Researchers at UCD


Marco Fonnesu

Phd Student

School of Earth Sciences
School of Geological Sciences, Marine and Petroleum Office,
University College Dublin, Belfield,
Dublin 4,

Tel: +353857568885


Marco got his bachelor degree cum Laude in geology in the University of Milan in 2008. In December 2011, he was awarded a master cum Laude in sedimentology and basin analysis, also in Milan, with a final project concerning the "physical stratigraphy and facies analysis of a flood-dominated delta system in South-Central Pyrenees (Spain)". After this experience, Marco moved to Dublin to undertake a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Peter Haughton and Prof. William McCaffrey (University of Leeds), founded by the industry consortium Turbidites Research Group. Marco's project focused on hybrid event beds depositional processes, facies trends and distribution in turbidite deep-water systems. The project was mostly fieldwork based, with field areas located in Northern and Southern Italy and Western area. During the PhD time, Marco worked for four months in TOTAL exploration department (Paris, La Defence), on seismic stratigraphy and depositional systems reconstruction of Bengal basin in the Rakhine area. In December 2015 Marco won the HAROLD READING MEDAL of BSRG, for the best peer-review journal publication by a current or recent postgraduate student in the field of sedimentology of stratigraphy. His PhD thesis was submitted the 8th of September 2016 and the viva is scheduled on the 2nd of December. 


Honours and Awards

Year: 2015.
Year: 2014.
Title: SEPM Best Poster Award - AAPG Conference Houston
Year: 2014.
Title: SEPM Travel Grant
Year: 2014.
Title: ENI-SGI Travel Grant for attending the SGI-SIMP Conference 2014 in Milan
Year: 2013.
Title: ENI-SGI Travel grant for attending the GeoSed Conference 2013 in Rome


Association: International Association of Sedimentologists (IAS), Function/Role: Student member
Association: Society For Sedimentary Geology (SEPM), Function/Role: Student member
Association: British Sedimentological Research Group, Function/Role: Member
Association: Societa` Geologica Italiana, Function/Role: Member

