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over Diamond Head, (c) Ken H Rubin

Composition and Dynamics of Earth's Deep Interior

The Earth's deep interior is the heat engine that drives plate tectonics, crustal uplift, volcanism, atmosphere formation and our planet's evolution. Researchers explore this inaccessible region beneath the Earth's crust with both geophysical (gravity, magnetism, high-pressure mineral physics and seismic wave properties) and geochemical tools (major element, trace element, and Sr-Nd-Pb-U-Th radiogenic isotope tracers). Geodynamics, the study of the forces and processes of the Earth's interior, combine geophysics and geochemistry to model mantle melting and mantle flow beneath mid-ocean ridges, intra-plate oceanic islands, subduction zone arcs, and continental interiors. These settings are windows into the Earth's deep interior that allow us a clearer understanding of this regions affect on the surface geology we observe every day.

Research Themes
  1. Composition and dynamics of Earth's deep interior
  2. Formation, motion, and recycling of Earth's crust (the rock cycle)
  3. Earth's Environment: water, sediments, and life
  4. Earth history
  5. Earth hazards, resources, and sustainability
  6. The Solar System