Adina E. Pusok Postdoctoral Researcher/Lecturer
Department of Earth Sciences
University of Oxford

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About Me


I am a postdoctoral researcher in Geodynamics in the Foalab group, Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford. I'm interested in understanding how the Earth's rigid surface moves and deforms over millions of years, known as plate tectonics. In particular, I use computer models to study the role of magma in the deformation and dynamics of tectonic plate boundaries.

Work Experience

11/2021 - 06/2022     Exeter College, Oxford, UK
Stipendiary Lecturer in Geophysics
06/2019 - present     Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, UK
Postdoctoral Research Associate
10/2016 - 04/2019     Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, USA
John W. Miles Postdoctoral Fellow at IGPP


01/2021 - 10/2021     Advance HE and CTL, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Associate Fellowship, Descriptor 1 of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF)
07/2012 - 06/2016     Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany
DPhil. in Natural Sciences - Geophysics
10/2008 - 06/2012     University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
MEarthSci. Earth Sciences

Academic Honors and Awards

Community work


Research Projects

The projects below have been done in collaboration with many scientists that I've been fortunate to work with, learn and share ideas. A complete list of collaborators can be found in Publications Google Scholar

Buoyancy-driven flow at Mid-Ocean Ridges

  • Effect of chemical heterogeneities on mantle flow

New mid-ocean ridge model to investigate buoyancy-driven flow due to porosity, composition, and temperature. Right: relative density map showing development of asymmetry beneath ridge axis and small-scale convection at the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary.

Pusok et al. (GJI, 2022) Github code: mbuoy3

Magma dynamics at Mid-Ocean Ridges and Rifts

  • RIFT-O-MAT Project

How does magmatism promote and shape rifts in continental and oceanic lithosphere? In this project, we plan to focus on magma generation and transport at spreading ridges, but also on deformation of host rock to investigate processes such as diking and faulting. We are also developing numerical tools (FD-PDE framework) that are suitable for magma dynamics theory with visco-elasto-plastic rheology.

Foalab website Github code: FD-PDE framework EGU2020-presentation

Guide to 101 Geodynamics

  • Methods, practices, philosophy of geodynamic modelling

The COVID pandemic made us (the authors) to transform a short EGU course into this collaborative perspectives paper. The paper aims to be an introduction to geodynamic modelling for students or non-geodynamicists, but also invites feedback from a more expert audience. We cover the general mathematical theory, numerical methods, designing and performing numerical investigations, to data and software availability, and communication.

van Zelst et al. (Solid Earth, 2022)

Sediments and style of convergent margins

  • Effect of low-viscosity sediments on subduction dynamics

Subduction zones represent the only major pathway by which continental material (sediments) can be returned to the Earth's mantle. When sediments are considered, convergent margins appear to fall into one of two classes: accretionary and erosive. In this study, we run 2-D subduction simulations to investigate how sediment fluxes influence subduction dynamics and plate coupling.

Pusok et al. (Solid Earth, 2022)
double subduction double subduction

Same-dip double subduction

  • India-Eurasia convergence history

Same-dip double subduction is a special tectonic configuration, where two slabs dip in the same direction. Examples exist for the India-Asia and the present day Ryukyu-Izu-Bonin-Mariana (Pacific, Philippines Sea Plates) settings. We run 2-D and 3-D models to investigate the formation and stability of double subduction, and we propose a new sequence of events for the India-Asia convergence history.

Pusok and Stegman (JGR, 2019) Pusok and Stegman (Science Advances, 2020) Youtube G&T talk 2020
topography topography

Topography in 3-D continental collision models

  • Topography (free surface) analysis

The Himalayas, the Tibetan Plateau, or the Andes are remarkable features on the surface of the Earth. However, it is unclear how they formed or why they are so high. In this project, we ran lots of 3-D simulations of subduction/collision to understand how high topography (>5km) is formed. And it turns out it's not so easy to build topography in numerical models. However, we do provide semi-analytical insights on the conditions necessary for building high mountains and plateaus.

Pusok and Kaus (G-cubed, 2015)

Rheological approximations in 3-D subduction/collision models

  • Slab break-off rheological modes

Rocks deform in a visco-elasto-plastic manner, which is difficult to solve numerically (nonlinear system) and the coefficients are poorly constrained from observations and laboratory experiments. So, previous numerical studies used various approximations for rock rheology. In this study, we investigate the effect of such rheological approximations in a 3-D subduction/collision model.

