Advanced computing in solid-earth Geodynamics

by Prof. Marc Spiegelman

Columbia University

The evolution of Earth at geological timescales depends on the motion of plates.

The evolution of Earth at geological timescales depends on the motion of plates.

Solid-Earth Geodynamics provides a wealth of important computational challenges including global seismology, earthquake physics, plate tectonics/mantle convection/mountain building, reactive flow/ ore formation and magma dynamics.

These  problems are central to understanding the behavior of  active plate boundaries such as the South American subduction zone that drives much of the geology, mineral resources and natural hazards in Chile.

This short course will provide an overview of the state-of-the art, and outstanding challenges, in computational geodynamics, with an emphasis on modern software being developed and distributed as open-source code through the NSF funded “Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics” (CIG).

The four lectures will cover a wide range of problems emphasizing current solutions and future challenges in high-performance computing.

  1. An overview of challenges in computational geodynamics
  2. Computational seismology and earthquake physics: imaging the earth
  3. Computational solid-Earth dynamics: mantle convection and mountain building
  4. Computational magma-dynamics:  adding fluids and the dynamics of subduction zones

Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics, CIG

The Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics (CIG) is a membership-governed organization that supports and promotes Earth science by developing and maintaining software for computational geophysics and related fields.  One of its main functions is to develop, support and disseminate community-accessible software for the geodynamics research community.  The software supported by CIG is used in a variety of applications, such as mantle and core dynamics, crustal and earthquake dynamics, magma migration and seismology.

Figure 1 of "The Dynamics of Plate Tectonics and Mantel Flow:  From Local to Global Scales", Stadler, Gurnis, Burstedde, Wilcox, Alisic and Ghattas.  Science, Vol. 329, pp.1033-1038 (27 Aug. 2010)

Figure 1 of "The Dynamics of Plate Tectonics and Mantle Flow: From Local to Global Scales", Stadler, Gurnis, Burstedde, Wilcox, Alisic and Ghattas. Science, Vol. 329, pp.1033-1038 (27 Aug. 2010)