Research Expertise and Interest

crustal deformation, earth & planetary sciences, mantle convection, large-scale mantle structure, rotational dynamics & gravity fields of terrestrial planets, history & dynamics of global plate motions, igneous processes in the mantle and deep crust

Research Description

Mark Richards received his B.S. in Engineering Science from the University of Texas, Austin in 1977, his M.S. in Applied Physics from Cal Tech in 1978, and his Ph.D. in Geophysics, also from Cal Tech, in 1986.

His current research involves mantle convection and large-scale mantle structure, rotational dynamics and gravity fields of terrestrial planets, the history and dynamics of global plate motions, igneous processes in the mantle and deep crust, and regional crustal deformation and earthquake hazards.

In the News

66 million-year-old deathbed linked to dinosaur-killing meteor

A meteor impact 66 million years ago generated a tsunami-like wave in an inland sea that killed and buried fish, mammals, insects and a dinosaur, the first victims of Earth’s last mass extinction event. The death scene from within an hour of the impact has been excavated at an unprecedented fossil site in North Dakota.

Minority Ph.D. students in STEM fare better with clear expectations, acceptance

Women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields are more likely to advance professionally, publish more research and secure postdoctoral and faculty positions if their institutional culture is welcoming and sets clear expectations, according to a study of hundreds of Ph.D. students at four top-tier California research universities.

Scientists map source of Northwest’s next big quake

A large team of scientists has nearly completed the first map of the mantle under the tectonic plate that is colliding with the Pacific Northwest and putting Seattle, Portland and Vancouver at risk of the largest earthquakes and tsunamis in the world.

Asteroid impact, volcanism were one-two punch for dinosaurs

UC Berkeley geologists have uncovered compelling evidence that an asteroid impact on Earth 66 million years ago accelerated the eruptions of volcanoes in India for hundreds of thousands of years, and that together these planet-wide catastrophes caused the extinction of many land and marine animals, including the dinosaurs.

Did Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Trigger Largest Lava Flows on Earth?

The asteroid that slammed into the ocean off Mexico 66 million years ago and killed off the dinosaurs probably rang the Earth like a bell, triggering volcanic eruptions around the globe, according to a team of UC Berkeley geophysicists. The impact may have re-ignited the eruptions at the Deccan Traps, initiating the largest lava flows on Earth.

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