TS
Tectonics and Structural Geology
Elenora van Rijsingen

Elenora van Rijsingen

Elenora van Rijsingen is a PhD student part of the ITN Marie Curie project ‘CREEP’. Her project is a joint venture between the university of Roma Tre and the university of Montpellier. For her PhD, she uses the analysis of natural data and analogue modelling to better understand the relationship between the roughness of the subduction interface and the nucleation and propagation of megathrust earthquakes.

Mind your head #3: A healthy relationship with your advisor

Mind your head #3: A healthy relationship with your advisor

Mind Your Head is a blog series dedicated towards addressing mental health in the academic environment and highlighting solutions relieving stress in daily academic life.

Besides the professional environment in general, the relationship between early career researchers and their advisors also plays an important role in the degree of stress researchers might experience. This relationship does not only depend on the type of advisor you have, but also on your own personality type. A tough supervisor for one person, might be a very good supervisor for someone else. The success of a healthy relationship therefore lies in the expectations you have for each other, and how you respond if those expectations are not met.

Different types of advisors
There are many different types of advisors, as there are many different types of people. A famous one is the ‘superbusy’ type, but also the ‘over-confident’ (“of course this never-tried method will work!”), or the ‘micro-manager’ (someone who checks every detail of your work), are common types.

The ideal advisor would be a supporting one, who cares about your future career, tries to teach you how to become an independent researcher and encourages you to do your work in a way that works best for you. The opposite would be someone who is interested in their own career and only sees you as someone who will simply take on some of their workload, whilst all the time keeping control on how you do that.

Generally speaking, advisors will fall in between these two extremes, and depending on their own stress levels, they might be easier to work with at some times than at others.

Expectations in both ways
The good news is that you can steer a little as well! So, how to make sure your situation will approach the ‘ideal’ situation, rather than the opposite? The first thing you need is probably a bit of luck; a good fit of characters might already be enough to obtain a healthy relationship.

If you’re not so lucky, then communication becomes key! Take the time to figure out what your advisor expects from you as an early career scientist and to think about what you expect from him or her. Advisors are all different, but students are too! Make sure to tell your advisor what you need in order to do a successful job. For example, does your advisor expect you to write your drafts mainly independent? Or does he or she prefer to work on it together, and check it after each section you’ve written? You both might have different preferences for this and it is important to discuss these and find a compromise.

If necessary, make an appointment once a year to simply discuss the process of decision-making and discuss what the best way of communication is for both of you. For example: some people prefer lengthy emails, some short, and some people you need to catch in person in order to work together. If you make it a habit to figure out what the best mode of communication is, it will definitely speed up any cooperation!

Most conflicts between PhD-students and supervisors arise in the final year of the PhD, since this is the point that the student thinks most independently. – Marie-Laure Parmentier (occasional consultant for Belpaeme Conseil)

When conflicts arise
When expectations are not met, a conflict may arise. An example is the case of the ‘superbusy’ advisor, who never has time to talk, whereas you would prefer to have regular short discussions (once in two weeks for example). This could lead to frustration on the students’ part, and even to giving up on trying to communicate at all.

A contrary situation could be an advisor who checks up on you daily to see how you are doing, probably with all the best intensions, whereas you prefer to work independently, and will only call your advisor when you are stuck. This situation could lead to the feeling of not working hard enough and not meeting expectations, which most likely is not the advisors intension.

Eventually these types of frustration will build up and slow down your work, so it is best to simply avoid it all together by discussing expectations clearly.

 

Albert Mehrabian’s 7-38-55 Rule of Personal Communication. Credit: www.rightattitudes.com

 

When a conflict arises, the most direct and understandable response is an emotional one; frustration, anger or quiet worry eating away at you. People often directly confront the person causing such an emotional response (which is very human!). However, as you probably know, this is not the smartest, nor the most professional way to deal with frustrations.

So, take a step back and calm down first, count to 10, briefly go to the gym, sleep on it, or go to a friendly colleague to shout out all your frustration; anything that works for you. Reflect on the situation, figure out what the main issue is, and then find a quiet moment during which you can discuss the problem in a calm and rational way. This will ensure your message is received and taken seriously.

In a direct conversation, the impact of your message is mainly determined by body language, while the contribution of the actual words is very little (only 7%). If your movements, space occupation, intonation and volume shout out your anger or your sadness, your conversation partner is likely to respond to the emotion, rather than the message, even if you manage to find the right words straight away.

