Blending Geoscience Research with Machine Learning

Who we Are

We are the John Lab, a research group led by Professor Cédric John and hosted in the Digital Environment Research Institute (DERI) at Queen Mary University of London. At DERI, Professor John leads the Data Science for the Environment and Sustainability Research Platform, one of four key research directions for the institute. Before joining DERI, the group was based for nearly 16 years in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London.

Our research approach blends machine learning and AI with cutting edge field and experimental methods in Earth and Planetary Sciences. The Digital Environment Research Institute is the centre of digital, data science, and AI research at Queen Mary and it underpins the university’s vision for its research Strategy 2030. For us, DERI is the perfect home for an interdisciplinary team working on scientific machine learning applied to environmental and Earth Science problems.

DERI and Queen Mary University of London are affiliated with the Alan Turing Institute.

Testimonials

Hear what former members of the lab have to say about their time with us.

Sarah Robinson (PhD Student, 2019-2022)

Sarah Robinson (PhD Student, 2019-2022)

“Over the course of my time with John’s Lab I have benefited from a strong and diverse group of peers. I have gained knowledge in not only my own field, but the fields of my peers through discussions in bi-weekly lab meetings. I will miss working within John’s lab as I move onto my next chapter.”
Tobias Kluge (Postdoc, 2012-2015)

Tobias Kluge (Postdoc, 2012-2015)

Research topics in the John lab are at the cutting edge of the respective field and provided me a fascinating insight in current scientific developments. They were a strong motivation for my own research. A vibrant and motivated research group inspired exciting project ideas and enabled thorough scientific discussions.”
Qi Adlan (PhD Student, 2019-2022)

Qi Adlan (PhD Student, 2019-2022)

“Working in John Lab makes me feel engaged and valued. Cedric is very knowledgeable and kind — he helped me reach my full potential to become an independent researcher.”
Adhipa Herlambang (PhD Student, 2018-2021)

Adhipa Herlambang (PhD Student, 2018-2021)

“It was a great honor to be part of the amazing John Lab. Participating in the clumped isotope lab during my Ph.D. was an immensely satisfying experience in many ways. It allowed me to develop a series of learning experiences in a very friendly atmosphere.”
Marta Marchegiano(Postdoc, 2019-2021)

Marta Marchegiano(Postdoc, 2019-2021)

“I did my first postdoc at John lab where I learnt about the clumped isotope technique. Cédric is a very thoughtful and knowledgeable supervisor, he always took the time to teaching me about this exciting thermometer. Thanks to his enthusiasm I became very passionate about carbonate geochemistry and this experience was an important stepping stone for my future career. “
John MacDonald (Postdoc, 2013-2015)

John MacDonald (Postdoc, 2013-2015)

“I had a great time working in the John Lab. Cedric was a fantastic mentor to me as a postdoc, and he really helped me in getting to my current career stage as a Senior Lecturer in Earth Sciences at the University of Glasgow.”
Niranjana Sundararajan (MSc Student, 2022)

Niranjana Sundararajan (MSc Student, 2022)

“Working on my MSc thesis with Cedric as my supervisor was the most interesting, productive and challenging part of my academic experience at Imperial. Cedric is an excellent supervisor-  providing constant support, direction and the encouragement necessary to reach research goals.”
Annabel Dale (PhD Student, 2011-2015)

Annabel Dale (PhD Student, 2011-2015)

“Cedric was great to work with as a supervisor for my PhD and afterwards whilst co-supervising a PhD student. His enthusiasm and good instinct for interesting science, means that working in the John lab is an excellent place to learn and develop research skills.”

research Highlights

We have two main research themes: Applied Artificial Intelligence for Earth and Space Sciences (we call it Earth-Centric AI) and Carbonate Research. You can also find about our publications and the software and data stemming from our research.

AI Research

Our group applies data-centric machine learning techniques to Earth and planetary sciences, leading to innovative approaches for analyzing and interpreting data in these fields.

Carbonate Research

Our research in carbonates focuses on the processes involved in their formation and alteration, and how these processes impact the geochemistry and stratigraphy of carbonate rocks.

Publications

Our group has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers in a variety of fields, including clumped isotopes, carbonate diagenesis, climate change, stratigraphy, AI and machine learning.

Software and Data

Our research has led to the development of free software tools that have been widely used by researchers in our fields. These tools have made it easier to analyze and interpret data..

