McNamara, Allen

Endowed Professor of Geological Sciences

Our research is aimed toward understanding the structure, dynamics, and evolution of Earth’s interior.  In particular, we investigate how convection within the deep interior cools the planet, drives plate tectonics, and controls the volcanism at the surface.  Over geologic timescales, Earth’s rocky mantle flows like a fluid; therefore, our research is performed using computational methods to model the fluid dynamical behavior of the interior.  We work closely with seismologists, geochemists, and mineral physicists to develop and test hypotheses geared toward understanding how convection in the mantle has driven heat and chemical transport throughout Earth’s history.  We also use our fluid dynamical models to investigate the dynamics of other planetary bodies such as Europa, one of the icy moons of Jupiter.

Allen arrived at MSU in May 2016, after working at Arizona State University as a professor since 2004. He received degrees from the University of Michigan (Ph.D. 2002, M.S. 1998) and Michigan State University (B.S., Geology and Physics, 1996). 

Recent Publications

Garnero, E.J., A.K. McNamara, and S.-H. Shim, Continent-sized anomalous zones with low seismic velocity at the base of the Earth's mantle, Nature Geoscience, 9, 481-489, doi:10.1038/NGEO2733, 2016.

Williams, C.D., M. Li, A.K. McNamara, E.J. Garnero, and M.C. van Soest, Episodic entrainment of deep primordial mantle material into ocean island basalts, Nature Communications, 6:8937 doi: 10.1038/ncomms9937, 2015.

Zhao, C., E.J. Garnero, A.K. McNamara, N. Schmerr, and R. W. Carlson, Seismic evidence for a chemically distinct thermochemical reservoir in Earth's deep mantle beneath Hawaii, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 426, 143-153, 2015.

Allu Peddinti, D., and A.K. McNamara, Material transport across Europa’s Ice Shell, Geophysical Research Letters, 42, doi:10.1002/2015GL063950, 2015.

Li, M., A.K. McNamara, and E.J. Garnero, Chemical complexity of hotspots caused by cycling oceanic crust through mantle reservoirs, Nature Geoscience, 7, 336-370, doi:10.1038/ngeo2120, 2014.


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