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Dynamic Earth: from crust to core


Russell Korsch, Geoscience Australia

Peter Cawood, University of Western Australia

Nick Rawlinson, Australian National University


The goal of this session is to advance our understanding of Earth structure, composition and dynamics with particular emphasis on new results from multidisciplinary research. Five broad topics have been identified to facilitate targeted submissions:

1) Geodynamic evolution of Australia from Archean cratons to Quaternary basins
The Australian continent consists of a fascinating amalgamation of terranes that spans the geologic time scale. What roles have the various tectonic processes, including intracratonic and interplate, played in its assemblage? How has it been affected by the formation and breakup of past supercontinents? Have surface processes influenced the architecture of the lithosphere? How are neotectonic processes shaping the contemporary landscape?  These and many other questions fall within the realm of most subdisciplines of the Earth Sciences.

2) The restless Earth: plate tectonics, mantle dynamics and core processes
This session covers a diversity of topics, from inner core evolution, nature of the geodynamo, structure and dynamics of D", to the coupling of mantle circulation and plate tectonic processes. Recent insights from geodynamic modelling constrained by multi-disciplinary datasets are particularly welcome.

3)  Intracratonic processes in lithospheric evolution
Although plate margins play a significant role in the shaping of continents, intracratonic processes can also have a major impact (e.g. the Alice Springs Orogeny of central Australia). Issues that could be addressed include the importance of convective instability of the mantle lithosphere versus far field forces in driving an intracratonic event; the role of pre-existing structures such as faults and terrane boundaries in the accommodation of deformation; deciphering the nature of intraplate deformation from interplate-related deformation, and the subsidence mechanism for intracontinental basins.

4) Understanding Earth structure using geophysical and geochemical techniques
The rapid development of new techniques, coupled with increases in computing power and improved data acquisition, have allowed geophysicists to illuminate the deep Earth with unprecedented resolution using a variety of methods such as seismic (e.g. reflection and refraction profiling, tomography) and magnetotellurics. Similarly, improved geochemical analysis of rocks now exposed at the Earth's surface provide valuable constraints on the composition of the deep crust and mantle. Together with recent results from rock physics, we are now on the brink of being able to elucidate the physical and chemical state of the Earth's interior in great detail.

5) Linking geodynamics to minerals and energy resources
The formation of mineral and energy resources can often be linked to concurrent geodynamic processes which affect the entire lithosphere. For example, the metallogenic Macquarie Arc in New South Wales probably formed as a result of magmatism associated with the evolution of an intraoceanic island arc. Understanding such processes can help provide new insight into the creation of these resources.

Abstract Deadline extended: 29 January 2010