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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Adam Robinson, PhD (Durham); MEarthSci Earth Sciences (Oxon)

Research Project Manager in the Department of Earth Sciences
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42357
Room number: ES309

Contact Dr Adam Robinson (email at a.h.robinson@durham.ac.uk)

Employment

January 2018 – present – Research Project Manager, OSCAR

Duties including: conducting original research; preparing, editing and handling group manuscripts; supporting research group staff, including senior staff; co-supervision of undergraduate dissertations; presentation of research at conferences

The OSCAR project (http://community.dur.ac.uk/oscar.nerc/) aims to understand the interaction between the oceanic crust and overlying ocean through heat transfer and fluid flow. As a marine geophysicst, I am involved in characterising the changing structure of oceanic crust from formation at the Costa Rica Rift, to 5.9 Ma at DSDP/ODP borehole 504B, and relating this to hydrothermal circulation patterns.

October 2017-December 2017 – Geophysics Teaching Assistant, Durham University

Lecturer: Geophysical Methods for Geoscientists (gravity and magnetism)

This second-year course introduces the main methods of geophysical exploration, including their underlying physics, methodology, and applications to the understanding of the geological structure in the Earth.

Teaching assistant: Geophysical Data Applications (Generic Mapping Tools), Geophysics Fieldwork (Geophysics; gravity and magnetism)

 

Education

October 2013 - September 2017: PhD in Marine Geophysics, Deparment of Earth Sciences, Durham University

October 2009 - June 2013: MEarthSci Earth Sciences, University of Oxford

PhD Research

Seamount Structure and Subduction at the Louisville Ridge – Tonga – Kermadec Collision

My research uses a wide range of geophysical datasets collected by R/V Sonne in 2011, including gravity and magnetic surveys, swath bathymetry and acoustic backscatter, and multi-channel reflection and wide-angle (OBS) refraction seismic data.

The Louisville Ridge Seamount Chain is a chain of >70 seamounts and guyots which has stood on oceanic crust for up to 80 million years. Presently, it intersects the Tonga-Kermadec subduction system where the seamounts are being broken up and dragged down into the trench, coinciding with changes in the forearc morphology and along-trench seismicity.

My research targets the oldest extant 500 km of the LRSC, and the adjacent Tonga-Kermadec subduction system and overriding Indo-Australian Plate. By determining the seismic velocity structure of the crust and mantle, by work seeks to determine:

  • the structure of the LRSC and pre-subduction crust, identifying any along-ridge variation in crustal structure or magmatic underplating, and thus how the LRSC fits into the range of seamount emplacement mechanisms as suggested by previous studies at other chains;
  • how seamounts interact with the overriding plate during subduction, as manifest in patterns of seismicity and deformation; and
  • how along-ridge bathymetric and structural variability relate to post-collisional forearc uplift.

This research relates to wider questions regarding the physical and thermal structure, thickness, strength, and response to loading and deformation of the crust and lithosphere, transcending a wide range of temporal, spatial and depth scales.

Research Cruise Participation

JC109 - 13°N MAR (October - November, 2014)

Cruise leg JC109 comprised the recovery of an array of 25 Ocean Bottom Seismographs (OBSs) deployed earlier in the 2014 on the oceanic core complex at 13˚N on the Mid Atlantic Ridge. My roles during this cruise consisted of assisting with the recovery and maintenance of OBS equipment, and monitored and cleaning of newly acquired swath bathymetry data.

JC114 - OSCAR (January - March, 2015)

Cruise leg JC114 - part of the OSCAR multi-cruise, interdisciplinary project aimed at studing heat transfer from the crust to the ocean or oceanic crust of different ages - consisted of the acquisition of a series of multichannel (MCS) and wide-angle (WA) seismic profiles. During this cruise I assisted with the deployment, recovery and maintenance of OBS instruments, acted as a general watchkeeper throughout and as a marine mammal observer when required.