To conclude: even when you have a different opinion than your advisor, when you are able to express your arguments carefully and clearly, it is much more likely that you’ll find a solution which works for both of you. Communication is key in becoming a better scientist, and will benefit you in any type of collaboration during your career!

By Elenora van Rijsingen
Written with help and revisions from Anne Pluymakers

 

Resources

2nd workshop of the Marie Skodowska-Curie ITN project CREEP: Discussion sessions between senior- and early career scientists focused on reducing stress levels in academia.

PhD management training by Marie-Laure Parmentier from Belpaeme Conseil, France. 

Mind your head #2: The importance of time management in academia

Mind your head #2: The importance of time management in academia

Mind Your Head is a blog series dedicated towards addressing mental health in the academic environment and highlighting solutions relieving stress in daily academic life.

An important struggle of people working in academia is how to complete all the different tasks in the limited time available. Even though time management is important for almost any type of career, the degree of freedom in academia and therefore the expected independence make good time management skills a necessity.

In this blog I discuss some highlights of the tips and advice I collected from various senior scientists and time management consultants. I divided them into these five sub-topics, which will hopefully help you in knowing what your goals are and which steps you can take to reach those goals in an efficient way.

Research strategy
The first step is to have a well thought-out research strategy. At the beginning of a PhD or post-doc project, the specific topic and research strategy is defined by you and your advisors or collaborators. It usually includes a pre-determined balance in terms of certain successes (i.e. known research paths that will certainly lead to publications) and innovative research (with some degree of risk).

However, such a pre-determined strategy does not mean that there is no change possible; it simply means that you have something to hold on to. This initial long-term plan is simply a guide through the forest of different research paths, but these strategies are never set in stone. It is important to keep in mind what the final goal of your work is and to periodically evaluate if this goal is still realistic.

Many side-paths will present themselves along the way and it is up to you to decide whether to take them or not. To help you make decisions like that, you have your colleagues and supervisors for discussions and advice, and sometimes you can do a small, quick test to see whether a side-path shows potential or not.

How to sub-divide
Then, there are different sub-projects in any long-term project. These could be different methods you use, like fieldwork, experiments or models, or maybe long-term vs. short term projects. You need to find a way of managing and keeping track of these multiple research lines.

The further along in your career, the more multi-tasking becomes part of the job. Try to find what works best for you: if you feel that it is better to finish one project first, before taking on the next step or method, than definitely do so. Another method is to create specific time blocks (during the week, or month), to which you assign your different tasks. There are numerous time-management apps, as well as old-fashioned paper calendars and notebooks to help you to keep track of things.

Decrease your stress levels by spending some time on thinking about how to efficiently subdivide your work and how to be in control; it doesn’t help if you are overwhelmed because you try to work on four different sub-projects simultaneously. And, especially in research, things often take more time than you would like, and then it is up to you to adjust the plan. Remember Murphy’s law: “ In general, things take longer than expected, because we often underestimate the difficulty of tasks, especially when they are new.”.

 

In order to be productive, make sure you assign the right amount of time to a task. Not too little, but not too much either. For more about Parkinson’s law, check out this article. Picture credit: Elenora van Rijsingen

 

Set priorities – and learn how to say no!
Have you ever heard of the Eisenhower matrix? By making the difference between urgent and important tasks, Eisenhower summarizes how to optimize the different tasks that you have in a job (or in life!). Urgent tasks are the ones that come with an approaching deadline, while important tasks are the ones that are useful for both your professional and personal development. This Eisenhower matrix is a tool that can help you decide which tasks of your to-do lists come first.

The first group consists of tasks that are both important and urgent (like finishing the revision of your article, or preparing a conference talk). These fall into two different categories: tasks that you could not have foreseen, and things you left yourself until the last minute. The first thing to do is to minimize the things in the second category, so your list of important and urgent tasks becomes shorter. Think about how you can manage your time better, which tasks you could have foreseen, so that not all your activities become urgent. This means you keep track of your deadlines!

The second group are the not-urgent, but important things (like reading articles to increase your knowledge or going to the gym in the evening). You might have the tendency to put these activities aside, because you always have more urgent things to do, but don’t forget that these tasks are important for a reason!

Then there are the urgent, but not so important tasks (like booking flights for your upcoming conferences or mandatory bureaucracy for the university). For some people, half their day consists of these tasks, which probably does not make them very happy. If possible, try to find a way to reduce the amount of time you spend on those tasks. Maybe you can delegate them? Also, many favours you do for other people belong in this group. Is there the possibility to say no, when someone asks you to do something? If so, do it, but politely. Maybe you can find another moment which is more convenient for you, or you can suggest someone else who would be more suitable for the job.

