Available PhD Projects

Available PhD Projects

Geophysically Constrained Mantle Flow Simulations

Mantle flow within the Earth complicates the interpretation of geophysical and geodynamic observables as well as evolutionary models of the lithosphere.

The problem of discriminating between dynamic versus thermochemical contributions to absolute elevation (topography) is an example of this. Valid models of the thermochemical structure of the Earth’s interior must be consistent with all geophysical and geodynamic observations. Our group has recently developed a fully non-linear probabilistic method to invert geophysical and geodynamic observations to provide realistic estimates of the temperature and compositional structures of the Earth’s interior. This requires solving the “mantle flow problem” or “Stokes flow” millions of times in cluster machines. The candidate will work in developing super-fast Stokes solvers for geophysical and geodynamic applications based on Reduced Basis techiques.

The candidate will collaborate closely with members of the CCFS group at Macquarie as well as with international collaborators (Prof. Gianluigi Rozza) through research stays in Europe.

Desirable background: Geophysics, Physics, Applied Mathematics, Engineering

Supervisors: Juan Carlos Afonso and Gianluigi Rozza

Inversion of Multiple Geophysical Datasets for the Composition and Thermal Structure of the Earth

One of the main challenges concerning the Earth’s upper mantle is the determination of its present-day thermal and compositional structure. This information represents the basis for any evolutionary model of the Earth, as well as for understanding the relationships between geophysical observables (e.g. electrical conductivity, seismic velocity, etc) and the physical state of the Earth’s interior.

This project builds on recent advances in the improvement and integration of geophysical, petrological, mineral physics, and geochemical data into self-consistent models of the Earth’s mantle as well as on the development of high-resolution tomographic techniques.

The candidate will deal with multi-parameter inversion techniques and state-of-the-art geophysical modelling tools to advance/develop recent interdisciplinary methods to map compositional and thermal anomalies in the upper mantle. Through this project the candidate will interact closely with renowned scientists in the CCFS group as well as with international collaborators through research stays in Ireland, UK and/or USA.

Desirable background: Geophysics, Physics

Supervisors: Juan Carlos Afonso and Yingjie Yang

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