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The GeoMod2008 Analogue and Numerical thrust wedge model comparisons

The GeoMod2004 experiments showed that to first order numerical and analogue models obtain a similar evolution with localisation of deformation onto shear zones, and that different numerical techniques (FEM, FDM and DEM) are capable of reproducing structures observed in the analogue sandbox experiments. But the experiments also pointed to variability among models in number of shear zones, their dip angle and spacing, and in the evolution of surface slope for thrust wedges. This formed our motivation to organise new comparison experiments, with the aim to try to understand these differences in a quantitative manner.

The GeoMod2008 experiments focussed on brittle thrust wedges, because critical taper theory provides an analytical background for these setups and many previous studies investigated brittle thrust wedge behaviour with analogue and numerical models. We examined three brittle thrust wedge setups:

The results have been published as two papers in the Journal of Structural Geology:

The original description (of December 2008) of the setup and modelling procedure for the experiments can be downloaded here.

experiment setups

© Susanne Buiter and Guido Schreurs