Peter E. van Keken
Professor of Geophysics


MS, Utrecht University, 1989.
PhD Cum Laude, Utrecht University, 1993.
    (Thesis: Numerical modeling of thermochemically driven fluid flow with non-Newtonian rheology)


Research Fellow, Army High Performance Computing Research Center, University of Minnesota (1993-1994)
Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Michigan (1994-1996)
Assistant Professor, University of Michigan (1996-2002)
Associate Professor, University of Michigan (2002-2008)
Professor, University of Michigan (2008-)

Research interests

 Thermal and chemical evolution of the Earth using first principle calculations of mantle deformation.
 Computational fluid dynamics, parallel solution of Stokes and heat equations.
 Scientific visualization and virtual reality.

 Subduction zones:
     influence of water on wedge rheology;
     thermal control on dehydration reactions.
 Non-Newtonian deformation of solids:
     Rheological control on mantle convection;
     formation of LPO and seismic anisotropy.
 Mantle mixing and geochemistry:
     Models for the generation and preservation of mantle heterogeneity

Research facility

 Computational geodynamics laboratory (4512 CCL) as part of the geophysical lab (4510-4518 CCL)
 Major Equipment: Linux PC clusters, Geowall stereo projection system, linux servers and desktops.


 Debra Y. Tjoa (MSc 1997)
 Allen K. McNamara (PhD 2002)
 Erik A. Kneller (PhD 2007)
 J.P. Brandenburg (PhD 2008) PhD Thesis
 Hannah Smith (MSc 2010)
 Andrea Bossmann (MSc 2012)
 Zhangyi Hu (MSc 2013)
 Ross Maguire (PhD 2012-)
 Kate Volk (PhD 2012-)
  Sam Haugland (PhD 2014-)


  Shu-Chuan "Sky" Lin (2003-2005)
  Amy Bengtson (Turner postdoc, 2008-2010)
  Manabu Morishige (visiting from JAMSTEC, 2012-2013)


MARGINS meeting on modeling of dynamics and thermal structure of subduction zones.
October 4-6, 2002, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.


Fall 2014

   Earth 500 Linux Computing
   Earth 255 Intro Space and Earth Sciences (with Monica Valluri and Brian Arbic)

All courses
   EARTH 113 Planets and Moons (mini-course)
   EARTH 118/119 Introduction to Physical Geology
   EARTH 130/Phys 119/Chem 108 Physical World
   EARTH 153 Earthlike Planets
   Earth 255 Intro Space and Earth Sciences (co-taught)
   EARTH 204 Geology and Climate of the Planets (co-taught)
   EARTH 420 Introduction to Geophysics
   EARTH 440 Methods in Field Geology (co-taught)
   EARTH 486 Geodynamics
   Earth 500 Linux Computing
   EARTH 525 Tectonophysics (co-taught)
   Field trip to Scotland (2005)

Publications: journal articles


  1. Effects of depth variations on the formation of plates in mantle dynamics, A.P. van den Berg, D.A. Yuen, and P.E. van Keken, Geophys. Res. Lett., 18, 2197-2200, 1991.
  2. Pulsating diapiric flows: consequences of vertical variations in mantle creep laws, P.E. van Keken, D.A. Yuen, and A.P. van den Berg, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 112, 179-194, 1992.
  3. The effects of a composite non-Newtonian and Newtonian rheology on mantle convection, A.P. van den Berg, P.E. van Keken, D.A. Yuen, Geophys. J. Int., 115, 62-78, 1993.
  4. The effects of shallow rheological boundaries in the upper mantle on inducing shorter time scales of diapiric flows, P.E. van Keken, D.A. Yuen, and A.P. van den Berg, Geophys. Res. Lett., 20, 1927-1930, 1993.
  5. The effective viscosity of rocksalt: implementation of steady state creep laws in numerical models of salt diapirism, P.E. van Keken, C.J. Spiers, A.P. van den Berg, and E.J. Muyzert, Tectonophysics, 225, 457-476, 1993.
  6. Cooling of the Earth in the Archaean, N.J. Vlaar, P.E. van Keken, A.P. van den Berg, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 121, 1-18, 1994.
  7. Implications for mantle dynamics from the high melting temperature of perovskite, P.E. van Keken, D.A. Yuen, and A.P. van den Berg, Science, 264, 1437-1440, 1994.


