Douwe JJ van Hinsbergen (Douwe Van Hinsbergen)
Department of Earth Sciences Utrecht University
my life as a geologist, tectonicist, and geodynamicist. In my research , I aim to understand what drives plate tectonics. To achieve this, I especially focus on the process of subduction: at subduction zones, plates dive into the Earth’s mantle. This process leaves distinct geological records that allow us to reconstruct when it started and stopped, how fast it occurred through time, and what kind of crust was subducted (oceanic, plateau, arc, continent). Such reconstructions are made through detailed field geological studies, as basis to make reconstructions of the plates and plate boundaries that have been lost to subduction. In the field, my team and I study the architecture of subduction-related mountain belts, of ophiolites that are key to restore subduction initiation processes, and sedimentary basins that record the vertical motions and the erosion associated with such mountain belts, using structural geology and stratigraphy. We integrate this with paleomagnetic research to determine vertical axis rotations and paleolatitude evolution. In addition, we try to improve paleomagnetic methods, and develop online apps to help the paleomagnetic community share their results, and make them easily available for neighboring fields. I integrate these quantitative geological and paleomagnetic constraints into kinematic reconstructions, of which the files are available on this website, of lost continents and oceans, and the former tectonic plates that hosted these.
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