And what about the not-urgent and not-important tasks? Well, according to Eisenhower you should just eliminate them. There is no faster way to complete a task than not doing it at all.

The Eisenhower Matrix. Credit: James Clear

 

Work organized
This one seems obvious, but it’s importance is easily underestimated. Do you recognize that feeling when you quickly saved a file somewhere on your computer, but a few weeks later you have no idea where it went?

Organizing things like your computer, your email inbox, your desk, the lab and even your calendar might take some time, but it is definitely worth it. For example, if you organise your calendar in such a way that you can work on a task without (too many) interruptions, you will be much more efficient. Turning off the sound of your phone and your email notifications (and pop-ups) can already be very effective in reducing the amount of distraction during your work.

Also, keeping track of what you have done and which decisions you have made regarding your analyses or your models will be very useful if you do interrupt your task for several days (or months!). This all helps you to keep control, and increase your efficiency – and therefore decrease stress and frustration!

“An interrupted task will be less efficient and take longer than if it would have been carried out continuously”- Carlson’s Law

Do what you like
One of the most important pieces of advice I received was that I should do what I feel like doing in a particular moment. This means that if you feel like reading papers all day and making notes about things relevant for your work, you should do it!

You will be much more productive if you are actually in the mood, rather than pushing yourself to do something, simply because you feel like you should. Even though the degree of freedom in science is quite large, this strategy does not always work. Often there are deadlines and sometimes things simply must be done (i.e. the urgent things). If you make sure your list of Urgent & Important things is short at all times, there is the most opportunity to do such things.

So, to maximize the ‘do-what-you-feel-like-strategy’, it is necessary to think ahead. For example, start thinking about that poster a few weeks in advance, so that you can already create some figures when you have the time… and when you are in the mood!

 

By Elenora van Rijsingen
Written with help and revisions from Anne Pluymakers

 

Resources

2nd workshop of the Marie Skodowska-Curie ITN project CREEP: Discussion sessions between senior- and early career scientists focused on reducing stress levels in academia.

PhD management training by Marie-Laure Parmentier from Belpaeme Conseil, France. 

‘How to be more productive and eliminate time wasting activities by using the Eisenhower Box’, by James Clear

Mind Your Head #1: Let’s talk about mental health in academia

Mind Your Head #1: Let’s talk about mental health in academia

Mind Your Head is a blog series dedicated towards addressing mental health in the academic environment and highlighting solutions relieving stress in daily academic life.

Research has shown that almost 50% of people working in academia suffer from mental health issues (e.g. Winefield et al. 2003; The Graduate Assembly at the University of California Berkeley 2015; Levecque et al. 2017). Factors like job insecurity, limited amount of time and poor management often cause high stress levels and can lead to mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety or emotional exhaustion.

Even though these problems are pervasive in academia, openly discussing these issues is not easy. People are reluctant to come forward about their difficulties for fear of being judged and loosing career chances, while support mechanisms are poorly advertised.

Particularly at risk are those starting out their research careers. Early career scientists find themselves in a very competitive environment, facing high expectations to publish papers. Too often this results in working much harder than is good for anyone. Personally, I feel that a happy researcher produces better results in the end: so why compete instead of collaborating, or doubt instead of discussing? In the end, too much competition doesn’t drive your productivity, but hinders it instead.

Initiatives such as university support systems, time management courses or training in supervision are thus very important, and I call for those to be incorporated more frequently and more visibly in academic environments.

And even though problems like an unsupportive university, or an overstretched supervisor should be solved to improve the situation, we must not forget that we can do a lot ourselves as well. While many studies focus on institutions’ role in addressing mental health issues in academia, I would like to focus more on coping mechanisms for individuals, with special emphasis on early career scientists.

Through this short series of blog posts, I will address several topics that are often related to the high stress levels many of us experience, incorporating some of the advice I gathered from senior scientists and research management advisors.

Note that mental health issues are serious and should always be addressed with the help of professionals. Remember, acknowledging that things are not going well and seeking help is a sign of strength, and never a source of shame! The advice in this blog series should be seen as a complement, not an alternative, to seeking professional help.

So, to kick off this series, what can we do to deal with stressful circumstances and create a more relaxed working atmosphere for ourselves?

Communication is key
In my opinion, one of the most important tools is communication. The social stigma around mental issues in academia (or almost any other sector) is large and creates the tendency for people to keep their problems to themselves (Wynaden et al., 2014). However, communication is one of the key ingredients for solving a whole range of emotional problems, including those related to stress.

