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Tushar Mittal

Tushar Mittal

Office Address: 
503 Deike Building
Assistant Professor (July 2022)
Department of Geosciences
PDF icon Curriculum Vitae (141.03 KB)

Solid Earth processes are the primary controls on the evolution of the planetary atmosphere, ecosystems, and habitability. These geophysical processes influence the ocean-atmosphere system on a wide range of spatial and temporal scales: from < 1 yr for a large volcanic eruption, ~1 Myr for the eruption of a flood basalt, and 100s-1000s of Myr for changes in plate tectonics and geochemical exchange between Earth’s surface and interior. These interconnected processes are typically studied in isolation, but a holistic approach is very powerful as it utilizes all available physical and observational constraints. This principle has guided my research: understanding isolated solid-Earth subsystems in detail, with the overall goal of integrating them. My long-term research goal is to understand how the environment and ecosystems on Earth, and other planetary bodies, evolve through time. My research encompasses two primary topics : volcano science (Magmatic processes, Submarine volcanism) and planetary geophysics (Planet formation and geodynamics,Planetary science), along with cross-disciplinary work on volcano/tectonic-climate interactions (Climate interactions).

I use two complementary approaches: a) developing idealized models and b) analyzing large observational datasets. I specialize in using fluid dynamics and thermo-mechanical theory (and some analog experiments) from Earth-science, astrophysics, and engineering, as well as data-driven approaches (e.g., machine learning) to develop intermediate-complexity models that span a wide range of material properties and dynamics.

My primary research focus at present is investigating the evolution of magmatic systems - thermo-mechanical evolution, mush melt transport, and eruption dynamics of crustal magmatic systems (both modern volcanism and flood basalts). During his PhD, I worked on the Deccan Traps continental flood basalt (CFB) province to constrain their lava eruptive history at < 10,000 yr resolution using a combination of paleomagnetic, volcanological, and proxy records. In addition, I investigated, using thermochemical models, what are the unique feature of CFB magmatic system that allow basaltic eruptions of thousands of km3 of lava, unlike any modern day volcanism. These finding help constrain the crustal magmatic system of CFBs and may have important implications for relationship between volatile degassing from CFBs and mass extinctions. In addition to this, I has also worked on submarine volcanism, frictional rock mechanics, as well as coupled thermo-visco-elastic porous media flow and two-phase melt transport. I have also active projects on icy satellite geophysics & ocean-hydrothermal dynamics, geochemical evolution of planetary cores, planetesimal/asteroid formation, and protoplanetary disk evolution.