Dr Adam Booth

Dr Adam Booth


Geophysical survey holds the key to understanding the physical properties of the subsurface, and how they may evolve through time. I work with applications of near-surface geophysics - the range of the subsurface 'in the zone of human interaction'. I conduct a range of engineering and environmental surveys, but work primarily with snow, ice and material in the subglacial environment. I have undertaken seismic surveys at both poles to understand ice structure, and led a NERC Urgency project to characterise the deformation of Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf in the aftermath of the 2017 iceberg calving event.  I am a UK Co-I on the NERC/NSF funded TIME project, researching controls on the evolution of the margins of Antarctia's Thwaites Glacier and will be undertaking an Antarctic deployment in 2021.  In summer 2019, I joined the Scott Polar Research Institute's RESPONDER project, conducting the first seismic acquisitions using Distributed Acoustic Sensing on the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Elsewhere, I work on the NERC/FAPESP-funded Nordeste project to use ground penetrating radar methods in the investigation of subsurface biomass in Brazil's caatinga biome, and have initiated ecological applications of geophysics to study the habitats of burrowing mammals. This research was featured in the BBC's 'Animals with Cameras' documentary. I have also contributed to a number of archaeological projects, notably in the Egyptian and Omani deserts, and at UK sites including Whitby Abbey, Raglan Castle and Elsecar Heritage Site.

Since 2020, I have been an Associate Editor for the EGU’s journal “The Crysophere”.  I was involved with the activities of the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, serving for 10 years as an Associate Editor for “Near Surface Geophysics”, and twice as project manager for their "Geophysics Boot Camp" field acquisition courses. I also sit on the committee of the GeolSoc's Near Surface Geophysics Group, where I convene the Postgraduate Symposia and our annual fieldwork fund


  • MSc Exploration Geophysics - Admissions Lead
  • Associate Editor - The Cryosphere (EGU publication)

Research interests

Key to much of my research is the transfer of geophysical practice across different geoscience disciplines - what can one branch of geophysics learn from practice in another? A good example is my use of seismic reflectivity (AVO) methods, commonly applied in the hydrocarbon industry, to characterise material in the subglacial environment. I am interested in any approach that improves the accuracy, and characterises the precision, of a geophysical interpretation, including multi-platform joint inversion strategies. My reserch has diverse applications at various depth ranges: from the shallowest-buried animal tunnels, through archaeological applications, into kilometre-thick ice sheets and subsurface reservoirs.


A sample of my past and present research projects is listed below:

2020-2021 - Royal Society International Exchange IES\R3\193115 - Computers in the Cyrosphere: machine learning approaches to characterise glacier seismicity. (£11k).  

2019-2022 - NERC Standard Grant NE/R010838/1 - Impact of deep subglacial groundwater on ice stream flow in West Antarctica (IGIS) (£610k). Project Partner.

2019-2020 - Royal Society Research Grant RGS\1\191100 - The inner workings of glacier ice: novel insight from borehole seismic techniques (£20k).  

2018-2023 - NERC/NSF Thwaites Call NE/S00677X/1 - Thwaites Interdisciplinary Margin Evolution (TIME) (£358k).  Co-Investigator

2017-2018 - NERC Urgency Grant NE/R012334/1 - Ice shelf response to large-scale iceberg calving (£65k).

2017-2021 - NERC Industrial CASE Studentship NE/P009492/1 - Glaciological applications of seismic full waveform inversion (£88k).

2016-2019 - NERC/FAPESP (NE/N012550/1) - Nordeste: Understanding and Sustaining Brazilian Biome Resources. (£131k). Co-Investigator.

2016-2020 - KLIMAFORSK - EvoGLAC: Investigating the future evolution of Norwegian glaciers and hydrological impacts (£110k). Project Partner.


Research Group - PhD students:

Siobhan Killingbeck - Subglacial Aquifers: Characterisation with geophysical methods. NERC SPHERES DTP, project co-supervised by Phil Livermore and Jared West.

Hardi Bin Saleh - Valhall Seismic Geomechanics: Case study of time-lapse and microseismic prediction from coupled flow-geomechanical models. Project led by Quentin Fisher.

Emma Pearce - Density assessment of ice masses using seismic Full Waveform Inversion. Project co-supervised by Graham Stuart, with NERC CASE support from Ian Jones at ION-GXT and partnership with BAS.

Luis Rees-Hughes - The buried coast: assessment and quantitative interpretation of paleo-coastlines. Project led by Natasha Barlow and co-supervised by Jared West, with NERC CASE support from RSK Geophysics.

Rebecca Schlegel - GPR investigations of subglacial processes on Rutford Ice Stream. Based at Swansea University; project led by Tavi Murray, co-supervised by Roger Clark and BAS.

Hannah Watts - Geophysical investigation of proglacial geomorphology; project led by Benny Reinardy, Stockholm University, and co-supervised by Bill Murphy.

Ronan Agnew - Applications of converted wave seismology in characterising the base-ice environment.  NERC PANORAMA DTP, project co-supervised by Roger Clark and Alex Bribourne (British Antarctic Survey).

<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, Near Surface Geophysics, University of Leeds
  • MSc, Exploration Geophysics, University of Leeds
  • BSc, Geophysical Sciences, University of Leeds

Professional memberships

  • European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE)
  • Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG)
  • European Geosciences Union (EGU)
  • International Society for Archaeological Prospection (ISAP)
  • Geological Society of London
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Student education

Much of my teaching is directed towards MSc Exploration Geophysics, with the following responsiblities:

  • Module Manager - SOEE5110 Independent Research Project
  • Practical Instructor - SOEE5155 Seismic Fundamentals and Acquisition
  • Practical Instructor - SOEE5166 Seismic Data Processing
  • Fieldwork Instructor - SOEE5142 Geophysical Field Methods

I also coordinate the External Advisory Board for this MSc programme, and manage student admissions.

Research groups and institutes

  • Applied Geophysics
  • Institute of Applied Geoscience
  • Geosolutions Leeds
  • Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics

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>