Tectonics & Material Fabrics

Fabrics (or structures) of geo- as well as technical materials strongly affect their physical properties and bear information about the material's history. Fabrics may occur on any scale and, in addition to qualitative investigations, can be most effectively studied by methods which allow quantification in general and of fabric heterogeneity and anisotropy. Such methods can be derived e.g. from fractal geometry. Research as well as teaching in the Tectonics and Material fabrics Section concentrate on these aspects in relation to metamorphic and magmatic rocks or technical crystalline material. General research aim is to allow comparison between fabrics of natural/technical material and the results of simulations based on fabric quantification. This leads to a deeper insight into fabric-forming processes and the way these processes govern material properties.

Principal research targets are: (1) quantification of rock fabrics (development of methods and application to magmatic or deformed metamorphic rocks), (2) micro-fabric-based geothermometry and the nature of grain boundaries and their development during deformation and annealing, (3) development of the stressed continental crust during injection of melt, (4) shallow and deep geothermal energy.

Quantification of rock fabrics

Fabric_Quantification.jpgMainly based on digital images, binary patterns are analyzed with modified or newly developed fractal geometry methods which result in quantification of pattern heterogeneity and anisotropy. Our research is focused on crystal distribution (flow) patterns in syntectonic magmatic rocks, fracture patterns on various scales in rocks as well as in technical material, and on grain-boundary patterns in metamorphic rocks.

Micro-fabric-based geothermometry

quartz-recr.jpgSince micro-fabrics bear important information on the temperature-deformation history of geomaterials which cannot be gained to the full extent by petrologic studies, micro-fabric-based geothermometers represent useful additional tools which lead to special deformation-related thermometers. Investigations are mainly performed on one of the most important rock-forming minerals: quartz.

Development of the stressed continental crust during injection of melt

Corsica_4911.jpgLarge-scale structuring and reorganization of the continental crust is strongly affected by mainly granitoid melt which ascents along crustal-scale thrusts or strike-slip shear zones and crystallizes under stress. Based on fabrics of syntectonic magmatic bodies and in combination with petrologic investigations, conditions and development of the crystallizing melt are studied.


Shallow and deep geothermal energy

Storage of energy is one of the most challenging tasks in the field of sustainable energy supply. Our research is related to heat capacity, heat storage, texture and fabric analyses, e.g. the degree of grain contacts, in geo-materials of different composition. Results are of general interest for basic and applied research and provide a better understanding of the underlying processes that form reservoir characteristics.

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