Spotlight on our Papers:

Community software for challenging isotope analysis: First applications of ‘Easotope’to clumped isotopes
Community software for challenging isotope analysis: First applications of ‘Easotope’to clumped isotopes

The measurement of complex isotope systems, notably the multiply substituted isotopologues of CO2 derived from carbonates, is challenging from a mass spectrometric point of view, but it is also time consuming and difficult from a data reduction and normalization perspective.…

From early contraction to post-folding fluid evolution in the frontal part of the Bóixols thrust sheet (southern Pyrenees) as revealed by the texture and geochemistry of …
From early contraction to post-folding fluid evolution in the frontal part of the Bóixols thrust sheet (southern Pyrenees) as revealed by the texture and geochemistry of …

Structural, petrological and geochemical (δ13C, δ18O, clumped isotopes, 87Sr/86Sr and ICP-MS) analyses of fracture-related calcite cements and host rocks are used to establish a fluid-flow evolution model for the frontal part of the Bóixols thrust sheet (Southern Pyrenees). Five fracture…

Physicochemical Conditions of the Devonian-Jurassic Continental Deep Biosphere Tracked by Carbonate Clumped Isotope Temperatures of Granite-Hosted Carbonate Veins
Physicochemical Conditions of the Devonian-Jurassic Continental Deep Biosphere Tracked by Carbonate Clumped Isotope Temperatures of Granite-Hosted Carbonate Veins

Previous studies have shown that microorganisms thrive in oligotrophic fracture systems, and metabolisms include consumption and production of methane. In the Laxemar, Götemar, and Forsmark areas of Sweden, ancient microbial activity has previously been demonstrated by large δ13CVPDB variability of carbonate vein…

Clumped isotope record of individual limestone fabrics: A potential method to constrain the timing of oil migration
Clumped isotope record of individual limestone fabrics: A potential method to constrain the timing of oil migration

This study applied clumped isotope analyses to investigate how different limestone components (larger skeletal grains and enclosing matrix) and cements may have varying degrees of susceptibility to recrystallization during progressive burial. The results also provide new constraints on the temperatures…

Mixed carbonate-siliciclastic record on the North African margin (Malta)—coupling of weathering processes and mid Miocene climate
Mixed carbonate-siliciclastic record on the North African margin (Malta)—coupling of weathering processes and mid Miocene climate

We investigated rock outcrops spanning the middle Miocene, global climate-cooling step on the Maltese Islands in order to reconstruct continental weathering rates and terrigenous fluxes, as well as to explore the coupling between these later, regional climate and carbonate accumulations.…

Combining clumped isotope and trace element analysis to constrain potential kinetic effects in calcite
Combining clumped isotope and trace element analysis to constrain potential kinetic effects in calcite

The field of clumped isotope paleothermometry is over a decade old, but the influence of precipitation rate on the fractionation of clumped isotopes between natural carbonates and their environmental solutions remains unclear. Here we apply two different proxies, carbonate clumped…

Interaction of stratigraphic and sedimentological heterogeneities with flow in carbonate ramp reservoirs: impact of fluid properties and production strategy
Interaction of stratigraphic and sedimentological heterogeneities with flow in carbonate ramp reservoirs: impact of fluid properties and production strategy

Septarian carbonate concretions contain carbonate precipitated during progressive growth of the concretion and subsequent fracture-filling. As such, they have been used to track variations in _13C and _18O of pore waters during diagenesis and to define diagenetic zones in clastic…

Geostatistical modelling of cyclic and rhythmic facies architectures
Geostatistical modelling of cyclic and rhythmic facies architectures

A Pluri-Gaussian method is developed for facies variables in three dimensions to model vertical cyclicity related to facies ordering and rhythmicity. Cyclicity is generally characterised by shallowing-upward or deepening-upward sequences and rhythmicity by the repetition of facies at constant intervals…

Influence of climate and dolomite composition on dedolomitization: insights from a multi-proxy study in the central Oman Mountains
Influence of climate and dolomite composition on dedolomitization: insights from a multi-proxy study in the central Oman Mountains

Dedolomitization is an important diagenetic process that can yield information on the history of paleo-fluids in a given aquifer or outcrop, and by extension it offers a window into past hydrologic conditions. Dedolomitization is also relevant economically as it can…

Benthic foraminiferal biotic events related to the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum along the California margin
Benthic foraminiferal biotic events related to the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum along the California margin

The faunal expression of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) is well documented in deep-sea sediments. However, few studies have examined continental margin sections, especially active margins. The Moreno and Lodo formations, Central California, were deposited along the eastern margin of…

The response of heterozoan carbonate systems to Paleoceanographic, climatic and eustatic changes: a perspective from slope sediments of the Marion Plateau (ODP Leg 194)
The response of heterozoan carbonate systems to Paleoceanographic, climatic and eustatic changes: a perspective from slope sediments of the Marion Plateau (ODP Leg 194)

In this paper we explore the relative control of paleocean-ography, eustasy, and water temperature over the evolution of a car-bonate slope system deposited on the Marion Plateau (Northeastern Australia). Growth of several carbonate platforms started in the early Miocene on…

Impact of dataset size and convolutional neural network architecture on transfer learning for carbonate rock classification
Impact of dataset size and convolutional neural network architecture on transfer learning for carbonate rock classification

Modern geological practices, in both industry and academia, rely largely on a legacy of observational data at a range of scales. However, widespread ambiguities in the petrographic description of rock facies reduce the reliability of descriptive data. Previous studies have…