2019 European Geosciences Meeting

A tale from the 2019 EGU Meeting in Vienna, authored by Zoe Braden and Luiz Morales

As most of you know, the European Geosciences Union (EGU) meeting is held annually in Vienna. This year the Structural Geology and Tectonics group of ETH Zürich came out in full force with many members presenting talks or posters and participating in PICO sessions. For some it started earlier than usual. Jonas represented the SGT group at the two-day pre-conference workshop about Teaching Structural Geology and Tectonics in the 21st Century, in Wolkersdorf im Weinviertel, near Vienna. Whitney on the other hand, decided to go for a quick jog on Sunday and ended up running the half-marathon, which was part of the 36° Vienna City Marathon 2019. Peter and Zoe participated in the 10 km run on Saturday and survived mostly intact.

For our group, presentations started early on Monday morning, with Whitney presenting numerical modelling results in her poster entitled “Sediment control on subduction plate speeds: insights from 2D dynamic models”, in collaboration with Adam Holt, Thorsten Becker and Carolyn. Later on Monday, Carolyn and Alissa gave brilliant talks about their PhD work, with Carolyn talking about “The rock record of deep sediment underplating: Implications for crustal recycling and delivery of volatiles to the mantle” and Alissa about the “Subduction shear zone morphology and exhumation style: Insights from peak Pressure-Temperature conditions and timing of subduction in the Cycladic Blueschist Unit (Syros, Greece). There was lots of interest in both talks, which led to intense discussion with the audience. To finish the first day, Pamela talked non-stop for 3 hours in front of her poster entitled “Mechanisms of Strain Localization during Dynamic Recrystallization of Olivine”, and received a lot of feedback from different people (unsurprisingly, she was hoarse the following day). On the other side of the poster hall, Jonas’s poster (Shale-related minibasins atop a massive olistostrome in an active accretionary wedge setting: Two-dimensional numerical modeling applied to the Iranian Makran) also received a lot of attention, wrapping up a hectic first day for the SGT group.

After starting the week with such a busy day on Monday, Tuesday was a bit more relaxed for most of us. The exception being Whitney, who gave an invited talk on the “Relationships between olivine LPO and deformation parameters in naturally deformed rocks and implications for mantle seismic anisotropy”, which led to enthusiastic discussions after the session finished.

On Wednesday morning, Luiz convened a PICO session on modern approaches of microstructural and textural analysis, where he also presented his work on the “Interphase misorientation as a tool to study metamorphic and magmatic processes”. Later on, Peter presented part of his PhD work with Whitney in a very nice poster on the “Using forward modeling of common geomorphic processes to reconcile discordance in Quaternary geochronometers: a case study from Late Pleistocene-Holocene alluvial fans” and managed to clog on the aisle between the posters with all the interested poster visitors. Wednesday evening most SGT group members who were in Vienna, including those visiting from Texas, got together at the infamous Schweizerhaus beer garden to debrief on the conference so far and sample some local food and drink.

On Thursday morning, Zoe presented some of her PhD work (Linking timing of deformation across multiple exposures of an orogen-scale shear-zone: the case of the Himalayan Main Central thrust) in a PICO session about using geochronology to determine the rates of geologic processes. Thursday was a packed day for metamorphic petrology and geochronology, with a second session about using metamorphic minerals as time capsules to record geologic events running concurrently. Miguel gave a talk in this session Thursday afternoon titled “Insights into subduction channel exhumation of high-pressure metamorphic rocks by using stable isotopes and solid inclusion barometry”. By Friday, after an intense and exciting week of science, only the strong are still standing at EGU. Luckily Claudio was up to the challenge and presented a poster (Laboratory evidence of thermo-mechanical shear localization) in a busy session about the long-term rheology, heat budget and permeability of rocks. The winter-themed conveners party on Friday evening capped off an overall great week in Vienna for the SGT group! EGU gave us all a chance to connect with our (new to many of us) research neighbours in Europe as well as some familiar faces from abroad. We are already looking forward to next year!

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