2005 Workshop on Geodynamic Modeling of Tectonic Processes

Breckenridge, Colorado

2005 Workshop on Geodynamic Modeling of Tectonic Processes

The workshop on Geodynamic Modeling of Tectonic Processes was held from June 10-12, 2005 in Breckenridge, Colorado. This workshop examined the scientific and computational issues that challenge geodynamic modeling of tectonic problems in the coming decade, and focused primarily on tectonic processes that affect continental lithosphere over timescales longer than the earthquake cycle.

The workshop's goals were to identify problems which the tectonic modeling community believes should be the focus of research in the coming decade, to identify modeling tools that are available or need to be developed to address these problems, and to develop a strategy for maximizing national and international cooperation within the tectonic modeling community. The workshop was primarily designed as a venue for planning U.S. science funding under the auspices of the NSF, but selected international participants were also invited. Emphasis was on understanding continental tectonic processes (including continental margins), but participation from the marine science community was encouraged in as much as understanding of basic processes is common to both oceans and continents.

Report to CIG from the NSF Workshop on Tectonic Modeling

Current State and Future Opportunities in Lithosphere Geodynamics (PDF, 60K) - Report to NSF (based on Breckenridge 2005 Workshop)

Workshop Presentations


Workshop attendance was limited to approximately 35 scientists.

Workshop format

The workshop was arranged to include keynote presentations focusing on science, hardware, and software issues facing the tectonic modeling community. Breakout sessions were held between keynote talks to facilitate discussion and planning. This was followed by plenary sessions where breakout group reports were presented and discussed. The final product of the workshop was a white paper that should serve to provide focus and support for tectonic modeling research in the coming years.

Workshop rationale and objectives

Numerical simulations of tectonomagmatic processes are becoming a routine part of geodynamic and tectonic research. However, there are several outstanding science and technical issues that need to be addressed to maximize use of modeling studies. Science issues arise from recent advances in observational and analytical techniques (e.g., geodetic constraints on crustal deformation, improved thermobarometers, etc.) and recognition of the need for better multiphysical models (e.g., combining deformation, heat transport, petrogenesis, and metamorphism in a single dynamic model). Technical issues arise from advances in numerical methodologies, the growing availability of flexible numerical codes (both public domain and commercial), a growing emphasis on collaborative research between geoscientists, mathematicians, and computer scientists, and the changing landscape of informatic systems and computing platforms.

Lithosphere tectonics differs from mantle dynamics in that the lithosphere’s rheology is more complex, the free surface is an important boundary condition, and there are more and different data constraints. Tectonic modeling studies must incorporate geodetic data that are dominated by deformation on the timescale of the earthquake cycle, but must also consider how to average over this cycle to explain evolution of structure on much longer timescales. The workshop will focus on this class of problems, which involves modeling tectonic processes on a lithosphere scale and at time scales of order 105 to 108 years.



The workshop was held June 10-12, 2005, at the Great Divide Lodge in Breckenridge, Colorado, located in the Rocky Mountains. Extended stays (at the participant expense) were available before and after the workshop.

Hotel information

Great Divide Lodge
Mail Address: P.O. Box 8059
Physical Address: 550 Village Road
Breckenridge, CO 80424
Toll Free Reservations: (888) 906-5698

Travel to Breckenridge, Colorado

From the Denver International Airport (DIA) it is approximately a 1.5-hour drive. Or the Colorado Mountain Express shuttles between Denver International Airport (DIA) and Breckenridge nine times per day. (800) 525-6363.

Further details, including map, on traveling to Breckenridge.

Organizing committee

Dennis L. Harry, Colorado State University 
Luc Lavier, University of Texas Institute for Geophysics
Sean Willett, University of Washington Seattle

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