Category Archives: Deep earth

Beyond plate tectonics

Plate tectonics is the core unifying concept that has underpinned our understanding of the solid earth for over 50 years. To describe your research as moving “beyond plate tectonics” is quite a claim, but Trond Torsvik and the group he leads … Continue reading

Categories: Deep earth, diamonds, subduction, tectonics

Hot spot volcanoes: no plumes required?

It’s a simple and well-known picture. Volcanoes form either at plate boundaries due to subduction or inside plates due to mantle plumes. Invoking plumes – columns of hot rock rising from deep in the mantle – is an awfully useful way of explaining … Continue reading

Categories: Deep earth

Tasting the earth: mantle geochemistry

If seismologists listen to the earth then geochemists taste it. Like experts blind-tasting a glass of wine and recognising where it came from, geochemists studying the deep earth aim to find out where a particular liquid came from. Their liquid – basaltic magma formed … Continue reading

Categories: Deep earth, geochemistry

The Constitution of the Interior of Earth, as Revealed by Earthquakes

How to tell if the loaf of bread in your oven is cooked? You can see the outside is nicely browned, but you can’t see the middle – is it doughy still? Give it a tap and listen. If it sounds … Continue reading

Categories: Deep earth, history of science, subduction