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Earth Sciences at the University of Fribourg

Bern-Fribourg Master in Earth Sciences


Details of Master Thesis Topic (Module D):
3D Evolution of Cockade Structures in the Grimsel Breccia Fault: An Earthquake proxy

Master Thesis title: 3D Evolution of Cockade Structures in the Grimsel Breccia Fault: An Earthquake proxy
Description:The Grimsel Breccia Fault (GBF) is a crustal-scale hydrothermally as well as seismically active strike-slip fault representing an important research facility to study interplay between brittle deformation and flux of hot fluids. As recent seismic activity suggests, fracturing occurs episodically and so must the resulting fluid flux. Currently, it is weakly understood how this interplay works at the scale from several meters down to the grain scale.

Recently, we explored cockade structures in the GBF (Berger and Herwegh 2019), which can serve as earthquake proxy. In the current study we aim to apply the new findings to explore the seismo-hydrothermal activity of GBF. Mapping at the 10m down to the 3D centimeter scale will be performed by remote sensing (drone imaging, ShapeMetrix3D) and fieldwork yielding in a m-cm scale 3D structural model (MOVE 3D modeling software). The 3D pore structures will be analysed by computer tomography (Human CT and MicroCT) and also integrated into the 3D model. At the micro-scale, thin sections from hand specimen will be quantitatively analyzed (light microscopy, SEM, Cathodoluminescence, Laser ablation ICPMS) to explore the interplay between seismic brittle deformation events, fluid injection (cockade events) and interseismic stages of mineral precipitation. In this way, a paleo-record on the seismic-interseismic events of GBF can be obtained. The project can either be carried out by one student or by a team of two students working in a team.

The MSc study will be framed in the context of SeismoTeCH, a project conducted by the Swiss Geophysical Commission under the lead of swisstopo, the Swiss Seismological Survey and the University of Bern.
Advisors:Prof. Marco Herwegh, Prof. Alfons Berger, Prof. Thomas Pettke
Specialities:ERG, GEOL
University: BE


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University of Fribourg | Dépt. Géosciences ; Ch. du Musée 6 - Pérolles ; CH-1700 Fribourg |
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