  8. Dynamical influences of high viscosity in the lower mantle induced by the steep melting curve of perovskite: effects of curvature and time-dependence, P.E. van Keken and D.A. Yuen, J. Geophys. Res., 100, 15233-15248, 1995.
  9. The interaction of a plume with a rheological boundary: comparison between 2D and 3D models, P.E. van Keken, and C.W. Gable, J. Geophys. Res., 100, 20291-20302, 1995.
  10. DASPK: A new high order and adaptive time-integration technique with applications to mantle convection with strongly temperature- and pressure-dependent rheology Peter van Keken, David Yuen and Linda Petzold, Geophys. Astrophys. Fluid Dynamics, 80, 57-74, 1995 (PDF contains low resolution scan).
  11. Rheological transition in mantle convection with a composite temperature dependent, non-Newtonian and Newtonian rheology, A.P. van den Berg, D.A. Yuen, and P.E. van Keken, Earth Plan. Sci. Lett., 129, 249-260, 1995.
  12. Rheological control of oceanic crust separation in the transition zone, P.E. van Keken, S. Karato, and D.A. Yuen, Geophys. Res. Lett., 23, 1821-1824, 1996.
  13. Evolution of starting mantle plumes: a comparison between numerical and laboratory models. Peter van Keken, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 148, 1-14, 1997.
  14. A comparison of methods for the modeling of thermochemical convection Peter van Keken, Scott King, Harro Schmeling, Ulrich Christensen, Dirk Neumeister and Marie-Pierre Doin. J. Geophys. Res., 102, 22,477-22,495, 1997.
  15. Whole-mantle versus layered mantle convection and the role of a high-viscosity lower mantle in terrestrial volatile evolution, Peter van Keken and Chris Ballentine, Earth Plan. Sci. Lett., 156, 19-32, 1998.
  16. Dynamical models of mantle volatile evolution and the role of phase transitions and temperature-dependent rheology, Peter van Keken and Chris Ballentine, J. Geophys. Res., 104, 7137-7151, 1999.
  17. Mixing in a 3D spherical model of present day mantle convection, Peter van Keken and Shijie Zhong, Earth Plan. Sci. Lett. 171, 533-547, 1999.
  18. 2000-2004

  19. Cooling of the Earth: a parameterized convection study of whole vs. layered models, Allen McNamara and Peter van Keken, Geochemistry, Geophysics, and Geosystems (, 1, published 15 November 2000.
  20. Cylindrical scaling for dynamical cooling models of the Earth. Peter van Keken, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 124, 119-130, 2001.
  21. Middle Archean continent formation by crustal delamination, Tanja Zegers and Peter van Keken, Geology, 29, 1083-1086, 2001.
  22. A dynamical investigation of the heat and helium imbalance, Peter van Keken, Chris Ballentine and Don Porcelli, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 188, 421-434, 2001.
  23. Localization of dislocation creep in the lower mantle: implications for seismic anisotropy, Allen McNamara, Shun Karato and Peter van Keken, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 191, 85-99, 2001.
  24. Mantle mixing: the generation, preservation, and destruction of mantle heterogeneity, Peter van Keken, Erik Hauri, and Chris Ballentine, Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., 30, 493-525, 2002.
  25. Development of anisotropic structure in the Earth's lower mantle by solid-state convection, Allen McNamara, Peter van Keken, and Shun Karato, Nature, 416, 310-314, 2002.
  26. High resolution models of subduction zones: Implications for mineral dehydration reactions and the transport of water into the deep mantle, Peter van Keken, Boris Kiefer, and Simon Peacock, Geochemistry, Geophysics, and Geosystems, 3 (10), 1056, 2002. doi: 10.1029/2001GC000256.
  27. Numerical models, geochemistry, and the zero paradox noble gas mantle, Chris Ballentine, Peter van Keken, Don Porcelli, and Erik Hauri, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. London, A360 (1800), 2611-2631, 2002. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2002.1083
  28. Development of finite strain in the convecting lower mantle and its implications for seismic anisotropy, Allen K. McNamara, Peter E. van Keken, and S.I. Karato, J. Geophys. Res, 108 (B5), 2003. doi: 10.1029/2002JB001970.
  29. The structure and dynamics of the mantle wedge, Peter E. van Keken, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 215, 323-338, 2003.


  30. Thermal structure of the Costa Rica - Nicaragua subduction zone: slab metamorphism, seismicity and arc magmatism, S.M. Peacock, P.E. van Keken, S.D. Holloway, B.R. Hacker, G. Abers, R.L. Fergason, Physics Earth Planet. Inter., 149, 187-200, 2005.
  31. Thermal structure and dynamics of subduction zones: insights from observations and modeling, Van Keken, P.E., and S.D. King, Physics Earth Planet. Inter., 149, 1-6, 2005.
  32. Thermal plume models and melt generation in East Africa: A dynamic modeling approach, Lin, S.-C., B.-Y. Kuo, L.-Y. Chiao, and P.E. van Keken, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 237, 175-192, 2005.
  33. Multiple volcanic episodes of flood basalts caused by thermochemical plumes, Lin, S.-C., and P.E. van Keken, Nature, 436, 250-252, 2005. doi:10.1038/nature03697.
  34. B-type olivine fabric in the mantle wedge: insights from high-resolution non-Newtonian subduction zone models, Kneller, E.A., P.E. van Keken, S. Karato and J. Park, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 237, 781-797, 2005.
  35. Variable seasonal coupling between air and ground temperatures: a simple representation in terms of subsurface thermal diffusivity, Pollack, H.N., J. Smerdon, and P.E. van Keken, Geoph. Res. Lett., 32, L15405, doi:10.1029/2005GL023869, 2005.
  36. The thermal structure of subduction zones constrained by seismic imaging: implications for slab dehydration and wedge flow, Abers, G.A., P.E. van Keken, E.A. Kneller, A. Ferris, and J.C. Stachnik, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 241, 387-397, 2006.
  37. Dynamics of thermochemical plumes: 1. Plume formation and entrainment of a dense layer, Lin, S.-C., and P.E. van Keken, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 7, Q02006, doi:10.1029/2005GC001071, 2006.
  38. Dynamics of thermochemical plumes: 2. Complexity of plume structures and its implications for mapping of mantle plumes, Lin, S.-C., and P.E. van Keken, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 7, Q03003, doi:10.1029/2005GC001072, 2006.
  39. Deformation, stirring and material transport in thermochemical plumes, Lin, S.-C., and P. E. van Keken, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L20306, doi:10.1029/2006GL027037, 2006.
  40. GeoWall: stereoscopic visualization for geoscience research and education, Johnson, A.E., J. Leigh, P.J. Morin, P.E. van Keken, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 26, 10-14, 2006.
  41. Stress, strain, and B-type olivine fabric in the fore-arc mantle: sensitivity tests using high-resolution steady state subduction zone models, Kneller, E.A., P.E. van Keken, I. Katayama, S. Karato, J. Geophys. Res., vol. 112, B04406, doi:10.1029/2006JB004544, 2007.
  42. Deep storage of oceanic crust in a vigorously convecting mantle, J.P. Brandenburg and Peter E. van Keken, J. Geophys. Res., 112, B06403, doi:10.1029/2006JB004813, 2007.
  43. Methods for thermochemical convection in Earth's mantle with force-balanced plates, J.P. Brandenburg, P.E. van Keken, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 8, Q11004, doi:10.1029/2007GC001692, 2007.
  44. Trench-parallel flow and seismic anisotropy in the Marianas and Andean subduction systems, E.A. Kneller and P.E. van Keken, Nature, 450, 1222-1225, doi:10.1038/nature06429, 2007.
  45. The effects of three-dimensional slab geometry on deformation in the mantle wedge: implications for shear wave anisotropy, E.A. Kneller and P.E. van Keken, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 9, Q01003, doi:10.1029/2007GC001677, 2008.
  46. Seismic imaging of subduction zone metamorphism, S. Rondenay, G.A. Abers, and P.E. van Keken, Geology, 36, 275-278, 2008, doi:10.1130/G24112A.1.
  47. Olivine fabric transitions and shear wave anisotropy in the Ryukyu subduction system, E.A. Kneller, M. Long, and P.E. van Keken, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 268, 268-282, 2008.
  48. A community benchmark for subduction zone modeling, P.E. van Keken, C. Currie, S.D. King, M.D. Behn, A. Cagnioncle, J. He, R.F. Katz, S.-C. Lin, E.M. Parmentier, M. Spiegelman, K. Wang, Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 171, 187-197, 2008.
  49. A multiple-system study of the geochemical evolution of the mantle with force-balanced plates and thermochemical effects, J.P. Brandenburg, E.H. Hauri, P.E. van Keken, C.J. Ballentine, Earth and Planetary Sciences, 276, 1-13, 2008.
  50. Arc Basalt Simulator version 2, a simulation for slab dehydration and fluid-fluxed mantle melting for arc basalts: modeling scheme and application J.-I. Kimura, B.R. Hacker, P.E. van Keken, H. Kawabata, T. Yoshida, and R.J. Stern, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 10, Q09004, 2009, doi:10.1029/2008GC002217.
  51. Starting laminar plumes: comparison of laboratory and numerical modeling J. Vatteville, P.E. van Keken, A. Limare, A. Davaille, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 10, Q12013, 2009, doi:10.1029/2009GC002739.


