Masterclass Microtectonics

Next class in Mainz:


Registration deadline and deadline for payment of course fee: 28.2.2022

It is possible to participate in only Part I or Part II of these courses, but we recommend joining both since they are complimentary. Both parts are open to students from the University of Mainz; Part II will also attract official University of Mainz Master’s level course credit. We also invite participants external to the University of Mainz to join us in person for the classes, for a fee detailed below.

We would request that external participants are fully vaccinated (including booster vaccinations) against COVID-19, recovered (in last 3 months) or that they present negative PoC test carried out by trained personnel each day. There is a test centre on campus (Johann Joachim-Becher-Weg 30). You can register here. Also, we recognise there is a chance our University regulations will change. In that case we reserve the right to cancel your registration and will refund the course fees in full, but we cannot accept responsibility in that case for cancelled travel arrangements or accommodation.

All participants from abroad will have to accord with the quarantine regulations of Germany.

If you have questions, please send an e-mail to Nina Au.


We offer two linked practical Masterclasses in Microtectonics at the University of Mainz, Germany. These courses should interest students, postdocs and professionals who wish to learn about the deformation of rocks on the microscopic scale.

Part I : Delivered by Prof. Cees Passchier, teaches how deformation mechanisms can be inferred from the microstructures visible in thin sections. It is based on the book “Microtectonics" by Passchier and Trouw (2005), and the superb Microtectonics Collection of 300 selected thin sections that are the source of figures in that book will be examined during the course. The main topics, which are treated through an alternation of lectures and microscopy practicals, are: Principles of microtectonic analysis, overprinting relations, deformation phases and tectonic phases, flow and deformation, intracrystalline deformation, foliations and lineations, shear zones, veins and fringes, porphyroblasts, metamorphic reaction rims.

Part II :  Delivered by Prof. Virginia Toy, which is entitled “Fault Rocks and Fault Mechanisms Revisited” will focus on how fault zone processes can be inferred from their textural record. The class will examine the set of thin sections and samples of fault rocks (mylonites, cataclasites, pseudotachylytes) from the Outer Hebrides Fault Zone (Scotland) that inspired Sibson (1977) to develop his widely-cited classification of fault rocks, and from New Zealand’s Alpine Fault Zone where he next applied this classification. Additionally, a set of exercises will examine microstructural datasets from both Outer Hebrides and Alpine Fault Zone samples acquired using advanced analytical tools, including SEM (EBSD, BSE-imaging), TEM, and synchrotron-CT. These exercises will demonstrate how to quantify the 2D and 3D arrangement and shapes of fault rock grains and particles, their textures, their crystallographic orientations, and the nature of porosity. The implications for fault rheology will be explored.



The course fees are:

Part I or Part II Part I + Part II
Undergraduate and graduate students 350 500
Postdoctoral scholars, university lecturers, industry employees 450 700


It is possible to bring your own thin sections and other microstructural datasets to the courses: we will try to provide advice on their interpretation.

Catering and lodging

We organize drinks and coffee during the course. Accommodation has to be organized by the participants themselves. Unfortunately there are no student dorms or similar available through Uni Mainz. We recommend that participants look for accommodation using Air bnb. It will be cheaper to share accommodation. If you want to share your contact details with other participants in order to arrange this, please advise

Further information

Useful information for foreign participants is available on the Welcome Centre website of the Johannes Gutenberg University.