An easy example: if you don’t tell your advisors that something is going wrong, they won’t know about it and will not be able to help you fix it. Usually, your professors have thousands of things to do, and might not notice when you are upset, unless you actively tell them.

In addition, communication with your fellow early career scientists (PhDs and post-docs alike!) is important, since you are not the only one struggling. And odd as it sounds, it really does help to know you are not alone. In most cases, your colleagues will understand how you feel in a certain situation and might even give you some advice on how to solve it.

Setting your boundaries
Apart from communication, it is very important to be aware of your own boundaries. If there is no more energy left, there is no more creativity either. So make sure you recharge your batteries on time! Sometimes the best solutions come to you when partaking in sports, while riding the bus, or simply after a good night sleep. If you are aware of your own mental state, it can be easier to find a way to deal with it, seek the help you need, or simply give yourself permission to take off early for one day.

Of course, being an early career scientist will still be hard work; that is part of the job. But there is a difference between hard work and struggling. Getting a PhD degree is an achievement that requires you to work independently on a long-term project, facing many challenges along the way. But it is also an incredible experience during which, first and foremost, you are supposed to have some fun.

The joy that stems from doing research should not be mainly driven by awards and recognition, but because you are creating new things, gaining new knowledge, improving something or trying to understand the world a bit better! If this joy gets lost along the way, then something has to change. One aspect of learning how to become an independent researcher is not talked about enough: how to be in charge of yourself and your project, how to take control of the situation and make the necessary steps that you need to be a happy scientist!

 

By Elenora van Rijsingen
Written with help and revisions of Anne Pluymakers & Olivia Trani

 

References
Levecque, K., Anseel, F., De Beuckelaer, A., Van der Heyden, J., & Gisle, L. (2017). Work organization and mental health problems in PhD students. Research Policy, 46(4), 868–879. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2017.02.008

The Graduate Assembly at the University of California Berkeley. (2015). Graduate student happiness and well-being report 2014. Retrieved from http://ga.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/wellbeingreport_2014.pdf

Winefield, A. H., Gillespie, N., Stough, C., Dua, J., Hapuarachchi, J., & Boyd, C. (2003). Occupational stress in Australian university staff: Results from a national survey. International Journal of Stress Management, 10(1), 51–63. http://doi.org/10.1037/1072-5245.10.1.51

Wynaden, D., McAllister, M., Tohotoa, J., Al Omari, O., Heslop, K., Duggan, R., … Byrne, L. (2014). The silence of mental health issues within university environments: A quantitative study. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 28(5), 339–344. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.apnu.2014.08.003

 

How Rome and its geology are strongly connected

How Rome and its geology are strongly connected

Walking through an ancient and fascinating city like Rome, there are signs of history everywhere. The whole city forms an open-air museum, full of remnants of many different times the city has known, from the Imperial to the Medieval times, the Renaissance, the Fascist period, and finally the present day version of Rome. For historians and archaeologists, unravelling the exact history of the city proves to be a major challenge, since things are only partly preserved or have been renovated or moved to serve a different purpose. This might sound familiar to geologists, since they deal with the same type of problems, just on much larger scales, both spatially and temporally.

Although you might expect to find the keys to the geological history of Rome and its surroundings outside the city, there’s actually a great deal of hints within the city itself. Let’s start with the roads you would walk on, during a visit to Rome. If you’ve ever been to Rome, you might remember the black cobblestones, which form the pavement for many streets in the historical centre of Rome. The Italians call them ‘sanpietrini’, cubic-shaped blocks made from volcanic rocks coming from the surrounding volcanic regions.

 

Volcanic activity

Two of these volcanic regions are the Alban Hills, southeast of Rome, and the Sabatini volcanic complex, northwest of Rome. They are part of a line of volcanic fields along the edge of the Italian peninsula, stretching from Naples, all the way to Tuscany. Eruptions in these areas were mainly explosive and created large volcanic plateaus and craters. One of those plateaus was formed by an eruption of the Alban Hills volcanic field and consists of volcanic tuff stone. Over time, erosion has altered this plateau and created a topography of valleys and hills, including the seven hills that Rome was built on. These hills are still remarkable features in the city today, for example when you climb the stairs to the Capitoline Hill and have a gorgeous view of the Imperial Forum or when standing on the Aventine hill in the south, looking down on Circus Maximus in the valley below you, and seeing the ruins of the imperial palaces on the Palatine hill in front of you.

 

Left: Map showing the regional relief and the two volcanic complexes north and south of Rome. Credit: modified from Funiciello et al., 2003 by Francesca Cifelli. Right: The seven hills of Rome. Credit: theculturetrip.com.

