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Experiment to Unearth the Rheological Oceanic Lithosphere-Asthenosphere Boundary

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 EURO-LAB project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the EURO-LAB project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "EURO-LAB" about.

birth    rigid    seismometers    resolution    ideal    remote    transition    critical    boundary    oceanic    interdisciplinary    pacific    melt    rheological    mechanical    remoteness    additional    science    techniques    scales    atlantic    estimate    nature    composition    implications    forces    earth    hazard    ocean    obs    lithospheric    driving    lab    deploy    difficulties    consensus    provides    proved    image    reached    imaging    geophysical    indirect    physical    effect    effort    chemical    definition    observations    tectonic    instrumentation    beneath    mt    geochemical    suggested    plates    proxies    asthenosphere    rocks    oceans    mantle    tenet    base    understand    climate    dynamics    like    questions    date    efforts    strength    sensitivities    temperature    tectonics    juncture    history    lithosphere    nearly    systematically    fundamental    natural    ridge    plate    laterally    magnetotelluric    weakens    location    seafloor    mitigation    planet    weaker    geological    evolution    launched    instruments   

Project "EURO-LAB" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: Highfield
postcode: SO17 1BJ

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 1˙827˙855 €
 EC max contribution 1˙827˙855 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2014-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-04-01   to  2021-03-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON UK (SOUTHAMPTON) coordinator 1˙827˙855.00


 Project objective

Plate tectonics has been a fundamental tenet of Earth Science for nearly 50 years, but fundamental questions remain, such as where is the base of the plate and what makes a plate, “plate-like?” A better understanding of the transition from the rigid lithospheric plate to the weaker mantle beneath – the rheological lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) - has important implications for the driving forces of plate tectonics, natural hazard mitigation, mantle dynamics, the evolution of the planet, and climate change. There are many proxies used to estimate the depth and nature of the base of tectonic plates, but to date no consensus has been reached. For example, temperature is known to have a strong effect on the mechanical behaviour of rocks. However, it has also been suggested that the chemical composition of the plate provides additional strength or that melt weakens the mantle beneath the plate.

We are at a critical juncture where large-scale efforts using geophysical, geochemical, and geological techniques are being launched to better understand the definition of the tectonic plate. The simple and short history of the ocean plate makes it the ideal location to advance our understanding. However, imaging the oceanic LAB has proved challenging given the remoteness of the oceans and associated difficulties in instrumentation. Most observations come from only one ocean, the Pacific, from indirect, remote observations, at different areas and scales.

I propose a large-scale effort to systematically image an oceanic plate beneath the Atlantic from birth at ridge to 40 My old seafloor. I will deploy ocean bottom seismometers (OBS) and magnetotelluric (MT) instruments, and I will image the plate at a range of resolution scales (laterally and in depth) and sensitivities to physical and chemical properties. This large, focused, interdisciplinary effort will finally determine the processes and properties that make a plate strong and define it.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Catherine A. Rychert, Nicholas Harmon, Saikiran Tharimena
Scattered wave imaging of the oceanic plate in Cascadia
published pages: eaao1908, ISSN: 2375-2548, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao1908
Science Advances 4/2 2019-05-06
2018 Catherine A. Rychert, Nick Harmon, Saikiran Tharimena
Seismic Imaging of the Base of the Ocean Plates
published pages: 71-87, ISSN: , DOI: 10.1002/9781119249740.ch4
Lithospheric Discontinuities, AGU monograph 2019-05-06
2018 Catherine A. Rychert, Nicholas Harmon, John J. Armitage
Seismic Imaging of Thickened Lithosphere Resulting From Plume Pulsing Beneath Iceland
published pages: 1789-1799, ISSN: 1525-2027, DOI: 10.1029/2018GC007501
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 19/6 2019-05-06
2018 Catherine A. Rychert, Nick Harmon
Predictions and Observations for the Oceanic Lithosphere From S -to- P Receiver Functions and SS Precursors
published pages: 5398-5406, ISSN: 0094-8276, DOI: 10.1029/2018GL077675
Geophysical Research Letters 45/11 2019-05-06
2018 Aude Lavayssière, Catherine Rychert, Nicholas Harmon, Derek Keir, James O. S. Hammond, J.-Michael Kendall, Cécile Doubre, Sylvie Leroy
Imaging Lithospheric Discontinuities Beneath the Northern East African Rift Using S -to- P Receiver Functions
published pages: 4048-4062, ISSN: 1525-2027, DOI: 10.1029/2018GC007463
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 19/10 2019-05-06

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