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).

Yet, predicting strain localization at different spatial scales in polycrystalline materials (rocks, but also ice, metals), which deform by ductile processes (without loss of continuity), is still a real scientific challenge. >50 years after the scientific revolution that established Plate Tectonics as the main paradigm in Earth Sciences, we are still not able to correctly model the deformation of tectonic plates, which is extremely heterogeneous at all scales (Fig. 1). This hinders our predictive power on:

1. how and why Plate Tectonics started,
2. the dynamics of subduction zones, mid-ocean ridges, and mountain belts,
3. rifting and the architecture of passive margins, with implications for fossil fuel exploitation,
4. faults/earthquake dynamics, which is modified by coupling with ductile deformation at depth,
5. location of ore deposits.