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Research Fellows Directory

David Dobson

Professor David Dobson

Research Fellow


University College London

Research summary

Virtuall every feature of the Earth's surface is affected by the way the deep Earth convects. Earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain belts, the oceans basins and continents are clear consequences of plate tectonics, driven by mantle convection. But even aspects which we take for granted, such as the atmosphere and hdorsphere, only exist because we live on a geologically active planet where gases are released from the deep interior during volcanism. If we are to understand the evolution of our planet (and why it is so differenet form the other planets of the solar system) we must understand the way that the mantle is convecting. Our primary source of information about the mantle comes from seismology which can tell us about the density and elastic properties (and hence temperature adn to a lesser extent chemistry) of the Earth's interior but to interpret these observations in terms of active processes we must measure the physical properties of the materials occuring in the Earth. My research is aimed at measuring an important class of properties called transport properties; these include thermal and electrical conductivity, viscosity and chemical diffusivity. It is these transport properties which control the way the mantle convects, and has done for the last 4 billion years.

Grants awarded

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Apr 2002 - Sep 2009

Value: £428,861.81