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Dr David Al-Attar


Solid Earth geophysics

Bullard Labs

Madingley Rise,
Madingley Road,

Office Phone: +44 (0) 1223 348935

Research Interests

I am interested in the continuum mechanics of planetary bodies, and the use of inverse theory to learn about their internal structure and composition. My doctoral studies were done at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Prof. John Woodhouse. During this time I worked on mathematical problems in free oscillation seismology. Since then I have broadened my focus to include related topics such as post-glacial sea level change, body-tides, and orbital dynamics. More generally, I am interested in theoretical solid mechanics and applications of differential geometry and functional analysis. 

I do not currently offer research internships, and will not respond to unsolicited enquires about such positions. 



Tomography ; Geophysics ; Geodesy ; Seismology

Key Publications

Crawford O., Al-Attar D., Tromp J., & Mitrovica J.X., Austermann J., & Lau H.C.P., 2018. Quantifying the sensitivity of post-glacial sea level change to laterally varying viscosity. Geophy. J. Int.,

Al-Attar D., Crawford O., Valentine A.P., & Trampert J., 2018. Hamilton's principle and normal mode coupling in an aspherical planet with a fluid core.  Geophys. J.

Akbarashrafi F., Al-Attar D., Deuss A., Trampert J., & Valentine A.P., 2018. Exact free oscillation spectra, splitting functions and the resolvability of Earth's density structure. Geophys. J. Int.213,  58–76.

Lau H.C.P., Mitrovica J.X., Davis J.L., Tromp J., Yang H.Y., & Al-Attar, 2017. Tidal tomography constrains Earth's deep buoyancy. Nature, 551, 321-338.

Crawford O., Al-Attar D., Tromp J., & Mitrovica J.X., 2017. Forward and inverse modelling of post-seismic deformation. Geophy. J. Int., 208, 845-876.

Lau H.C.P., Faul U., Mitrovica J.X., Al-Attar D., Tromp J.,  & Garapic G., 2017. Anelasticity across seismic to tidal timescales: a self-consistent approach. Geophy. J. Int., 208, 368-384.

Al-Attar D. & Crawford O., 2016. Particle relabelling transformations in elastodynamics. Geophys. J. Int., 205, 575-593.

Lau H.C.P., Yang H.Y., Tromp J., Mitrovica J.X., Latychev K., & Al-Attar D., 2015. A normal mode treatment of semi-diurnal body tides on an aspherical, rotating, anelastic Earth. Geophys. J. Int., 202, 1392--1406.

Al-Attar D. & Tromp J., 2014. Sensitivity kernels for viscoelastic loading based on adjoint merhods. Geophys. J. Int., 196, 34--77.

Al-Attar D., Woodhouse J.H. & Deuss A.F., 2012. Calculation of mode spectra in laterally heterogeneous earth models using an iterative direct solution method. Geophys. J. Int., 189, 1038--1046.

Al-Attar D. & Woodhouse J.H., 2010. On the parametrization of equilibrium stress fields in the Earth. Geophys. J. Int., 181, 567-576.

Al-Attar D. & Woodhouse J.H., 2008. Calculation of seismic displacement fields in self-gravitating earth models -- applications of minor vectors and symplectic structure. Geophys. J. Int., 175, 1176--1208.

Al-Attar D., 2007. A solution of the elastodynamic equation in an anelastic earth model. Geophys. J. Int., 171, 755--760.