Bruna, P.-O.


I am assistant professor (tenure track). I have the ambition to develop breakthrough ideas in the field of structural geology and geomechanics to contribute offering a better future for the next generations. My academic research combines multidisciplinary, collaborative and innovative approaches and with this I aim to have the strongest impact possible on the society. I am developing projects focused on the prediction of structural heterogeneities (fractures, karsts and stylolites) in the subsurface based on surface characterisations (conducted on outcrops) and on models (from the static geometrical models to the dynamic flow models). The goal of these projects is to make optimally use of renewable resources in a safe, responsible and sustainable manner.


My research is focused on predicting the expression and the impact of faults, fractures, karsts and stylolites (structural features) on subsurface properties and on fluid flow. The overall benefit of these predictions will be to optimise and de-risk the exploration and exploitation of sustainable energy. To achieve this objective, my strategy is to find and improve the fundamental geological rules defining the geometry and the characteristics of the structural features impacting subsurface rock properties.
The post-processing of outcrops data using new technologies (e.g. artificial intelligence), laboratory experiments conducted at plug to block (>50*50 cm) scales or process-based modelling integrating physico-chemical and geomechanical parameters are used to obtain the rules. Knowing the latter, allow to propose robust ways of simplification of the geometry and efficiency of structural networks. These simplifications will improve the way how structural features are approached in outcrops and in models and the way they are understood by society.

Educational Activities

The success of an efficient and responsible extraction of sustainable resources from the subsurface depends for a great part on people. Training future TU Delft geo-energy engineers to accomplish this crucial task by transmitting knowledge or innovative research ideas is for me essential. My way of teaching is based on the student-centred type of learning where students work collaboratively and sharpen their critical thinking. These methods are needed to develop lifelong hard and soft skills which will constitute an asset for these future professionals.

I am the coordinator of the final BSc research project (AESB3400), responsible of the AESM1465 course (Geological interpretation of geophysical data) and involved in a number of classes including Rock Mechanics (AESB2341), Simulations and Building Stratigraphy (AESM1430) and the GEEP (AESM2305). I am also involved in the Fieldwork team (AESB2430) at BSc level.

I value the supervision of students during their research projects. The experience I have in this domain offered me the opportunity to exchange ideas with young scientists and then to contribute constructing their scientific knowledge.

  • Bruna P-O, Straubhaar J, Prabhakaran R, Bertotti G, Bisdom K, Mariethoz G, Meda M, 2019. A new methodology to train fracture networksimulation using Multiple Point Statistics. Solid Earth, 10, p 537-559,

In this publication we proposed an alternative way of generating discrete fracture network models that consider more geology than the classical purely stochastic methods. This article was read more than 2300 times on the Solid Earth website and was unanimously recognised by five renowned reviewers (in the world of fracture characterisation and modelling). The article was cited 11 times since its publication. This publication was also the opportunity to start collaborating with the University of Neuchatel and the University of Lausanne (expension of my network).  

  • Boersma Q, Bruna P-O, de Hoop S, Vinci F, Moradi Tehrani A, Bertotti G, 2020. The impact of natural fractures on heat extraction from tight Triassic sandstones in the West Netherlands Basin: A case study combining well, seismic, and numerical data. Accepted in Netherlands Journal of Geosciences.

This publication is key as it is the first time that I am collaborating on a geothermal study in the Netherlands. It opened possibilities to develop further the proposed workflow (well data analyses, seismic attributes, petrophysical analysis) in other geothermal systems (Switzerland). My contribution was mainly focused on the fracture modelling and on geological discussions shared with the first author (PhD student). This collaborative work was very beneficial to me as I learnt a lot from my co-authors in the use of seismic attributes and on Dutch geothermal systems in general.


  • Geneva project (Collaboration with University of Geneva, Denmark University of Technology, co-leader with Giovanni Bertotti and Denis Voskov, associated PhD: to be recruited (March 2022)). This project aims to develop new multiscale tools to predict the organisation and flow properties of fracture and karst networks in carbonate rocks. We aim to investigate REV on outcrops and analyse the geological parameters influencing it. On top of this we want to explore new methods of upscaling of fracture networks and to test these models using available hydrogeological data available in the Geneva Basin.
  • NARG project (Collaboration with Manchester University, co-leader with Giovanni Bertotti, associated Post doc: Remi Charton). Our project focuses on the reconstruction of the tectono-sedimentary evolution of Central Tunisia and neighbouring countries. In this project, we are particularly interested on the architecture, kinematics and deformation mechanisms responsible of the onset of multi-kilometres persistent Palaeozoic (Telemzane-Nefusa) and Mesozoic (Tebaga-Matmatah) arches associated with shortening deformation,  in an area known to remain under tectonic extension between the Permian and the Cretaceous.
  • NT-WORKS (2017-2019, Dr. SchĆ¼rmannfonds funding): the objectives this project were to i) understand the present-day architecture of the McArthur Basin, ii) to reconstruct the geological history of the basin and to evaluate the timing of the deformation event generating vertical and horizontal movement and iii) to establish the link between these movements and fracturing by analysing real-world fracture networks in outcrop. A synthesis of a considerable amount of data coming from various origin (outcrop fracture data (drone), subsurface data) led to new discoveries, especially in the stress regimes and deformation event that caused vertical and horizontal movements in these areas.


Assistent professor

  • +31 15 27 88728
  • Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences
    Building 23
    Stevinweg 1 / PO-box 5048
    2628 CN Delft / 2600 GA Delft

    Room: 3.28

    Availability: workdays