Middle crust challenge

The conference I mentioned earlier went pretty well. It was a small one, just for PhD students at our department but also a great opportunity to meet some numerical modellers from our centre and hear their perspective on my project.

The field study I work on is about the rock deformation in the Earth’s middle crust. Middle crust is an important rheological layer which has been quite challenging to describe numerically. While we have good approximations on the rock strength in the upper and lower crust, there are no generally accepted models for the middle crust. It is mainly due to the very complicated interaction between mechanical and chemical processes at these depths which results in a fluctuating strength of the rock.

However, I think  it is possible to identify and to a certain degree quantify the processes in middle crust using data from field studies and experiments. The question is if we have numerical tools, powerful enough to model them. And it actually looks quite promising. At this very moment my genious housemate  and colleague (let’s call him Benat)  is working on an advanced numerical code which could allow to solve this. Let’s see see what we can do.

Check out my mindblowing talk:

2 Responses to Middle crust challenge

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Liene,
    A very nice talk and slides. You quite rightly address the problem that the strength of rocks is related to the reactivity of their constituent minerals and not to the intrinsic mechanical properties of the mineral in isolation (from fluids and other minerals).

    See you in March.

    • Liene says:


      That is true, we see a lot of evidence that reactions had a huge impact on deformation. Both by altering the hard feldspars to weak mica and by dissolution-precipitation. I just wish we can find a way to quantify it and to produce realistic models.

      Anyway, really look forward to meet you and do some experiments together.

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