Section 5.5: Earth Surface Processes Modelling

Research Objectives

The first objective of our section is to derive or improve the parameterisations that are used to describe the processes responsible for the shaping of the Earth´s surface over geological times. We want to invent and develop efficient methods to solve these equations. This will lead to the engineering of computer models to simulate a wide range of processes under a variety of tectonic and climatic forcing.

The second objective is to use these models to understand the behaviour of the Earth´s surface in reaction to external forcing such as tectonic uplift and subsidence, surface dynamic topography in response to deep mantle flow, or variations in climate. We are particularly interested in the glacial cycles of the Quaternary and the human influence of the "Anthropocene".

Current research areas include:

  • Developing a model that couples fluvial erosion/transport in rivers with chemical weathering on the hillslopes
  •  Deriving and developing a quantitative model for the lithological control of erosional processes
  • Developing an efficient yet meaningful representation of rainfall and discharge variability control on erosional efficiency
  • Developing a model for the transport of sediment in the marine environment and couple it to a (continental) surface process model in order to predict detailed stratigraphic architectures and relate them to tectonic and/or climatic events
  • Quantifying the erosion of continental interiors following large-scale uplift and subsidence driven by mantle flow (dynamic topography)
  • Investigating how the rate of drainage divide migration relates to processes and landforms.

Find out more about our current activities here.