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Hergert T.,Karlsruhe Institute of Technology | Heidbach O.,German Research Center for Geosciences
Nature Geoscience | Year: 2010

The slip rate along a fault controls the accumulation of strain that is eventually released during an earthquake. Along a 150-km-long stretch of the North Anatolian fault near Istanbul, Turkey, strain has been building up 2 since the last large earthquake in 1766. Estimates of the geodetic slip rates along the main Marmara fault vary widely, ranging between 17 and 27.9 mm yr-1 (refs 2-5). This slip rate is difficult to quantify because of the lack of satellite observations offshore and the complexity of the submarine fault system that includes the main Marmara fault2,6,7. Here we estimate the right-lateral slip rate on the main Marmara fault using a three-dimensional geomechanical model that incorporates these structural complexities. From our simulations we infer slip rates between 12.8 and 17.8 mm yr-1; our estimates are smaller and more variable than previous results, primarily because of slip partitioning and internal deformation. Our model results reconcile geodetic observations and geological fault slip rates8-10, which had been considered conflicting previously. We suggest that the inferred variability in slip rate on the main Marmara fault favours segmented release of seismic moment during consecutive events over the failure of the whole seismic gap in one large earthquake. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Jahn S.,German Research Center for Geosciences
Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations of Crystallography | Year: 2010

A combination of electronic structure calculations, classical molecular dynamics simulations and metadynamics is proposed to study the phase behavior of complex crystals. While the former provide accurate energetics for thermodynamic properties, molecular dynamics and metadynamics simulations may reveal new metastable phases and provide insight into mechanisms and kinetics of the respective structural transformations. Here, different simulation methods are used to investigate the polymorphism of MgSiO3 pyroxenes (enstatites) up to high pressures and temperatures. A number of displacive phase transitions are observed within the three basic structure types clino-, ortho- and proto-enstatite using classical molecular dynamics simulations. Transitions between these types require a change of stacking order, which is modeled using a combination of molecular dynamics and metadynamics. © 2010 International Union of Crystallography Printed in Singapore - all rights reserved.

Kroner U.,TU Bergakademie Freiberg | Romer R.L.,German Research Center for Geosciences
Gondwana Research | Year: 2013