Conference Contributions

Fonnesu, M.; Haughton, P.D.W.; Patacci, M.; Felletti, F.; McCaffrey, W.D. (2015) Towards a classification of hybrid event beds. [Oral Presentation], BSRG AGM 2015, Keele (UK) , 21-DEC-15 - 22-DEC-15.
Fonnesu, M.; Haughton, P.D.W.; Felletti, F.; Patacci, M.; McCaffrey, W.D. (2015) Processes, facies trends and lateral variability of hybrid event beds in sand-rich deep-water systems: the North-Apennine Gottero Sandstone (NW Italy). [Oral Presentation], AAPG Annual Convention & Exhibition 2015, Denver (Colorado, USA) , 31-MAY-15 - 03-JUN-15.
Fonnesu, M; Haughton, P.D.W.; McCaffrey, W.D.; Butler, R. (2012) Bed character and high-resolution correlation of sediment gravity flow deposits from the Lago Section (Cilento flysh, Italy). [Oral Presentation], BSRG Conference, Dublin (19th - 20th December 2012), Dublin , 19-DEC-12 - 20-DEC-12.
Fonnesu, M.; Felletti, F.; Haughton, P.D.W.; Patacci, M. and McCaffrey, W.D. (2014) Lateral facies heterogeneity in hybrid event beds and its applied significance: insight from the Cretaceous Paleocene Gottero Sandstone (NW Apennines, Italy). [Oral Presentation], SGI-SIMP Conference Milan (10th - 12th September 2014), Milan (Italy) , 10-SEP-14 - 13-SEP-14.
Fonnesu, M., Patacci, M., Haughton, P.D.W., Felletti, F and McCaffrey, W.D. (2013) Coalesced 3D scours on the base of a hybrid event bed from the Gottero Sandstone, NW Italy. [Oral Presentation], BSRG AGM 2013, Hull (UK) , 19-DEC-13 - 20-DEC-13.
Fonnesu, M., Haughton, P.D.W., McCaffrey, W.D., Davis, C. and Felletti, F. (2013) Lateral variability in hybrid event beds at short length scales: outcrop case studies and applied significance. [Oral Presentation], IAS Meeting of Sedimentology, Manchester, UK , 02-SEP-13 - 05-SEP-13.
Fonnesu, M., Felletti, F., Haughton, P.D.W., McCaffrey, W.D. and Patacci, M. (2013) Bed by bed correlations and lateral variability in hybrid event beds in M.Ramaceto area (Gottero Sandstone, Northern Apennines, Italy). [Poster Presentation], GeoSed Conference, Rome, Italy , 24-SEP-13 - 25-SEP-13.
Fonnesu, M., Haughton, P.D.W., Felletti, F. and McCaffrey, W.D. (2013) Hybrid event beds in the Miocene Cilento flysh and Cretaceous-Palaeocene Gottero fan: insights into short-length lateral facies variability in event bed make-up. [Oral Presentation], GeoSed Conference, Rome, Italy , 24-SEP-13 - 25-OCT-13.
Fonnesu, M., Felletti, F., Haughton, P.D.W., Patacci, M. and McCaffrey, W.D. (2014) The Cretaceous-Palaeocene Gottero Sandstone (NW of Italy): a sedimentological laboratory in which to study event bed heterogeneity. [Oral Presentation], 57th Irish Geological Research Meeting (IGRM) - Dublin 2014, Dublin , 28-FEB-14 - 02-MAR-14.
Fonnesu, M.; Felletti, F.; Patacci, M.; Haughton, P.D.W.; McCaffrey, W.D (2014) Cryptic delamination beneath distal hybrid event beds: evidence for local substrate entrainment. [Oral Presentation], BSRG AGM (21 - 22 December 2014), Nottingham (UK) , 21-DEC-14 - 22-JUN-15.
Fonnesu, M., Haughton, P.D.W., Felletti, F., Patacci, M. and McCaffrey, W.D. (2014) Lateral facies heterogenity in hybrid event beds and its applied significance: examples from the Miocene Cilento flysh and the Cretaceous-Paleocene Gottero Sandstone (Italy). [Poster Presentation], AAPG Annual Convention & Exhibition 2014, Houston (Texas, USA) , 06-APR-14 - 09-APR-14.
Patacci, M., Fonnesu, M., Haughton, P., Felletti, F. and McCaffrey, W.D. (2014) Geometry and map pattern of large, shallow erosional scours beneath an hybrid-like bed: implications for hybrid bed heterogeneity and sandstone vertical connectivity. [Poster Presentation], Reducing Subsurface Uncertainty & Risk through Field-based Studies, London, UK , 04-MAR-14 - 06-MAR-14.


Employer: TOTAL
Position: Internship in the Exploration department of Total (Paris, La Défence)
Employer: Emiliano Mutti - Field trip in Southern Pyrenees basin for ENI Corporate University: basin analysis
Position: Field trip Assistent


Year 2016 Institution: University College Dublin
Qualification: PhD Subject: Sedimentology
Year 2011 Institution: University of Milan
Qualification: MSc Subject: MsC in Geology and Sedimentology
Year 2008 Institution: University of Milan
Qualification: BSc Subject: Degree in Geology




Client: BG Group



Peer Reviewed Journals

Fonnesu M.; Patacci, M.; Haughton, P.D.W.; Felletti, F.; McCaffrey, W.D. (2016) 'Hybrid event beds generated by local substrate delamination on a confined-basin floor'. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 67 :929-943. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Fonnesu, M.; Haughton, P.D.W.; Felletti, F.; McCaffrey, W.D. (2015) 'Short length-scale variability of hybrid event beds and its applied significance'. Marine and Petroleum Geology, (67):583-603. Available Online [DOI] [Details]

