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Plate tectonics and global change


Research interests are linked by plate tectonics and plate tectonic theory, particularly the high-resolution studies of plate kinematics that are possible with the quantitative use of marine and satellite-derived geophysical data. Such studies are an essential accompaniment to the ever increasing level of detail in geological knowledge, if that knowledge is to be reliably interpreted in terms of geological processes, for example:

  • The effects of continental configurations on oceanographic, atmospheric and global change (e.g. by gateway opening and closure, or greenhouse gas capacitance in rift basins).
  • Patterns and causes of paleogeographic and paleobiogeographic evolution.
  • Supercontinent breakup and its relationship to excess volcanism.
  • Kinematic–dynamic co-evolution of plate boundaries and plates.
  • Vertical movements of the oceanic lithosphere.


Tectonic reconstruction of the South Pacific 7 million years ago, showing gravity data offshore and sub-ice topography data in Antarctica. Purple: occurrences of anomalous alkaline volcanism at subducting or recently-subducting plate margins.
Summary of evidence for the presence of Jurassic-Cretaceous aged seafloor in the central Scotia Sea, part of the Drake Passage gateway. Green curves – model predictions for geothermal gradient (left) magnetic anomaly sequence (top right) and flexural profile (middle right) of this area of the seafloor if it formed in Mesozoic times, compared to Oligo-Miocene times (yellow curves). Bottom right shows the associations of extended continental margin rocks on the edge of this area of seafloor, on the island of South Georgia.





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