Rifts provide a unique window into the geodynamic system of our planet and the processes that shape the surface of the Earth. The CRYSTALS project aims at a thorough understanding of continental rift dynamics and rifted margin formation by means of a comprehensive multi-scale numerical modelling design.

News and Highlights

July 2019: 

     We are happy to welcome postdoc Thilo Wrona to our team who will work with us on applying machine learning techniques to analyse fault evolution in 3D seismic and numerical model data sets.

June 2019:

    Congratulations to Dan who's article on  "Improving subduction interface implementation in dynamic numerical models" has been published in Solid Earth. Click here to download.

May 2019:

     New paper in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems: "Formation of the Iberian-European Convergent Plate Boundary Fault and Its Effect on Intraplate Deformation in Central Europe". Click here to download.

April 2019:

     New paper in Earth and Planetary Science Letters: "From gradual spreading to catastrophic collapse – Reconstruction of the 1888 Ritter Island volcanic sector collapse from high-resolution 3D seismic data". Click here to download.

     In a German radio interview in WDR 5's "Quarks - Wissenschaft und mehr", Sascha discussed what we know about the temperature of Earth's core (Click here to listen, starting at 16 min 30s).

     Successful proposal for HLRN supercomputer resources in the 2019 allocation round. Grant Volume: 7,200,000 CPU hours on HLRN cluster (equivalent to € 187,200).

March 2019:

     Paper published in Nature Communications: "Aborted propagation of the Ethiopian rift caused by linkage with the Kenyan rift." Click here to download.

     We welcome postdoc Dan Sandiford from the University of Tasmania, Australia. Dan will stay with us until October 2019 in the framework of the Gateways project focussing on the impact of continental breakup on ocean circulation. 

February 2019:

     Paper published in GRL: "Breakup without borders: how continents speed up and slow down during rifting." Click here to for more info and downloads.

     Paper published in Global and Planetary Change: "Rift and plate boundary evolution across two supercontinent cycles." Click here to download.

    We welcome Master student Frederic Gehrke who will work with us on the interaction of tectonics with mantle convection using the geodynamic software ASPECT.

CRYSTALS Publications

New light into the recent evolution of the African rift valley

Corti, G., Cioni, R., Franceschini, Z., Sani, F., Scaillet, S., Molin, P., Isola, I., Mazzarini, F., Brune, S., Keir, D., Erbello, A., Muluneh, A., Illsley-Kemp, F., Glerum, A. (2019): Aborted propagation of the Ethiopian rift caused by linkage with the Kenyan rift. Nature Communications 10, 1309, doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09335-2. [Link to Paper]

Rift and plate boundary evolution of the past 1 billion years

Merdith, A. S., Williams, S. E., Brune, S., Collins, A. S., & Müller, R. D. (2019). Rift and plate boundary evolution across two supercontinent cycles. Global and Planetary Change, 173, 1-14, doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2018.11.006 [Link to Paper].

A virtual microscope: Numerically modelling the formation of ductile shear zones

Döhmann, M., Brune, S., Nardini, L., Rybacki, E., Dresen, G. (2019): Strain localization and weakening processes in viscously deforming rocks: numerical modeling based on laboratory torsion experiments. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 124(1), 1120–1137, doi.org/10.1029/2018JB016917. [Link to Paper].

Understanding rift dynamics through global mantle convection modelling

Ulvrova, M. M., Brune, S., & Williams, S. (2019). Breakup without borders: how continents speed up and slow down during rifting. Geophysical Research Letters, 46(3), 1338–1347, doi: 10.1029/2018GL080387 [More Info and Downloads]

Gravity inversion reveals continental crustal structure of the South China Sea

Bai, Y., Dong, D., Brune, S., Wu, S., Wang, Z. (2019). Crustal stretching style variations in the northern margin of the South China Sea. Tectonophysics. 751, 1–12, doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2018.12.012 [Link to Paper].

Sedimentary loading–unloading cycles control deformation in intermontane basins

Ballato, P., Brune, S., and Strecker, M.R., 2019, Sedimentary loading–unloading cycles and faulting in intermontane basins: Insights from numerical modeling and field observations in the NW Argentine Andes: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 506, p. 388–396, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2018.10.043, [Link to Paper].

A global census of rift obliquity since Pangea fragmentation

Brune, S., Williams, S.E., and Müller, R.D., 2018, Oblique rifting: the rule, not the exception: Solid Earth, v. 9, p. 1187–1206, doi:https://doi.org/10.5194/se-9-1187-2018. [More Info and Downloads]

Laboratory experiments and numerical models of strain localisation in ductile shear zones

Nardini, L., Rybacki, E., Döhmann, M.J.E.A., Morales, L.F.G., Brune, S., and Dresen, G., 2018, High-temperature shear zone formation in Carrara marble: The effect of loading conditions: Tectonophysics, [Link to Paper].

Nonlinear viscoplasticity in ASPECT

Glerum, A., Thieulot, C., Fraters, M., Blom, C., and Spakman, W. (2018), Nonlinear viscoplasticity in ASPECT: benchmarking and applications to subduction. Solid Earth, v. 9, p. 267–294 [Link to Paper].

