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Thermal structure of the North China Craton
Juan Carlos Afonso + geophysics

A/Prof. Juan Carlos Afonso

A/Prof. Juan C. Afonso is a theoretical geophysicist and geodynamicist. His research focuses on the thermochemical structure and evolution of the lithosphere, the mechanical and geochemical interactions between tectonic plates and the sublithospheric upper mantle, and their effects on small- and large-scale tectonic processes. His most recent research combines multiscale probabilistic inversion and numerical modelling techniques to address some of the most fundamental questions about the nature and evolution of the lithosphere and upper mantle using a formal combination of multiple satellite- (e.g. gravity, magnetic field) and land-based (e.g. geochemistry, seismic) data sets. He also works on the development of numerical algorithms to model the complex couplings between geochemical and geodynamic processes inside planets at multiple scales.

Organic Chemistry
The National Chemistry


- A big project within a big network is coming along... multiple PhD projects will be available soon; so if you are looking for a PhD or you know outstanding candidates looking for PhD projects, pass the news and stay tuned!!! 

- Happy to be part of the new ESA-funded '4D Earth' research program. We start in March!!

- It is a great pleasure to become a VP in the Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences at SUSTech University!! 

- Excited to start a new position at ITC, University of Twente!!!       

- Great to start a new project with the Canadian Geological Survey and collaborate with Andrew Schaeffer and his team.

- We recently completed a 2.5 years research project with DeBeers to map the thermochemical structure of Central and South Africa. Publication coming soon and you can see some preliminary results here: 

- Check our new manuscript on joint 3D MT + seismic probabilistic inversion with Constanza Manassero here:

- Excited to start another collaboration project with Geoscience Australia on state-of-the-art techniques for joint inversion of massive geophysical and geochemical datasets. Welcome to Fatimah, our new PhD student!

- We are always looking for outstanding motivated students to join our PhD cohort. Send me an email if you are interested in doing a PhD with us.


  • Wu, S., Yang, Y., Xu, X., Afonso, J.C., Zhang, A. (2023), A Fossil Oceanic Lithosphere Preserved in the Middle of a Continent, Geology,

  • Tauzin, B., Waszek, L., Ballmer, M., Afonso, J.C., Bodin, T. (2022), Basaltic reservoirs in the Earth's mantle transition zone. PNAS, 119, 48,

  • Afonso, J. C., Ben-Mansour, W., O'Reilly, S., Griffin, W., Salajeghegh, F., Foley, S., Begg, G., Selway, K., Macdonald, A., Jenuszczak, N., Fomin, I., Nyblade, A. (2022), Thermochemical structure and evolution of cratonic lithosphere in Central and South Africa, Nature Geoscience, 15, 405–410 (2022). (also in

  • Waszek, L., Tauzin, B., Schmerr, N., Ballmer, M., Afonso, J.C. (2021), A poorly mixed mantle and its thermal state inferred from seismic waves, Nature Geoscience,

  • Zhang, A., Guo, Z., Afonso, J.C., Handley, H., Dai, H., Yang., Y., Chen, Y. (2021), Lithosphere-asthenosphere interactions beneath Northeast China and the origin of intraplate volcanism, Geology, doi:

  • Oliveira, B., Afonso, J.C., Kloecking, M. (2021) Melting conditions and mantle source composition from probabilistic joint inversion of major and rare earth element concentrations, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 315, (also in EarthArxiv).

  • Manassero, M.C., Afonso, J.C., Zyserman, F., Zlotnik, S., Fomin, I. (2021) A Reduced Order Approach for Probabilistic Inversions of 3D Magnetotelluric Data II: Joint inversion of MT and surface wave data, JGR, 126, e2021JB021962. (also in EarthArxiv)

  • Yang, X., Li, Y., Afonso, J.C., Yingjie, Y., Zhang, A. (2021) Thermochemical State of the Upper Mantle beneath South China from Multi-observable Probabilistic Inversion, JGR, 126, e2020JB021114.

  • Fullea J., Negredo, A., Charco, M., Palomeras, I., Villaseñor, A., Afonso, J.C. (2021) The topography of the Iberian Peninsula from integrated geophysical-petrological multi-data inversion, Phys. Earth Planet. Int., 314,

  • Dai, H., Oliveira, B., Zheng, J., Griffi, W.L., Afonso, J.C., Xiong, Q., O'Reilly, S.Y. (2021) Melting dynamics of Late Cretaceous lamprophyres in central Asia suggest a mechanism to explain many continental intraplate basaltic suite magmatic provinces, J. Geophys. Res.

  • M.G. Pamato, D. Novella, D.E. Jacob, B. Oliveira, D.G. Pearson, S. Greene, J.C. Afonso, M. Favero, T. Stachel, M. Alvaro, F. Nestola (2021) Protogenetic sulphide inclusions in diamonds can still yield a diamond formation age, Geology, doi:

  • Oliveira, B. Griffin, L.,Gain, S., Saunders, M., Shaw, J., Toledo, V., Afonso, J.C., O’Reilly, S.Y. (2021). Ti3+ in corundum: Tracer of crystal growth in a highly reduced magma, Scientific Reports, 11, 2439,

  • Manassero, M. C., Afonso, J. C., Zyserman, F., Zlotnik, S., & Fomin, I. (2020). A Reduced Order Approach for Probabilistic Inversions of 3D Magnetotelluric Data I: General Formulation. Geophys. J. Int.,

  • Kumar et al., (2020) LitMod2D_2.0: An improved integrated geophysical-petrological modeling tool for the physical interpretation of upper mantle anomalies, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 21, e2019GC008777.

  • Oliveira, B., Afonso, J.C., Tilhac, R (2020), A disequilibrium reactive transport model for mantle magmatism, J. Petrol. egaa067,

  • Zhang, A., Guo, Z., Afonso, J.C. , Yang., Y., Yang, B., Xu, Y., (2020) The deep thermochemical structure of the Dabie Orogenic Belt from multi-observable probabilistic inversion. Tectonophysics, 787,

  • Galabert, O., Zlotnik, S., Afonso, J.C., Diez, P. (2020) Fast Stokes flow simulations for geophysical-geodynamic inverse problems and sensitivity analyses based on reduced order modeling, Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 125, e2019JB018314.

  • Tilhac, R. Oliveira, B., Griffin, W.L., O'Reilly, S.Y., Schaefer, B., Alard, O., Culeneer, G., Afonso, J.C., Grégoire, M. (2020), Reworking of old continental lithosphere: Unradiogenic Os and decoupled HfNd isotopes in sub-arc mantle pyroxenites, Lithos, 354–355,

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