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Reflections on solid Earth research

To celebrate the first anniversary of Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, we asked five researchers investigating solid Earth processes to outline notable developments within their discipline and provide thoughts on important work yet to be done.

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M.S. would like to acknowledge funding from the Australian Research Council (DP200100966). L.J.S. receives support from the Australian Research Council (DE170100684). H.M.W. acknowledges funding from an ERC Consolidator Grant (306655, ‘HabitablePlanet’) and a NERC Consortia Grant (‘Mantle Reservoirs, volumes and fluxes’ NE/M000303/1).

Author information




Shuichi Kodaira is the Director and Principal Scientist at the Institute for Marine Geodynamics, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). His research career has centred on the structure and dynamics of oceanic plates in various tectonic settings using marine geophysical and seismological approaches. Recently, he and his team have concentrated on imaging, monitoring and modelling seismogenic subduction zones, which demonstrate how marine geoscience contributes to understanding subduction zone processes and mitigation of their associated geohazards. He has been an elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union since 2014 and was elected Beno Gutenberg Lecturer of the American Geophysical Union in 2017.

Maria Seton is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney. She is a marine geoscientist with expertise in plate tectonics and explores the role of the plate-mantle system in explaining major perturbations in Earth’s evolution. While much of her research is global in scale and scope, she has a particular interest in the geodynamic evolution of the South West Pacific and Zealandia. Maria has been the recipient of two research fellowships from the Australian Research Council and the Dorothy Hill Award from the Australian Academy of Sciences.

Laura J. Sonter is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Management and ARC DECRA Fellow at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science at The University of Queensland, Australia. She also holds an affiliate position at the Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont, USA. Her research seeks to understand the spatial distribution of mining activities and develop methods to mitigate negative impacts on species and ecosystems. Dr Sonter teaches undergraduate-level and postgraduate-level courses on environmental management in mining and supervises a team of doctoral students working on these issues.

Christy B. Till is an Associate Professor and the Associate Director for an Inclusive Community at the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on the role of magma in planetary processes, including those leading to volcanic eruptions and mantle magma genesis on Earth and exoplanets. Her work has been recognized in a variety of ways, including an NSF CAREER grant, an Early Career Award from the Geological Society of America, features in National Geographic and the New York Times, and election to a variety of scientific leadership positions.

Helen M. Williams is a Reader in Geochemistry at the University of Cambridge. Her research centres on the application of non-traditional (high-atomic-mass) stable isotope systems to the evolution of planetary interiors. She is particularly interested in understanding the chemical evolution of the Earth’s interior and its surface over the entire history of the planet and its relationship to planetary habitability.

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Correspondence to Shuichi Kodaira or Maria Seton or Laura J. Sonter or Christy B. Till or Helen M. Williams.

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Kodaira, S., Seton, M., Sonter, L.J. et al. Reflections on solid Earth research. Nat Rev Earth Environ 2, 21–25 (2021).

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