ESR15 – Jana Schierjott

Nationality: German

CREEP host institution: ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Background: I earned both, my bachelor and master degree in Geosciences from the University of Bonn. During my bachelor studies I spent one semester at Washington State University (WSU) where I focused a lot on geomechanics, structural geology and petrology. I complemented this emphasis with courses in geodynamics, geophysics and mineralogy. For my master studies I decided to dive deeper into the physical aspect of the Earth sciences and was very excited to write my master thesis at the German Research Institute for Geosciences (GFZ). I used a numerical and analogue approach to study dike ascent in asymmetric continental rift zones.

CREEP project: Large-scale mantle dynamics – Influence of evolving microstructures

My PhD project links experimentally observed micro-scale effects with large-scale numerical models. I use a global mantle convection code to simulate how microstructures influence mantle convection and plate tectonics. The project involves two main parts: First, I apply grain size dependent rheology to our mantle convection model and analyze the influence of grain size evolution on plate tectonics. I am interested in whether grain size reduction is able to localize shear zones and how the development of Large Low Shear Velocity Provinces (LLSVPs) is affected by grain size evolution. Because strong effects on the dynamics of the Earth’s mantle are also likely caused by the orientation of crystals and their mechanical anisotropy as suggested by experimental studies (e.g. Tommasi et al., 2009), my second PhD project evolves around the implementation of mechanical anisotropy of minerals in the global convection code. This approach will ultimately help understanding how plate tectonics (e.g. subduction initiation, transform faults) and the Earth’s deep interior work.

(Additional) research interest: Besides being interested in geodynamics, plate tectonics and mineral physics, I do research in various fields: this winter I started a frequency distribution study of clementine pieces, I regularly spend some time on creating the best extracted coffee and lastly, I study the best technique for rotations in the air.

Supervisors: Paul Tackley, Taras Gerya, Antoine Rozel (all ETH, Zürich)

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