Section 4.7: Earth Surface Process Modelling

Research and Modelling


Our section's work is organised around various projects that involve for the most part a modelling component. They cover a broad range of topics that are focused on the quantitative understanding of Earth surface evolution, the parameterisation of processes and the nature and efficiency of the links with climate, tectonics and life.

Below are some examples of our modelling work. Please click on the graphics to expand and view in larger size.



Arctic-delta simulations

This movie shows an interactive visual analysis of a pair of example Arctic-delta simulations. The upper panel (with the colour bar) shows the top-down view of the deltas’ physical manifestations as one scrolls through time. In this particular instance, the bed elevation (‘η’) and unit discharge (‘qw', which is a measure of the quantity of water flowing through each pixel) are displayed in sequence. The middle panel shows the values displayed in the upper panel along the cross section marked by the yellow semi-circle. The bottom panel shows the averaged values along all similar semi-circles at a range of distances from the inlet, which is situated at the middle-bottom of the upper panel. 

(c) Dr. Ngai Ham Chan 




Marine terraces and sea level

The marine terrace record is rich of information to reconstruct sea level in the past and determine how fast rocks are moving up and down under the same tectonic forces that create earthquakes. With my geologist colleagues at GFZ and elsewhere, we seek to better understand how the combination of sea level variations and rock movement result in marine terraces of different sizes and shapes. We can then use this understanding to look at natural landscapes and reconstruct the local history of rock deformation and sea level variations in the last million years.

(c) Dr. Luca Malatesta 




The impact of lakes on long term evolution

On this example, we ran the exact same initial landscape with the exact same tectonic or lithologic conditions, but the left scenario explicitly takes account of lake dynamics whereas the right one simply redirects the fluxes from the lake bottom to its outlet. Note the significantly different response time and plan-view geometry after 2 millions years.

(c) Dr. Boris Gailleton 




Current Projects