GEO@EAIFR Webinar Series 2022

26 16 : 30 - 18 : 00 Oct

Professor Richard Katz will discuss rifting and the mechanics of magma-assisted tectonics.


The East African Institute for Fundamental Research (EAIFR) and the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) wish to inform those who may be interested of a GEO@EAIFR webinar. This seminar will take place on October 26, 2022 and will be broadcast live on ZOOM. It will also be recorded and later posted on the ICTP-EAIFR YouTube channel, where one can find the previous recorded GEO@EAIFR webinars. Below all the details:

Speaker: Professor Richard Katz, Department of Earth Sciences, Oxford University, UK

Title: Rift easy: the mechanics of magma-assisted tectonics

When: October 26, 2022 at 16:30 (Kigali time).

Register in advance for this meeting by clicking here.

All are very welcome.


Richard Katz is known for his research on partially molten rock and ice. He develops and analyses mathematical models of liquid—solid interaction in materials at their melting temperature.  He has applied this theory to Earth and Io, to mid-ocean ridges and ice sheets, to laboratory rock-mechanics experiments and to continental rifts.  Katz recently authored the book The Dynamics of Partially Molten Rock.  He is Professor of Geodynamics at the University of Oxford.



Continental rifting is a fundamental component of terrestrial plate tectonics and a coupling between mantle convection, sedimentary basins, and environmental change.  Simple estimates of the strength of continents indicate that large forces are required for rifting; forces that could only come from subduction zones.  Yet we observe continental rifts that are not driven by subduction.  In this talk, I discuss estimates of the forces available to drive rifting, the strength of continents, and the role of magma in reducing that strength.  Using simple theory and advanced numerical simulations, I demonstrate the concept of magma-assisted tectonics: that magma is an active participant in the mechanics of rifting, not just a passive consequence.


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