Our research focuses on the thermo-mechanical processes that act during rock deformation over the whole range of geological scales, from microscopic up to the size of lithospheric plates, and on the structures that form during this deformation. We apply the concepts of continuum mechanics and use analytical solutions and numerical simulations to study and quantify rock deformation.
A particular focus is on quantifying dynamic instabilities that occur during rock deformation such as folding, necking (boudinage) and spontaneous ductile shear zone formation. We also quantify the transient evolution of temperature, pressure, differential stress and strain through time during mountain building and lithospheric rifting. For the calibration of our quantitative models we use geological and geophysical data such as geologic maps and cross sections, seismic and gravity data, petrological field data or results from laboratory microanalysis. We apply our quantitative methods mainly to the geodynamic evolution of the Alps, in particular to the generation of crustal shear zones and tectonic nappes.