Professor Tony Morris
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science & Engineering)
Professor of Geophysics and Geodynamics
B.Sc. (Hons.) Environmental Sciences, majoring in Geological Sciences (University of East Anglia)
M.Sc. Geophysics (University of Durham)
Ph.D. Geophysics/Geology (University of Edinburgh)
Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (University of Plymouth)
Accredited Teacher in Higher Education (UK Staff and Educational Development Association)
Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
Fellow of the Geological Society of London
Member of the British Geophysical Association
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Member of the American Geophysical Union
Roles on external bodies
- UK Representative on the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling Science Support and Advisory Committee (ESSAC) (2015-)
- Member of the Program Advisory Group, UK-IODP
- Natural Environment Research Council Peer Review College member (2005-2008)
- Treasurer of the British Geophysical Association (2004-2011)
As a geophysicist I am interested in applying physical methods to look at plate tectonic and geodynamic processes. In addition, I use field studies to examine the evidence for oceanic crustal processes preserved in ophiolites. I have worked mainly in the eastern Mediterranean orogenic belt, but also have extensive experience of engagement with the International Ocean Discovery Program (that collects rock and sediment samples from the present-day ocean basins via scientific ocean drilling). I use my wide range of interests to inform my teaching. For example, I organise an annual nine-day field excursion to the Troodos ophiolite, Cyprus, drawing upon my research interests in this globally significant ophiolite.
I use palaeomagnetic methods to investigate fundamental crustal processes.
A recent focus of my research has been the palaeomagnetic analysis of samples of lower oceanic crust recovered from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (and associated site surveys). In 2004/2005 I was a Shipboard Palaeomagnetist aboard the JOIDES Resolution on IODP Expedition 304/305. This recovered a complexly layered sequence of gabbros and minor ultramafic rocks from the footwall of a major oceanic core complex known as Atlantis Massif, located at 30 degrees north on the Mid Atlantic Ridge. The core, extending to over 1400 mbsf, opens a window in to lower crustal accretion processes. This was an exciting opportunity to extend my palaeomagnetic and magnetic fabric research in ancient ophiolitic terranes (which act as analogues for oceanic crust) into the modern ocean. Shorebased research was carried out in collaboration with Dr Chris MacLeod (Cardiff University), Dr Jeff Gee (Scripps Institution) and Dr Bobbie John (University of Wyoming). The award of a NERC Standard Research Grant allowed us to conduct detailed palaeomagnetic analyses of the Expedition 304/305 core materials, and to combine these with wireline log interpretation, geochronological and geochemical data to provide important insights into the spatial and temporal controls of the accretion of slow-spreading rate lower oceanic crust. The project benefited from the research of Dr Nicola Pressling, a NERC research fellow funded by the project.
In January-February 2008 I sailed on an IODP Site Survey cruise to the tectonic exposures of fast-spreading rate oceanic crust at Hess Deep, as part of a NERC funded cruise aboard the (then) new James Cook research vessel (cruise JC21). This provided essential site survey data (bathymetric swath-mapping and sampling using the NERC remotely operated vehicle ISIS) to support future IODP drilling at this key locality (IODP Proposal #551). My post cruise research has focused on a combined magnetic fabric and electron backscatter diffraction study of petrofabric development in lower oceanic crustal gabbros, in collaboration with Dr Chris MacLeod (Cardiff; Principal Scientific Officer on JC21), Dr Johan Lissenberg (Cardiff) and Dr Benoit Ildefonse (Montpellier).
In April-June 2011 I was Lead Shipboard Palaeomagnetist on IODP Expedition 335 to Hole1256D located in 15 Ma old East Pacific Rise crust formed at a superfast spreading rate. This was the fourth expedition to this hole, which is the only place in the world's oceans where drilling has penetrated a complete, in situ upper crustal sequence (lavas, sheeted dykes) and reached the underlying gabbros of the lower oceanic crust. My post cruise research will focus on palaeomagnetic and fabric analyses of gabbroic rocks and of dykes that have been contact metamorphosed to a granoblastic texture by heat from gabbro intrusions.