 

The volcanic rocks in the Roman area did not only shape the landscape, they also served (and still do!) as an important water supply to the city. Springs in the areas, but also freshwater lakes formed in the volcanic craters are important sources for the city’s water budget. In fact, last summer Rome was in a state of panic, since severe drought and extremely hot temperatures had a big impact on the water level of volcanic lakes providing water to Rome and city officials were considering rationing drinking water for the Roman citizens.

 

The Apennines

Another important water supply to Rome are the springs in the Apennines, a NW-SE trending mountain chain, also called ‘the backbone of the Italian peninsula’. This mountain chain is the result of a collision between the African and Eurasian plates, which was part of a series of complex collisions and extensions of the Earth’s crust in the Mediterranean region, lasting from roughly 100 million years to 2 million years ago.  During the last 20 million years, the Italian Peninsula rotated counter-clockwise, resulting in the formation of what we now call the Tyrrhenian sea. This period of extension also formed the onset of volcanic activity in the region.

 

Map of the Mediterranean highlighting the main tectonic processes. Credit: Introduction to the Geology of Rome.

 

The rocks in the Apennine mountain range are limestone, deposited in ancient shallow seas as long as 300 million years ago. These rocks became very important to Rome, since they formed major rock reservoirs, which have been used for water supply for many centuries. Many remains of ancient aqueducts carrying water to Rome can still be found nowadays, and some of them are still being used, like the Vergine aqueduct, bringing water to the Trevi fountain. Also the ‘fontanelle,’ little fountains on the streets everywhere in Rome, are part of this water supply system and always provide clear, cool, and drinkable water. And if you’ve ever spend a day in Rome during summer, you know how valuable these fontanelle are!

 

Left: view on the Imperial Forum from the Capitoline Hill. Many of the buildings at the Forum have been built with travertine. Right: remants of the Aqua Claudia, one of Romes many acqueducts bringing water from the surrounding regions to the city. Credit: Elenora van Rijsingen

 

The limestone that ended up in the Apennines often were converted into marble due to the high pressures and temperatures during collision. This marble  can be found everywhere in Rome, since they have been used as building blocks for various structures like the Pantheon and Trajan’s column. Another rock which has been used a lot for Roman buildings is travertine, which forms by the evaporation of river and spring waters. Many temples, aqueducts, amphitheatres, and monuments have been built with travertine, but the most famous one is the Colosseum, which is the largest building in the world constructed mainly of travertine blocks.

Have you ever wondered why part of the outer ring of the Colosseum is missing? It is actually also linked to geology, since the southern part of the Colosseum collapsed during a historical earthquake. The tectonic processes which formed the Apennines still produce irregular movement along all kinds of faults on the Italian Peninsula, generating frequent earthquakes. The reason why only the southern half of the Colosseum collapsed (fortunately!) is because it had been partly built on unconsolidated alluvial deposits. When shaken by an earthquake, these loose sediments amplified the shaking and therefore caused severe damage to the southern part of the amphitheatre.

 

The site effect: amplification of seismic waves due to the properties of the subsurface. Credit: Ciaccio and Cultrera (2014) Terremoto e rischio sismico.


The Tiber
These type of alluvial deposits can also be found at the floodplains of the Tiber, the river which passes through Rome and played an important role in the city’s development. Romans in the imperial times did not build any houses on the floodplains of the Tiber, because they knew the river would flood every once in a while. Instead, they built theatres, temples, and army training facilities which could easily be restored and would not harm the societies too much.

Another reason not to build along these floodplains is the same reason which damaged the Colosseum: the increased risk of earthquake damage due to amplification of the shaking. Unfortunately, nowadays, many areas close to the river are covered with residential areas and even though the risk of flooding has decreased due to the 12 meter high walls surrounding the Tiber today, the risk of increased earthquake damage still exists.

And now I think of it, I am living in one of those areas myself, in Testaccio, a neighbourhood just south of the Aventine hill. I guess this amplification of the shaking due to the alluvial deposits below my feet is the reason why I feel a slight shaking (even when living on the fourth floor!) every time a large truck passes by. Roughly 2000 years ago, Testaccio was not a residential area, but was used as the location for an olive oil warehouse along the Tiber. We even have an ancient garbage dump in our neighbourhood, which is now part of the local landscape and is referred to as ‘Monte Testaccio,’ literally meaning ‘Testaccio mountain’. Romans would pile up discarded amphorae, which were used to store the olive oil, leaving a hill composed of fragments of roughly 53 million amphorae.

