Research & Activities


Houser, Christine

Houser, Christine
Houser, Christine
Specially Appointed Assistant Professor
Solid Earth geophysics


Main Publication List and Awards

1. Ballmer, M.D., Houser, C., Hernlund, J.W., Wentzcovitch, R.M., Hirose, K., Persistence of strong silica-enriched domains in the Earth’s lower mantle, Nature Geoscience, 10, 236-241, 2017.

2. Elizabeth Tasker, Joshua Tan, Kevin Heng, Stephen Kane, David Spiegel, and the ELSI Origins Network Planetary Diversity Workshop, The language of exoplanet ranking metrics needs to change, Nature Astronomy, Comment, February 2017

3. Houser, C., 2016, Global seismic data reveal little water in the mantle transition zone, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 448, 94-101.

4. Houser, C., and Williams Q., (2010) Reconciling Pacific 410 and 660 km Discontinuity Topogra- phy, Transition Zone Shear Velocity Patterns, and Mantle Phase Transitions, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 296, 255-266, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2010.05.006.

5. Houser, C., and Williams, Q., (2009) The wavelengths of slabs and plumes in the lower mantle: Contrary to the expectations of dynamics?, Phys. Earth Planet. Int., 176, 187-197. doi:10.1016/j.pepi.2009.05.001.

6. Houser, C., Masters, G., Shearer, P., and Laske, G., (2008) Shear and compressional velocity models of the mantle from cluster analysis of long-period waveforms, Geophys. J. Int., 174 (1), 195-212. doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2008.03763.x.

7. Houser, C., Masters, G., Flanagan, M., and Shearer, P., (2008) Determination and analysis of long-wavelength transition zone structure using SS precursors, Geophys. J. Int., 174 (1), 178- 194. doi:10.111/j.1365-246X.2008.03719.x.

8. Houser, C., (2007) Constraints on the presence or absence of post-perovskite in the lowermost mantle from long-period seismology, The Last Mantle Phase Transition, Geophysical Mono- graph Series 17, K. Hirose, J. Brodholt, T. Lay, D. Yuen editors, American Geophysical Union doi:10.1029/174GM14.

9. Hernlund, J., and Houser, C. (2007) On the statistical distribution of seismic velocities in Earth’s deep mantle, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 265, 423-437. Doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2007.10.042 .

Research Interests

My research is the collection and analysis of long-period seismic waves that travel through the Earth’s deepest interior to map anomalous regions of the Earth’s mantle. Through my seismology work, I unravel the mysteries of the deep Earth such as the fate of subducting lithosphere and the origin of lower mantle super structures. Through international research collaborations, there are vast amounts of seismic data available from across the globe. It is an exciting time for solid Earth geophysics due to this high quality seismic data as well as continuing advancements in mineral physics, geochemistry, and geodynamics. By combining these disciplines, we are reaching the stage of performing three-dimensional remote structural geology of the Earth’s deep mantle. I am currently developing scenarios to explain observed structures which are either seismically fast or slow relative to the surrounding mantle. These velocity variations reveal chemically and/or thermally distinct rock that may be primordial from the Earth’s early formation or the result of processes that have shaped the Earth since then. The mantle contains the relics of plate tectonics which is the Earth’s unique style of convection that releases heat from the interior through recycling of the crust and mantle lithosphere. I seek to understand how velocity anomalies in the deep mantle can help answer fundamental questions of how our planet has evolved and is currently evolving.