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A probabilistic framework for assessing polar wander – Constraining paleolongitude in deep time

Project description

Understanding palaeolongitude in deep geologic time

Understanding Earth's evolution requires the quantification of past movements of tectonic plates. However, before 130 Ma this can only be achieved through the study of palaeomagnetism, but analytical limitations have thus far prevented it from being used to its full potential. The EU-funded TANGO project will address this challenge by integrating data-science techniques into palaeomagnetic research. The research fellow will develop state-of-the-art computer-intensive statistical methods to provide the conceptual basis for a probabilistic framework. Palaeographic reconstructions will be provided with uncertainty estimates for the first time to tackle one of the most important challenges currently facing geophysics – palaeolongitude determination in deep geologic time. This research will support efforts to explore the missing links between plate tectonics and mantle evolution.

Objective

The quantification of past plate motions is of paramount importance to advancing our understanding of Earth’s evolution. Plate motions of the last ~130 Ma are well-resolved from magnetic isochrons and hotspot tracks, but as those records are progressively destroyed by subduction, they cannot be used in deeper time. Before 130 Ma, plate motions can only be quantified through the study of paleomagnetism, but analytical limitations have so-far prevented us from using this tool to its full potential. For example, owing to the axial symmetry of the Earth’s magnetic field, the determination of paleolongitude from paleomagnetic data –although theoretically possible– has long been considered an intractable problem. TANGO will capitalize on this untapped potential through an innovative and cross-disciplinary approach integrating modern data-science techniques into paleomagnetic research, thereby opening a new research frontier.
Aiming to contribute towards the neglected issue of paleomagnetic precision, I will focus on state-of-the-art computer-intensive statistical methods to provide the conceptual basis for a much needed probabilistic framework for paleomagnetic research. These efforts will allow me to provide paleogeographic reconstructions with uncertainty estimates for the first time. With that framework, through application of unsupervised learning methods, I will also be able to tackle the outstanding problem of paleolongitude determination in deep geologic time, which remains one of the most important challenges in modern geophysics. Such novel and quantitative methods development is strongly complementary to the core research efforts at CEED (University of Oslo) to explore the missing links between plate tectonics and mantle evolution. In this pursuit, TANGO will reinforce the international and multidisciplinary dimension of my early stage career and will allow the European Union to remain at the cutting-edge of paleomagnetic and tectonic-related research.

Coordinator

UNIVERSITETET I OSLO
Net EU contribution
€ 214 158,72
Address
PROBLEMVEIEN 5-7
0313 Oslo
Norway

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Region
Norge Oslo og Viken Oslo
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 214 158,72