 

Left: the Tiber river bounded by its 12 meter high walls, which should prevent the city from future floods. Credit: Elenora van Rijsingen. Right: millions of amphorae fragments piled up in an organized way and together forming the Monte Testaccio. Credit: Flickr.

 

Clearly, in Rome not only geological processes shaped the landscape, but also deposits called human debris played a role. Digging an imaginary hole below your feet anywhere in Rome might reveal more ancient houses, businesses, or roads, all buried during the continuous evolution of the Eternal City. And that’s one of the reasons why, for example, the work on the new metro line here in Rome is taking so long! Every ten meters, they stumble upon a new archaeological site, all revealing new hints about what the city was like hundreds to thousands of years ago.

Cargèse Earthquake Summer School 2017

Cargèse Earthquake Summer School 2017


Earthquakes: nucleation, triggering, rupture, and relationships to aseismic processes – 
2-6 October 2017, Cargèse (Corsica)

A good spot to ponder over earthquake physics… or life! Credits: Elenora van Rijsingen

A summer school in October, isn’t that a bit late? Well, not if it is held in Cargèse, a small town at the coast of Corsica! After a successful first edition in 2014, scientists from all over the world gathered again last week at the beautifully located ‘Institut d’Etudes Scientifique’ in Cargèse, to learn, share, discuss, agree and sometimes disagree about all facets of earthquakes.

The scientific program of the course was built around  several keynote lectures per day, given by well-known scientists in these disciplines like Satoshi Ide, Chris Marone, Bill Elsworth, Gregory Beroza, Shamita Das and many more. In order to give the participants of the course the opportunity to share their own work as well, the keynote lectures were alternated with short talks and poster sessions.

Some free time to discuss in small groups. Credits: Elenora van Rijsingen

Topics like earthquake nucleation, triggering, rupture propagation, rate and state friction laws, induced seismicity and the wide range of ‘slow earthquakes’ were discussed. Due to the various backgrounds of both the participants and the keynote speakers, many different scales and aspects of these processes were addressed: from seismological observations to laboratory earthquakes, and from microfractures to the subduction megathrusts. Bridging the gaps between these different disciplines and scaling from the laboratory scale to the natural cases is a big challenge. Therefore, frequent interaction between the communities helps us to move forward together and better understand the intriguing processes behind earthquakes.

“On Friday evening we had a final discussion session which I enjoyed. All of us participants agreed on several common points like the connection with geological observations, simplifying our earthquake jargon and stimulate diversity by including more disciplines for potential future workshops. Considering the partial disagreements during session discussions and different standpoints from various communities this final agreement was a nice outlook. I hope this was not only because it was Friday evening and everybody was tired from an intense but inspiring week.” – Simon Preuss, PhD student at ETH Zurich

Posters were displayed outside throughout the week. Credits: Elenora van Rijsingen

And what better way to have this interaction in a beautiful and inspiring place like the Corsican coast? Fortunately, many of the participants remembered to bring their swimming gear so that they could go swimming during the long and lazy lunch breaks. Others would continue discussing at the posters or join the optional early afternoon sessions, which varied from software tutorial sessions to informal discussions about earthquake early warning systems and how to implement them. The small scale of the course, combined with the relaxed and informal atmosphere throughout the whole week made it a very successful event, almost like a scientific retreat! And the good news for the people who missed it: word is getting around that there might be a third edition of the course within a few years!

Introducing the people behind the TS division

This week we present the many volunteers behind the activities of the Tectonics and Structural Geology (TS) division. We can also be found on http://www.egu.eu/ts, Facebook and twitter. We are always happy to hear new ideas and feedback! Just drop a message on ts@egu.eu and don’t forget to stop by the division meeting during the General Assembly in April next year.


Susanne Buiter
President

susanneI am a senior researcher and team leader for Geodynamics at the Geological Survey of Norway and am also for 20% at the Centre for Excellence CEED at the University of Oslo. I use a model-based approach to investigate deformation processes on the scale of the upper crust to the upper mantle. These include rifted margins, sedimentary basins, thrust wedges, subduction zones, continental collision, and the entire Wilson Cycle itself.

As president for the TS division since 2013 I have tried to serve our community through a broad and hopefully exciting TS session programme at our General Assembly in Vienna. It has been great fun working closely together with all of you! Apart from geo-spamming your inbox and GA scheduling, my work also involves short courses (e.g. ERC funding or Open Access publishing), the EGU Outreach Committee (e.g., the ECS-medallist networking reception), the TS division Outstanding Early Career Scientists Award committee, tweeting division news and maintaining close ties with our sister organisations, the GSA Structural Geology and Tectonics Division and AGU Tectonophysics section.

