A Hess Distinguished Guest: Professor Barbara Romanowicz (UC Berkeley)

Written by
The Department of Geosciences
May 25, 2023
Green globe, yellow continents with seismic charts

Depth cross-sections from the surface to the core-mantle boundary (CMB) through a whole mantle shear velocity tomographic model recently updated beneath the south Atlantic, showing details of mantle plumes (red) rooted at the CMB, beneath mid-plate volcanoes of Cape Verde and St Helena/Ascension, and beneath the southern tip of Africa.

In April-May 2023, Barbara Romanowicz was hosted by the department of Geosciences as a Hess Distinguished Guest. During her time with the department, she delivered a presentation entitled “Mantle plumes and secondary scale convection: combining seismic imaging and geodetic constraints” and discussed her research in more informal settings with faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and students.  

Professor Romanowicz has had a leading role in the development of modern global seismic networks. During her 20-year tenure as Director of the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, she has promoted the real-time monitoring and quantification of earthquakes in northern California. She is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, a member of the French Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has received numerous distinctions and multiple awards for her scientific work.  

Currently, Professor Romanowicz is a Professor of the Graduate School at the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research group is focused on investigating the structure and dynamics of the Earth’s deep mantle and core. For this purpose, the team develops and applies imaging tools that make use of seismic waves generated by large earthquakes and recorded all over the globe. 

During her time visiting our department, she closely interacted and collaborated with members of the global seismology and mineral physics groups. Together they are exploring ways to evaluate tomographic models of the Earth’s mantle, improve their resolution, and interpret the resulting images in terms of present and past dynamics, with additional constraints provided by geodetic data, trace-element geochemical data, and mineral- physics experiments.