Archive | March 2016

How a fault zone looks like

alternative: tectonics in the Santa María Basin

Although the fieldschool is mainly focussing on the development of the Geology and Stratigraphy of the intermontane basins in NW Argentina, I had several moments of happiness when we could observe some fault zones. Fault zones are planes along which earthquakes take place to release accumulated stresses. Big earthquakes occur mainly along the plate boundaries which are very big fault zones. But as explained in my first post, also far away from the plate boundaries we can have fault zones because the accumulated stresses due to plate tectonics influence regions on a much greater scales and bring mountains up in the air. The movement of rock masses and mountains is always related to a deformation of them. For example you can take a piece of plain paper and when you push both sides of the paper together you will end up with a deformation of the paper as it will become a convex bridge. But with respect to the table where the paper lays on, the paper will scratch and move along the table surface. This small area is then our fault zone when you apply this example in rocks.

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from the jungle into the desert

After the first three days of the StRATEGy field school 2016 I want to recapitulate my first impressions. In general, we are driving with two busses through NW Argentina starting from Tucumán through several intermontane basins and the Puna plateau to Salta. In between we stop quite often and release the geologists for “rock hunting”. Here, I don’t want to focus that much on the geology because I guess Wera will describe everything in her blog more in detail and much better, as she understands everything much better than me due to her different education. 😉

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fieldwork in the jungle

The reason for the first visit of Argentina is the field-school organized within our StRATEGy program. This field trip is about 10 days only and we thought it would be a good idea to prolong the stay a few more days and get an impression of the area and search for possible sites for our seismographs. Hence, my second PI Gela and me left Germany 4 days earlier and teemed up with the Argentinian Professor Antonio and his student Ahmad to explore the Candelaria range 150km north of Tucumán.

Unfortunately, March is the end of the monsoon season; we got already surprised when we arrived in Tucumán by a typical convective rainstorm which lasted only 10-15 minutes, but enough time to flood all streets and sidewalks. Also the landscape responded to these weather conditions and I want to explain in this post how everything was affected.

I may should add that in this region you have 500-700 mm of precipitation during the year, but it will mainly happen in the summer monsoon. But due to El Niño this year, it is a lot more rainfall this summer. Read More…


Hi all. In this post I want to introduce myself and explain what I am doing the whole day.

I am Martin and I am a PhD-student at the University of Potsdam, Germany. My Project is part of the StRATEGy graduate school with 12 different PhD-projects from a geoscientific background focusing on NW Argentina. My part is the Seismology of the area.

Seismology is the scientific study of earthquakes and the propagation of elastic waves through the Earth or through other planet-like bodies. Wikipedia

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