NetherMod Day 4 & 5 – Secret Summary

NetherMod Day 4 & 5 – Secret Summary

I hear you exclaiming: “Why merge day 4 and 5 together? What happened to the secret summary of day 4?” Well, I have to admit, apart from being your daily NetherMod reporter, I also needed to present my poster, so apologies for the delay and merge.

Day 4 started with a keynote talk from Dave Stegman with a surprise topic (He had never handed in his abstract. Apparently this is a possibility. Probably only tolerated for keynote speakers though). Dave presented a symphony in four movements about the inconvenient truth of the possibility of a molten lower mantle in the early Earth. We were also very lucky to see the one and only picture of the moon forming impact: truly impressive. Steering the discussion towards politics, Dave introduced two great slogans:

The geodynamics liberation front


Viva la subducción

Talking about subduction, Fanny Garel had a great keynote talk about modelling subduction zones, followed swiftly by a talk by Yury Podladchikov on resolving ductile strain localisation and porous fluid channeling due to thermo- and hydro-mechanical coupling (a “scary talk” according to chair Dan Bower) and Manuele Faccenda’s talk on coupled geodynamic and seismological modelling of subduction zone dynamics. During the final discussion with everyone, Carolina Lithgow-Bertelloni imposed on us the scary truth that

Models are only useful if they fail

I think that’s particularly encouraging for every ECS, although we might be talking about different flavours of model failing…

Day 5 (the final day! how time flies when you’re having fun!) was an excellent day for your NetherMod reporter, because of the incredible amount of bad jokes, puns, and food related analogies in the talks. Thanks! I can work with that!

Paul Tackley kicked of Thursday morning with an interesting talk on the influence of melting on the Earth’s evolution. One of his animations caused the most seasoned scientists to giggle. Unfortunately, I can’t comment more on that; in fact, I have been specifically asked by Dave Stegman to refrain from quoting him on this subject. Indeed, I am a classy girl and this is a classy blog, so I won’t go into details, but props to those who know what I am talking about!

Next, Carolina Lithgow-Bertelloni talked about the carbon compensation depth and she once again had a great comment on modelling etiquette (I see a pattern here):

The goal of a study should be defined before the tools are chosen

Clint Conrad discussed how we could infer dynamic topography from bathymetry and plate motions. He noticed that the degree 1 net motion characteristics of plate velocities all seem to point towards North Korea. Interesting point, isn’t it? I won’t make any (political) remark about that, because, you know, I like my home nuke-free. A lovely quote from Dan Bower during the subsequent question round was that

One person’s observation is another person’s model

Think about it. Keep it in mind.

Things really started to get spicy when Louise Kellogg discussed comparisons of different models and chemical geodynamics for mantle convection. She gave a very nice introduction about the concept of modelling (which was open for debate, of course) and particularly hastened to broaden René de Borst’s previous statement about the fact that the devil is in the boundary conditions: the devil is also very much present in the initial conditions and perturbations. There is no escaping him, really. Louise also added several (chemical) spices in our mantle dynamics curry by looking at the Earth as a chemical factory with several reservoirs connected by fluxes.

Now that we have had potatoes, sausages, and a dynamical curry at NetherMod, the desert was served by Louise when she compared the Earth to a marble cake. I will leave you this time with that delicious idea for a dinner party. NetherMod 2017 finished after a splendid party until the wee hours. Next time it will be in Italy (with a masked ball? Can we please make sure that happens? Like Romeo & Juliet? Pretty please?), and maybe I will report that as well.

For now though, I leave you with the suggestion that we should get together soon for a dinner party. Anyone who would like to volunteer to cook the potatoes?

Iris van Zelst is a PhD student at ETH Zürich in Switzerland. She is working on the modelling of tsunamigenic earthquakes using a range of interdisciplinary modelling approaches, such as geodynamic, dynamic rupture, and tsunami modelling. Current research projects include splay fault propagation in subduction zones and the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake. Iris is Editor-in-chief of the GD blog team. You can reach Iris via email. For more details, please visit Iris' personal webpage.

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