Priv. Doz. Dr. Alexander Koptev

Priv. Doz. Dr. Alexander Koptev
Building E, Room 425
14473 Potsdam

Research Interests:

Numerical modelling, geodynamics, tectonics, lithosphere rheology, continental rifting, subduction

  • Numerical thermo-mechanical modelling of geodynamic processes;

  • Rheological behavior of the continental lithosphere;

  • Mechanisms of continental rifting and break-up;

  • Interactions between mantle plumes and continental lithosphere;

  • Subduction initiation and evolution;

  • Links between topography and tectonics.

First author publications since 2015:

1) Koptev A., Cloetingh S., Gerya T., Sternai P., Botsyun S. (2022). Ocean-continent subduction cannot be initiated without preceding intra-oceanic subduction!. // Frontiers in Earth Science, 10, 1097922.

2) Koptev A., Nettesheim M., Falkowski S., Ehlers T.A. (2022). 3D geodynamic‑geomorphologic modelling of deformation and exhumation at curved plate boundaries: Implications for the southern Alaskan plate corner. // Scientific Reports, 12, 14260.

3) Koptev A., Nettesheim M., Ehlers T.A. (2022). Plate corner subduction and rapid localized exhumation: Insights from 3D coupled geodynamic and geomorphological modelling. // Terra Nova, 34(3), 210-223.

4) Koptev A., Cloetingh S., Ehlers T.A. (2021). Longevity of small-scale (“baby”) plumes and their role in lithospheric break-up. // Geophysical Journal International, 227(1), 439-471.

5) Koptev A., Cloetingh S., Kovács I.J., Gerya T., Ehlers T.A. (2021). Controls by rheological structure of the lithosphere on the temporal evolution of continental magmatism: Inferences from the Pannonian Basin system. // Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 565, 116925.

6) Koptev A., Ehlers T.A., Nettesheim M., Whipp D.M. (2019). Response of a rheologically stratified lithosphere to subduction of an indenter-shaped plate: Insights into localized exhumation at orogen syntaxes. // Tectonics, 38(6), 1908-1930.

7) Koptev A., Beniest A., Gerya T., Ehlers T.A., Jolivet L., Leroy S. (2019). Plume-induced breakup of a subducting plate: Microcontinent formation without cessation of the subduction process. // Geophysical Research Letters, 46(7), 3663-3675.

8) Koptev A., Gerya T., Calais E., Leroy S., Burov E. (2018). Afar triple junction triggered by plume-assisted bi-directional continental break-up. // Scientific Reports, 8, 14742.

9) Koptev A., Calais E., Burov E., Leroy S., Gerya T. (2018). Along-axis variations of rift width in a coupled lithosphere-mantle system, Application to East Africa. // Geophysical Research Letters, 45(11), 5362-5370.

10) Koptev A., Cloetingh S., Gerya T., Calais E., Leroy S. (2018). Non-uniform splitting of a single mantle plume by double cratonic roots: Insight into the origin of the central and southern East African Rift System. // Terra Nova, 30(2), 125-134.

11) Koptev A., Burov E., Gerya T., Le Pourhiet L., Leroy S., Calais E., Jolivet L. (2018). Plume-induced continental rifting and break-up in ultra-slow extension context: Insights from 3D numerical modeling. // Tectonophysics, 746, 121-137.

12) Koptev A., Cloetingh S., Burov E., François T., Gerya T. (2017). Long-distance impact of Iceland plume on Norway’s rifted margin. // Scientific Reports, 7, 10408.

13) Koptev A., Burov E., Calais E., Leroy S., Gerya T., Guillou-Frottier L., Cloetingh S. (2016). Contrasted continental rifting via plume-craton interaction: Applications to Central East African rift. // Geoscience Frontiers, 7(2), 221-236.

14) Koptev A., Calais E., Burov E., Leroy S., Gerya T. (2015). Dual continental rift systems generated by plume-lithosphere interaction. // Nature Geoscience, 8(5), 388-392.

The full list of publications and the files in pdf format can be found here:


Since 2022 GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany; postdoctoral fellowship;    

2019 – 2021 University of Tübingen, Department of Geosciences, Tübingen, Germany; Alexander von Humboldt Experienced Researcher fellowship;

2017 – 2019 University of Tübingen, Department of Geosciences, Tübingen, Germany; postdoctoral fellowship;

2013 – 2017 University Pierre and Marie Curie Paris-6, ISTEP-UMR7193, Paris, France; postdoctoral fellowship;

2012 LLC «GeoGrid», Moscow, Russia; head geologist;

2006 – 2011 Lomonosov Moscow State University, Geological Faculty, Regional Geology and Earth History Department, Moscow, Russia; research engineer.


2022    Habilitation in Geology, Geophysics and Geodynamics, University of Tübingen, Germany

20082011    Ph.D. in Geology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

20062008    M.Sc. in Geology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

20022006    B.Sc. in Geology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia


Russian President Award, 2008

Edward A. Flinn - Pembroke J. Hart Award (Outstanding Young Scientist), International Lithosphere Program, 2018

publications are currently loading
back to top of main content