Modelling impact of melts on mantle diffusion and viscosity with geodynamic implications

Silicate magmas are the major connection between the heat factory of the deep Earth and the incessantly changing crust. Occasionally magmas brought large amounts of material from the mantle to the surface. These large-scale eruptions altered climate, tectonic isostasy, and influenced biosphere.

In the project we will focus on kimberlites. Kimberlites are peculiar ultramafic magmas rich in volatiles, spanning a wide compositional space. They are associated with the large igneous provinces and the breakup of supercontinents. They are also major sources for diamonds. We will analyze the behavior of carbon in the melts, the chemical speciation, and the buoyancy relations to the surrounding mantle through geologic time. We will determine their transport properties, i.e. diffusion and viscosity, and use this information to understand their geological setup.

For this work we will employ molecular dynamics (MD) simulations based on both ab initio (AI) and reactive force fields (FF). We will integrate the computed physical properties of the melts into large-scale modeling of tectonic processes, correlate their eruptions with continental cycles, and interpret gravimetric isostasy data.

We will compare our theoretical results with experimental data via collaboration and may include visits to the Earth and Life Science Institute of the Tokyo Institute of Technology.


  • MSc in physics, geophysics, material science, or related field.
  • Candidates with documented experience in computational geophysics, molecular dynamics, ab initio simulations, and experience from machine learning will be prioritized.


Researcher Razvan Caracas

Professor Carmen Gaina

Call 2: Project start autumn 2022

This project is in call 2, starting autumn 2022. 

Published Aug. 17, 2020 12:39 PM - Last modified Oct. 12, 2021 10:23 PM