Daniel E. Portner
Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellow

Daniel Evan Portner

Research Interests

Subduction zones, slab behavior, seismic imaging, mantle dynamics, plate tectonics, and material recycling


B.S., Geological Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2014
Ph.D., Geophysics, University of Arizona, 2019

Contact & Links


My research interests are centered on the structure and behavior of subducting slabs within the mantle and what that information can tell us about mantle dynamics and plate tectonics. Primarily, I investigate subducting slabs using seismic imaging techniques to provide a three-dimensional picture of the mantle in subduction zones. With these pictures, I can begin to answer a variety of questions about the role that subducting slabs play in global earth processes such as mantle convection, material recycling, orogenesis, earthquake generation, volcanic production, and plate tectonics. Through my Ph.D. I applied the teleseismic tomography technique to the South American and Eastern Mediterranean subduction systems to characterize different scales of variability within subduction zones. I am also involved in studies within other disciplines, such as analog modeling, shear wave splitting analysis, and geology in order to better understand the relationship between subducting slabs, mantle dynamics, and plate tectonics.

While at Carnegie, I plan to work on the development and improvement of seismic imaging techniques by harnessing the massive seismic datasets that are being quickly amassed to more precisely characterize the structure of slabs in the mantle. My goal is to use these tools to investigate more detailed questions of subduction dynamics, including the role of volatiles in slab behavior and the processes by which slabs get recycled into the mantle.