Matt O'Regan

Matthew O`Regan


Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Geological Sciences
Telephone 08-674 78 57
Visiting address Svante Arrheniusväg 8 C, Geohuset
Room R 233
Postal address Institutionen för geologiska vetenskaper 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Matt O’Regan completed his PhD in 2007 at the Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, USA. His thesis was on the paleoceanographic and geologic development of the Arctic Ocean during the Cenozoic. Before joining the Department of Geological Sciences at Stockholm University as a Research Scientist in 2012, he held 2 post-doctoral fellowships, and was a Lecturer at Cardiff University in the UK. His research focuses on deciphering the Quaternary glacial history of the Arctic Ocean using marine sediment cores and geophysical data; analysing sedimentary records to understand the development and variability of sea ice in the geologic past; and deciphering how key tectonic events associated with the development of the Arctic Ocean are related to palaeoceanographic changes in the basin. Recently he has also begun a renewed effort to collect and process marine heat flow data from the Arctic Ocean and Baltic Sea. This is being used to explore the tectonic history of different geologic provinces, look for evidence of subsurface fluid flow systems, and provide important boundary conditions for modeling the dynamics of marine methane hydrate systems.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2017. Matt O'Regan (et al.). Climate of the Past 13 (9), 1269-1284

    Ice sheets extending over parts of the East Siberian continental shelf have been proposed for the last glacial period and during the larger Pleistocene glaciations. The sparse data available over this sector of the Arctic Ocean have left the timing, extent and even existence of these ice sheets largely unresolved. Here we present new geophysical mapping and sediment coring data from the East Siberian shelf and slope collected during the 2014 SWERUS-C3 expedition (SWERUS-C3: Swedish - Russian - US Arctic Ocean Investigation of Climate-Cryosphere-Carbon Interactions). The multibeam bathymetry and chirp sub-bottom profiles reveal a set of glacial landforms that include grounding zone formations along the outer continental shelf, seaward of which lies a > 65m thick sequence of glacio-genic debris flows. The glacial landforms are interpreted to lie at the seaward end of a glacial trough - the first to be reported on the East Siberian margin, here referred to as the De Long Trough because of its location due north of the De Long Islands. Stratigraphy and dating of sediment cores show that a drape of acoustically laminated sediments covering the glacial deposits is older than similar to 50 cal kyr BP. This provides direct evidence for extensive glacial activity on the Siberian shelf that predates the Last Glacial Maximum and most likely occurred during the Saalian (Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 6).

  • 2017. Christian Stranne, Matthew O'Regan, Martin Jakobsson. Geophysical Research Letters 44 (16), 8510-8519

    The stability of marine methane hydrates and the potential release of methane gas to the ocean and atmosphere have received considerable attention in the past decade. Sophisticated hydraulic-thermodynamic models are increasingly being applied to investigate the dynamics of bottom water warming, hydrate dissociation, and gas escape from the seafloor. However, these models often lack geomechanical coupling and neglect how overpressure development and fracture propagation affect the timing, rate, and magnitude of methane escape. In this study we integrate a geomechanical coupling into the widely used TOUGH+Hydrate model. It is shown that such coupling is crucial in sediments with permeability 10(-16)m(2), as fracture formation dramatically affects rates of dissociation and seafloor gas release. The geomechanical coupling also results in highly nonlinear seafloor gas release, which presents an additional mechanism for explaining the widely observed episodic nature of gas flares from seafloor sediments in a variety of tectonic and oceanographic settings.

  • 2016. Matt O'Regan (et al.). Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems 17 (5), 1608-1622

    Surface heat flow data in the Arctic Ocean are needed to assess hydrocarbon and methane hydrate distributions, and provide constraints into the tectonic origins and nature of underlying crust. However, across broad areas of the Arctic, few published measurements exist. This is true for the outer continental shelf and slope of the East Siberian Sea, and the adjoining deep water ridges and basins. Here we present 21 new surface heat flow measurements from this region of the Arctic Ocean. On the Southern Lomonosov Ridge, the average measured heat flow, uncorrected for effects of sedimentation and topography, is 574 mW/m(2) (n=4). On the outer continental shelf and slope of the East Siberian Sea (ESS), the average is 5710 mW/m(2) (n=16). An anomalously high heat flow of 20328 mW/m(2) was measured at a single station in the Herald Canyon. With the exception of this high heat flow, the new data from the ESS are consistent with predictions for thermally equilibrated lithosphere of continental origin that was last affected by thermotectonic processes in the Cretaceous to early Cenozoic. Variability within the data likely arises from differences in radiogenic heat production within the continental crust and overlying sediments. This can be further explored by comparing the data with geophysical constraints on sediment and crustal thicknesses.

  • 2015. Matt O'Regan (et al.). Geology 43 (10), 895-898

    Episodic fluid escape from marine sediments results from overpressure development and pressure release, and can occur slowly through geologic time or catastrophically. Morphological features in regions of fluid seepage include doming, mud volcanism, cratering, and pockmark formation. Vertical sediment mobilization and surface erosion are considered the principal mechanisms for these topographic changes. However, the impact of mobilization on the geotechnical properties of sediments has not been explicitly considered. Here we develop a one-dimensional numerical subsidence model that incorporates the well-established behavior of remolded fine-grained cohesive sediments. We use this to show that if subsurface overpressure results in the mobilization of sediments, large settlements (20%-35% reduction in volume) can occur when overpressure dissipates. This presents a novel mechanism to explain changes in seafloor and subsurface topography in areas of fluid escape, while highlighting an important interplay between subsurface fluid flow and the geotechnical properties of fine-grained cohesive sediments.

