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Research Departments

Lithosphere tectonics and mechanics

  Research themes

Geometry, propagation, dynamics of faulting, from observations to fracture mechanics

(Klinger 2010)
Rupture segmentation - Klinger 2010

Earthquake surface ruptures, paleo-earthquake time series, as well as geometry, growth and propagation of active faults have long been major points of interest of our lab. We now explore in more depth the factors that control the geometry and kinematics of fault systems, growing from their initiation to the organization of large scale structures. Important focus is the reciprocal interactions between successive 
earthquakes and the evolution of fault geometry; for example, how dynamic rupture affects 
fault geometry through damage or branching, or how fault geometry may control earthquake
 rupture and the occurrence of earthquake sequences.

Plate coupling on subduction margins, from seismic cycle to mountain building and landscape evolution

West Andean Front (Armijo et al. 2010, 2015)
West Andean Front (Armijo et al. 2010, 2015)

At ocean-continent subduction interfaces, there is a fundamental partitioning between the mechanisms leading to elastic strain accumulation and release during megathrust earthquakes, and processes that lead to deformation of the upper plate generating topographic relief.


We  address this problem by focusing onto a few examples, amongst these:

- The Andean subduction margin.

- The Caribbean
 subduction where megathrust rupture potential is unknown, and active deformation of the upper
plate needs further study.

- The Hellenic subduction and the Aegean,
 where the irruption of the North Anatolian Fault a few million years ago appears to have
 accelerated dramatically rates of plate convergence across the subduction interface.