Prof. dr. Douwe van Hinsbergen

I am Professor of Global Tectonics and Paleogeography at Utrecht University on a project on global plate reorganizations funded by an NWO VICI grant. To this end, my team and I construct plate tectonic restorations of mountain belts, and especially ophiolites within those, at subduction zones and use these to constrain dynamic numerical models of global subduction initation and evolution.


This mountain belt consists of geological elements (folded and thrusted rock slices) that were scraped off when the Tethyan or Panthalassa lithosphere subducted below Eurasia and around the Pacific. I try to place all the geological elements we find in this enormous mountain belt back into their original, pre-subduction position (based on geological techniques from e.g. structural geology and paleomagnetism), and then link these reconstructions to mantle structure that we know from seismic tomography, to locate the subducted, disappeared lithosphere in the mantle. This way we can make 4D plate reconstructions, and reconstruct not only the surface, but also the mantle structure through time.


Global Tectonics and Paleogeography
Inaugural lecture date