  52. Origin of cross-chain geochemical variation in Quaternary lavas from the northern Izu arc: Using a quantitative mass balance approach to identify mantle sources and mantle wedge processes J.I. Kimura, A.J.R. Kent, M.C. Rowe, M. Katakuse, F. Nakano, B.R. Hacker, P.E. van Keken, H. Kawabata, R.J. Stern, Geochemistry, Geophysics, and Geosystems, 11, Q10011, 2010, doi:10.1029/2010GC003050.
  53. A community benchmark for 2D Cartesian compressible convection in the Earth's mantle S.D. King, C. Lee, P.E. van Keken, W. Leng, S. Zhong, E. Tan, N. Tosi, M.C. Kameyama, Geophys. J. Int., 180, 73-87, 2010, doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04413.x. Supplementary information (tables)
  54. A noninvasive method for measuring the velocity of diffuse hydrothermal flow by tracking moving refractive index anomalies, E. Mittelstaedt, A. Davaille, P.E. van Keken, N. Gracias, and J. Escartin, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 11, Q10005, doi:10.1029/2010GC003227, 2010.
  55. The global range of subduction zone thermal models, E.M. Syracuse, P.E. van Keken, and G.A. Abers, Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 183, 73-90, 2010.
  56. Synthetic images of dynamically predicted plumes and comparison with a global tomographic model, E. Styles, S. Goes, P.E. van Keken, J. Ritsema, H. Smith, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 311, 351-363, 2011, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2011.09.012.
  57. Subduction factory 4: Depth-dependent flux of H2O from subducting slabs worldwide, P.E. van Keken, B.R. Hacker, E.M. Syracuse, G.A. Abers, J. Geophys. Res., 116, B01401, 2011.
  58. Wavefront healing renders deep plumes seismically invisible, Y.K. Hwang, J. Ritsema, P.E. van Keken, S. Goes, E.M. Styles, Geophys. J. Int., 187, 273-277, 2011.
  59. Recent contribution of sediments and fluids to the mantle's volatile budget, S. Turner, J. Caulfield, M. Turner, P.E. van Keken, R. Maury, M. Sandiford, G. Prouteau, Nature Geoscience, 5, 50-54, 2012.
  60. Os-Hf isotopic insight into mantle plume dynamics beneath the East African Rift system, Nelson, W.R., Furman, T., van Keken, P.E., Shirey, S.B., and Hanan, B.B., Chemical Geology, volumes 320-321, 66-79, 2012.
  61. The relationship of intermediate- and deep-focus seismicity to hydration and dehydration of subducting slabs, Barcheck, G.C., Wiens, D.A., van Keken, P.E., and Hacker, B.A., Earth and Planetary Sciences, 349-350, 153-160, 2012.
  62. Three-dimensional thermal structure of subduction zones: effects of obliquity and curvature, Bengtson, A.K., and van Keken, P.E., Solid Earth, 3, 365-373, 2012. doi:10.5194/se-3-365-2012.
  63. Thermal structure and intermediate-depth seismicity in the Tohoku-Hokkaido subduction zones, van Keken, P.E., Kita, S., and Nakajima, J., Solid Earth, 3, 355-364, 2012. doi:10.5194/se-3-355-2012.
  64. Dynamics of a laminar plume in a cavity: the influence of boundaries on the steady-state stem structure, van Keken, P.E., Davaille, A., and Vatteville, J., Geochemistry, Geophysics, and Geosystems, 14, 157-178, doi:10.1029/2012/GC004383.
  65. Thermal-petrological controls on the location of earthquakes within subducting plates, Abers, G.A., Nakajima J., van Keken, P.E., Kita, S., and Hacker, B.R., Earth and Planetary Science Letters, volumes 369-370, 178-187, 2013.
  66. Dynamics of plumes in a compressible mantle with phase changes: implications for phase boundary topography, Bossmann, A.B., and van Keken, P.E., Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 224, 21-31, 2013.
  67. Diverse magmatic effects of subducting a hot slab in SW Japan: results from forward modeling, Kimura, J.-I., J.B. Gill, T. Kunikiyo, I. Osaka, Y. Shimoshoiri, M. Katakuse, S. Kakubuchi, T. Nagao, J. Nakajima, P.E.van Keken, R.J. Stern, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 15, 691-739, 2014.
  68. Along-arc variation in the 3-D thermal structure around the junction between the Japan and Kurile arcs, M. Morishige, P.E. van Keken, Geochemistry, Goephysics, Geosystems, 15, 2225-2240, doi:10.1002/2014GC005394, 2014.
  69. Fluid flow in subduction zones: the role of solid rheology and compaction pressure, C.R. Wilson, M. Spiegelman, P.E. van Keken, B.R. Hacker, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 401, 261-274, 2014.

