Tectonics and Structural Geology

Tectonics and Structural Geology

Introducing our Early Career Scientist Team

This week we would like to introduce the Early Career Scientist team of Tectonics and Structural Geology community. Behind the activities organized during EGU and the year-round contacts on social media there is not only 1 single person who is responsible, but a team of people. So here you can read a bit more about each individual and their favorite type of rock science, which simultaneously showcases the entire breadth of topics covered by Tectonics and Structural Geology.

If you’re an Early Career Scientist and want to get involved too, please contact Anne Pluymakers.


ECS representatives

anneAnne Pluymakers

I am a post-doc at Physics of Geological Processes, or PGP, in Oslo, Norway. My background is in experimental geomechanics with emphasis on fluid-rock interactions. My current projects are mostly related to shale and CO2. Within the TS team, I am one of the two current ECS representatives. This means I coordinate the different TS activities organized by the team members, and that I also connect to the ECS representatives of the other divisions, and of course to the Division President. What I like best about working in academia is that you’re not only stuck behind a desk, but you also get to build things as well as break some rocks.


joaoJoão Duarte

I am an early career researcher at the Instituto Dom Luiz, University of Lisbon, Portugal, where I coordinate the marine geology and geophysics group. I work in the intersection of marine geology, tectonics and geodynamic modelling, with a special focus in the Azores-Gibraltar (Africa-Eurasia) plate boundary. My running projects cover the topics of subduction initiation and supercontinental cycles.  I am co-representative of the TS-ECS. Together with the enthusiastic team of bright ECS presented here we organize a lot of exciting activities within EGU. I am passionate about science communication and I love to share the fun of understanding the workings of the Earth with the general public.


The team


elenoraElenora van Rijsingen

I am a PhD student in Rome and Montpellier, as part of the ITN project CREEP. I study the relationship between the roughness of subducting seafloor and seismogenic behaviour of subduction zones, by using natural data and analogue experiments. Besides that, I also really enjoy being involved in any type of outreach activities. Within the TS team, I am editor of this TS blog, together with Mehmet Köküm. This means that I write blog posts, but also invite other people to write a guest blog.  The reason I became a geologist is because I love how everything on and within the earth is connected, at scales that we humans can hardly even imagine.


mehmetMehmet Köküm

I am a 3rd year Phd student and Research Assistant major in Geology at Firat University in Turkey. My PhD involves fault kinematic analyses, using fault slip data obtained from fault surface. I am a field geologist and work on geological mapping, structural geology and active tectonics. I also use remote sensing techniques and digital elevation models to trace the geometry of an active fault. Within the TS team, Elenora van Rijsingen and I are the current EGU Bloggers. We work together to keep the TS Blog on the EGU website up-to-date. If you have any ideas for guest blogs, feel free to contact us!


Team members

subhajitSubhajit Ghosh

I am a doctoral research student at the Department of Geology, University of Calcutta in Kolkata, India. By training, I am a structural geologist at the Experimental Tectonics Laboratory (ETL). We mostly work on experimental modelling of different geodynamic and geological processes and rock deformation from micro to meso-scale. My PhD is about understanding the temporal as well as the spatial evolution of the fold-thrust belts in a collisional setting. I also use sandbox models to investigate the neo-tectonic activity of seismically active orogenic fronts. My field area is the eastern Himalaya (Darjeeling-Sikkim). Field trips in the Himalayas are evergreen and enriching for me as it renders exposures to many unknown places and with different sort of life, culture and food. Being part of the ECS-TS team is a fascinating experience; it is great to connect with so many young researchers like myself from all over the world and to become acquainted with their scientific pursuits.


annaAnna Rogowitz

I am currently postdoctoral researcher in the structural processes group at the Department of Geodynamics and Sedimentology (University of Vienna, Austria). My research focusses on the (broad) field of strain localization processes in the ductile regime of the lithosphere. After studying the deformation behaviour of calcite marbles for years, I decided to move a bit deeper in the Earth’s interior, and recently started a project on the rheology of eclogites. I love my job for many reasons, which I can’t possibly all list here, but the most recent one I discovered is how incredible fun it is to teach microtectonics! Within the ECS-team, I help in the organization of the ECS dinner during the EGU General Assembly. I also currently try, together with a few others, to organize a pre-EGU field trip for early career scientists.


