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Welcome to our ASU's Geophysics group, within the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE).  We are a multi-disciplinary team of scientists within SESE, which itself is aimed at transdisciplinary approaches to solving interesting problems.  This page is intended to briefly highlight some examples of our current and emerging research interests, and to provide you with links to other pages for more information.  We combine the fields of geodynamics, mineral physics, and seismology, with interests aimed at Earth, other planets and moons in our Solar System, and beyond.  If you are a prospective graduate student or post doc, feel free to email us for information, and look at opportunities on the main SESE page.

From left to right: Allen McNamara (Geodynamics), Tom Sharp (Mineralogy, Mineral Physics), Ed Garnero (Seismology), Dan Shim (Experimental Mineral Physics), Jim Tyburczy (Mineral Physics, Geophysics) [Background: "Transient pile convective dynamics"].

Most of planetary body interiors are inaccessible, even Earth.  However, the conditions at depth can be simulated in high pressure devices in the laboratory, such as the diamond anvil cell used in Dan Shim's lab and multi-anvil press in Kurt Leinenweber’s lab.  What are planets made of?  What are the properties of planetary materials?  These are the key questions we try to answer through laboratory experiments.  Why is it important to understand the properties of planetary materials at a wide range of pressures and temperatures?  The properties of planetary materials allow us to understand a wide range of planetary processes, such as magnetism, volcanism, tectonics, differentiation, core formation, atmosphere formation, water (or volatile) cycle, etc. Jim Tyburczy, Tom Sharp, and Dan Shim, in a multi-disciplinary fashion with other SESE geophysicists and scientists, measures the properties of planetary materials at a wide range of pressures and temperatures and apply the results to understand the structure and evolution of planets.  MORE INFO (Dan Shim)

The cooling of a planet through time and the tectonic processes at its surface are largely controlled by convection within its interior.  Over geologic timescales, planetary interiors act as fluids, and their behavior can be studied by fluid dynamical numerical modeling.  Allen McNamara’s group uses computational models of planetary convection to investigate and test hypotheses related to interior structure and dynamics of planets.  Of particular interest is better understanding hypothesized geochemical reservoirs in Earth’s lower mantle, and how these reservoirs influence mantle dynamics and cooling.  His group is also involved in linking observations of seismic anisotropy to better map out mantle flow patterns near the mantle-core boundary.  He is also researching the dynamics of Europa’s outer ice shell and underlying water ocean, and how chemicals essential for life may be transported through the moon’s ice/water system. MORE INFO (Allen McNamara)

Seismology remains the most direct method for imaging the inaccessible parts of present-day Earth.  Ed Garnero's research group uses seismic body waves to study deep structures high resolution.  Large seismic networks of high quality sensors have become publically available over the last decade or so, and are use in an "array method" approach, whereby data are summed together to enhance signals of often faint pulses.  These methods are powerful for detection faint interfaces deep into a planetary body.  With colleagues, Garnero has recently applied methods to the Moon to image its core.  The seismic models are given a meaningful framework only after sensible collaboration with other disciplines, such as geodynamics, mineral physics, geochemistry, and petrology.  Deep mantle seismic targets have included reflectors of seismic waves in the lowest few 100 km of the mantle which might relate to the post-perovskite phase, small patches of ultra-low velocity zones (ULVZs), large low shear velocity provinces (LLSVPs), out core structure, and upper mantle structure near the vicinity of phase transition boundaries.  MORE INFO (Ed Garnero)

Comments and Suggestions to SHDShim at ASU dot EDU

Last Update: 10/5/12

seismology    geodynamics    mineral physics   planetary interiors    experiments    

numerical methods   engineering solutions   astrobiology   exoplanets    tectonics