The movement of the tectonic plates is one of the most significant manifestations of the dynamics of our planet.
Research at RSES considers the evolution of mountain belts in zones where plates converge, in particular considering why switches from extension to shortening take place as orogens evolve, and and why gold and diamond deposits are emplaced when tectonic mode switches take place. We are also concerned with relating what we see at the surface to the 4D geometric evolution of subducting slabs at much greater depth.
The major technologies used in tectonic reconstruction at RSES are the digital Virtual Earth (in the Data Visualization Laboratory) and the 3D-time Pplates deformable plate reconstruction software. Tectonic reconstruction is also an important application of geochronology - describing the movements in the Earth through time.