Louis Moresi bio photo

Louis Moresi

Professor of Geophysics Australian National University Canberra, Australia +61 4 0333 1413

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Louis Moresi CV


Research School of Earth Sciences
Australian National University
Canberra 2601 AUSTRALIA
mobile (AU) +61 4 0333 1413
cell (US): +1 505 349 4425

Professor (Geophysics / Geodynamics), Australian National University. Research in computational geodynamics with application areas in mineral, petroleum and geothermal exploration, planetary evolution, geology and industrial flows. Expert in finite element software, algorithm design, numerical solvers, parallelism, and efficient implementation.


2014-2019: Professor, Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University
2014-2019: Professorial Chair of Earth Sciences (Geophysics), University of Melbourne
2013-2018: Visiting Associate, Seismological Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
2014-2016: Senior Research Scientist (part time), Dept of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California
2012-2014: Australian Research Council College of Experts
2008-2013: Professor, Computational Mathematics & Geophysics, Monash University
2010: Erasmus Mundus Visiting Scholar in Computational Mechanics, University of Nantes, France
2009: Visiting Professor, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, ETH, Zürich, Switzerland
2002-2008: Associate Professor, Computational Mathematics & Geophysics, Monash University
2002-2004: Co-director Monash Cluster Computing
2000: Visiting Research Fellow, Material Fabrication Lab, RIKEN, Tokyo, Japan
1997-2002: Research Scientist & Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO Exploration & Mining
1996-1997: Postdoctoral Fellow, Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University.
1994-1995: Assistant Scientist, Geophysics, Caltech.
1992-1994: Schlumberger Fellow, and Fellow in Geophysics, Caltech


1988-1992: DPhil, Department of Earth Sciences, Oxford University.
1985-1988: BA (Hons), Natural Science, Cambridge University.

Current position & Responsibilities

  • Professor, Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University
  • Professor, School of Earth Sciences (Geophysics), University of Melbourne (fractional)
  • National chair, AuScope Simulation, Analysis, Modelling (Australian national geoscience infrastructure program).
  • Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics, Executive Committee (currently chair), 2016-2020

Research Experience & Expertise

Geodynamics: Application of numerical modelling to the dynamics of planetary mantles including effects of rheological variations, partial melting and porous flow of melt. The geological evolution of the Earth, Venus and Mars. Quantitative models of plate tectonics and other modes of planetary evolution. Modelling the dynamics of subduction zones. The deformation of the continental crust at the basin scale and the interaction of tectonics with erosion/sedimentation.

Computational Mathematics: The development and application of particle-based finite element methods for high strain, history dependent, fluid and solid deformation problems with interfaces, multiple materials, complicated geometries (e.g. the Underworld code). Advanced solution algorithms for elliptic PDE’s using multilevel finite element methods for realistic Earth-like rheology including viscoelasticity, history dependence, anisotropy, and strain-softening plasticity.

Computational modelling: Animation, visualisation, capturing the essence of computer simulation for scientific and educational communication. Interactive evolutionary computing as a mechanism for integrating field geology and models. Originator of the CITCOM geodynamics code (1994) which has grown to become a community standard, and the Underworld geodynamics platform..


Research @ Melbourne Accelerator Program (Five year University of Melbourne fellowship) Fellow, American Geophysical Union

Learned Society Memberships

  • Geological Society of London
  • Fellow, Royal Astronomical Society, London
  • Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics
  • European Geophysical Union
  • Geological Society of Australia

Service to the Community

Scientific Community

  • Australian Research Council College of Experts (2011 — 2014)
  • AuScope: Simulation, Analysis, Modelling Component leader, Member of AuScope Executive Committee (2006 — present)
  • National Computing Infrastructure Merit Allocation Committee (HPC proposal evaluation) (2007 —)
  • AGU Tectonophysics Section Secretary (2007/8)
  • Chair of JGR editorial search committee (2008/9)
  • Grant reviewer ARC, NSF, NASA, NWO, NSERC, NERC, SNSF, NCI (Australia supercomputing) SCSC (Swiss Supercomputing)
  • Paper reviewer in J. Geophys. Res., Nature Geoscience, PEPI, Geophys. J. Int, G3, EPSL, Science, Future Gen. Comp. Systems., J. Volc. & Geotherm. Res.
  • AuScope I — proposal writing committee (simulation, analysis, modelling)
  • AuScope II — proposal writing committee (simulation, analysis, modelling)
  • Geoscience Beamline at the Australian Synchrotron — proposal writing committee (informatics, visualisation and computation)
  • CIG — advisor on Long Term Tectonics, Mantle Dynamics (from 2002 during planning phase of CIG to present)
  • Geological Society of Australia, Specialist Group in Solid Earth Geophysics – Chair (2004/5)

