Newsletter 8 – October 2017


Well, because the last two CREEP Newsletters have been about Creepers on conferences we thought, let’s finish it, let’s make it 3 (following the saying “All good things come in threes”). Of course, we are aware that this will probably not have been the last time Creep ESR’s are going out on conferences. We will start off with a section on that and finish with a section dedicated to courses, outreach activities and internship with creep industrial partner.

Creepers out on conferences pt. 3 

Goldschmidt 2017

Manuel Thieme has been to the Goldschmidt conference in Paris, August 2017, where he presented his poster on stress evolution and associated microstructure during transient creep of olivine – trying to unravel on a sub-crystal scale what happens when you deform olivine rich rocks and why olivine gets harder and harder to deform, the more it is deformed. The Goldschmidt is the biggest international conference on geochemistry and related subjects, but also hosted a session on diffusion, deformation and transport processes in geomaterials. Apart from great advises and suggestions during the poster session and opportunities to learn about the state of the art in diverse geoscientific fields, there were numerous chances to meet fellow scientists. Especially the social events in the evenings helped to strengthen contacts and to meet new people, opening up possible future collaborations.

PGRiP Conference. British Geophysical Association

End of August, Thomas took part to the Postgraduate Research in Progress (PGRiP) meeting of the British Geophysical Association (BGA). The meeting is organized every year by PhD students in the United Kingdom and gives postgraduates in all fields of geophysics the possibility to present their research in a friendly environment. The conference is also an excellent opportunity to meet fellow PhD students of the geophysics network at a similar stage in their career. This year, the meeting was held in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Cargèse Earthquake Summer School 2017 on earthquake physics

A summer school in October, isn’t that a bit late? Well, that was the first thought of Elenora and Simon when they heard about the “Cargèse Earthquake Summer School 2017”. Soon they found out it would be held in a small town on Corsica! Bingo, it’s still warm on Corsica, even in early autumn. Equally exciting was the scope of the workshop which targeted on learning, sharing, discussing, agreeing and sometimes disagreeing about all facets of earthquakes. The scientific program of the course was built around several keynote lectures per day, given by well-known scientists in these disciplines like Satoshi Ide, Chris Marone, Bill Elsworth, Gregory Beroza, Shamita Das and many more. Students had the opportunity to present their work in short talks and poster session (outside in the evenings). Elenora was giving a talk about “The relation between subduction interface roughness and the occurrence of megathrust earthquakes: A global analysis of natural data “ and Simon was presenting his work about “Seismic cycle modeling on evolving transform faults: The question of fault branching” on a poster. Topics like earthquake nucleation, triggering, rupture propagation, rate and state friction laws, induced seismicity and the wide range of ‘slow earthquakes’ were discussed. Due to the various backgrounds of both the participants and the keynote speakers, many different scales and aspects of these processes were addressed: from seismological observations to laboratory earthquakes, and from microfractures to the subduction megathrusts. Bridging the gaps between these different disciplines and scaling from the laboratory scale to the natural cases is a big challenge. Therefore, frequent interaction between the communities helps us to move forward together and better understand the intriguing processes behind earthquakes (parts taken from

Group photo of all course participants. Credits: David Marsan

Posters were displayed outside throughout the week. Credits: Elenora van Rijsingen

Angelo presenting his poster at AG Seismologie 2017

AG Seismologie 2017

Late September (26-28.09.2017), Angelo took part to the annual meeting of AG Seismologie, the working group of FKPE (Forschungskollegiums Physik der Erde, Research Group of Physics of the Earth). This year was held in Bad Breisig, Germany. By the Rhine river, young and senior seismologists could present their ongoing research, spanning from the Earth’s core-to-crust to other planets seismic activity i.e. Moon and Mars. During the conference, Angelo presented its last results on lowermost mantle anisotropy in the Atlantic Ocean (poster). Seismological applications at local scale were also an important part of the meeting such as the recent seismic sequences of Amatrice and Ischia (Italy) for example.


