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Mantle Dynamics: The Internal Loading Theory and beyond

The internal loading theory of mantle convection uses seismologically derived inferences of mantle density heterogeneities to compute mantle flow dynamics. This theory has also been shown to be a suitable formalism within which geodynamic observables can be inverted to obtain an estimate of the 3-D mantle structure. I present a friendly introduction to this theory, and its application to the prediction of free-air gravity anomaly, dynamic surface topography and the core-mantle boundary topography. Based on an analysis of the predicted fields, I comment on the viability of different viscosity and seismic velocity to density conversion factor are examined. I will show that while the predictions of topography fields are quite good, the same cannot be said for the free-air anomaly whose sensitivity to the choices of the mantle viscosity profile and seismic conversion profile is well documented in the literature. I will conclude my talk with a discussion about my on-going projects and the direction in which I plan to take my research in the days ahead.