Many of the processes that shape the Earth over timescales from human to geological arise from liquid–solid interactions. These interactions can be thermodynamic (e.g. melting, solidification), as well as mechanical (e.g. lubrication, change in viscosity). My research group has generally focused on the coupled dynamics of two liquid—solid systems: the of magma+mantle system that is active beneath (for example) mid-ocean ridges, and the ice+hydrologic system that is associated with glaciers and ice sheets. Our models arise from consideration of the fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and basic chemistry of such systems and we use high-performance computing resources as well as analytical tools to obtain solutions that predict the (often complex) behaviour of natural systems. Recent motivating questions include the following: How do Antarctic ice streams emerge and evolve? How does mantle heterogeneity in lithology and volatile content affect the rates and pathways of magma segregation? How and where is melt produced in subduction zones? How does grain-scale microstructure control the (possibly anisotropic) rheology of partially molten ice and rock? Students joining this research group will use techniques of mathematical modelling to investigate systems in which liquid—solid interaction plays a fundamental role. Candidates with a background in physics or applied mathematics are particularly encouraged to apply.
I am currently offering projects related to the role of magma in the mechanics of plate tectonics and in the dynamics of ice sheets over glacial cycles. Please see the Department of Earth Sciences Graduate Admissions page for detailed project descriptions.
Follow this link to current DPhil Topics in Earth Sciences
Experience & Qualifications
MSc and PhD from Columbia University, New York, USA in Geodynamics
12 years as a Lecturer and Professor at the University of Oxford; 2 years as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge