Adam Morley

Adam Morley

DPhil Candidate, Remote Sensing & Geophysics, Earth Sciences

Adam Morley is a DPhil Candidate in Earth Sciences at Oxford University; assessing the utility and implementation of existing (and future) airborne and spaceborne remote sensing techniques in the identification of various geological and anthropogenic subsurface anomalies.

DPhil Thesis:  Detecting shallow subsurface anomalies with airborne and spaceborne remote sensing

Research synopsis:  To assess the utility of airborne and spaceborne remote sensing in detecting shallow subsurface anomalies – both geological and anthropogenic.  After performing an initial paper review, Adam considers the detection of seven unique ground indicators/potential field characteristics of a general subsurface anomaly: 1). visual identification; 2). soil matrix irregularity; 3). anomalous groundwater behaviour; 4). surface elevation change; 5). heat retention discrepancy; 6). subsurface density change; 7). magnetic field variation.  He also considers the application of eight major sensor types: photogrammetry, multispectral, thermal infrared, hyperspectral, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR), airborne gravity and aeromagnetics.  Research objectives for further investigation include:

  1. To investigate the utility of very high resolution (VHR) multispectral time series analyses over near-surface tunnels and buried ditches
  2. To assess the subsurface detection capabilities of SAR tomography, using VHR commercial SAR imagery to detect and reveal the subsurface density structure of semi-rigid structures
  3. To study the effect of near subsurface density variations on full waveform LiDAR
  4. The hyperspectral detection of buried trenches using convolutional neural networks (CNNs)


  • Eighteen years’ experience in Defence and Security (2006 – 2024)
  • MSc in Geospatial Intelligence (2010-2011, Cranfield University)
  • MGeophys in Geophysics (2001-2005, Leeds University)

Morley, A.M., Stuart, G.W., Kendall, J.M. and Reyners, M., 2006. Mantle wedge anisotropy in the Hikurangi subduction zone, central North Island, New Zealand. Geophysical Research Letters, 33(5).