Xiaochuan (Kelvin) Tian

Postdoctoral Researcher


I have intrinsic motivation in studying geodynamic processes that create the topography of a planet and geohazards that have tremendous societal impacts. I can stare at a topographic map for hours and being amazed by how various features can be explained by the plate tectonics theory. I also feel deeply sad when large earthquakes or volcano eruptions killed hundred or even hundred thousand of people and hope to contribute to the mitigation of those geohazards by studying the physical mechanisms underpinning those phenomena.

My graduate research has been focused on the solid Earth processes that are controlled by magmatism and tectonics. Specifically, from a geodynamic perspective, I formulate theoretical and numerical models trying to capture the key mechanisms that are responsible for phenomena observed at Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) and divergent plate boundaries.

Current Project:

How transform valleys are formed at Mid-Ocean Ridge transform faults.


  • Tian, X., & Buck, W. R. (2021). Intrusions Induce Global Warming Prior to Continental Flood Basalt Volcanism. Nature Geoscience. 15, 417–422 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-022-00939-w
  • Tian, X. (2021). [PhD Dissertation] Structural and Climatic Effects of Large-Scale Basaltic Magmatism: Constraints and Insights from Geodynamic Models.  Columbia University Libraries (https://doi.org/10.7916/d8-2dvc-e762)
  • Tian, X., & Buck, W. R. (2019). Lithospheric Thickness of Volcanic Rifting Margins: Constraints from Seaward Dipping Reflectors. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 124(4), 3254-3270.
  • Tian, X., & Choi, E. (2017). Effects of Axially Variable Diking Rates on Faulting at Slow Spreading Mid-Ocean Ridges. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 458, 14-21.
  • Tian, X., & Buck, W. R. How Intrusion and Crustal Flow Control the Topography of Continental Large Igneous Provinces, in prep for submission to JGR.