What controls the strength of the lithosphere? Using magnetotellurics to investigate lithosphere rheology in situ


Dr. Kate Selway

Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics



Magnetotellurics (MT) is a passive electromagnetic geophysical method that can image the Earth's electrical conductivity to asthenospheric 
depths. One of the main factors controlling the electrical conductivity of the lithospheric mantle is the hydrogen content of nominally  anhydrous minerals such as olivine and pyroxene. Hydrogen content is affected by important geological processes such as partial melting and metasomatism and also has a strong influence on mantle rheology. In this seminar, I will introduce the MT method and show how MT can be used to determine the hydrogen content of the mantle in situ. I will discuss the implications for understanding lithospheric evolution and rheology, with a focus on examples from East Africa and central Australia.

Published Jan. 11, 2016 4:17 PM - Last modified June 28, 2016 3:54 PM