David Keighley (Associate Professor)

David Keighley portraitPhD University of New Brunswick
BSc University of Manchester

Current Research Projects

Structural controls affecting potential petroleum systems in Devonian-Carboniferous basins of New Brunswick
Funded by NB Department of Natural Resources, NSERC Collaborative Research Grant, Petroleum Research - Atlantic Canada, and Corridor Resources Inc.
Identification of structural controls on the deposition of reservoir, source, and cap rocks, and on the timing and kinematics of deformation (folding and faulting) that controlled trap formation and compartmentalization of potential petroleum reservoirs in southeast New Brunswick.

Craggs, S., Keighley, D., Waldron, J. and Park, A., 2017. Timing of salt tectonics affecting Pennsylvanian strata in the northern Cumberland Basin, SE New Brunswick, eastern Canada.  Basin Analysis, v. 29, pp. 266-283.

Park, A., St. Peter, C., Keighley, D., and Wilson, P., 2010. Overstep and imbrication along a sidewall ramp and its relationship to a hydrocarbon play in Tournaisian rocks of the Moncton Basin: the Peck Creek section, Albert Mines area, southeastern New Brunswick. Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology, v. 58, pp. 268-282.

Sedimentology of the fluvio-lacustrine Green River Formation, southern Uinta Basin, Utah, USA
Funded by the Utah Geological Survey
Determination of ancient lake-level fluctuations and the influence of 'greenhouse' climate and tectonic controls on lake sedimentation during the Eocene.

Keighley, D., Törö, B., Vanden Berg, M.D., and Pratt, B.R., 2015.  Deformation within the Mahogany Oil Shale Zone of the Green River Formation at Sand Wash, eastern Utha, USA.  L.Birgenheier, R., Ressetar, and M.D. Vanden Berg (Editors), Utah Geological Association, Special Publication 44, pp. 423-438.

Biogeochemistry, diagenesis and chemostratigraphy of shale and oil shale, eastern Uinta Basin, Utah, USA
Funded by the Utah Geological Survey
Shale and oil shale of the Green River Formation includes several beds that have undergone phosphatization, apparently by different processes, including microbial activity.  These rocks are being examined for toxic metal enrichments, and correlated by LA-ICP-MS, XRD, SEM, TEM – and likely other techniques as well!

Keighley, D., McFarlane, C., and Vanden Bert, M., in press.  Diagenetic sequestration of rare earths and actinides in phosphatic oil shale from the lacustrine Green River Formation (Eocene), Utah, USA: an SEM and LA-ICP-MS study.  Journey of Paleolimnology. Accepted June 2016.

Keighley, D. 2015. Phosphatic carbonate shale of the "Bird's Nest Saline Zone", upper Green River Formation, Uinta Basin, Utah. A. Carroll and M Smith (Editors), Syntheses in Limnology 1: Stratigraphy and paleolimnology of the Green River Formation, western USA.  Springer, pp. 251-276.

Keighley, D., 2013. Outcrop chemostratigraphic correlation of the upper Green River Formation (Mahogany oil shale zone — Uinta Fm. boundary) in the Uinta Basin, Utah. Utah Geological Survey, Miscellaneous Publication 13-01. CD-ROM.

Silurian crinoids of Eastern Canada.  Lead Investigator: Dr. Steve Donovan, Department of Geology, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, Netherlands 
Funding by Naturalis and NB Museum
The fossil fauna of Silurian marine strata in New Brunswick and the Gaspe has been extensively documented, with the notable exception of the crinoids (sea-lilies).

Donovan, S.K., and Keighley, D., 2016.  Fossil crinoids from the basal West Point Formation (Silurian), southeast Gaspé, Québec, eastern Canada.  Atlantic Geology, v. 52, pp. 189-200.

Donovan, S.K., and Keighley, D., 2015.  A 'British' Silurian crinoid from Quinn Point, New Brunswick, eastern Canada.  Proceedings of the Geologists Association, v. 126, pp. 226-231.

Subsurface sequestration of waste carbon dioxide
Funding by New Brunswick Provincial Government and industry partners.
A preliminary study into the suitability of the New Brunswick subsurface for storage.

Keighley, D., and Maher, C., 2015.  A preliminary assessment of carbon storage suitability in deep underground geological formations of New Brunswick.  Special Series: Environmental Geosciences.  Atlantic Geology, v. 51, pp. 269-286.

Chemostratigraphy of New Brunswick Carboniferous shale
Funding by the Geological Survey of Canada (PERD Program) and New Brunswick Department of Energy and Mines
A study to characterize and correlate the six Carboniferous lithostratigraphic groups by way of chemostratigraphy (using ICP-MS), and to quantify the presence of potentially mobile elements that may be environmentally hazardous.

