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Mantle dynamics of Supercontinent formation


A supercontinent is generally considered to reflect the assembly of most, if not all, of the Earth’s continental lithosphere. However, there is no formal definition of how much continental material is required to be assembled, or indeed which additional ‘geomarkers’ of supercontinent formation (e.g., crustal growth, life evolution, climate and sea level change, etc) need to be present. Recent work has suggested the response of the mantle can be used as a proxy for supercontinent classification, in that the size of continental amalgamation must be sufficient to influence mantle dynamics. For this project, we seek dynamic graduate students to investigate the size of continental lithosphere required to produce an impact on ‘bottom­up’ dynamics from the convective mantle using 3D numerical modelling with high performance computing. Although this work is rooted in numerical modelling, the graduate student will work across disciplines to analyse available ‘geomarker’ data. The successful applicant will work alongside domestic and international collaborators which include the University of Oslo (Norway), Monash University (Australia), and St Francis-Xavier University (Canada).

 For more information, please contact Prof. Phil Heron (http://www.philheron.com/). The overall goal of the research group is to make graduate students employable. Graduate training with this project includes becoming an expert in a (highly employable) transferable skill (e.g., computational simulations) and also to be able to effectively communicate to diverse audiences.