Current Research

Our research is focused on the analysis of small-scale structures (see page with examples) in rocks such as folds, boudins, shear bands, porphyroclasts etc... Our aim is to understand the development of such structures and to use them as "tools" for the reconstruction of large scale tectonic settings. For example, the geometry and rotational component of ductile flow in rocks influences the geometry of small-scale structures, and this geometry can therefore be used as a "kinematic indicator" to reconstruct the geometry of flow in rocks.

Field-oriented projects:

We study a large number of small-scale structures in selected areas with simple, well-controlled deformation - here we obtain samples for microstructural analysis and test results of experiments.

Experimental work:

Unfortunately, it is not possible to grow small-scale structures with the material and under the same conditions as in real rocks; deformation in rocks is extremely slow, and a real-time experiment would last thousands or even millions of years! Also, the high pressure and temperature conditions realized in deforming rocks are difficult to generate in large samples. Therefore, we specialize in two other lines of experiments:

Analogue modelling:
  • Here we try to mimic the development of small-scale structures by deformation of rock-analogue materials at atmospheric pressure and low temperature in small presses under controlled conditions in the laboratory. Although the materials used in these experiments are not rocks, correct "scaling" can give useful results. New experiments include sandbox models to study fault patterns and block rotations in the East African Rift System.
Numerical modelling:
  • Here we try to mimic the development of small scale structures by computer modeling where we simulate the conditions of rock deformation; in the computer, we can speed up the deformation process to "human" scale. We have developed new lithospheric scale models to study rift development and rift-flank uplift. If you are interested in our work, if you can contribute data or wish to participate in any of our projects, please contact us at one of our e-mail addresses.

Ancient aqueducts:

One of the most interesting types of research is interdisciplinary work. We cooperate with archaeologists, historians, meteorologists, dendrochronologists, hydrologists, biologists and engineers to study carbonate deposits in ancient aqueducts. Such deposits are a natural archive with a layering that records ancient climate, water chemistry and biology and the effect of earthquakes. We study the microstructure, trace element chemistry and isotope chemistry of carbonate in Greek and Roman aqueducts in order to solve problems in archaeology and neotectonics, with spin-off data on palaeoclimate and historical engineering. We are expanding this project to study over 1700 Roman aqueducts throughout the Mediterranean.