miles osmaston

This is the Home Page of:
Miles F. Osmaston, MA (Oxon)
The White Cottage,Sendmarsh,
Ripley, Woking, Surrey GU23 6JT, UK.

Current professional affiliations.

Geological Society 1966 - Fellow
Royal Astronomical Society 1992 -
European Geosciences Union 2007 - Complimentary Member 2011
Geochemical Society 2004 - 2016.
European Association of Geochemistry 2006 - 2016

Biography and research interests

Miles' curiosity drives him continually to seek firm physical-mechanical linkages between cause and diverse effect. Starting with the spring which drives a clockwork toy he now finds fascination in pursuing the most complex and interactive examples to be found in observations relating to the functioning of our planet's interior or of the wider Universe.

Miles Osmaston was born in Sussex, UK, in 1925 and, following a much-interrupted teen-age education (osteomyelitis), he obtained his Oxford degree in Engineering Science in 1949. His strong interest in radio and electronics, acquired during those interruptions, led him, both there and during the succeeding year at Durham University, to give talks at departmental seminars on the nature and limitation of electronic noise in receivers, one being published and gaining IEE 'commendation'. Pursuing this line, the first job he took involved him in various vacuum physics research and development projects with Mullard/Philips. These ranged from radio valve design for minimal electron noise output, to whole-image converters for ultra-high speed (40ns) imaging of nuclear explosions and for high-gain (1200x) intensification of medical X-ray images.

To put his engineering skills to use he then accepted a move that involved leading the specific novel design and development aspects of each of a succession of airborne weapons projects, one of which was an airborne astronavigation system, also using the planets. During that work he made a serendipitous observational discovery (1959) which directly conflicted with one of the principal precepts of Special Relativity. This was recognized as such by the head of the establishment and specifically funded for 9 months, but the results could not be published (secret work).

Successive government cancellations of weapons, enforcing changes of employer, then left Miles with no CV (secret work), so he took a year off (1965-66) to conceive and apply globally, in outline for the past 600Ma, a form of what later became called 'plate tectonics', as an insight upon how this particular planet works. His written-up account was instrumental in achieving a career switch to Earth Science in Imperial College in 1966.

Since then, he has pursued in parallel his interests, both in fundamental physical-astrophysical dynamical matters (including gravitation) and in the Earth's internal behaviour and evolution, as evidenced by plate dynamical behaviour, upon the products and hazards of which we all depend or need to contend. In the past 15 years these two streams have appeared to merge in the subject area of planetary system formation and thereby to support each other strongly - a matter of great personal excitement. The resulting strings of linkages now range all the way from particle physics, via planet, galaxy and galaxy cluster construction, to a new cosmology and (in the other direction) to observational constraints for multifaceted new perspectives on how the Earth's interior really works. All of which keeps him very busy.


A detailed listing (>140 entries) of most of my published activities in these fields since 1947 is to be found at the Published papers & Conference abstracts page of this website.

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This website

Introduction. The functions of this personal site now aim to embrace my broader scientific activities, but before proceeding to wider issues this front page concentrates first on extending the record of my geodynamics topic, first addressed in 2003 (published 2006), now including one of its several sequels:- my Alps/UHP paper (2008)..

We set up this website immediately after the IUGG 2007 meeting held in Perugia, Italy, 2-13 July 2007, to provide access both to my abstract and to my presentation. Public access to any of the other ~7000 abstracts presented was delayed until February 2008 but later became log-in only until 20 May 2011. In the case of mine:-

For my IUGG abstract:-

Osmaston, M.F.(2007) "Cratonic keels and a 2-layer mantle tested: mantle expulsion during Arabia-Russia closure linked to westward enlargement of the Black Sea, formation of the Western Alps and subduction of the Tyrrhenian (not the Ionian) Sea." (Abstract 12kb pdf) Powerpoint presentation (Slideshow 8Mb ppt)

For IUGG website citation purposes use:- XXIV IUGG 2007, Perugia, Italy. IASPEI Session JSS 011 Abstr. No 2105.