Forces within rifts

Brune, S., (2018), Forces within continental and oceanic rifts: Numerical modeling elucidates the impact of asthenospheric flow on surface stress, Geology, v. 46, p. 191–192, doi: 10.1130/focus022018.1. [Link to Paper

A connection between rifting and climate

Brune, S., Williams, S.E., and Müller, R.D. (2017): Potential links between continental rifting, CO2 degassing and climate change through time, Nature Geoscience, doi: 10.1038/s41561-017-0003-6 [Link to Paper].

Global evolution of dynamic topography

Rubey, M., Brune, S., Heine, C., Davies, D.R., Williams, S.E., and Müller, R.D. (2017): Global patterns in Earth’s dynamic topography since the Jurassic: the role of subducted slabs: Solid Earth, 8, 899- 919, doi: doi.org/10.5194/se-8-899-2017. [Link to Paper]

Rift Linkage Modelling in East Africa

Brune, S., Corti, G., and Ranalli, G. (2017) Controls of inherited lithospheric heterogeneity on rift linkage: Numerical and analogue models of interaction between the Kenyan and Ethiopian rifts across the Turkana depression: Tectonics, p. 2017TC004739, doi: 10.1002/2017TC004739. [More Info, Animations, and Downloads]

Rifted Margin Architecture and Crustal Rheology

Brune, S., Heine, C., Clift, P.D., and Pérez-Gussinyé, M., 2017, Rifted margin architecture and crustal rheology: Reviewing Iberia-Newfoundland, central South Atlantic, and South China sea: Marine and Petroleum Geology, 79, 257–281, doi: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2016.10.018. [More Info, Animations, and Downloads]

Abrupt plate accelerations due to rifting

Brune, S., Williams, S.E., Butterworth, N.P., Müller, R.D. (2016): Abrupt plate accelerations shape rifted continental margins: Nature, 536 (7615), 201–204, doi:10.1038/nature18319. [More Info, Animations, and Downloads]

Numerical Models on Centimetre-Scale

Cyprych, D., Brune, S., Piazolo, S., Quinteros, J. (2016): Strain localization in polycrystalline material with second phase particles: Numerical modeling with application to ice mixtures: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, doi:10.1002/2016GC006471. [Link to Paper]

Review Article

Brune, S. (2016): Rifts and rifted margins: A review of geodynamic processes and natural hazards. Invited Review Paper in Geophysical Monograph, 219 “Plate Boundaries and Natural Hazards”, Duarte and Schellart (Eds.), AGU/Wiley Publishing. [Link to Paper]

Project details

Project type

Helmholtz Young Investigators Group

Time frame

2016 - 2021

Funding agency

Helmholtz Association

Principal investigator

Sascha Brune

Cooperations

Manfred Strecker, Henry Wichura, Simon Riedl (Institut für Erd- und Umweltwissenschaften, Universität Potsdam)

Simon Williams, Dietmar Müller (EarthByte Group, University of Sydney, Australia)

Giacomo Corti (Florence University, Italy) 

Sascha Brune
Nachwuchsgruppenleiter
Dr. Sascha Brune
Geodynamische Modellierung
Albert-Einstein-Straße 42-46
Gebäude A 46, Raum 202
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-1928
Zum Profil
Anne Glerum
Wissenschaftlerin
Dr. Anne Glerum
Geodynamische Modellierung
Albert-Einstein-Straße 42-46
Gebäude A 46, Raum 211
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-28766
Zum Profil
Maximilian Döhmann
Doktorand
M. Sc. Maximilian Döhmann
Geodynamische Modellierung
Albert-Einstein-Straße 42-46
Gebäude A 46, Raum 208
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-28792
Zum Profil
Derek Neuharth
Doktorand
M. Sc. Derek Neuharth
Geodynamische Modellierung
Albert-Einstein-Straße 42-46
Gebäude A 46, Raum 207
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-28884
Zum Profil
Daniel Sandiford
Wissenschaftler
Dr. Daniel Sandiford
Geodynamische Modellierung
Albert-Einstein-Straße 42-46
Gebäude A 46, Raum 212
14473 Potsdam
Zum Profil
Thilo Wrona
Wissenschaftler
Dr. Thilo Wrona
Geodynamische Modellierung
Albert-Einstein-Straße 42-46
Gebäude A 46, Raum 212
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-1959
Zum Profil
Marzieh Baes
Wissenschaftlerin
Dr. Marzieh Baes
Geodynamische Modellierung
Albert-Einstein-Straße 42-46
Gebäude A 46, Raum 209a
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-1935
Zum Profil
Esther Lina Heckenbach
studentische Hilfskraft
Esther Lina Heckenbach
Medien und Kommunikation
Zum Profil
Bachelor-/Master-Student
B. Sc. Frederic Gehrke
Geodynamische Modellierung
Albert-Einstein-Straße 42-46
Gebäude A 46, Raum 208
14473 Potsdam
Zum Profil