Structural Geology and Geodynamics of Mountain Belts

| Permanent team | Associated research groups | More information

The primary objective is to understand and quantify the geodynamic processes responsible for mountain building. These include:

  • The formation of tectonic nappes
  • Coupling of rock deformation with fluid flow and metamorphic reactions
  • The formation and exhumation of (U)HP rock
  • Coupling of tectonic and surface processes
  • The control of current and pre-orogenic structures on mountain building 

The applied multi-disciplinary approach includes process-oriented detailed geological mapping, geophysical imaging and data analysis, mathematical modelling, high-performance scientific computing, and laboratory microanalysis.

Permanent team


Prof. Jean-Luc Epard


Jean-Luc Epard is specialized in structural and alpine geology. His research focuses on the geometry and kinematics of the tectonic nappes formed in collision-type mountain ranges such as the Alps and the Himalayas, folding by detachment (kinematics and balancing) and the quantification of deformations at all scales.

Lines of research:

  •     Field and structural geology
  •     Formation of mountain ranges, such as the Alps and the Himalayas
  •     Geological modeling and deformation quantification

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Prof. Stefan Schmalholz

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Stefan and his team are interested in the deformation of rocks at all scales and the structures resulting from this deformation. They aim to better understand the thermo-mechanics of tectonic processes with the concepts of continuum mechanics.

Lines of research:

  • Plate tectonics
  • Structural geology and geodynamics
  • Numerical modeling of rock deformation and resulting structures
  • Thermo-mechanical processes responsible for the deformation of the lithosphere
  • Nappes and folds formation

Research group: Tectonics and Geodynamics


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Prof. György Hetényi


György is interested in the geodynamics of the continental lithosphere: structure, deformation and associated physical processes. His principal tools of investigation are geophysical imaging (seismology, gravimetry) and numerical modelling (themo-mechanical, petrological).

Lines of research:

  • Tectonics and geodynamics
  • Orogenesis
  • Seismology

Research group: OROG3NY

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Prof. Yuri Podladchikov


Lines of research:

  • Development of high-performance geocomputing applications and algorithms
  • Computational geodynamics

Research group: Swiss Geocomputing Centre

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Associated research groups

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