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Section 4.1: Lithosphere Dynamics

Topics of section 4.1

Aiming at a quantitative understanding of deformation processes in plate boundary systems our research attempts to integrate observation from single earthquakes to deformation on the geological time scale. In doing so, we integrate the entire series of methodologies that observe deformation at plate boundaries across various time scales and complement this research by laboratory-based simulation techniques. We organize our work in the following two topical fields:

Observing Plate Boundary Processes: from Earthquakes to Long Term Deformation
For observation of deformation in plate boundary systems, we here combine neotectonics, seismotectonic observation, paleoseismology and tectonic geomorphology with monitoring of active deformation with various instrumental techniques; we perform geodynamic analysis, structural modeling and 2D/3D visualization, and, last, but not least, analyze the rock microstructure of plate boundary faults using fabric analysis and thermobarometry. The bulk of our research makes use of the various observatories dedicated to the analysis of active processes at various geodynamic systems (Chile, North Anatolian Fault, Helenic Subduction Zone, Tien Shan), representing the three types of plate boundary systems.

Simulating Plate Boundary Processes and Deformation
Complementing field observation, we employ analogue simulation of deformation, earthquake processes, mass flux, land sliding and impact processes. We combine this approach with numerical analysis and inversion of observed deformation data and use various simulation strategies to study deformation processes and structural evolution of plate boundary systems. Our ultimate goal is to contribute to the development of integrated process models of plate boundary deformation.

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