Note that in this case and for any other .ppt files offered below on this site, you will see my lecture notes below each slide only if you view the file in the ''Normal view' mode offered by Powerpoint. So you should download the file and open it in Powerpoint on your own computer and then select 'normal view'.

My previous original peer-reviewed paper (2006) pursues in addition various other aspects of the thick-plate version of plate tectonics which emerges.


Osmaston, M.F.(2006) "Global tectonic actions emanating from Arctic opening in the circumstances of a two-layer mantle and a thick-plate paradigm involving deep cratonic tectospheres: the Eurekan (Eocene) compressive motion of Greenland and other examples." In: Scott, R.A. & Thurston, D.K. (eds), Proc. 4th Internat. Conf. on Arctic Margins (ICAM IV), Dartmouth, NS, Canada. Sept 30 - Oct 3, 2003. US Dept. Interior, Minerals Management Service, Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Study MMS 2006-003, p.105-124. (1.3Mb pdf)

In Oct 2001, the US MMS was split and reorganized, so the ICAM IV site has vanished. My paper, also published in the hard-copy volume, is otherwise now only available here within this 1.3 Mb file by clicking (Paper 1.3Mb pdf) . In addition to my paper, this file includes the cover-page and Intro pages to the hard-copy version, including the list of reviewers, thus establishing its peer-reviewed status.

The paper includes the first published illustration of my thick-plate model for MORs, establishing that thick-plate behaviour is not confined to cratons. I presented full development of this model at EGU2014; the abstract and full presentation are downloadable from the EGU2014 website.

For an even earlier preview of this thick-plate reasoning, giving attention to its geochemical aspects, see:-
Osmaston, M.F.(2000) "An upper mantle source for plumes and Dupal; result of processes and history that have shaped the Earth's interior from core to crust." J. of Conf. Abstr. (CD-ROM) 5 (2), 763. (Abstract 13.2kb pdf)

Osmaston, M.F.(2010) ?Providing solar system water and high planetary angular momentum, using a return to Ringwood's core formation model, supported by the behavioural evolution of the mantle" Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 74(S1), A 779 :- (Abstract 9.7kb pdf) (Poster 12.1Mb pdf). For this, see my abstract and poster, presented at Goldschmidt 2010 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Here, again on the thick-plate geodynamics theme, I traced the linkage between the water-producing mode of planetary construction, as necessarily experienced by the Earth (for dynamical reasons not previously recognized), and major features of its current geodynamical behaviour.

Osmaston, M.F.(2008) Basal subduction tectonic erosion (STE), butter mélanges and the construction and exhumation of HP-UHP belts: the Alps example and some comparisons. International Geology Review 50(8), 685-754 DOI: 10.2747/00206814.50.8.685. (Paper 3.2 Mb pdf)

This very large (390refs) and editorially acclaimed paper uses circum-Pacific evidence to show that the mechanism of subducting plate downbend, and the resulting development of a shallow 'flat-slab' interface (susceptible to subsequent imbrication), is by the development of escalator-like step-faulting. This is fully supported (a) by the widespread presence of the expected step-angle mélanges in the Alps and other exhumed UHP belts, (b) by its intermittent coupling of ridge push to the upper plate, enabling the accumulation of strain energy for an M9 earthquake. It also finds (c) thermally induced retrogression to be the main exhumation agent and an important epeirogenic agent elsewhere. and (d) that subduction habitually begins, not at the continent-ocean boundary, but in the oceanic domain, with ocean-crusted forearcs. The linkage to the other papers on this page is that construction of the Western Alps required the westward motion of Adria, driven, as proposed in my IUGG 2007 paper, by the mantle flows induced by the relative motions of deep-keeled cratons.

Other contributions on geodynamics and related matters, including mantle magmagenesis, are to be found among the overall listing of my publications accessible found at the Published papers & Conference abstracts page of this website. That listing also includes all those relating to my work on fundamental physics, which has evolved into what I have called Continuum Theory (CT). For specific coverage of CT please refer to the Continuum Theory page of this website.

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