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

December 2019:

     New paper accepted in JGR Solid Earth: "Numerical Modeling of Mantle Flow Beneath Madagascar to Constrain Upper Mantle Rheology Beneath Continental Regions". Download here.

     Sascha became head of GFZ's section on Geodynamic Modelling. More details here.

November 2019:

     New review article on "Numerical Modeling of Tectonic Processes". Click here to download.

     We welcome Thoralf Dietrich who will work with us during a 3 month master internship on "Analysing stress and magma pathway evolution in geodynamic rift models".

October 2019:

     New article in JGR Solid Earth: "Thermal Evolution of Asymmetric Hyperextended Magma‐Poor Rift Systems: Results From Numerical Modeling and Pyrenean Field Observations". Follow this link.

     New open access article in Frontiers of Earth Sciences: "Deep Carbon Cycling Over the Past 200 Million Years: A Review of Fluxes in Different Tectonic Settings". Click here to download.

     We are happy to welcome Pauline Gayrin from Potsdam University in our group. She just started a 3 month bachelor internship on "Automated analysis of fault statistics from digital elevation data of the Kenya Rift".

     We welcome Esther Heckenbach who gained one of the competitive Geo.X PhD grants earlier this year. She will focus on "The seismic cycle of great earthquakes: Numerical multi-scale modelling of transients and tipping points."  in collaboration with Matthias Rosenau and Onno Oncken (Section 4.1) as well as Ralf Kornhuber (FU Berlin).

Selected 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
Sektionsleiter
Priv. Doz. 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
Thilo Wrona
Wissenschaftler
Thilo Wrona
Geodynamische Modellierung
Albert-Einstein-Straße 42-46
Gebäude A 46, Raum 212
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-1959
Zum Profil
Maximilian Richter
Doktorand
M. Sc. Maximilian Richter
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
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
Doktorandin
Esther Lina Heckenbach
Geodynamische Modellierung
Albert-Einstein-Straße 42-46
Gebäude A 46, Raum 212
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-1932
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