Conference Organization

  • Frontiers in Computational Physics: Modeling the Earth System, Boulder 2012, Scientific committee member.
  • Sustainable Geothermal Energy in the Latrobe Valley — Bringing Victoria’s Skills Together to Meet the 2050 Challenge, Monash Business Breakfast Series 2012, Melbourne, Organising committee.
  • IEEE International Conference on eScience 2012, Chicago, Program committee member.
  • Australian Geothermal Challenges Workshop, 2011, Melbourne, Organising committee.
  • IEEE International Conference on eScience 2010, Brisbane, Australia, Program executive committee member.
  • Geodynamics of the Australian Plate, 2009, Melbourne, Program committee chair.
  • AGU Western Pacific Geophysics meeting 2008, Cairns, Program committee chair.
  • Frederick and Elizabeth White Conference: Managing the Data Explosion, 2006, Canberra, Program committee member.
  • Earthbyte geoinformatics workshop, 2005, Sydney, Program committee member.
  • AGU Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting, 2004, Honolulu, Program committee member.
  • AGU Chapman Conference on Exploration Geodynamics, 2001, Western Australia, Program committee chair.
  • GALE/Underworld training — approximately annual workshop for computational modelers in Australia and the USA. Program committee (rotating chair).

Community Software / Algorithms

CITCOM — original developer of 3D Citcom for mantle convection studies in 2D and 3D. Over the past 10 years, the global/spherical version of Citcom has become the mostly widely used community code in computational mantle dynamics.

ELLIPSIS — particle-in-cell version of Citcom which continues to be used in engineering / soil mechanics

UNDERWORLD — high performance, parallel, version of the Ellipsis algorithm developed as a community code with support from Australian infrastructure funding schemes. Designed for cross-disciplinary applications, this code has enabled many high impact publications.

GLUCIFER — visualisation toolkit for particle methods which focuses on efficient transfer of information from simulations running on remote parallel supercomputers.

Quagmire - Quagmire is a collection of parallel algorithms for surface process modelling.

Invited Presentations

More than 50 invited presentations in past 12 years, many to cross-disciplinary meetings in mathematical software development, engineering, information science and high performance computing as a representative from the solid earth geophysics community.

  • SIAM Conference on Parallel Processing for Scientific Computing, Tokyo, Japan, 2018
  • Monash University, Computational Mathematics Seminar, 2017
  • University of Texas, Austin, 2017
  • CIDER summer program 2017
  • CIDER summer program 2016, lecturer
  • Mathematical and Computational Issues in the Geosciences, Stanford, CA 2015, Keynote speaker
  • University of Adelaide, Dept of Earth Sciences, Australia 2015 -
 Comparative Tectonics and Geodynamics of Venus, Earth, and Rocky Exoplanets, Pasadena, CA 2015

  • American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, 2014

  • Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington DC, Dept Terrestrial Magnetism, 2014
  • Geological Society of America (GSA) Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 2014 -
 Stanford University Geophysics Dept, Stanford, CA, 2014
  • Invited Speaker, Global Modeling of the Deep Carbon Cycle Workshop, Washington DC, 2014
  • Australian National University, Research School of Earth Sciences, Canberra, Australia, 2014
  • ASEG/PESA Petroleum Geoscience R&D Forum, Melbourne, Australia, 2014

  • Keynote Speaker,CIG workshop on Long Term Tectonics, Phoenix, AZ, 2014 (by video-link)

  • Keynote Speaker,CIG workshop on Mantle Convection, Banff, Canada, 2014