Solid Earth Dynamics

The focus of this theme is on understanding the fundamental physical and chemical processes that govern interaction between the deep Earth, surface and atmosphere.

In order to unravel the complexities of these interactions we exploit the rich geological record of past events and use direct and remote sensing observations of modern processes and a wide range of modelling.

The feedbacks and forcings which couple the deep Earth to Earth’s surface include mantle circulation and melting, and volcanoes and tectonics which mediate the interface between the solid Earth and the biosphere/ hydrosphere/ atmosphere.

  • Deep Earth Dynamics examines how the processes deep in the Earth have created our current surface environment. Deep Earth processes and plate tectonics underpin the global earthquake cycle and mantle circulation leads to large‐scale changes in Earth’s surface topography. Influences also extend to long-term changes in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • Surface Geodynamics involves the study of the interacting physical, chemical, and biotic processes that operate at or near the surface of the Earth. It considers how both deep and surface processes impacts the physical chemical and biological mass transfers on land and under the sea.

The DTP contains world-renowned experts in core dynamics, lithosphere dynamics, sedimentary basin evolution, ocean basins, mantle geochemistry, earthquakes and volcanoes, geomorphology, and natural and economic resources including petroleum systems.

Exemplar Projects:

1st Supervisor Inst.: Project Title: 2nd Supervisor: Inst.:
Cohen, Ronald UCL First-principles simulations of Fluids in the Earth, Planets, and Exoplanets
Lithgow-Bertelloni, Carolina UCL The structure of the lithosphere and the state of stress of the Earth Stixrude, Lars UCL
Hier-Majumder, Saswata RHUL Thermochemical anomalies in the Earth’s lowermost mantle Lithgow-Bertelloni, Carolina UCL
Vannucchi, Paola RHUL Fault Slip modes on subduction plate boundaries: the role of inherited structures
Morgan, Jason RHUL Seismic and Geophysical Study of the Dynamics of the Reunion Plume and its Plume-Ridge Interaction
Vocadlo, Lidunka UCL Pre-melting in the Earth’s core Wood, Ian UCL

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