School of Earth and Environment

Ben  Todd Ben Todd

Postgraduate Researcher

Email address:
Room: 8.152l

Affiliation: Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics


Ben joined the Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics in October 2014, after completing the Geophysics undergraduate programme within the school. Ben graduated from the MGeophys (International) course after 4 years of study from 2010-2014, including a year abroad at the University of Western Ontario, Canada (2012-2013).


2010 - 2014

  • Master of Geophysics, MSci., at University of Leeds: Geophysical Science

Research Interests

Lower Mantle mineral physics.

Project details

Project title

Simulating the thermal conduction of Lower Mantle minerals


Dr S. Stackhouse, Dr A. Walker and Dr J. Mound


Leeds-York NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)

Start date

1st October 2014

Project outline

Primordial heat, accumulated in the core during formation, together with heat produced from the decay of radioactive elements, is continuously being transported to the surface of the Earth, via the enveloping mantle. The mechanism of heat transport across the lower mantle is influenced by its thermal conductivity, and this has significant implications for the dynamics of the region. If the thermal conductivity of the mantle is high enough, conduction will be the dominant mechanism, resulting in a stagnant, layered mantle. If it is low, convection will be the dominant mechanism, leading to a dynamic, convecting lower mantle. Since the thermal conductivity of the mantle mediates heat-loss from the core, it also has important implications for thermoevolution, and magnetic field generation. Surface expressions, such as plate tectonics and volcanism, and seismic observations of plume structures support the idea of a convecting mantle, but the degree and vigour of convection and the magnitude of the heat-flux are still not well constrained. This is because of our poor knowledge of the thermal conductivity of the lower mantle minerals. The main aim of this project is to determine the thermal conductivity of these minerals, by performing atomistic simulations. The results will be used to construct a model for the thermal conductivity of the mantle, as a function of temperature, pressure, composition, microstructure and texture.