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Global tectonics with realistic lithospheric rheology

Project Reference: 326115
Activity Code: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IOF
Coordinator:Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ


Plate tectonics is the unifying theory of earth sciences and the building ground for geology and geodynamics. This proposal addresses the fundamental question how interaction between Earth's tectonic plates and its deep interior affects the surface evolution of our planet, i.e. its plate motions, crustal stress field and topography at present-day and in the past.
The key approach is to develop a hybrid numerical model by combining an outstanding program for lithosphere dynamics that features realistic elasto-visco-plastic rheology (SLIM3D) with one of the worlds most effective mantle convection codes (TERRA). The hybrid model will be able to calculate both horizontal and vertical plate movements as well as the global stress field with unprecedented accuracy. It will be used to understand the forces that shape present-day Earth and to unravel the cause of the global plate-tectonic rearrangement event that took place 50 My ago. Heavily relying on geological observables, this project will provide new, self-consistent, numerical models of Earth's dynamics with strong relevance not only for the broad geodynamic community but also for other geoscientific topics like sedimentary basin evolution, petrology and crustal stress field.

The study combines the expertise of two excellent groups, namely Dietmar Muller's EarthByte Group (University of Sydney) that is specialised in global scale integration and interpretation of exhaustive geological and geophysical data sets and the Geodynamic Modelling Group of Stephan Sobolev (GFZ-Potsdam) that stands for first-class numerical simulation with a strong focus on realistic physical properties of Earth materials. The project will enable the fellow to severely widen his numerical and geoscientific background while working at an internationally renowned institution. He will transfer the acquired knowledge as well as the unprecedented software product to Europe and the GFZ-Potsdam.

Project Details: 

Start Date: 2013-06-01
End Date: 2016-05-31
EU Contribution: EUR 260 608
Total Costs: EUR 260 608
Programme Acronym: FP7-People
Subprogramme Area: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IOF
Funding Scheme: International Outgoing Fellowships (Life Sciences)
Administrative Contact Person: Stephan V. SOBOLEV (Dr)