Naiara Fernandez


Since 2011: PhD student.

2010:  Master in Geology. University of Barcelona – Autonomous University of Barcelona, (Spain). Thesis: “3D Geometry and Evolution of the Eastern termination of Khorramabad anticline, Zagros, Iran”

2003: Degree in Geological Sciences (Licenciatura). University of the Basque Country (Spain)

2001-2002: School of Earth and Ocean Sciences - Cardiff University (UK). Exchange student.


Since September 2011: Institute of Geosciences. Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (Germany).

January-August 2011: Institute of Geophysics. ETH Zürich (Switzerland).

2006-2010: Group of Dynamics of the Lithosphere. Institute of Earth Sciences ‘Jaume Almera’ – CSIC (Spain)

2004-2006: Internship. Mines Department of the Regional Government of La Rioja (Spain)

April-July 2005: EU Leonardo program placement in a civil engineering company (Italy)


My PhD focuses on the dynamics of thin-skinned fold-and-thrust belts. Part of my work is devoted to study how the onset and evolution of 3D multilayer detachment folding occurs and what controls the physics of this process. Some related interesting questions are: how is the final observable wavelength of folding  selected during deformation? how are the sinuous long length anticlines such as the ones in Zagros formed? I will also try to address the physical controls that favour thrusting over folding in order to understand which rheology is needed for a fold-and-thrust belt such as the Jura to form, instead of a fold-dominated belt (e.g. southern Fars region in Zagros).

Our aim is to be able to decipher the mechanics of those processes so that we can use the regional scale observations (e.g. fold spacing, 3D shape…) of the different structures to better constrain their rheology.

For my research I mainly use 2D visco-elasto-plastic (MILAMIN-VEP) and 3D viscous (LaMEM) finite element codes (running in parallel on high-performance clusters) to perform forward dynamic simulations that fit available geological and geophysical observations.  I also compare analytical solutions with the numerical results.


Related abstracts

N. Fernández, B. Kaus, S. Castelltort. “Dynamics of fold belts: insights from 3D numerical models of multilayer detachment folding” Abstract for poster presentation. 12th International Workshop on Modeling of Mantle Convection and Lithospheric Dynamics, Doellnsee, Germany. August 2011.

Before starting my PhD, I worked for several years in the construction of 3D structural static models. This was done integrating field and remote sensing data with balanced cross sections in order to provide a sound geometrical interpretation of some complex structures in the Zagros and Mexico. I was also extensively using GIS applications and self-tailored extensions to automatically process field collected and/or digitized structural data.