JC132 - 13°N MAR (January - February 2016)

JC132 was the active-source leg of the 13°N Mid-Atlantic Ridge project in which I took part in 2014. This cruise involving multichannel (MCS) and wide-angle (WA) seismic data acquistion, as well as high-resolution bathymetric and magnetic data from AUTOSUB. The aim of this project is to improve understanding of the role of detachment faulting at slow-spreading mid-ocean ridges. My roles in this cruise comprised: assisting with deployment, recovery and maintenance of Ocean Bottom Seismographs (OBS), watchkeeping during MCS/WA data acquisition activity, processing and cleaning of shipboard swath bathymetry data, and acting as a relief marine mammal observed where required.

Conference Presentations

2018

- “Ecuador Fracture Zone – fluid flow, serpentinisation and dynamic plate uplift in a mid-ocean ridge setting” (poster) - EGU General Assembly

- “Intermediate oceanic crust is created by alternating periods of magma rich and magma-poor spreading: evidence from a 7 Myr transect from the Costa Rica Ridge to ODP borehole 504B (poster, contributing author) - EGU General Assembly

2017

- “Subduction of the Louisville Ridge Seamount Chain” (oral) - AGU Fall Meeting

- “Axial crustal structure of the Costa Rica Rift: Implications for along-axis hydrothermal circulation” - (poster, contributing author) AGU Fall Meeting 

2016

- “Geophysical Investigations of Crustal and Upper Mantle Structure of Oceanic Intraplate Volcanoes (OIVs)" (oral) - American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting - Robinson, A. H., Peirce, C., Funnell, M. J., Watts, A. B., Grevemeyer, I.

- “Construction and Subduction of the Louisville Ridge Seamount Chain” (oral) - British Geophysical Association Postgraduate Research in Progress Meeting, University College London - Robinson, A. H., Peirce, C., Funnell, M. J., Watts, A. B., Grevemeyer, I. – awarded best oral presentation (https://britgeophysics.org/awards/pgrip-awards/)

2015

- “Crustal and Upper Mantle Structure of the Louisville Ridge Seamount Chain” (oral) - British Geophysical Association Postgraduate Research in Progress Meeting, National Oceanography Center, Southampton – Robinson, A. H., Peirce, C., Watts, A. B., Grevemeyer, I. 

2014

- “Crustal and Upper Mantle Structure of the Louisville Ridge Seamount Chain at Its Intersection with the Tonga-Kermadec Subduction Zone” (poster) - American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting – Robinson, A. H., Peirce, C., Stratford, W. R., Watts, A. B., Grevemeyer, I. 

- “Crustal and Upper Mantle Structure of the Louisville Ridge Seamount Chain at Its Intersection with the Tonga-Kermadec Subduction Zone” (poster) - British Geophysical Association Postgraduate Research in Progress Meeting, Liverpool – Robinson, A. H., Peirce, C., Stratford, W. R., Watts, A. B., Grevemeyer, I. 

2013

- “A Global Study of Swath Bathymetry and the Changing Depth of the Seafloor with Time” (poster) - American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting – Robinson, A. H., Watts, A. B., Paulatto, M. 

- “A Global Study of Swath Bathymetry and the Changing Depth of the Seafloor with Time” (poster) - Postgraduate Research in Marine and Earth Sciences '13, National Oceanography Center, Southampton – Robinson, A. H., Watts, A. B., Paulatto, M. 

Demonstrating Experience

I have acted as a postgraduate demonstrator for the following courses within the department:

Geophysical Methods for Geoscientists (2nd year) - understanding and interpretation of gravity, magnetic, seismic reflection and seismic refraction datasets.

Geophysical Data Applications (2nd year) - use of the GMT software package in a LINUX computing environment to process and visualise geophysical data.

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2016: Award:

    In September 2016 I was awarded the Best Student Talk prize at the British Geophysical Association Postgraduate Reseach in Progress Meeting held at University College London, for my talk entitled "Construction and Subduction of the Louisville Ridge Seamount Chain – Insights from Wide-Angle Seismic Imaging"

Research Groups

Department of Earth Sciences

Research Interests

  • Oceanic Crustal Structure
  • Marine Geophysics
  • Seismology
  • Ocean Mapping