The bi-yearly conference on numerical modeling in Earth sciences was this year held in Putten, the Netherlands. Hosted by the University of Utrecht and co-sponsered by CEED and CIG it is part of the EGU conference series. Many CREEPers took actively part in this conference: Lucan, Simon, Gianluca, Nicolo, and Jana as ESRs and Boris Kaus, Anne Davaille, Neil Ribe, and Andrea Tommasi, the main coordinator of CREEP, participated with posters. Paul Tackley, the supervisor of Jana and Simon, was an invited speaker and gave a talk on global convection models and melting. The conference had five different sessions which covered the wide range from local to global modeling, from Earth-related rheology to technical advances. A number of invited speakers had time to show us their new results as well as give an overview on a topic which suited their research area. During long poster sessions we all could discuss the latest ground-breaking research of each other and receive useful tips from senior scientists. One free afternoon we could try out a new activity like golfing, windsurfing or archery. This was a great time to spend some time with new and old friends and colleagues and to catch up about life outside science. Also, it brought us closer together as a group and we could share our new experiences with the others. Every evening there was something going on as well. One day we had a self-organized wine-tasting and karaoke, the other we had a really great farewell party. In the end the conference was a great opportunity to refresh our minds on ongoing research in numerical modeling in Earth sciences and to get to know the latest state-of-the-art advances in our field.

Creepers at Nethermod

Creepers in courses, outreach activities and internships

Quantitative Geodynamics course

‘From 25 to 29 September Lucan Mameri (ESR9) took part in one week course given by Boris Kaus on ‘Quantitative Geodynamics’ at the University of Mainz, Germany; the course was part of his training in numerical modelling of complex rheologies.  The course was focus on solving non-linear 1D- and 2D-finite difference equations such as heat diffusion and wave propagation. In Lucan words, ‘The course was a great opportunity to consolidate my programming skills and improve my knowledge about the physics behind some important processes on geodynamics’

Outreach activity in Mainz

In early September, Beatriz and Linfeng took part to the Mainzer Wissenschaftsmarkt (the Mainz Science Market) which is an annual festival for Science hold in Mainz. The scientific divulgation, promoted in these events, targets different audiences with different topics and this year was focused on “People and Environment”. Topics spanned from the mutual effect between nature and people to earthquake damages and their impact on society: the actual impossibility to predict them, due to their intrinsic complex phenomenology. The take home message was: the only possible solution comes from us and our ability to realize how vulnerable we are and how much science and engineering can save our life just realizing a better urbanization activity. But this event was targeting also young people, especially children. To catch their attention and enthusiasm, Beatriz, Linfeng and other participants from Mainz University, prepared some experiments to let the people play with different materials and rheologies. Dropping objects in a layered media made by water, honey and oil and observing their movement it is just an example of the experiments organized by the Mainz group. These events remind us how important is our contribution in getting the people closer to science and let them realize how science, environment and people behaviors are intimately close.

Angelo in the “A Journey to the Center of the Earth” experience in a salt mine.

Internship at GMuG (Bad Nauheim, Germany)

In September-October, Angelo moved to the nice town of Bad Nauheim starting its internship at GMuG (Gesellschaft für Material­prüfung und Geophysik mbH). This company is a leader-expertise in acoustic emissions and picoseismicity, mainly in mines, with worldwide monitoring. During this internship, Angelo had the opportunity to work on a completely different scale of seismological application, moving from the very deep mantle (the main topic of its PhD) to the very shallower location of mines in the Earth’s crust. These applications are very important if we just think about the amount of materials that is used in our everyday life which comes from mining. On the other hand, monitoring and understanding seismicity in mines is a crucial part of the process, since people safety and environmental health are part of communities involved in the mining. Despite its shallow seismic application, Angelo also had the opportunity to visit a mine and to go deep down in to the ground (about -700meters). Observing rocks and salt crystals at those depths, experiencing the geothermal gradient and being aware of the amount of rocks above its head, are just examples of the adventurous experience Angelo took part. Angelo really enjoyed working in the nice environment of GMuG and he learnt lots of new things. The acquired knowledge and its ongoing work will probably be also useful for its research in the deep earth as well as in mines.

New CREEPers

Caspar Sinn (ESR 3) started his PhD three months ago at the rock deformation/HPT laboratory in Utrecht. In his project, he studies the rheology of (rock)salt under natural conditions and how plastic deformation mechanisms (i.e. creep) affect its properties. During the first few months, he is preparing a literature review about creep mechanisms in salt and their corresponding models for some of the project related stakeholders. Additionally, Caspar is preparing a conference paper on such mechanisms for the SaltMech IX (in 2018), focusing on a microphysical model to describe the deformation behaviour of fluid inclusions. In the meantime, he also enjoyed a couple of small trips related to his work, for instance, a visit to the Altausee salt mine near Salzburg to place salt samples in uniaxial long-term experiments under natural mine conditions.

Written by Jana, Angelo, Caspar, Simon

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