Research Student 2013
Geophysics, Geodynamics and Tectonics
Long wavelength vertical motions and mantle convection
It has long been accepted that convective currents within the Earth's mantle contribute to an important part of the Earth's surface topography (i.e. dynamic topography). Despite increasing theoretical and observational evidence for these dynamically induced vertical motions, their spatial and temporal variations remain poorly understood. One of the main aims of my research is using a broad range of geological and geophysical observations of dynamic topography in the continents to constrain these processes.
My initial work has focused on constraining vertical motions affecting the South American continent in recent geological times. Applying inverse modelling of the continent's drainage networks, a Cenozoic uplift history of South America has been reconstructed. Results have been integrated with geological observations of uplift such as thermochronology, elevated marine terraces and paleoelevation estimates.
Origin and evolution of cratonic basins
Cratonic basins are sedimentary basins developed within stable continental interiors, far away from active plate boundaries. They are typically underlain by thick lithosphere and slowly subside over hundreds of millions of years, resulting in thin (~ 4 km) sedimentary sections composed of continental and shallow marine sedimentary rocks. Despite the fact that these basins have been a subject of study for decades, their origin and evolution remain enigmatic. Another aspect of my research consists in addressing this problem by carrying out an integrative study of the Parnaíba cratonic basin in NE Brazil. As a part of a multidisciplinary project, I integrate observations from a deep seismic reflection profile acquired across the basin, receiver functions from teleseismic earthquakes, shallow seismic reflection profiles and well data. The principal aim is to constrain the subsidence history of the Parnaiba basin in the context of crustal structure and basin architecture. Ultimately, insights obtained in this study will be applied to understand the formation and evolution of cratonic basins globally.
Geophysics ; Seismology