Newsletter 4 – October 2016

Assessment day

At the end of our last short course at the FAST in Orsay, there was an Assessment Day where all the ESR Creepers had to give a short (15min) presentation in front of the CREEP supervisors. The aim of this event was to judge the state and progress of our research and give us some advice which direction we should take with our research. In the presentation, each student had to give an overview of their project and state of the art, followed by a broader argumentation about method, data and results achieved in the first year of their PhD. The presentations where followed by questions and discussion with the supervisors, where we had the opportunity to get useful suggestion and criticism about our research development.

Hello and Goodbye

We have two new CREEP members!!

Thomas Loriaux started his PhD at the University of Bristol in early summer and investigates how to estimate the strength of cracks and fractures with seismic methods. Right on time for the last short course we could welcome a second new PhD student: Gabriel Meyer. He works at the University College of London on the creep of granular material under pressure and temperature conditions of the brittle crust. We all are very happy to have you two in our group!

Sadly, on the other hand, we have to say good-bye to three CREEPers: Piercarlo who worked at the University of Utrecht, Danielle Brand (FAST Orsay) and Vivekendra Singh (Geosciences Montpellier) left the ITN. We wish you good luck for your future.

Outreach activity

In September two CREEPers performed another outreach activity!

Simon and Jana decided to showcase an experiment in the focusTerra exhibition (the Geoscience museum of ETH Zurich) during the night of open museums in Zurich on the 3rd of September. Fitting to the theme ‘Super-volcanos’ of the current special exhibition they set up take-home experiments on magma transport in the crust before a volcano erupts. If you would like to know more about dike propagation in gelatine-volcanos check out the outreach activity section.

In October, Gianluca contributed to science divulgation for children from primary and secondary school (9-14 years old). The “Fête de la Science” was hold in Paris at the “Faculté des Sciences d’Orsay”. Gianluca and Arnaud Salvador (a PhD student in FAST and external participant of both Creep Workshop and short courses) showed lab experiments on thermal convection.

Outside the University: Field Work


Fig 1: Field work of Thomas in Lilstock beach, UK.

On September 21st, in the shape of Thomas’ project, a first seismic survey was carried out on the Lilstock beach, UK. The aim of this survey is to characterize this fractured limestone outcrop, using both P- and S-waves. As a result, they expect to recover the measured cracks parameters (geometry, fill material, strength) through modeling and use this survey to calibrate their models for further bigger survey.

Previous and upcoming conferences

Besides the CREEPers going to the short courses and workshops belonging to the CREEP project there are of course many other interesting conferences some CREEPers attend:

In July there was an interdisciplinary workshop in Ascona whose topic was ‘The origin of plate tectonics’. Jana, a CREEP member working at ETH Zurich, presented a poster at this workshop on how to detect LLSVP-like piles in the lowermost mantle and came home with many new ideas, inspired by discussing with well-known researchers from all over the world.

From the 18th to the 20th of July there was the first edition of the short course on “Mineral Physics and Seismology of the Earth’s Mantle”. Angelo attended this course (host in Munster, Germany), where he could get precious information on how to approach at the Earth’s mantle from a cross-disciplinary point of view, combining seismological information with mineral physics information, which are the basic tolls he is using in his ESR project.

During the last week of July (from the 24th to the 29th) there was also the 15th meeting of SEDI (Study of Earth’s Deep Interior), which was held in Nantes France. Angelo, Gianluca and Danielle attended the conference by presenting their results in the poster session, where they also had the opportunity to discuss with scientist coming from all the continents.

In the beginning of  September Giacomo gave an oral presentation at the Italian Geological Society meeting in Napoli about whether grain size sensitive creep can lubricate faults during earthquake propagation.

Manuel attended the 2nd European Mineralogical Conference 2016 in Rimini in September. He contributed with a poster on the ductile deformation of polycrystalline olivine.


image2Fig 2: Elenora and Simon presenting their poster at GEOMOD 2016.

In October there was another conference hosted close to Montpellier, France. ‘GeoMod’ is a conference especially for researchers working on modeling the upper part of the Earth. Analogue or numerical modelers are invited to present their research and to exchange ideas, approaches and compare results. Eleonora and Simon went to present their newest results at this meeting. They both got some positive feedback and also very helpful advices for their future work.

In mid-November, two CREEPers are going to present their work at the Swiss Geoscience Meeting in Geneva and check out the research in the whole field of geoscience in Switzerland.

A two-day workshop in Paris in the beginning of December is also of great interest for several students of CREEP. It is going to show state-of-the-art research on the topic of the ‘Flow in the deep Earth’.

Even a bit further in the future, there is going to be the biggest conference in the geoscience field: The fall meeting organized by the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. Over 20.000 geoscientists and researchers in a closely related field attend this conference every year. This time, also some of the CREEP members are going to join and show the work they have been doing in one year: Giacomo is going to have a talk, Simon and Jana are going to contribute their results to the poster session (see here). They all are very excited to attend this conference , to meet collaborators, listen to talks and get inspired by the poster sessions.

Creepers enjoying Paris

Among very interesting lectures, practicals in the lab (see the 4th short course report) and being busy practicing the presentation for the Assessment Day, we also had some time to spend together, having good French food and wine and jumping in the metro, enjoying the astonishing beauty of Paris.

A barbecue, kindly organized and offered by Gianluca and Danielle in their own flat (see picture), let us to spend some time together on Sunday the 11th of September, before starting the short course lecture the day after. During the barbecue we also got to know each other with some of the short course external participants from Roma 3.


Fig 3: Creepers enjoying a BBQ together in Orsay, France.

 written by Jana, Angelo and Simon


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