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Modelling of complex Earth systems


I propose to re-establish my research group specializing in modelling complex Earth systems by sophisticated numerical methods, analog experimentation and field studies, following my move from the Australian National University to the University of Rennes 1 (Geosciences-Rennes.). The main area of investigation of the group will be the study of the interactions between the Earth's crust, the overlying hydrosphere and the underlying mantle during major orogenic events, past and present. Coupling along the Earth's surface is through erosion, mass transport and sedimentation by a range of processes including fluvial, hill-slope and glacial processes. Deformation of the crust is caused by the large-scale movement of the tectonic plates, itself driven by buoyancy forces originating in the convecting mantle. To study this complex system, I propose a unique and ambitious multi-disciplinary approach combining the use of numerical methods, analog experimentation and field-based data collection. The innovation of the proposed research lies not only in the questions that it addresses about the behaviour of the Earth's system on geological time scales, but also on the sophisticated, state-of-the-art numerical methods that have been developed and will be used. In particular, a unique three-dimensional model of lithospheric deformation will be coupled to a plan-form landscape evolution model. Funding is requested for equipment (the construction of a dedicated computing facility), personal (post-doctoral fellow and PhD student) and travel. The proposed research will contribute to enhance EU scientific excellence by facilitating the return of a European researcher after almost twenty years of research activity overseas (in Canada and Australia) and will promote his re-integration within the European research community and, in particuar, within Geoscience-Rennes.'

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