SUBITOP - Understanding subduction zone topography through modelling of coupled shallow and deep processes

The SUBITOP ETN is a framework for training and career development of 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESR) in Geodynamics, Geophysics, Geology and Geomorphology.  It has a scientific focus on the dynamics of continental margins where tectonic plates are recycled through subduction. The Training Network provides a comprehensive range of modelling and observation techniques, exploiting the full diversity of active and ancient subduction systems within Europe.

SUBITOP fuses research and training at ten leading centres of the Earth Sciences in Europe and forges partnerships with 15 companies for its fellows, with participants in eight countries. SUBITOP will also impart essential communication, outreach and career management skills, and first-hand experience of the private sector through project-specific secondments and co-supervision by industry partners, and embed its ESRs in the active TOPO-Europe research community.

The surface of the Earth is sculpted by erosion acting on continents formed and uplifted by tectonic processes. One of the most important tectonic processes is subduction, whereby oceanic lithosphere bends and plunges into the deep mantle. Subduction is the engine of plate tectonics, recycling water, CO2 and crustal material in the Earth’s interior, sustaining mantle convection and global heat transport. It also has a strong societal impact. SUBITOP aims to fill a key gap of knowledge. Our main goal is to understand the mechanisms controlling the way the Earth’s surface is sculpted and evolves over the most active tectonic feature of the Earth: the subduction zone. Solution of this problem permits addressing the inverse problem: what can the surface topography tell us about the deeper Earth processes?