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Earth Sciences at the University of Fribourg

Bern-Fribourg Master in Earth Sciences

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Details of Master Thesis Topic (Module D):
The Schwarzwasser fault system: Where is it?

Master Thesis title: The Schwarzwasser fault system: Where is it?
Description:The Northalpine Foreland experiences moderate seismic activity, mainly along strike-slip shear zones such as the Fribourg, Solothurn or Burgdorf-Wynigen fault systems. A new relocation technique of earthquake hypocenters (Diehl et al. submitted) display a linear arrangement of earthquakes in the Schwarzwasser area, suggesting the occurrence of a so-called Schwarzwasser fault.

Having this geophysical information in mind, the suggested MSc study will search for surface evidences of such a fault structure. In this light, the Schwarzwasser area will be analysed geomorphologically by means of remote sensing techniques (aerial photographs, DEM, drone images) and potential tectonic lineaments will be mapped. Outcrops along the detected lineaments will be visited and checked for the occurrence of fault rocks or fault related deformation structures in order to verify their tectonic origin as well as to gain information on fault kinematics. In addition, the geology/sedimentology of the Upper Marine Molasse cliffs of the Schwarwasser area will be analysed across valley walls, allowing to discern potential fault-related offsets. Depending on the obtained data and the interest of the MSc student, a 3D model of the fault structure can be postulated by linking surface and subsurface seismic information allowing to establish a Schwarzwasser fault. The recognition and analysis of such faults is of great importance in the light of the Swiss earthquake hazard model particularly when being situated close to cities such as Bern.
Advisors:Prof. Marco Herwegh, Prof. Fritz Schlunegger, Prof. Flavio Anselmetti
Specialities:GEOL, PAQS
University: BE

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