In December 2012-February 2013 I was Lead Shipboard Palaeomagnetist on IODP Expedition 345 to Hess Deep in the Pacific Ocean. This recovered a suite of cores from primitive lower crustal layered gabbros for the first time, confirming the broad features of the ophiolite paradigm and providing a complete picture of the bulk geochemistry of fast-spreading EPR crust. Post cruise research is focusing on the development of magnetic fabrics in these layered gabbros and the origin of multicomponent remanences in these rocks.
Most recently, in December 2015 - January 2016 I sailed as Lead Palaeomagnetist on IODP Expedition 360 "Indian Ridge Moho", that drilled into the footwall of the Atlantis Bank oceanic core complex on the SW Indian Ridge. This long-term project offers the prospect of drilling vertically through a geomagnetic reversal boundary in the oceanic crust for the first time, although we did not reach this level during Expedition 360 unfortunately.
In addition to research in oceanic tectonics via the IODP, I have also focused on the application of palaeomagnetic and magnetic fabric techniques to a range of geodynamic and tectonic problems within the Tethyan orogenic belt. Field areas have included central Greece, the Aegean Islands, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria and Oman. Examples include: (i) an integrated palaeomagnetic and structural analysis of the tectonic evolution of the Hatay ophiolite, southern Turkey (PhD research of Jennifer Inwood), and its relationship with the Baer-Bassit ophiolite (NW Syria) and Troodos ophiolite (Cyprus); (ii) palaeomagnetic analysis of the development of the arcuate Kyrenia Range terrane of northern Cyprus; (iii) the tectonic evolution of the Mersin ophiolite (Turkey), which exposes a superb sequence of lower oceanic crustal gabbros (PhD research of Mr Ahmed Omer); and (iv) magnetic fabric analyses of gabbros in the fast-spreading rate Oman ophiolite and their implication for lower crustal accretion (PhD research of Mr Matthew Meyer).
Grants & contracts
RECENT SUCCESSFUL GRANT APPLICATIONS:
2015 - EU Marie Curie IF Award, Jan 2015, "PASS: Palaeozoic Seafloor Spreading" (PI: Morris, CI: Anderson, Research Fellow: di Chiara)(183,000 Euros)
2014 - NERC Standard Grant. "Rotation of the Philippine Sea Plate (IODP Expedition 351)" (PI: Morris)(£35,828)
2012 - NERC Standard Grant, "Palaeomagnetic constraints on lower oceanic crustal processes (IODP Expedition 345 Hess Deep Plutonic Crust" (PI: Morris)(£25,456)
2011 - NERC Standard Grant, "Superfast spreading rate crust 4: magnetism of the lower oceanic crust" (PI: Morris)(£12,425)
2010 - EU Marie Curie IEF Award, Jan 2010, "DEFOrm: Detachment Faults in Ophiolites" (PI: Morris, CI: Anderson, Research Fellow: Maffione)(176,000 Euros)
2007 - NERC Standard Grant, July 2006, "Spatial and temporal scales of crustal accretion in slow-spreading rate oceanic crust (Atlantis Massif, Mid Atlantic Ridge - IODP Site U1309D)" (PI: Morris, CI: MacLeod (Cardiff), Project Partners: Gee (Scripps), John (Wyoming))(£217,400 FEC)
2006 - NERC UK IODP Rapid Response Grant, May 2006, "Palaeomagnetic constraints on the construction of the lower oceanic crustal section recovered at Hole U1309D, Atlantis Massif, Mid-Atlantic Ridge (IODP Expedition 304/305)" (£1890)
2004 - NERC UK IODP Site Survey Initiative Standard Grant, May 2004, "Accretion of the lower oceanic crust at fast-spreading ridges: a rock drill and near-bottom seafloor survey in support of IODP drilling in Hess Deep" (PI: MacLeod (Cardiff) CI: Teagle (Soton), RR: Morris + Project Partners)(£474,413)
- Geodynamics and Palaeomagnetism
Key publications are highlightedJournals