Pusok et al. (Tectonophys., 2018)

Numerical methods

  • Finite differences, VEP rheology, Single/two-phase flow

Part of my research is to continuosly test and improve the numerical methods that I'm using (mostly related to Finite Differences discretization schemes). Another numerical challenge is to incorporate the complex deformation of rocks (rheology) in models.

Pusok et al. (PAAG, 2017) LaMEM - Kaus et al. (2016) Bitbucket: LaMEM
mor mor

Magma dynamics at Mid-Ocean Ridges (MORs) - MSc project

  • Two-phase flow models

Oceanic crust and most of volcanism on Earth are produced at MORs (divergent plate boundaries). As the plates move laterally, the mantle is decompressed and the mantle rock starts melting. Buoyant melt will tend to move upwards forming an interconnected network of pores and channels. Generation, transport and extrusion/emplacement of melt in the lithosphere are still major questions. We model the interaction between melt and the solid mantle and address questions such as: Is the flow beneath mid-ocean ridges entirely passive, or there is also an active component due to magma dynamics? How is magma being transported from the mantle asthenosphere to the surface?

Foalab website



  1. Pusok, A.E., Katz, R.F., May, D.A., Li, Y. (2022), Chemical heterogeneity, convection and asymmetry beneath mid-ocean ridges, Geophys. J. Int., in press, doi:10.1093/gji/ggac309. [link] [code repository]
  2. Pusok, A.E., Stegman, D.R., Kerr, M. (2022), The effect of sediments on the dynamics and accretionary style of subduction margins, Solid Earth, in press, doi:10.5194/se-2021-137. [link] [data repository]
  3. van Zelst, I., Crameri, F., Pusok, A.E., Glerum, A., Dannberg, J., Thieulot, C. (2022), 101 geodynamic modelling: how to design, interpret, and communicate numerical studies of the solid Earth, Solid Earth, 13, 583-637, doi:10.5194/se-13-583-2022. [link]
  4. Pusok, A.E., Stegman, D.R. (2020), The convergence history of India-Eurasia records multiple subduction dynamics processes, Science Advances, 6(19), eaaz8681, doi:10.1126/sciadv.aaz8681. [link] [data repository]
  5. Pusok, A.E., Stegman, D.R. (2019), Formation and stability of same‐dip double subduction systems, J. Geophys. Res.: Solid Earth, 124, 7387-7412, doi: 10.1029/2018JB017027. [link] [data repository]
  6. Pusok, A.E., Kaus, B., Popov, A. (2018), The effect of rheological approximations in 3-D numerical simulations of subduction and collision, Tectonophys., 746, 296-311, doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2018.04.017. [link] [data repository]
  7. Pusok, A.E., Kaus, B.J.P., Popov, A.A. (2017) On the quality of velocity interpolation schemes for marker-in-cell method and 3-D staggered grids, Pure Appl. Geophys., 174: 3, 1071-1089, doi:10.1007/s00024-016-1431-8. [link]
  8. Kaus, B.J.P., Popov, A.A., Baumann, T.S., Pusok, A.E., Bauville, A., Fernandez, N., Collignon, M. (2016) Forward and inverse modeling of lithospheric deformation on geological timescales, NIC Symposium 2016 - Proceedings, Vol. 48, edited by K. Binder, M. Müller, A. Schnurpfeil, p. 299-307. [link]
  9. Pusok, A.E., Kaus, B.J.P. (2015) Development of topography in 3-D continental collision models, Geochem., Geophys., Geosyst., 16, doi:10.1002/2015GC005732. [link]

In review/Submitted





Check some gorgeous places I've lived and worked in.

Oxford, UK


The city of dreaming spires, amazing architecture, history and culture, and the place where Wonderland and Middle Earth came to be.

Mainz, DE

mainz1 mainz2

Located on the Rhine Valley (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Mainz has everything from history, medieval castles and vineyards, and easy travel access to anywhere else.

La Jolla, USA


North of San Diego, La Jolla hosts UCSD and Scripps Inst. of Oceanography. Beach, sun, surf, sunsets, beer, tacos...