Dr Adam McArthur

Dr Adam McArthur


Earth scientist and leader of the Turbidites Research Group (TRG), based at the University of Leeds since 2017. My main interests include the multidiciplinary study of deep-marine environments and the interaction of sedimentary processes with active tectonics. I have previously worked on a range of marine and lacustrine systems across the globe, from the seafloor, outcrop and subsurface, with a range of techniques from outcrop and core based sedimentology; organic matter studies (palynofacies and organic geochemistry); petrographic studies; detrital zircon analysis; microfossil assemblages; 2D, 3D and 4D seismic data; wireline well-log interpretations. 

I obtained my PhD in Geology from the University of Aberdeen in 2012, subsequently leading an internation research program on deep-marine systems at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. 

My current research focuses on investigating the evolution of deep-water systems in trench-slope settings. Extensive fieldwork on the Hikurangi Margin of New Zealand is being incorporated with high resolution subsurface data for an integrated analysis of the lithofacies distribution, sedimentary architecture, palaeoenvironments and basin evolution. This will help us understand how deep-marine sedimentary processes (very difficult to observe in motion) interact with evolving sea-floor structures, with implications for sedimentary systems, palaeo-seismicity, sea-floor infrastructure and resoruce exploration. I am also involved in collaborative projects studying deep-marine systems in Baja California, Mexico; offshore Tanzania, East Africa; offshore Brazil; Morocco; and in the French and Italian Alps.

I welcome interest from like-minded researchers and potential students. Please contact me if you are interested in collaboration on any aspect of deep-marine systems.


  • Associate Editor for Sedimentology
  • Sedimentology Group coordinator

Research interests

  • French cheese (and turbidites)
  • Italian wine (and turbidites)
  • Argentinian steaks (and turbidites)
  • New Zealand lamb (and turbidites)
  • Scottish Whisky (and turbidites)
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD, University of Aberdeen
  • BSC (Hons), University of Aberdeen

Professional memberships

  • American Association of Petroleum Geologists
  • British Sedimentological Research Group
  • International Association of Sedimentologists
  • Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain
  • Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM)

Student education

Current research students:

  • Adriana Crisostomo Figueroa (March 2018 to present). PhD topic: Predicting stratigraphic trap integrity in deepwater settings. Co-supervisor.
  • Nejoud Garoot (May 2022 to present). MSc topic: Reconstructing Plate Convergence from Seismic Data. Primary supervisor
  • Laura McDonald (Auckland, New Zealand). PhD topic: Paleoclimate reconstruction of Aotearoa New Zealand over the Late Quaternary (~1 million years). Co-supervisor.
  • Anthony Shorrock (Auckland, New Zealand). PhD topic: Does climate change influence the frequency of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions? Co-supervisor.

Completed research students:

  • Xiao Liang (May 2018 to October 2018). MSc topic: Distribution and controls on submarine slope mass-failures in subduction complexes. Primary supervisor.
  • William Bailey (May 2019 to October 2019). MSc topic: Distribution and controls on contourite drift in subduction complexes: implications for structural evolution and petroleum systems of active margins. Primary supervisor. 
  • Hayley Scholefield (May 2020 to October 2020). MSc topic: Dynamic Sediment Loading and Unloading of Deep-water Thrusts: Implications on the Tectono-stratigraphic Evolution of Fold-and-Thrust Belts. Primary supervisor. 
  • Evangel Chukwudubem Uwandi (May 2020 to October 2020). MSc topic: Examining thedistribution of gas hydrates in the central Hikurangi subduction margin, New Zealand. Primary supervisor. 
  • Angus Brown (May 2021 to October 2021). MSc topic: Modelling the influenceof sediment type on the subduction interface of the Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand. Primary supervisor. 
  • Robert White (May 2021 to October 2021). MSc topic: Forward Seismic Modelling of Deep-Water Turbidite Onlap and Pinchout Structures. Co-supervisor.
  • Daniel Tek (June 2018 to February 2022). PhD topic: Autogenic versus allogenic controls on deep-sea channel evolution. Co-supervisor.

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute of Applied Geoscience
  • Sedimentology
  • Geosolutions Leeds

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/1304-hybrid-event-beds-in-confined-basins">Hybrid event beds in confined basins</a></li>