IRTG Modern Inverse Problems (MIP)
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SSD Seminar Series with Prof. Susanne Buiter

Januar 24 @ 16:00 - 17:00

Prof. Susanne Buiter – Geodynamic Experiments on the Formation of Plate Margins during Continental Break-Up

Tectonics and Geodynamics, RWTH Aachen University


The motions of continental plates over geological times reshape Earth’s surface, forming mountains where plates converge and rifts where they move apart. This destruction and creation of continental margins tends to occur in similar locations over time. In agreement with this concept, most, if not all, present-day rifted continental margins of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans formed on former collision zones. This is probably not surprising, since collision zones contain structural, compositional and thermal inheritances that would favour localisation of rifting. But how does such collisional inheritance impact continental rifted margins?

In this lecture, i will review geodynamic experiments of the formation and evolution of continental plate margins. The experiments use SULEC, a thermo-mechanical finite-element code that solves the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations for slow creeping flows. The code is tailored to modelling large deformation processes at crustal to upper-mantle scales, with a true free surface through the Arbitrary Lagrangian Eulerian technique. The materials in the experiments of this lecture have either a pressure-dependent brittle strength or a dominantly temperature-dependent viscous rheology. I will first discuss common challenges of our numerical experiments and illustrate how our community pragmatically attempts to overcome those. I will then discuss fault interaction processes and the sensitivity of model plate margins to choices of crustal rheology and plate velocities, to finally show how orogenic inheritance plays into margin architecture.



Januar 24
16:00 - 17:00


a link for the Zoom meeting room will be send in the newsletter one week before the seminar starts. If you need any organizational help please contact office@aices.rwth-aachen.de