Dynamic Earth

Plate Tectonics

The Dynamic Earth group researches the tectonic  and magmatic processes that shape our planet, distribute resources, and create geological hazards ranging from volcanic eruptions to earthquakes to landslides.

We study continental breakup, seafloor spreading and subduction and the accompanying deformation and magmatism. We examine how melting relates to mantle processes, how magma is emplaced in the crust, how it is erupted at the surface, and the accompanying release of greenhouse and other environmentally important gases. We investigate the physical mechanisms behind geological hazards, the impact of those hazards on surrounding environments and their implications for society. As both tectonic and magmatic processes influence climate and oceanic circulation, our research has strong links with the Palaeoclimatology and Palaeoceanography group, and through extinctions with the Palaeobiology group.

Research is supported by leadership of field work on land and scientific cruises at sea, and by participation in large-scale experiments including scientific drilling (both International Continental Drilling Program ICDP and International Ocean Discovery Program – IODP). In Birmingham our tools include seismic and seafloor imaging, palaeomagnetism, magnetic fabrics, rock-sectioning, and visual and electron microscopy.  


Research funding

Our research is funded through a diverse range of sources, including NERC, ERC, NSF, Marie Curie Actions, Leverhulme Trust, Royal Society, and the Palaeontological Association. We actively encourage external collaborations, as well as welcoming and supporting fellowship applications. In recent years we have hosted Royal Society, NERC, Leverhulme Trust and Royal Commission of 1851 Fellows. For further information please contact any relevant member of academic staff and see opportunities to get involved with the Earth Sciences community.

Postgraduate opportunities

MSc in Earth Sciences Research

PhD Funding Sources

The group includes a large, diverse and vibrant community of highly talented and motivated doctoral researchers, working on a broad range of field-, lab- and desk-based PhD projects. PhD opportunities are available annually through the CENTA doctoral training programme, and may also be advertised on an ad hoc basis as funding allows. We are always keen to talk to potential students about opportunities. We have an excellent track record of training our doctoral researchers for careers in geology, industry, university and international research environments.