  • 2014. Martin Jakobsson (et al.). Quaternary Science Reviews 92, 40-67

    While there are numerous hypotheses concerning glacial interglacial environmental and climatic regime shifts in the Arctic Ocean, a holistic view on the Northern Hemisphere's late Quaternary ice-sheet extent and their impact on ocean and sea-ice dynamics remains to be established. Here we aim to provide a step in this direction by presenting an overview of Arctic Ocean glacial history, based on the present state-of-the-art knowledge gained from field work and chronological studies, and with a specific focus on ice-sheet extent and environmental conditions during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The maximum Quaternary extension of ice sheets is discussed and compared to LGM. We bring together recent results from the circum-Arctic continental margins and the deep central basin; extent of ice sheets and ice streams bordering the Arctic Ocean as well as evidence for ice shelves extending into the central deep basin. Discrepancies between new results and published LGM ice-sheet reconstructions in the high Arctic are highlighted and outstanding questions are identified. Finally, we address the ability to simulate the Arctic Ocean ice sheet complexes and their dynamics, including ice streams and ice shelves, using presently available ice-sheet models. Our review shows that while we are able to firmly reject some of the earlier hypotheses formulated to describe Arctic Ocean glacial conditions, we still lack information from key areas to compile the holistic Arctic Ocean glacial history.

  • 2010. Matt O'Regan, Martin Jakobsson, Nina Kirchner. Quaternary Science Reviews 29 (25-26), 3532-3544

    With the coupled use of multibeam swath bathymetry, high-resolution subbottom profiling and sediment coring from icebreakers in the Arctic Ocean, there is a growing awareness of the prevalence of Quaternary ice-grounding events on many of the topographic highs found in present water depths of <1000 m. In some regions, such as the Lomonosov Ridge and Yermak Plateau, overconsolidated sediments sampled through either drilling or coring are found beneath seismically imaged unconformities of glacigenic origin. However, there exists no comprehensive analysis of the geotechnical properties of these sediments, or how their inferred stress state may be related to different glacigenic processes or types of ice-loading. Here we combine geophysical, stratigraphic and geotechnical measurements from the Lomonosov Ridge and Yermak Plateau and discuss the glacial geological implications of overconsolidated sediments. The degree of overconsolidation, determined from measurements of porosity and shear strength, is shown to result from consolidation and/or deformation below grounded ice and, with the exception of a single region on the Lomonosov Ridge, cannot be explained by erosion of overlying sediments. We demonstrate that the amount and depth of porosity loss associated with a middle Quaternary (790–950 thousand years ago – ka) grounding on the Yermak Plateau is compatible with sediment consolidation under an ice sheet or ice rise. Conversely, geotechnical properties of sediments from beneath late Quaternary ice-groundings in both regions, independently dated to Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 6, indicate a more transient event commensurate with a passing tabular iceberg calved from an ice shelf.

  • 2010. Leonid Polyak (et al.). Quaternary Science Reviews 29 (15-16), 1757-1778

    Arctic sea-ice extent and volume are declining rapidly. Several studies project that the Arctic Ocean may become seasonally ice-free by the year 2040 or even earlier. Putting this into perspective requires information on the history of Arctic sea-ice conditions through the geologic past. This information can be provided by proxy records from the Arctic Ocean floor and from the surrounding coasts. Although existing records are far from complete, they indicate that sea ice became a feature of the Arctic by 47 Ma, following a pronounced decline in atmospheric pCO(2) after the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Optimum, and consistently covered at least part of the Arctic Ocean for no less than the last 13-14 million years. Ice was apparently most widespread during the last 2-3 million years, in accordance with Earth's overall cooler climate. Nevertheless, episodes of considerably reduced sea ice or even seasonally ice-free conditions occurred during warmer periods linked to orbital variations. The last low-ice event related to orbital forcing (high insolation) was in the early Holocene, after which the northern high latitudes cooled overall, with some superimposed shorterterm (multidecadal to millennial-scale) and lower-magnitude variability. The current reduction in Arctic ice cover started in the late 19th century, consistent with the rapidly warming climate, and became very pronounced over the last three decades. This ice loss appears to be unmatched over at least the last few thousand years and unexplainable by any of the known natural variabilities.

  • 2010. Matthew O'Regan (et al.). Quaternary International 19 (1-2), 168-176

    Although more than 700 sediment cores exist from the Arctic Ocean, the Plio-Pleistocene evolution of the basin and its marginal seas remains virtually unknown. This is largely due the shallow penetration of most of these records, and difficulties associated with deriving chronologies for the recovered material. The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program's (IODP) Expedition 302 (Arctic Coring Expedition, ACEX) recovered 197 m of Neogene/Quaternary sediment from the circumpolar regions of the Lomonosov Ridge. As detailed analyses of this material emerge, research is beginning to formulate a long-term picture of paleoceanographic changes in the central Arctic Ocean. This paper reviews the ACEX Plio-Pleistocene age model, identifies uncertainties, and addresses ways in which these may be eliminated. Within the established stratigraphic framework, a notable reduction in the abundance of ice rafted debris (IRD) occurs in the early part of the Pleistocene and persists until Marine Isotope Stage 6 (MIS 6). Therefore, while global oceanographic proxies indicate the gradual growth of terrestrial ice-sheets during this time, IRD delivery to the central Arctic Ocean remained comparatively low and stable. Within the resolution of existing data, the Pleistocene reduction in IRD is synchronous with predicted changes in both the inflow of North Atlantic and Pacific waters, which in modern times are known to exert a strong influence on sea ice stability.

Show all publications by Matthew O`Regan at Stockholm University

Last updated: August 28, 2018

Bookmark and share Tell a friend