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Wouter Schellart is a geodynamicist who studies the deformation and flow in the Earth from the crustal scale to the whole mantle scale, investigating the driving forces and resistive forces related to such deformation and flow. He uses laboratory-based (analogue) and numerical modelling techniques as well as tectonic reconstructions to quantify the deformation, velocities, forces and stresses associated with large-scale geodynamic processes, in particular subduction and mountain building. His research focuses both on generic, process-oriented, research and research applied to specific geological settings and geographical locations (e.g. Andes, Southwest Pacific, Himalaya-East Asia, Mediterranean).

Wouter’s current research, funded by a Vici grant from the Dutch National Science foundation (NWO), investigates the origin and evolution of the largest mountain belts on Earth, the Andes and the Himalaya-Tibet-East Asia system.

Wouter is in charge of the Kuenen-Escher Geodynamics Laboratory (KEG Lab), which is a modelling facility in which crustal and mantle-scale geodynamic processes are simulated in analogue experiments at small spatial scales and short temporal scales.


Some recent research (open access):

Open access paper on the origin and evolution of the Andes and the migration of the Andean volcanic arc: Schellart [2017]

Open access paper on the interaction between the Tonga-Kermadec-Hikurangi subduction zone and intraplate volcanism in the Samoa region: Strak and Schellart [2018]

Open access paper on giant subduction zone earthquakes, which includes a global map showing which subduction zone segments on Earth are most likely to produce giant earthquakes: Schellart and Rawlinson [2013]

Open access paper on the origin of Lake Eyre and the Murray-Darling Basin, the largest intra-continental basins in Australia: Schellart and Spakman [2015]

Open access paper on subduction modelling and mantle flow: Schellart and Moresi [2013]

Open access review paper on analogue modelling: Schellart and Strak [2016]


Main topics of research:

-Subduction zone evolution and subduction-induced mantle flow.

-Cordilleran mountain building at subduction zones (e.g. Andes).

-Backarc basin formation at subduction zones (e.g. North Fiji Basin, Tyrrhenian Sea).

-Dynamic topography and (past) subduction (e.g. SW Pacific, Australia).

-Orogenesis and continental deformation (e.g. Himalaya-East Asia).

-Continental subduction, ophiolite obduction (e.g. New Guinea, New Caledonia).

-Giant earthquakes at subduction zones.

-Subduction and topography.



BSc courses

-Geofysica en Computermodelleren (teacher)

-Veldpracticum Vaste Aarde (teacher)


MSc courses

-Mantle Properties (teacher)

-Orogenesis (teacher)

-Advanced Tectonics (coordinator & teacher)


Prizes and Awards

Awards, medals, prizes

Cum laude award for MSc degree from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 1999.

Molly Holman Doctoral Medal for the best PhD-thesis in the Faculty of Science, Monash University, 2003.

J. G. Russell award from the Australian Academy of Science, 2007.

Victoria & Tasmania Young Tall Poppy Science Award from the Australian Institute for Policy & Science, 2009.

Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research by and Early Career Researcher, Monash University, 2010.

E. S. Hills Medal from the Geological Society of Australia, awarded every two years to a young (<40 years) Australian resident for outstanding contributions to any branch of the geological sciences, anywhere, 2012.

Anton Hales Medal 2013 from the Australian Academy of Science for distinguished research in the Earth sciences, awarded annually to a researcher no more than 40 years of age in the calendar year of nomination.



Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship (APD) (2004-2006) from the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship (QE II) (2007-2011) from the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Monash Research Fellowship (2007-2012) from Monash University.

Future Fellowship (2012-2015) from the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Vici Fellowship (2017-2022) from the Dutch National Science Foundation (NWO).


Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 2000 2018

A subduction and mantle plume origin for Samoan volcanism

Strak, V. & Schellart, W. P., 11 Jul 2018, In : Scientific Reports. 8, p. 1-12 12 p., 10424

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

mantle plume
Open Access
Australian plate

Analogue modelling of thrust systems: Passive vs. active hanging wall strain accommodation and sharp vs. smooth fault-ramp geometries

Rosas, F. M., Duarte, J. C., Almeida, P., Schellart, W. P., van Riel, N. A. W. & Terrinha, P., 1 Jun 2017, In : Journal of Structural Geology. 99, p. 45-69 25 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

hanging wall

Andean mountain building and magmatic arc migration driven by subduction-induced whole mantle flow

Schellart, W. P., 1 Dec 2017, In : Nature Communications. 8, 1, 2010

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
South America
Earth mantle

Influence of lithosphere and basement properties on the stretching factor and development of extensional faults across the Otway Basin, southeast Australia

Kharazizadeh, N., Schellart, W. P., Duarte, J. C. & Hall, M., 1 Dec 2017, In : Marine and Petroleum Geology. 88, -, p. 1059-1077 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

beta factor
normal fault

Activities 2016 2016

  • 1 Editorial work

Journal of Geodynamics (Journal)

V. Strak (Member of editorial board), J.C. Duarte (Member of editorial board), F. Rosas (Member of editorial board), L. Moresi (Member of editorial board), Schellart, W. P. (Member of editorial board)

Activity: Peer review and Editorial workEditorial workAcademic