research in the area in the future. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Royal Holloway and learned much from people who are some of the best experts in their field and who continue to support my work. I would recommend studying at Royal Holloway to any aspiring future geoscientists as a great place to start their academic career.
2014 to Present
I now work as a biostratigrapher and carbonate sedimentologist at a geoservice company in North Wales. We work with a number of industrial clients to produce reports on samples provided to us from exploration and appraisal wells across the globe. The biostratigraphy of samples we are given can be used to date various formations encountered during the drilling process. The sedimentology tells us further information about the depositional and burial history of the samples and their potential usefulness as source or reservoir rocks. My current work has enabled me to expand my knowledge of different places on the planet at different points in time and I enjoy continuing to learn new things on a weekly basis.