Wednesday, 24th July 2024

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PIE Council

Membership Sub-Committee II

PIE Highlights
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Yaoling Niu BSc MS PhD

Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University

BSc in Geology, 1982 (Lanzhou University, China); MS in Economic Geology, 1988 (Alabama, USA); PhD in Geology and Geophysics,1992 (Hawaii, USA).
Associate Professor, University of Houston, USA (01/2003-12/2004)
NERC Senior Research Fellow, Cardiff University, UK (01/2001-01/2003)
Lecture (08/1993-11/1997) and Senior Lecturer (11/1997-01/2001), The University of Queensland, Australia
Visting Professor, Lanzhou University, China (07/1998-01/1999)
Visiting Fellow, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China (07/1998-01/1999)
Visiting Scientist, IFREMER, France (01-03/1996)
Postdoctoral Scientist, Columbia University, USA (09/1992-08/1993)
PhD Research Student, Northwestern University, USA (1988), University of Hawaii, USA (1989-05/1992)
MS Research Student, The University of Alabama, USA (01/1986-12/1987)
Assistant Lecturer, Lanzhou University, China (01/1982-12/1985)
Visiting Lecturer, Nanjing University, USA (08/1983-07/1984)

Career Research Highlight

Mid-Ocean Ridge Processes: (1) First-order global MORB major element compositional variation and correlation with ridge axial depth are controlled by fertile mantle compositional variation, NOT mantle temperature variation; (2) MORB chemical trends differ between slow and fast ridge segments; (3) Extent of melting increases with increasing spreading rate; (4) Mantle source composition controls crust production, gravity anomaly, ridge morphology, and ridge segmentation at slow-spreading ridges; (5) Major element, trace element, and radiogenic isotope correlations in MORB melts result from melting a compositionally heterogeneous mantle; (6) Abyssal peridotites are not simple melting residues, but modified by olivine addition from ascending/cooling mantle melts; (7) Quantitative description of decompression melting ( a Cpx + b Opx + c Spl = d Ol + 1.000 Melt with b > a).

Chemical Geodynamics and mantle convection: (1) Simple petrology, geochemistry and mineral physics argue powerfully that mantle plumes are NOT from ancient subducted oceanic crust, whose subduction into the lower mantle is irreversible; (2) Metasomatized deep portions of oceanic lithosphere are best candidates for OIB (and E-type MORB); (3) The first largest trace element data sets of high quality on seafloor basalts, gabbros and peridotites revealed numerous surprises not only in the petrogenesis of these rocks, but also on physical processes of chemical differentiation over Earth's histories; (4) The two large low shear wave velocity provinces (LLSVPs) at the base of the mantle beneath the Pacific and Africa are probably piles of subducted ocean crust accumulated over Earth's history.

Global tectonic problems: (1) Subduction initiation as a consequence of lateral compositional buoyancy contrast within the lithosphere; (2) Origin of the 43 Ma bend along the Hawaii-Emperor seamount chains; (3) Oceanic lithosphere and subjacent asthenosphere necessarily decoupled; (4) Ridge suction as a major force drivng asthenospheric flow beneath oceanic lithosphere, which explains many observations including "plume-ridge interactions"; (5) Continental lithosphere thinning (or “delamination”) as a special consequence of plate tectonics; (6) Oceanic lithosphere thickness variation, which is referred to as the lid effect, as the primary control on the OIB geochemistry on a global scale; (7) Continental collision zones (vs. active subduction zones) as primary sites of net continental crustal growth.

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