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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 Clavaniev Zone: A recent seismic fault system?

Master Thesis title: The Clavaniev Zone: A recent seismic fault system?
Description:The Clavaniev Zone is located between the Aar and the Tavetsch Massifs and is interpreted as major shear zone. Recent earthquake activity at Oberalp pass indicates seismic strike-slip movements. First field investigations show existence of gneisses, mylonites and brittle fault rocks, such as fault gouges. The idea of the current project is to map the area in detail in terms of the spatial distribution of different fault rocks and associated host rocks (remote sensing but also digital field mapping), which mainly are polymetamorphic gneisses. As a great specialty, some fault gouges display spectacular mirror planes potentially being indicative for near surface seismic slip. These samples can be stabilized and analyzed microscopically in terms of deformation processes.

Given the brittle overprint, the tectonites are often strongly altered, covered by vegetation and prone to gravitational erosion processes such as mass movements. In this light, mapping should also unravel Quaternary deposits and mass movements requiring a multidisciplinary approach, in which natural hazards of exhumed fault zones can be explored.

The current project will be carried out in close collaboration with our two PhD students, Weijia Zhan and Natalia Nevskaya, who are analyzing the mechanical properties of such crustal-scale fault structures.
Advisors:Prof. Marco Herwegh, Prof. Alfons Berger
Specialities:GEOL, PAQS
University: BE

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