Geological activity, such as mountain building and volcanism, is ultimately the consequence of the creeping convective flow in the interior. Deciphering the structure and time dependence of this flow provides a framework for unraveling the complex interplay of processes that shaped the long-term evolution of Earth. This summer program will focus on two aspects of mantle flow.
First, how can we best use and integrate measurements from seismology, heat flow, geodesy, and mineral physics as constraints on models of present-day flow? The overarching goal is assess uncertainties and identify areas where progress in modeling and observations will be most useful.
The second component of this program will deal with the long-term evolution of flow: why does plate tectonics occur? why does subduction initiate? how has heat flow and convective vigor varied over time? These questions are less thoroughly constrained by direct observation, but are still intimately connected with our interpretation of the geological record. This theme is motivated by simultaneous improvements in the observations and advances in geodynamic modeling, in particular inverse modeling and the ability to assimilate data.