Evgueni B. Burov
The 2015 Stephan Mueller Medal is awarded to Evgueni B. Burov in recognition of his fundamental contributions to our understanding of the long-term rheological properties of the lithosphere and their role in the processes of continental rifting, sedimentary basin formation and mountain building.
Trained as a physicist, Evgueni Burov turned to the Earth sciences and developed novel concepts in long-term lithosphere rheology, the mechanisms of intraplate deformation, mountain building and basin formation. His work has had a special focus on the interplay of mantle flow and lithosphere deformation, and the comparison of flexural rigidity estimates of the lithosphere with forward modelling and laboratory studies. He established quantitative links between observations of flexural deformation of the continental lithosphere and its non-linear rheology and multi-layer structure. This model was the first to formally explain observed variations in equivalent elastic thickness of continental lithosphere and its remarkable differences from oceanic lithosphere, providing a key for constraining long-term rheology of lithosphere from direct observations of isostasy and analytical and numerical thermo-mechanical models.
Burov’s research is also devoted to lithospheric folding and the development of a new conceptual and methodological approach for frontier thermo-mechanical numerical models capable of handling strong non-linear rheologies, surface processes, and large strain tectonic deformation. In this way he has been able to demonstrate feedbacks between deformation and ductile flow in the lower crust of the lithosphere, specifically for orogeny and continental basin formation. Burov was the first to develop self-consistent thermo-mechanically coupled numerical models for burial and exhumation of high-pressure metamorphic rocks during continental subduction. His recent studies have focused on plume-lithosphere and mantle-lithosphere interactions and the surface imprints of mantle flow, demonstrating that the latter can produce tectonic-scale deformation with short and mid-range surface wavelengths, contrary to conventional models that predict very large dynamic topography wavelengths. This result has led to a number of new plume-initiated mechanisms for crustal delamination, metallogenic processes, onset of simultaneous extension and compression in the lithosphere, and even continental subduction-like processes.
The scientific achievements of Evgueni Burov have been acknowledged by his membership of the Academia Europaea and by him being awarded a prestigious Advanced European Research Council Grant. He has mentored a large number of PhD students and his research findings feature in several textbooks, as well as in university courses on lithosphere flexure, mechanics, and rheology.