    Publications: Book Chapters

  70. Combined results from mineral physics, tomography and mantle convection and their implications on global geodynamics, D.A. Yuen, O. Cadek, P.E. van Keken, D.M. Reuteler, H. Kyvalova, and B.A. Schroeder, in: "Seismic modeling of the Earth's structure", E. Boschi, G. Ekstrom, A. Morelli (Eds), pp. 463-505, 1996.
  71. Convective mixing in the Earth's mantle, Peter van Keken, Chris Ballentine, Erik Hauri, Volume 2 "Geochemistry of the mantle and core" (Rick Carlson, editor) of the Treatise of Geochemistry (Turekian and Holland, editors), Elsevier, 2004.
  72. Hotspots and melting anomalies, Ito, G., and P.E. van Keken, Volume 7, (David Bercovici, editor), Treatise on Geophysics (G. Schubert, editor), Elsevier, 2007.
  73. Tectonics of the Early Earth: some geodynamic considerations. J. van Hunen, P.E. van Keken, A. Hynes, G.F. Davies, in: "When did plate tectonics begin on Earth?", K.C. Condie and V. Pease (editors), GSA special issue 440, 157-171, 2008.
  74. Mantle mixing: processes and modeling, van Keken, P.E., 351-371, in Physics and Chemistry of the Earth's Deep Interior, S. Karato (editor), 412pp, ISBN 978-0-470-65914-1, Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.
  75. Convective mixing in the Earth's mantle, P.E. van Keken, C.J. Ballentine, E.H. Hauri, in: Treatise on Geochemistry: Second Edition, volume 3, 509-525, edited by K.K. Turekian and H.D. Holland.
  76. Hotspots, large igneous provinces and melting anomalies, M. Ballmer, G. Ito, P.E. van Keken, Treatise of Geophysics, 2nd edition, G. Schubert (editor), Elsevier, in press.


December 2014:
ISI: 69 articles, h-index 32, h-index slope 1.6, citations 2755.
Google Citations: 69 articles, h-index 36, h-index slope 1.8, citations 3777.

Peter E. van Keken
Professor of Geophysics
Associate Chair of Curriculum/Undergraduate Advisor
Chair, GeoPRISMS program (2013-2016)
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Michigan
2534 CC Little Building
1100 North University Avenue
Ann Arbor MI 48109-1005
phone: +1-734-764-1435 (Departmental Office); +1-734-255-1228 (GeoPRISMS Office)