anoukAnouk Beniest

I am a PhD candidate at the ‘Institut des Sciences de la Terre de Paris’, or ISTeP in Paris. I have a background in structural geology and petrology. My PhD project is about the geodynamics of rifted margins, looking at the effects of large-scale, thermal processes on basin-scale processes using a thermo-mechanical and a petroleum system model. Within the TS team, I do the ECS-Monday and jobs-on-Friday announcements on Facebook. This means that I am continuously looking for recent Tectonics/Structural Geology publications by our ECS colleagues, so if you have a publication, send it to the ECS/TS team and it might land on the page! Why did I choose to study geology in the first place? Well, I couldn’t really choose between studying physics/chemistry/mathematics, or spending the rest of my life travelling. I figured a career in geosciences could combine all of my interests. So far, I have not been disappointed and I am looking forward to the challenges and exotic places yet to come.


marieMarie Etchebes

I obtained my PhD in geophysics at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, and followed by a post-doc at Earth Observatory of Singapore. As part of my PhD and postdoc, I have been mainly involved in understanding the geometry, kinematics and mechanics of fault systems. My main goal has been to understand how earthquake ruptures repeat through time and space along a given fault or within a fault system. To achieve this goal, I have studied quantitatively the response of geomorphic landscapes to earthquake-induced deformation. Since March 2014, I am a structural geologist at Schlumberger Stavanger Research center (Norway). My main topics cover user-guided automated technologies for fault extraction and characterization from seismic surveys; for realistic geometric and kinematic 3D fault models building;  for structural restoration and paleo-stress analysis, for geomechanical forward modeling And analysis/integration of digital outcrop analogues.


rolandRoland Neofitu

I am a M.Sc. student at LMU Munich. My main background lies in tectonics and structural geology. Most of my work involves the tectonics and rift propagation of the southern segments of the East African Rift.  I do this by fault mapping from DEM and satellite data, as well as by studying uplift maps. I am a recent addition to the TS team, so I hope to be able to make an active contribution to the group soon. My favorite moment as a geologist was seeing the Carboneras fault for the first time at Sopalmo, Spain. I became a geologist because of the field work that can be done at amazing places. I hope to be able to visit the East African Rift as well soon.

Soft Sediment Structures: Slumps and Flames

Soft Sediment Structures: Slumps and Flames

Today’s topic in Features of the Field is the well-known soft-sediment deformation; one of the most common phenomena which develop during, or shortly after deposition. The sediments; for this reason, need to be “liquid-like” or unsolidified for the deformation to occur. The most common places for soft-sediment deformations to form are deep water basins with turbidity currents, rivers, deltas, and shallow-marine areas with storm impacted conditions. Because these environments have high deposition rates, the sediments are allowed to be packed loosely.

Types of soft-sediment deformation structures;

Slumps; they generally occur in sandy shales and mudstones, but may also be present in limestones, sandstones, and evaporates. Thickness of slumps varies between 90 cm and 130 cm; their shapes can clearly be seen to be folds (Figure 1). Axes of these folds are horizontal or nearly horizontal (recumbent). They are a result of the displacement and movement of unconsolidated sediments in areas with steep slopes and fast sedimentation rates. Slump structures are related to tectonic activity.

Flame structures; they are mainly formed in sands, muds, and marls. The structures range from 5 to 30 cm in size (Figure 2) and are developed by mudstones which are injected into overlying sandstones. This injection is the result of large differences in dynamic viscosity between sediment layers. This makes fine-grained sediments behave as diapiric intrusions.

Soft-sediment deformation structures related to seismically induced liquefaction or fluidization are named as Seismites. Some researchers have been working on Seismites to reveal seismic history of an area.

In the field, some may define soft sediment structures as folds or something else by mistake. We should pay attention to the layers above and below these structures in order to avoid this mistake. This is because soft-sediment deformation structures are confined by non-deformed layers of the same formation.

Have fun..!


Figure 2. Developing of Soft Sediment Structures

Figure 2. Developing of Soft Sediment Structures

Solid Earth journal: the possibilities of open access publishing

Solid Earth journal: the possibilities of open access publishing

Fabrizio Storti

The third blog for TS is an invited guest blog by Fabrizio Storti, the chief executive editor of the EGU journal Solid Earth. Solid Earth publishes open access manuscripts on the composition, structure, and dynamics of the Earth from the surface to the deep interior. It is the journal for our community and we encourage everyone to see if they can contribute a manuscript and/or participate in the open review process. This blog is also posted by other divisions working on solid earth themes.


