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Associate Professor

As a geophysicist, I am intrigued by the interaction between long-term tectonic/geologic evolution and short-term catastrophic processes on terrestrial planets (including Moon, Mars and Earth). By combining computational geodynamics and geodetic observations, my research focuses on understanding the thermo-mechanical evolution of the lithosphere and its response to various internal and external loading processes (impacts, volcanoes, and earthquakes) on time scales from minutes to millions of years.
I received my Bachelor's degree from University of Science and Technology of China in 2009, and then PhD degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program under the guidance of Prof. Jian Lin in 2014. Worked as Postdoc Associate with Prof. Maria T. Zuber at MIT in 2015-16 and with Prof. Qinghua Huang at Peking University in 2017-19. Worked as Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor at Macau University of Science and Technology in 2019-2023. Joined Southern University of Science and Technology in November, 2023.

Geophysics and geodynamics of terrestrial planets (mainly the Moon and Mars):

1. Planetary Geodynamics: Lithospheric dynamics; viscoelastoplastic finite element simulation; cryosphere thermomechanics; early thermal evolution of terrestrial planets

2. Planetary geophysics: Gravity forward and inversion methods and applications; joint inversion of geophysical data

3. Planetary geology: analysis and interpretation of planetary remote sensing data; impact, fault and volcanic structures

4. Application of artificial intelligence methods: automatic identification of planetary geological structures; model-data fusion


1. Ding, M*. & Zhu, M.-H. (2022). Effects of regional thermal state on the crustal annulus relaxation of lunar large impact basins. Journal of Geophysics Research: Planets. DOI: 10.1029/2021JE007132
2. Zhang, N., Ding, M.*, Zhu, M.-H., Li, H., Li, H. & Yue, Z. (2022). Lunar compositional asymmetry explained by mantle overturn following the South Pole–Aitken impact. Nature Geoscience. DOI: 10.1038/s41561-021-00872-4.
3. Luo, X.-Z.^, Zhu, M.-H. & Ding, M. (2022). Ejecta pattern of oblique impacts on the Moon from numerical simulations. Journal of Geophysics Research: Planets. DOI: 10.1029/2022JE007333
4. Xi, X.^, Ding, M.* & Zhu, M.-H. (2022). Groove formation on Phobos due to orbital ejecta from Stickney crater. Earth and Planetary Physics. DOI: 10.26464/epp2022027
5. Ding, M*., Soderblom, J. M., Bierson, C. J., & Zuber, M. T. (2021). Investigating the influences of crustal thickness and temperature on the uplift of mantle material beneath large impact craters on the Moon. Journal of Geophysics Research: Planets. DOI:10.1029/2020JE006533.
6. Cui, X.-L.^, Ding, M.*, & Wang, G. (2021). Automated crater detection on the South Pole-Aitken basin of the Moon and absolute model ages of mid-sized craters based on convolution neural network. Journal of Nanjing University. DOI: 10.13232/j.cnki.jnju.2021.06.001.
7. Zhang, T., Shen, Z. Y., Zhang, F., & Ding, M. (2021). Heat flow distribution in the Chukchi Borderland and surrounding regions, Arctic Ocean. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, e2021GC010033. DOI: 10.1029/2021GC010033.
8. Zhang, H., Zhao, D., Li, Y., Zhao, J., Liu, H., Ding, M. & Jiang, Y (2021). Strong upper mantle heterogeneities in western Tibetan Plateau. Tectonics. DOI:10.1029/2020TC006403.
9. Zhang, J., Zhou, Z., Ding, M., & Lin, J. (2021). Three-dimensional mantle flow and temperature structure beneath the Shatsky Rise ridge-ridge-ridge triple junction. Journal of Ocean University of China, 20(4), 857–865. DOI:10.1007/s11802-021-4578-6.
10. Zhang, H., Zhao, D., Ju, C., Li, Y. E., Li, G., Ding, M., et al. (2020). Upper mantle deformation of the Terror Rift and northern Transantarctic Mountains in Antarctica: Insight from P‐wave anisotropic tomography. Geophysical Research Letters. DOI:10.1029/2019GL086511.
11. Ding, M., Lin, J., Gu, C., Huang, Q., & Zuber, M. T. (2019). Variations in martian lithospheric strength based on gravity/topography analysis. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 124, 3095–3118. DOI:10.1029/2019JE005937.
12. Huang, C., Zhang, N., Li, Z.-X., Ding, M., Dang, Z., Pourteau, A., & Zhong, S. (2019). Modelling the inception of supercontinent break-up: Stress state and the importance of orogens. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. DOI:10.1029/2019GC008538.

13. Zhang, T., Chen, Y., Ding, M.*, Shen, Z., Yang, Y., & Guan, Q. (2019). Air-temperature control on diurnal variations in microseismicity at Laohugou Glacier No. 12, Qilian Mountains. Annals of Glaciology, 1–12. DOI:10.1017/aog.2018.34.

14. Ding, M.*, Soderblom, J. M., Bierson, C. J., Nimmo, F., Milbury, C., & Zuber, M. T. (2018). Constraints on lunar crustal porosity from the gravitational signature of impact craters. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 123. DOI:10.1029/2018JE005654.
15. Ding, M., & Lin, J. (2016). Deformation and faulting of subduction overriding plate caused by a subducted seamount. Geophysical Research Letters, 43. DOI:10.1002/2016GL069785.
16. Ding, M., & Lin, J. (2014). Post-seismic viscoelastic deformation and stress transfer after the 1960 M9.5 Valdivia, Chile earthquake: effects on the 2010 M8.8 Maule, Chile earthquake. Geophysical Journal International, ggu048. DOI: 10.1093/gji/ggu048
17. James, P., Ermakov, A., Keane, J., Wieczorek, M., Sori, M., Johnson, B., Evans, A., Bills, B., Chiow, S.-W.,Ding, M., Nimmo, F. & Sood, R. (2020). The value of surface-based gravity and gravity gradient measurements at the Moon’s south pole with Artemis III. Science Definition Team for Artemis.
18. Ding, M., & Zhang, N. (2018). Early geologic history of the Moon. In Encyclopedia of Lunar Science (pp. 1–8). Springer, Cham. DOI:10.1007/978-3-319-05546-6_8-1.

*Corresponding author; ^Graduate student.