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Research Projects at RSES Research Projects at RSES
Efficiency of mantle plumes
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Supervisor:Davies, Geoffrey
Subject keywords: Deep Earth/Continent evolution,Geophysics,Computational,
Degree types: Honours,M.Sc,
Mantle plumes carry heat upwards from a thermal boundary layer at the bottom of the mantle, and the thermal boundary layer is formed by heat conducting out of the core. Plumes thus help to cool the core. The efficiency with which plumes remove heat is debated and needs to be clarified. The project would be to use an existing numerical code to explore different parameters that control the plume and to compare the resulting plume with observational constraints. Some programming experience would be required.
Maximum Entropy Production and Earth's internal processes
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Supervisor:Davies, Geoffrey
Subject keywords: Deep Earth/Continent evolution,Planetary studies,Mathematical Geophysics,Computational,Analytical,
Degree types: PhD,
The so-called maximum entropy production principle is a relatively new idea that may apply to fairly complex dynamical systems. The project would be to test the MEP principle by developing applications to some of Earth's internal processes and comparing its predictions with progressively more sophisticated numerical models. Potential applications are the compositional-dynamical stratification of the mantle and the energy involved with core convection and the dynamo mechanism of Earth's magnetic field. Good computational skills would be required.
Thermochemical mantle plumes
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Supervisor:Davies, Geoffrey
Subject keywords: Deep Earth/Continent evolution,Geophysics,Computational,
Degree types: PhD,
The physics of thermal mantle plumes is quite well understood, and they provide a good explanation for volcanic centers like Hawaii and Iceland, and for the chains of extinct volcanos that extend away from these 'hotspot' sites. They also seem to explain gigantic flood basalt eruptions that occur once every 10-20 Ma. However there is a range of other volcanism that doesn't fit the classic pattern of flood basalts and related hotspot tracks. Plumes may entrain some denser material from the bottom of the mantle, and then their dynamics would be more complicated. These dynamics would be explored with numerical models in two and three dimensions. The results would have implications for the tectonic evolution of the continents and for the cooling of the core and the history of the dynamo. Good computational skills would be required.
Dynamic and chemical evolution of the mantle
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Supervisor:Davies, Geoffrey
Subject keywords: Deep Earth/Continent evolution,Geophysics,Computational,
Degree types: PhD,
This project continues numerical modelling of mantle dynamics in two and three dimensions to explore models that can accommodate geophysical, geochemical and tectonic constraints. We have a fairly clear understanding of how plate tectonics, mantle convection and mantle plumes work at present, but we would like to know how the dynamics of the mantle system has changed as Earth has slowly cooled over the past 4.5 Ga. There is geochemical and isotopic information from the mantle that has been difficult to reconcile with dynamical modelling. The chronology and tectonic history of the continental crust also provides important constraints, especially since they indicate the system has had episodes of heightened activity. Good computational skills would be required.