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Master thesis: Role of variable thermal expansion on the initiation of plate tectonics
The problem of the initiation of plate tectonics regards understanding the conditions, which lead to the formation of weak zones (plate boundaries) that serve as nucleation points for the onset of subduction - the process with which tectonic plates sink into the mantle. The creation of such weak zones can be favoured by a positive feedback exerted by the temperature dependence of the coefficient of thermal expansion, which, however, is generally kept constant in plate tectonics models. The thesis work will involve numerical simulations of visco-plastic convection devoted to assess the importance of variable thermal expansivity in controlling the onset of plate tectonics on terrestrial planets.
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Interior Structure of Planetary Bodies
Mantle Convection in Planets and Moons
Gravitational and Magnetic Fields
Seismology of Planetary Bodies
Habitability and Thermal Evolution
Tectonics of Planetary Surfaces
Thermal and Physical Modeling of Planetary Surfaces
Thermal Probes for Measuring Surface Heat Flow
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