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2013 Gordon Research Conference on the Interior of the Earth

2013 Gordon Research Conference on the Interior of the Earth
Mt Holyoke College | June 2-7, 2013
Submitted by Barbara Romanowicz, 2013 GRC Chair (Interior of the Earth)

The focus of this conference (https://www.grc.org/programs.aspx?year=2013&program=interior) was the structure, dynamics and evolution of the earth's deep interior, from the transition zone to the inner core. The conference brought together 166 participants from all over the world, more than half of which were graduate students and post-docs. A majority of the junior scientists (73) also participated in the Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) held prior to the GRC in the same location. The GRC comprised 22 invited plenary talks spread across morning and evening sessions with ample discussion time, as well as four poster sessions in late afternoons. Most of the afternoon, as is the custom in Gordon conferences, was left free for informal discussions and other activities.

Starting with a broad vision of planetary formation and the evolution of terrestrial planets, the conference sessions successively addressed current research topics on the earth's inner core composition, seismic structure, and dynamic evolution, outer core dynamics, reaching finally into the mantle to discuss structure and composition of the earth's mantle. While the focus was on the D" region in the first half of the conference, the discussion later shifted to the transition zone, the fate of slabs as well as the likely water content across this zone.

Much discussion was devoted throughout the conference to the question of existence of a primordial magma ocean, metal-silicate partitioning, terrestrial volatile loss and the adequacy of the chondritic reference earth model. This topic was addressed both in the session on "Early Earth and Geochemical Reservoirs" as well as the traditional Thursday evening session on "Unsolved Problems". Another recurring discussion theme was the nature and stability through time of the two large low shear velocity provinces (LLSVP) at the base of the mantle. The presence of experts from different disciplines, in particular geochemistry, made these discussions lively and informative.

The Meeting Assistance Program grant from the Geochemical Society helped support the participation of several graduate students and young researchers in that field. This was particularly important given the multi-disciplinary character of this deep earth conference, in which geochemical constraints and questions play an important role.