Geodynamics

Definition

Geodynamics refers to the processes by which mantle convection shapes and reshapes the Earth and other rocky planets. Its study includes plate tectonics, volcanism, the chemistry of lava and volcanic rocks, gravity and geomagnetic anomalies as well as seismic investigations into the structure of the mantle.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    The long-term cooling of Earth's mantle is recorded in the declining temperature and volume of its volcanic outpourings over time. However, analyses of 89-million-year-old lavas from Costa Rica suggest that extremely hot mantle still lurks below.

    • Oliver Shorttle
  • News and Views |

    Unlike Earth, Venus lacks discrete, moving plates. Analogue model experiments suggest that observed hints at plate recycling do indeed indicate current, localized destruction of the Venusian surface.

    • Fabio Crameri
    Nature Geoscience 10, 330–331
  • News and Views |

    The geological record preserves scant evidence for early plate tectonics. Analysis of eclogites — metamorphic rocks formed in subduction zones — in the Trans-Hudson mountain belt suggests modern-style subduction may have operated 1,800 million years ago.

    • Clare Warren
    Nature Geoscience 10, 245–246
  • News and Views |

    Hints from seismic tomography and geochemistry indicate that Earth's mantle is heterogeneous at large scale. Numerical simulations of mantle convection show that, if it started enriched in silicates, the lower mantle may remain unmixed today.

    • Frédéric Deschamps
  • News and Views |

    180 million years ago Earth's continents were amalgamated into one supercontinent called Pangaea. Analysis of oceanic crust formed since that time suggests that the cooling rate of Earth was enhanced in the wake of Pangaea's dispersal.

    • Adrian Lenardic
  • News and Views |

    Tectonic plate interiors are often regarded as relatively inactive. Yet, reconstructions of marine terrace uplift in Angola suggest that underlying mantle flow can rapidly warp Earth's surface far from obviously active plate boundaries.

    • Nicky White
    Nature Geoscience 9, 867–869