Open access publishing in Solid Earth


The importance of publishing open access is increasing every year in Scientific Institutions worldwide and is becoming mandatory in several research funding
programmes. Many funding institutions, including ERC, are financially supporting publishing in open access journals. EGU and Copernicus launched open access publishing in 2001, well before other publishers, and this means that we have accumulated a lot of experience with making articles available open access. But not only our journals are open access, we also have a fully open, interactive review system.

Without entering into details, which are available in the EGU portal (http://www.egu.eu/publications/open-access-journals/), the major diagnostic features are the following:

–       As soon as a manuscript is submitted, it undergoes a preliminary assessment by the relevant Executive Editor and, if found suitable for possible publication, a Topical Editor is assigned to immediately start the review process. At this stage the manuscript receives a DOI and can be cited as published in the Discussion version of the journal (the non-peer review journal).

–       The review process is open, so reviewers upload their reports in the public domain, as well as authors do with their rebuttal letters. Everybody can download manuscripts under review and upload comments, which will help authors improve their manuscripts.

Solid Earth (SE: http://www.solid-earth.net/) is the EGU open access journal in the broad area of Earth system sciences: http://www.solid-earth.net/about/aims_and_scope.html. The journal is organized into six topical clusters (http://www.solid-earth.net/), each one handled by an Executive Editor. Different types of manuscripts can be submitted: http://www.solid-earth.net/about/manuscript_types.html, including special issues, pending approval of proposals by Executive Editors.

EGU is a bottom-up union that relies on the fundamental contributions by members to organize events, first of all the Annual General Assembly.

The same approach has allowed several EGU journals to become leaders in their fields. Solid Earth is still young and, as such, it has a great potential of growing up to get established as one of the best journals in Earth system sciences. With your contribution, the journal impact factor, higher than 2.0, can significantly increase and start a virtuous loop to attract more and more good papers.

Please take few minutes of your time to browse the journal homepage (http://www.solid-earth.net/), sign in to get alerts and enjoy published papers, and think about submitting a manuscript. We are all volunteers in EGU and by supporting the self-managed, non-profit Solid Earth journal, all together we can make it one of the reference journals in Earth system sciences.

Looking forward to handle your manuscripts!

Best regards,

SE Editorial Team.

Minds over Methods: Numerical modelling

Minds over Methods: Numerical modelling

Minds over Methods is the second category of our T&S blog and is created to give you some more insights in the various research methods used in tectonics and structural geology. As a numerical modeller you might wonder sometimes how analogue modellers scale their models to nature, or maybe you would like to know more about how people use the Earth’s magnetic field to study tectonic processes. For each blog we invite an early career scientist to share the advantages and challenges of their method with us. In this way we are able to learn about methods we are not familiar with, which topics you can study using these various methods and maybe even get inspired to use a multi-disciplinary approach! This first edition of Minds over Methods deals with Numerical Modelling and is written by Anouk Beniest, PhD-student at IFP Energies Nouvelles (Paris).


Approaching the non-measurable

Anouk Beniest, PhD-student at IFP Energies Nouvelles, Paris

‘So, what is it that you’re investigating?’ It’s a question every scientist receives from time to time. In geosciences, the art of answering this question is to explain the rather abstract projects in normal words to the interested layman. Try this for example: “A long time ago, the South American and African Plate were stuck together, forming a massive continent, called Pangea, for many millions of years. Due to all sorts of forces, the two plates started to break apart and became separated. During this separation hot material from deep down in the earth rose to the surface increasing the temperature of the margins of the two continents. How exactly did this temperature change over time, since the separation until present-day? How did this change affect the basins along continental margins?”

These are legitimate questions and not easy to answer, since we cannot measure temperature at great depth or back in time. In this first post on numerical methods, we will be balancing between geology and geophysics, highlighting the possibilities and limits of numerical modelling.

The migration of ‘temperature’ through the lithosphere is a process that takes time and depends heavily on the scale you look at. Surface processes that affect the surface temperature can be measured and monitored, yielding interesting results on the present-day state and variations of the temperature. The influence of mantle convection cycles and radiogenic heat production are already more difficult to identify, take much more time to evolve and might not even affect the surface processes that much. Going back in time to identify a past thermal state of the earth seems almost impossible. This is where numerical models can be of use, to improve, for example, our understanding on the long-term behaviour of ‘temperature’.

