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Building mountains in the laboratory

Building mountains in the laboratory

Jürgen Adam

I am a structural geologist and my research includes energy geosciences in structurally complex basins and fractured reservoirs, salt tectonics, geomechanics and physical modelling of tectonic processes in the Earth crust.

For the study of brittle rock deformation processes, e.g. fault and fracture systems from crustal- to fracture scales, I develop innovative physical modelling methods and deformation monitoring techniques for their simulation in scaled laboratory experiments in the Analogue  Tectonic Modelling Laboratories at RHUL (ATML@RHUL). These experiments simulate the tectonic evolution of sedimentary basins and fault zones, taking place over millions of years in nature, within days to weeks in the laboratory. Experiments results help to understand the complex non-linear brittle deformation processes of natural rocks and provide input for subsurface exploration of conventional and renewable geoenergy resources and subsurface storage of energy and CO2.

Time-series analogue experiment data of incremental (left) and total deformation (right) during shear zone formation in a contractional tectonic experiment simulating the evolution of a thrust wedge in mountain belts or at convergent subduction margins (from Adam et al., 2005).




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