Published Reports

Fonnesu, M.; Felletti, F.; Haughton, P.D.W.; Patacci, M., McCaffrey, W.D. (2014) Lateral variability, process and facies tracts of hybrid event beds and their incipient equivalents: a study of the Gottero Sandstone in the Ramaceto area, NW Apennines, Italy. Turbidite Research Group - TRG Newsletter March 2014, University of Leeds. [Details]
Fonnesu, M.; Haughton, P.D.W., McCaffrey, W.D. (2013) The Lago section (Cilento flysh, Italy): insights into lateral facies variability in deep-water system with a mix of hybrid event beds and turbidites. TRG, TRG newsletter. [Details]


Fonnesu, M., Haughton, P.D.W. and McCaffrey, W.D. (2013) Lateral facies transitions in hybrid event beds: outcrop case studies and applications. Presentation [Details]
Fonnesu, M., Haughton, P.D.W., McCaffrey, W.D. (2012) Preliminary high-resolution correlations and facies analysis of Lago section (Cilento flysh, Southern Italy). Presentation [Details]


Research Interests

PhD in deep-water sedimentology (thesis submitted) at UCD University College Dublin four year project founded by TRG (Turbidites Research Group) of Leeds.

Project sponsors: Anadarko, BG Group, BP, ConocoPhillips, Dana Petroleum, Eni, Nexen, OMV, Petronas, Shell, Statoil, Woodside.

Date of beginning: January 2012; Date of submission: 9th September 2016 (including four month suspension for industry internship).

Supervisors: P.D.W. Haughton (UCD Dublin) and W.D. McCaffrey (TRG Leeds). Cooperating with F.Felletti (University of Milan) and M.Patacci (TRG Leeds).

Thesis title: "Hybrid event bed process, facies trends and distribution in deep water turbidite systems"

Overview: Hybrid event beds (HEBs) are a type of deep-water sediment gravity flow deposit comprising a basal clean and/or banded sandstone overlain by a muddier sandy facies emplaced during the same transport event. From an applied perspective, they are important when present in hydrocarbon reservoirs because they can have a significant negative impact on reservoir performance. The research investigates the character, facies tract, flow processes, lateral variability and stratigraphic occurrence of HEBs in a range of sedimentary basins, with a particular focus on the Cretaceous-Palaeocene Gottero turbidite system (NW of Italy), where extensive new field work (more than 5000 m logged) has also generated an improved stratigraphic framework. Main findings are: 1) HEBs shows a marked short-length scale lateral variability which resulting geometry may impact sweep efficiency during hydrocarbon production in HEB-prone reservoirs. 2) HEBs in confined system can be produced by local delamination of substrate. 3) Different types of HEB occur in specific depositional sub-environments of turbidite systems and derive by different mechanisms of mud entrainment. 4) Major controls on HEB formation and distribution at system scale are identified as the type of sub-environment (e.g. fan lobe vs basin plain), flow magnitude and the nature of the substrate (e.g. the presence of muddy inter-lobes and ponded thick mudstone caps that promote delamination).


Recent Postgraduates

Co-supervisor of Marco Carnevale Msc thesis in University of Milan, titled: "Process-Oriented facies analysis in an ancient sand-rich deep-water system: the North-Apennine Cretaceous and Paleocene Gottero Sandstone (NW Italy) in the Mt. Zatta and Mt. Ramaceto area".

Co-supervisor of Marco Carnevale PhD project in University of Milan, titled: " Short length scale hybrid event bed heterogeneity: characterisation and impacts on flow modelling".


Internal Collaborators

Prof. Peter Haughton
Dan Stokes
Arnau Obrador-Latre
Colm Pierce

External Collaborators

Prof. William McCaffrey (University of Leeds)
Dr. Fabrizio Felletti (University of Milan)
Dr. Marco Patacci (University of Leeds)
Prof. Emiliano Mutti (University of Parma)
Dr. Chris Davis (Shell UI-Europe - Aberdeen)