All of this is of course only possible with the expertise help of the TS team who have been absolutely wonderful to collaborate with! I will step down at the General Assembly in April 2017 when I will take over as EGU Programme Committee chair, looking forward to that!

Personal webpage: http://www.geodynamics.no/buiter

 

Magdalena Scheck-Wenderoth – Deputy President

leniCurrently I’m a professor for basin analysis at RWTH Aachen University in joint appointment with the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ in Potsdam, where I lead the section basin modelling. This includes studies on the structure and dynamics of sedimentary basins on one hand and the utilization of the subsurface on the other. Therefore I work on data-based 3D lithosphere-scale to reservoir-scale basin models of sediments, crust and lithospheric mantle, coupled transport of heat and fluids in the subsurface, regional 3D gravity modelling, structural and subsidence history and salt dynamics.

As deputy president of TS I try to assist the current president Susanne Buiter where needed. As my research is focused on Geoenergy and Geodynamics of sedimentary basins, I try to make links of TS with the ERE and GD divisions aiming at avoiding overlap and making the best possible programme.

Personal webpage:

http://www.gfz-potsdam.de/en/section/basin-modeling/staff/profil/magdalena-scheck/

 

Marcel FrehnerNews & Media Officer and Webmaster

mfrehnerI am a senior scientist and lecturer (so-called “Oberassistent”) at the ETH Zurich (Switzerland) in the Group for Structural Geology and Tectonics. My main scientific interest is the mechanical investigation of geological and geophysical processes. For this, I developed various numerical modelling codes, but I also integrate my theoretical and numerical work with field and laboratory data. My process-oriented research focuses on topics in structural geology (i.e., deformation of rock units, mostly folding) and rock physics (i.e., mostly seismic properties of porous and/or fractured rocks).

Within the EGU-TS team, I am the News & Media Officer. In fact, the TS Division does not have much direct contact with media representatives, as they would contact the scientists directly. So, my job mainly involves running and feeding the TS homepage, Facebook page, and Twitter account, as well as coordinating external communication among the TS board.

Personal webpage: http://www.marcelfrehner.ch/

 

Francesca CifelliOutstanding Student Poster and PICO award coordinator

picture_cif_cropI am associate professor in structural geology at the Department of Science (Roma TRE University) in Rome, Italy. My research activity mainly focuses on palaeomagnetic studies applied to the reconstruction of the rotational history and structural evolution of curved mountain chains. Among my study areas are the Calabrian Arc, Northern Apennines, Gibraltar Arc, Central Iran, and the Central Anatolian Plateau. In Italy, I am very active in science communication and high-school teachers training.

I am a member of the EGU Committee of Education (CoE) for the organization of the GIFT (Geophysical Informations for Teachers) workshop. Within the TS team, I coordinate together with the TS President the Outstanding Student Poster and PICO (OSPP) Awards.

 

Fabrizio StortiStephan Mueller Medal Committee Chair

storti%20foto%201I have been president of the TS Division from 2009 to 2013, after serving as vice-president since 2005. Over the last four years I chaired the TS Stephan Mueller Medal committee, a role always taken by the past president of the division. From 2013 to 2016 I also chaired the EGU Topical Events Committee. So I spend more than a decade in the EGU and it is now time for me to step down and leave space to new people, with new ideas and a renewed enthusiasm. My experience in EGU is very positive because of the bottom-up philosophy that allowed me to propose ideas, strategies and improvements that contributed in some way to help the Union to constantly grow and offer higher standards, assembly after assembly, and to start playing a role much broader than the organization of congresses. I believe that dedicating some time and energy to contribute improving “our environment” as scientists and mentors is somehow dutiful, very rewarding and instructive, and so I warmly encourage all you to think about volunteering for some kind of support to the activities of the TS Division. This support includes considering the journal Solid Earth for publishing your work, help it to grow and become a well reputed, reference journal for Earth Scientists. You can find more information on publishing in Solid Earth in these two TS blogs (blogs.egu.eu/divisions/ts): Solid Earth journal: the possibilities of open access publishing and Publishing in Solid Earth: interview with Anna Rogowitz

Personal webpage: http://www.next.unipr.it/index.php/en/

 

Anne PluymakersEarly Career Scientists Representative
João DuarteEarly Career Scientists Co-Representative

anne-225x300joao-225x300

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more about Anne and João, and the TS Early Career Scientists team, in the TS blog “Introducing our Early Career Scientist Team”!

