Impact of mineral grain size and anisotropy on tectonic plate motions
The asthenosphere is a low-viscosity layer that lies beneath the tectonic plates; its presence facilitates plate motions. The viscosity of the asthenosphere depends on the rheological properties of the individual mineral grains that compose its rocks – and these mineral grains can change orientation, and grow or shrink in size, depending on the ambient stresses and the deformation history of the asthenosphere.
This project will combine numerical models with observations from rock deformation experiments to understand the dynamical link between plate motions and asthenospheric rheology.
Students can expect to gain an understanding of ductile deformation of rocks and experience with numerical modelling techniques, and should expect to publish their results in a scientific journal.