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Climate Change, Plate Tectonics and Machine Learning

Project Description

Our understanding of the transition from the lithospheric plate to the weaker asthenosphere has recently been revolutionized by seismic imaging that finds a sharp, strong discontinuity at the base of the plate. These observations require a plate defined by partial melt. However, the dynamic implications of this have yet to be realized. For instance, climate change estimates over geologic timescales depend on estimates of the sea level, which depend not only on the size of the oceans, but the way that the plate sits on the underlying asthenosphere. Understanding the impact plate dynamics on paleoclimate has broad implications for our understanding of the evolution of Earth’s climate and its habitability in the geologic record with implications for the future. This is an exciting opportunity to fully explore the potential impact and interplay between plate tectonics and climate.


Rychert, C. A. and P. M. Shearer (2009) A Global View of the Lithosphere-
Asthenosphere Boundary, Science, 324, doi:10.1126/science.1169754.

Rychert, C. A., N. Harmon, and S. Tharimena (2018), Scattered Wave Imaging of the Oceanic Plate in Cascadia, Science Advances, 4(2), DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao1908.

Tharimena, S., C. Rychert, and N. Harmon (2017), A unified continental thickness from seismology and diamonds suggests a melt-defined plate, Science, 357(6351), 580-583.

How good is research at University of Southampton in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 68.62

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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