Micro-mechanics of failure planes: key role of sediment texture and composition
My PhD project is part of the European Training Network SLATE, which focuses on the investigation of submarine landslides and associated geohazards. Submarine landslides are gravitational mass movements of marine sediment that can be exceptionally large, with volumes that far exceed those of subaerial landslides. They can damage very expensive subsea infrastructure such as pipelines used for oil and gas recovery or telecommunication cables, and generated tsunamis in the past.
Many studies have shown that basal failure planes of submarine landslides coincide with mechanically weaker layers embedded within the slope stratigraphy. Pore pressure fluctuations along potential weak layers, e.g. embedded volcanic ashes or fossiliferous soils whose particles can break down under loading, can decrease the shear strength of the sediments and hence, undermine slope stability. Although many studies have assessed the influence of sediment composition on the physical properties and shear strength of sediments, the processes occurring prior and during the initial failure are still poorly understood, as these cannot be directly observed or monitored.
In my project, I will focus on quantitatively investigating the key role of sediment texture and fabric on strain localisation, and the temporal and spatial evolution of shear zones on a grain-scaled level. I will conduct 3D numerical shear box experiments, utilising granular simulation techniques (e.g., PFC3D), to investigate the failure processes at the initial stage of submarine landslides. These experiments will be combined with a comprehensive dataset of micro-CT measurements and sedimentological analyses on selected cores from different submarine landslides. From this dataset, information about sediment composition and texture in the vicinity of the basal shear planes will be gathered. This information will directly act as data input for the numerical models. The grain-scaled simulation approach will enable to gain a deeper understanding of the micro-mechanical processes within and along the basal failure planes of submarine slides and therefore, the slide evolution itself.
|since 10/2017||PhD in the European Training Network SLATE at MARUM, University of Bremen, Germany|
|10/2016 - 09/2017||Earth Sciences at the Karl-Franzens University Graz and the Graz University of Technology, Austria|
|11/2016||M.Sc. in Geophysical Hazards at the University College London, UK|
|09/2014 - 02/2015||Erasmus in Geosciences at the University of Florence, Italy|
|08/2014||B.Sc. in Geosciences at the Eberhard Karls University Tuebingen, Germany|
|03/2017 - 05/2017||Research Intern at the CNR IRPI Research Centre Padua, Italy|
|02/2014 - 03/2014||Research Intern at the GFZ Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, Germany|
|04/2018||ECORD Training Course at MARUM, University of Bremen, Germany|
|11/2017||SLATE Course on Scientific Writing at MARUM, University of Bremen, Germany|
|11/2017||SLATE Workshop: Maps for publications - an introduction to GMT at MARUM, University of Bremen, Germany|
|11/2017||SLATE Workshop: Geophysical mapping of submarine landslides at MARUM, University of Bremen, Germany|