The Project

RhEoVOLUTION aims to unravel how the evolution of rock rheology controls strain localization at different scales in the Earth. To do so, we will develop a framework for modeling self-consistently strain localization in rocks deforming by ductile processes. We will design: (1) stochastic descriptions of the evolution of the rheology in time and space and (2) fast (supervised machine-learning) methods to calculate the evolution of its anisotropy, which we will incorporate in geodynamical and ice-flow models.

1. Why does strain localization matter?

Strain localization is the rule rather than the exception in the lithosphere (the plates that compose the external layer of the solid Earth).

2. Why is predicting strain localization still a challenge?

The challenge is that most physico-chemical processes triggering strain localization, such as heterogeneity in the rocks' microstructure, reactions, presence of fluids or melts, are active at the crystal or rock scale

3. The proposed solution

We postulate that the heterogeneity and anisotropy in the mechanical behavior of rocks at all scales are key for producing strain localization.

4. The work plan

We will bridge scales and solve for the effect of heterogeneity and anisotropy of the mechanical behavior of rocks on the onset of strain localization at regional and global scales in Earth through a 4-fold work plan.