RWTH Fachgruppe Geowissenschaften und Geographie
Logo Lehr- und Forschungsgebiet Neotektonik und Georisiken Fachgruppe Geologie RWTH Aachen
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Neotectonics and Natural Hazards














The evaluation of natural disasters due to earthquakes is generally perceived as a difficult subject; furthermore, the problem of earthquake prediction has not yet been solved. Tectonic activity has far reaching consequences in human social as well as physical life, considering destructive earthquakes in residential and industrial areas. Therefore, seismic hazard assessment and mitigation is of great concern for the society. The evaluation of tectonically active regions from a geological and paleoseismological point of view contributes to interdisciplinary hazard assessment besides historical and instrumental seismicity studies.

Active tectonics and faults are subject to the specificity of the underlying geological and geophysical phenomena and the complexity of the different interacting variables, which need to be estimated. Our research program comprises the combination of paleoseismologic, neotectonic, geomorphologic, geophysical high-resolution sub-surface data and, additionally, historical and instrumental seismic information. These data sets allow not only to reconstruct the deformation history of an active region but also to test the variability of the conditioning data in model simulations. For this reason, finite element and distinct-element simulation models of specific active tectonic areas in different plate-tectonic settings, such as convergent plate margins or intra-plate regions, need necessarily a comprehensive coverage of evaluated geological and geophysical information. We also study "off-fault" earthquake effects like liquefaction, mass movements and Tsunami deposits.

The South Permian Basin. Lower Rhine graben and the Afro-European convergence zone serve as key regions (model regions from plate boundaries to intra-continental regions). Our research program is directed towards the understanding of the complete tectonic evolution of an active area in relation to the paleoseismicity and neotectonics and also includes modeling of the neotectonic and dynamic evolution of that particular area. The multi-disciplinary approach will be used to deduce potential seismic hazards and to improve established methods of earthquake hazard assessment towards a geological high-resolution assessment strategy.



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