Structural Processes Group

© B. Grasemann

© B. Grasemann

The Structural Processes Group investigates the kinematics and mechanics of structural and tectonic processes in both the brittle and ductile parts of the Earth's crust.
Research focuses on combining field data with physical and mathematical models in order to quantify the deformation history within rocks and to predict possible ongoing stages of deformation.
The following topics are currently being pursued by members of the group, including several Ph.D. students, within the framework of international scientific projects.

3D structural modeling
Models of natural deformation structures, especially fault systems, are being reconstructed using three-dimensional modeling software (e.g. Gocad, Petrel). The data are collected from either field mapping (DGPS, Laserscanning, Ground Penetrating Radar) or laboratory analyses (thinsections, micro-tomography).

Numerical modeling of structures
2D and 3D numerical modeling enhances our understanding of the progressive evolution of deformation structures, especially of fault systems. In ideal cases, the future development of structures can be predicted.

Deformation and exhumation in collision orogens
A combination of structural, petrological and geochronological methods is being used to establish pressure-temperature-time-deformation paths of rocks in collision zones, especially in the Eastern Alps. Further, the interaction of climatically controlled surface processes with deformation at depth is being used to study the evolution of orogens.

Active tectonics - tectonic geomorphology
Active tectonics not only directly controls the geomorphological evolution of the land surface but also influences socio-economic systems. Using a multidisciplinary approach (geology, geophysics, geomorphology, geodesy), the recent and active fault systems in the Vienna Basin are being investigated.

Brittle tectonics, speleology and karst morphology
The natural flow of surface- and groundwaters are being investigated by combining karst morphology, speleological investigations and brittle tectonics. The work focusses on the Calcareous Alps, which are the major source of Vienna's drinking water.