Department of Earth and Planetary Science
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720
I am a geoscientist and I study Earth’s magnetic field. My research integrates paleomagnetic data and magnetohydrodynamic computer simulations of the geodynamo.
The geomagnetic field is an important part of the Earth’s planetary environment, shielding the surface from solar wind and space weather, and it also provides important information about conditions in the outer-core and Earth’s evolution. Newly forming igneous rocks and sediments record the geomagnetic field on the Earth’s surface at the time and location of their formation. I am interested in adding high-quality data to the paleomagnetic record and studying factors that impact the quality of the data that make up that record. Using measurements of the paleomagnetic field recorded in geologic materials, we can construct time-varying models of past field behaviors. Field models, in turn, provide insight into core dynamics and the thermal history of Earth.
I am also interested in using the history of the geomagnetic field to constrain the origin and history of the geodynamo. Motion of liquid-iron in Earth’s outer core generates the main part of the geomagnetic field through a self-sustaining dynamo. I use numerical geodynamo simulations to study the dynamical processes in the outer core and how core-mantle interactions generate the observed behavior of the geomagnetic field at Earth’s surface. An interdisciplinary approach linking paleomagnetic observations and numerical geodynamo simulations is appealing because neither is perfect, but they complement each other.