Noftall, A., and Keighley, D., 2014. Abstract. Inorganic Geochemical Analysis of Fine-Grained Rocks from the Carboniferous of New Brunswick: Preliminary Data Analysis. Geological Association of Canada/ Mineralogical Association of Canada, Joint Annual Meeting, Fredericton, Canada, May 2014.

Chemostratigraphy and sedimentology of post-Windsor Group red-beds, Sussex area, New Brunswick
Funding by Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan
Research involves sedimentological logging and ICP-MS analysis to produce a sedimentological model and chemostratigraphy of the Mabou Group succession.

Islam, N., and Keighley, D., 2013. Abstract. Chemostratigraphic Recognition of a Disconformity in Mississippian Strata of the Northeast Appalachians, New Brunswick, Canada. A.A.P.G. Annual Convention, Pittsburgh, U.S.A., May 2013.

Structure and sedimentology of Silurian strata in the Fredericton trough, New Brunswick. Joint Lead Investigator: Dr. Adrian Park
Funded by the New Brunswick Department of Energy and Mines
Correlation of possible regressive marine shelfal strata to successions further west, and determination of the various phases of folding in relation to the Fredericton Fault.

Lebert, B., Park, A., and Keighley D., 2013. Sedimentologic and structural studies of the Fredericton Trough, west of Fredericton, NB. Atlantic Geoscience Society Colloquium, Dartmouth, Canada, February 2013.

Supercritical carbon dioxide: its subsurface storage and potential use in the extraction of petroleum from shale and oil shale. Lead Investigator: Dr. Sean McGrady, Department of Chemistry, University of New Brunswick
Funding by Statoil
Investigation of supercritical CO2 with respect to its ability to extract organic components from oil shale and alter the strength and permeability of the shale.

Riley, S.H., McGrady, G.S., Romero-Zeron, L., Keighley, D.G., and Park, A.F., 2011. Abstract. Recovery of Liquid Hydrocarbons from Oil Shale Using Supercritical CO2. 31st Oil Shale Symposium, Golden, U.S.A., October 2011.

Keighley, D., and Maher, C., 2010. A preliminary assessment of carbon storage capacity in deep underground geological formations of New Brunswick. A report prepared for New Brunswick Department of the Environment and Irving Oil Ltd. 66pp.


“I got back from Houston recently and I thought I should thank you because I wouldn’t have had any clue what anyone was talking about without your help. From not knowing anything about the petroleum industry to being part of it, your class was a crucial step and I think you did a bang-up job of it. ...I will be moving to Houston to train as a geophysicist next summer.”
– former student, now working with a natural gas company (Texas).

“I just took a geoscience recruitment short course with Imperial Oil over this past weekend... Despite the fact most of the candidates were graduate students with advanced degrees, I was approached by instructors and highly complimented on my knowledge and skills in the petroleum geosciences. I just wanted to say thank you for preparing me so well in the course and I appreciate all the work you put into teaching me what I need to know for industry.”
– former student, now working with a petroleum consultancy firm (Alberta).


  • ESCI 2211 Sedimentology I: Process, product and stratigraphy. Fall Term. An introduction to the physical and chemical properties of sediment and sedimentary rocks, how they are weathered, eroded, transported and deposited, and analysis of the strata that usually result.
  • ESCI 2703 2nd Year Field School, Part 1: Fredericton and Sussex/Joggins area. After Winter Term exams. Introductory methods of logging, correlating, and mapping sedimentary rocks in the field.
  • ESCI 3492 Petroleum Geoscience. Winter term, alternate years (2015). Introduction to the chemical composition of crude oil and natural gas, its generation and accumulation, the nature of petroleum reservoirs, and the exploration and development of such resources.
  • ESCI 4212 Sedimentology II: Petrography, palaeoenvironments and sequence stratigraphy. Winter term, alternate years (2016). Advanced instruction regarding the formation of sedimentary rock (diagenesis), the basins and depositional settings in which they form, and therelationship between the geometry of these deposits and the concept of base level and sediment supply (sequence stratigraphy).
  • ESCI 1012 Earth Processes, Resources, and the Environment, part B: The Geology of Environmental Change. Winter Term, occasional years. A general introduction as to why the earth's environment, including its climate, is in a state of constant change, and the magnitude of these changes today and in the past.


  • ESCI 6261 Advanced Sedimentology and Petroleum Geology. Graduate course, winter term, by arrangement. Topics will vary depending upon the interests of students.
  • ESCI 6272 Seminars in Sedimentology. Graduate course, fall term, by arrangement. Topics will vary depending upon the interests of students.
  • ESCI 6802 Directed Studies in Sedimentary Petrology/Diagenesis. Graduate course, winter term, by arrangement. Topics will vary depending upon the interests of students.

Selected Publications

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