Temperature is a parameter that affects and is affected by a variety of processes. When enough physical principles are combined in a numerical model, we can simulate how the temperature has evolved over time. All kinds of different parameters need to be identified and, most importantly, they need to make sense and apply to the observation or process you try to reproduce. Some of these parameters can be identified in the lab, like the density or conductivity of different rock types. Others need to be extracted from physical or geological observations or even estimated.

Once the parameters have been set, the model will calculate the thermal evolution. It is not an easy task to decide if a simulation approaches the ‘real’ history and if we can answer the questions posed above. We should always realise that thermal model results at best approach the real world. We can learn about the different ways temperature changes over time, but we should always be on the hunt to find measurements and observations that confirm what we have learned from the simulations.



Features from the field: Slickenside Lineations

Features from the field: Slickenside Lineations

In this Tectonics and Structural Geology blog we will use different categories for our blog-posts. The first category we present to you is all about field geology: “Features from the field”. One of our bloggers, Mehmet Köküm, spends a lot of time in the field for his PhD and will share some of the features used in structural geology with us. This edition of ‘Features of the Field’ will be all about Slickenside lineations!

Paleostress Studies Reveals Deformation Mechanism 

It is assumed that faults are formed as pure strike slip or dip-slip faults. However, we widely come across oblique faults. If they are formed as pure strike-slip or dip-slip faults, then something should have affected its behavior. This can be done by many things, such as a change in tectonic regime or a block rotation. Many areas in the world have experienced several different tectonic regimes in the past. Faults should have been affected by these tectonic regime changes. A normal fault could have worked as a reverse fault in the past or vice versa. In other words, if we may figure out a faults’ past behavior, we could figure out the evolution of tectonic regimes in the related area.

Within this blog I will explain how structural geologists determine the behavior of a fault in the past and present. The principle purpose of my PhD project is to determine the deformation mechanism and the relation between past and present behavior of the East Anatolian Fault (EAF) by using paleostress analysis. The EAFZ is one of the most active intracontinental transform faults in Turkey.

During a field trip as part of my PhD project, one of the goals was to find slickenside lineation on a slip surface along the East Anatolian Fault in Turkey. Slicken-lines are series of parallel lines on a fault plane and represent the direction of relative displacement between the two blocks separated by the fault. Hence, direction and sense of slip can be obtained from slickenside lineation on a fault plane. Knowing this for numerous faults helps us to understand previous and present behavior of faults.

The aim of using slickenside lineation is to calculate the paleostress tensor. Paleostress tensors provide a dynamic interpretation (in terms of stress orientation) to the kinematic (movement) analysis of brittle features. Paleostress tensor analysis enables identification of the stress history of a studied area.

There are two principal types of slicken-lines: those that form by mechanical abrasion (striations) and those formed by mineral fibrous growth (mineral fiber lineations). The former can occur either in relief or groove on a fault surface. It can be a small quartz grain or larger grain causing striations on a fault surface. The latter developed due to crystal growth fibres or other grains being crystallized during fault slip. Most are made of calcite, quartz, gypsum etc. These two types of lineations are reliable criteria for calculating the paleostress tensor and common in low-grade metamorphic rocks and sedimentary rocks.

In this work, the key issue is to find and collect as much fault slip data sets as possible. In that sense, it is important to know what kind of rocks may include slicken-lines. Striations or slicken-lines are particularly found on limestone, sandstone and claystone. Moreover, mineral fiber lineations are seen most in limestone. Therefore, limestone should be investigated in more detail to collect fault slip data.

Paleostress studies require great care, effort, and attention in the field, but its outcomes for the behavior of the faults are important, since they reveal the tectonic evolution of the area. For this reason, many structural geologist touch on palestress studies in their work in order to relate observed structures to the causative tectonic forces.

New blog!

New blog!

We are very happy to announce that from now on, also the Tectonics and Structural Geology division will have its own EGU blog! With this blog we would like to provide a platform for exchanging thoughts and ideas within the global tectonics and structural geology community.

Here, we will write, on a monthly or fortnightly basis, about topics or techniques addressed by the many research groups that are working in fields like rheology, rock mechanics, geophysics, metamorphism, sedimentology, tectonics and neotectonics. With this we would like to provide a better link between the various different approaches and provide a more powerful understanding of deformation processes and systems. We will also share news, events, activities and job opportunities useful for the TS community.

Enjoy reading our blog posts here, and feel free to contact us any time if you want to join the team or contribute with a guest blog!

Best wishes,

The Tectonics and Structural Geology Team


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