Mailing address: PO Box 208109, New Haven CT 06520-8109
Street address: 210 Whitney Ave, New Haven CT 06511
How do subducting slabs interact with the mantle around them as they sink? What controls the path they take through the mantle, and why don’t they always sink straight down? How do the remnants of slabs interact with the lowermost mantle, and what are the consequences of this interaction? What role does subduction play in building continental lithosphere and shaping orogens? Subducting slabs represent a crucial component of the solid Earth system and provide the major driving force for plate tectonics, but fundamental aspects of their behavior continue to elude us.
I am an observational seismologist who works on problems related to mantle dynamics, with a focus on subduction dynamics and processes. We use observations of seismic anisotropy in the Earth’s mantle to address major unsolved problems related to the dynamics of subducting slabs from the surface to the core-mantle boundary. In particular, my research group uses seismic observations and geodynamic models to understand the pattern of upper mantle flow in subduction systems. Results from this work bear on fundamental aspects of subduction geodynamics, such as the subduction zone water cycle, the generation and transport of melt, the mechanical coupling between slabs and the ambient mantle, and slab morphology and evolution. I also investigate seismic anisotropy and its relationship to subduction processes in the deep mantle. This research encompasses investigations of anisotropy in the mid-mantle (transition zone and uppermost lower mantle) and in the D” region at the base of the mantle. I am also interested in how subduction processes affect the structure, evolution, and deformation of continental lithosphere, both in regions of present-day tectonic activity (such as the Pacific Northwest and western South America) and in regions that have been affected by subduction in the past (such as eastern North America). My research encompasses a substantial field component, with recent and ongoing seismometer deployments in Peru and the mid-Atlantic Appalachians.