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Tectonics and Mechanics of the Lithosphere

The primary objective of the IPGP Tectonics team is to pursue fundamental research to push frontiers of our knowledge of the mechanics of the lithosphere, and on the interactions of deep-seated tectonic processes with surface processes. We study and model strain in the lithosphere in a broad range of time scales, from transient deformations associated with the earthquake cycle to the long-term processes that build-up permanent deformation and shape the landscape. We adopt an original method, based on observations spanning a wide range of time and space scales, using multidisciplinary approaches applied to selected examples, which are chosen for their high potential to tackle first-order problems in actively deforming regions. This method allows us to bridge the gap between short-term and long-term processes, to test physical parameters and laws on rapidly evolving tectonic systems, and to address problems of natural hazard assessment.

Two main research themes, with participation of most team members to both themes, cover a large part of our research topics and projects:

  1. Geometry, propagation, dynamics of faulting, from observations to fracture mechanics modeling
  2. Plate coupling on subduction margins, from the seismic cycle to mountain building and landscape evolution