The Variscides of Europe and N-Africa are the result of the convergence of the plates of Gondwana and Laurussia in the Paleozoic. This orogen is characterized by the juxtaposition of blocks of continental crust that are little affected by the Variscan orogeny. These low strain domains principally consist of Neoproterozoic/Cambrian Cadomian basement overlain by volcano-sedimentary successions of an extended peri-Gondwana shelf. These Cadomian blocks are separated by high strain zones containing the record of subduction-related processes. Traditionally the high strain zones are interpreted as sutures between one or more postulated lithospheric microplates sandwiched between the two major plates. Paleobio-geographic constraints in combination with geochemical and isotopic fingerprints of the protoliths, however, imply that the Variscides are the result of the exclusive interaction of the two plates of Gondwana and Laurussia. Here we explain the Variscan orogen in a two plate scenario, reasoning that the complexity of the Variscan orogen (multitude of high-grade metamorphic belts, compositional diversity of coeval magmatism, and arrangement of foreland basins) is the result of the distribution of crustal domains of contrasting rheological properties. Post-Cadomian rifting along the Cadomian-Avalonian belt, which culminated in the opening of the Rheic Ocean, resulted in vast coeval intracontinental extension and the formation of extended peri-Gondwana shelf areas, namely the Avalonian shelf and the Armorican Spur to the north and south of the evolving Rheic Ocean, respectively. Both shelf areas affected by heterogeneous extension consist of stable continental blocks separated by zones of thinner continental crust. During Variscan collisional tectonics the continental blocks behave as unsubductable crust, whereas the thinner continental crust was subductable and came to constitute the high strain domains of the orogen. The variable interplay between both crustal types in space and time is seen as the principal cause for the observed sequence of orogenic processes. The first collisional contact along the convergent Gondwana-Laurussia plate boundary occurred between Brittany and the Midland microcraton causing the early Devonian deformation along the Anglo-Brabant Fold Belt. This process is coeval with the initiation of continental subduction along the Armorican Spur of the Gondwana plate and the formation of back arc and transtensional basins to both sides of the Armorican Spur (e.g., Lizard, Rheno-Hercynian, Careón, Sleza) on the Laurussia plate. As further subduction along this collision zone is blocked, the plate boundary zone between the Gondwana and Laurentia plates is reorganized, leading to a flip of the subduction polarity and a subduction zone jump outboard of the already accreted blocks. The following Devonian-Early Carboniferous subduction accretion process is responsible for the juxtaposition of additional Cadomian blocks against Laurussia and a second suite of high-pressure rocks. The final collision between Gondwana and Laurussia is marked by an intracontinental subduction event affecting the entire internal zone of the orogen. Subduction stopped at 340. Ma and the following isothermal exhumation of the deeply subducted continental crust is primarily responsible for Late Variscan high-temperature metamorphism and cogenetic voluminous granitic magmatism. During this final transpressional stage the irregular shape of the Variscan orogen was established by the highly oblique motion of the decoupled lithospheric blocks (e.g. Iberia and Saxo-Thuringia). Rapid overfilling of synorogenic marine basins in the foreland and subsequent folding of these deposits along vast external fold and thrust belts finally shaped the Variscides, feigning a relatively simple architecture.In terms of plate tectonics, the model places the opening of the Paleotethys in the Devonian with a rotational axis of the spreading center just east of the Variscan orogen. The movement of Gondwana relative to Laurussia follows small circle paths about this axis from 370 to 300. Ma. As a consequence of the incomplete closure of the Rheic Ocean after the termination of the Variscan orogeny, Gondwana decoupled from the European Variscides along the dextral Gibraltar Fault Zone. The relative motion between Gondwana and Laurussia after 300. Ma is associated with a shift of the rotational axis to a position close to the Oslo Rift, and is related to the opening of the Neotethys and the evolution of the Central European Extensional Province. The Permian convergence of Gondwana and Laurussia led to the final Permian collisional tectonics along the Mauritanides/Alleghanides. The assembly of the "Wegenerian" Pangea is complete by the end of the Paleozoic. © 2013 International Association for Gondwana Research.

Shearer [2012] finds three differences of the seismicity clustering in southern California compared to self-similar triggering models: (i) a significantly lower b-value for the aftershocks, (ii) a too large aftershock number, and (iii) a too large foreshock-aftershock ratio to be consistent with the Båth law. Based on these observations, the author concluded that the observed seismicity is not in agreement with self-similarity triggering and/or the observed clustering is not primarily caused by earthquake-to-earthquake triggering. However, I show that the observed lower b-value is likely related to incomplete recordings after mainshocks and that the apparently too large aftershock number does not disprove the self-similarity. Thus, only the enhanced foreshock-to-aftershock ratio seems to indicate some discrepancy to self-similar triggering. ©2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Bernard S.,CNRS Institute of Mineralogy, Materials Physics and Cosmochemistry | Horsfield B.,German Research Center for Geosciences
Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences | Year: 2014

Shale gas systems serve as sources, reservoirs, and seals for unconventional natural gas accumulations. These reservoirs bring numerous challenges to geologists and petroleum engineers in reservoir characterization, most notably because of their heterogeneous character due to depositional and diagenetic processes but also because of their constituent rocks' fine-grained nature and small pore size-much smaller than in conventional sandstone and carbonate reservoirs. Significant advances have recently been achieved in unraveling the gaseous hydrocarbon generation and retention processes that occur within these complex systems. In addition, cutting-edge characterization technologies have allowed precise documentation of the spatial variability in chemistry and structure of thermally mature organic-rich shales at the submicrometer scale, revealing the presence of geochemical heterogeneities within overmature gas shale samples and, notably, the presence of nanoporous pyrobitumen. Such research advances will undoubtedly lead to improved performance, producibility, and modeling of such strategic resources at the reservoir scale. © 2014 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

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