 

Andrea ArgnaniProgramme Committee member for Methods and Techniques

andrea_maccalube2_2016-cropI am a Senior Scientist at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the National Research Council in Bologna, Italy. In the last 20 years, I carried out research on the tectonic evolution, kinematic reconstructions and geodynamics of the Mediterranean, with special attention to the central Mediterranean palaeogeography, the flank instability of Mount Etna, and the active tectonics of the Messina Straits, Malta Escarpment and central-southern Adriatic Sea. I started with sandbox modelling of Inversion Tectonics in Ken McClay’s laboratory at Royal Holloway (UK), and have been (much later) in charge of the Analogue Modelling Lab at the University of Parma for a couple of years.

I joined the Tectonic Division panel only recently, last year, and am supervising the Methods and Techniques sessions, with much help from Susanne.

Personal webpage: http://www.ismar.cnr.it/people/argnani-andrea?set_language=en&cl=en

 

Rebecca BellProgramme Committee member for Extensional Tectonic Settings

photo_bellI am a Lecturer in Geology and Geophysics at Imperial College London (UK) and I study tectonic evolution in a variety of settings using next generation controlled-source seismic methods and drilling data. One of my primary research interests involves understanding what factors control the geometry and evolution of continental rifts.

I am a member of the programme committee for Extensional Tectonics, which involves developing an exciting programme of sessions on rift-related topics at the EGU General Assembly.

Personal webpage:

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/rebecca.bell

 

Stéphane BonnetProgramme Committee member for Interplay between Tectonics and Surface Processes

photosbonnetnb-1I am Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Toulouse (France). My research activity focus on landscape evolution and on interactions and feedbacks between tectonic, climatic and surface processes, through a combination of original laboratory-scale modelling of landscape erosion and field studies, in France, Pyrénées, Argentina, Chile, Nepal and New Zealand.

In the TS programme committee I work together with the conveners on sessions related to the interaction of tectonics with surface processes.

Personal webpage: http://www.get.obs-mip.fr/profils/Bonnet_Stephane

 

Rüdiger KillianProgramme Committee member for Brittle Deformation and Fault-related Processes and Ductile Deformation, Metamorphism and Magmatism

ruediger-cropI am a post-doc doing research and teaching in the Department of Environmental Sciences, University Basel in Switzerland. One of my main interests is the study of deformed rocks. Trying to identify the involved processes as well as quantifying their contribution based on the analysis of microstructures isn’t only incredibly exciting but might also help to improve rheological models and laboratory to nature extrapolations.

I am in the TS programme committee since 2014 taking care of “Brittle deformation and Fault-related processes” and “Ductile Deformation, Metamorphism and magmatism” which is a very interesting and instructive task. Despite at the beginning, I have sometimes wished there’d be something between “brittle” and “ductile” or no separation at all, by now I’m pretty fine with this historically grown subdivision and I hope I’ll do my job to everyone’s satisfaction; to those who send in their session proposals and we try to find a suitable place for their ideas as well as to all those people who want to find the best session for their abstract within the “brittle” or “ductile” part of our programme.

 

Olivier LacombeProgramme Committee member for Convergent Tectonic Settings

img_blog-olI am professor of tectonics and structural geology in the Institut des Sciences de la Terre de Paris (ISTeP), Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC), Paris, France. My fields of interest are various, including analysis of micro/meso structures in the field and under the microscope, paleostress reconstructions, fluid-rock-tectonics interactions and tectonic evolution and mechanics of fold-and-thrust belts.

Within the TS team, I am the officer of the programme committee in charge of ‘Convergent tectonic settings’, and I am trying through years to build a complete and attractive set of sessions on the topic, in close relation to the TS division president.

Personal webpage: http://merco220.free.fr

 

Hiroki SoneProgramme Committee member for Earthquake Tectonics and Crustal Deformation

hirokiI am an assistant professor in Geological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA and a visiting researcher at the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ in Potsdam. I work on experimental rock mechanics looking at the long-term ductile deformation of rocks at crustal depths. I apply knowledges gained in the lab to understand stress states around faults, and how they influence earthquake mechanics, and other geomechanical problems related to petroleum/geothermal reservoirs and subsurface waste management.

I have been a programme committee member for the TS team since 2015 helping organize sessions for the subdivision “Earthquake Tectonics & Crustal Deformation”.

Personal webpage: http://gle.wisc.edu/hiroki-sone-ph-d/

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

Blogmasters

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.

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