Prof. Dr. Trond H. Torsvik

Centre of Physics of Geological Processes (PGP)
University of Oslo
Sem Sælands vei 24
P.O. Box 1048, Blindern
NO-0316 Oslo

email: t.h.torsvik at
phone: +47 2285 6416
mobile: +47 9405 3258

Also at
Geological Survey of Norway (NGU)
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)


Short biography

Torsvik started his career in classic palaeomagnetism and rock magnetism (PhD in Geophysics 1985) but soon afterwoods, started to work closely with structural geologists, thus expanding his impact upon both local and regional geological problems. During the late 1980’s as a postdoctoral researcher in Oxford he developed an interest even more widely in global palaeogeography and Earth history. These studies, originally motivated by the late Stuart McKerrow (Oxford) but now in co-operation with Robin Cocks (London), have established him as a leading authority on Palaeozoic palaeogeography, involving the innovative pairing of time-tested palaeontology (the distribution of fossils) with quantitative palaeomagnetism to constrain and understand Earth's pre-Mesozoic geography. With various collaborators, he has also examined the distribution and history of plates since Pangea breakup, probed the underlying processes that cause plate motions, and investigated the effects of plate motions through time for the evolving Earth. These studies have established the PGP group and colloborators as world leaders in deciphering relative and absolute plate motions.
The variety of topics Torsvik have addressed span the Precambrian to the present, and range from the core-mantle-boundary to the surface of the entire Earth. Current research activities embrace plate tectonics, global palaeogeography, the nature of Wilson cycle tectonics, absolute plate motion reference frames, linking surface and deep mantle processes, hotspots, large igneous provinces and kimberlites (diamonds), supercontinental assembly and dispersal, the dynamics of true polar wander, net lithosphere rotation, dynamic topography, geodynamic modelling, and software development linked to global databases.