Scaled Experimental Modeling

Scaled experimental model is a powerful tool to better understand the geometry and kinematics of natural geologic structures. These physical analog models also allow modelers to explore how different variables (e.g., strength of rocks, strain rate, deformation direction, etc.) affect structural patterns that are present in nature.

My current modeling research include simulation of salt structures and oblique shortening deformation. In these models, I use various modeling materials such as dry sand/wet clay and silicone polymer to simulate non-evaporitic rocks and salt rocks, respectively. My research goal is to better understand the deformation behavior of salt deposits and how it affects the formation of salt structures.

Photograph of top surface of experimental model after extensional deformation was selected as the cover image of the AAPG Bulletin, November 2017 edition. See article by Withjack et al. (2017) for more information.

Photograph of top surface of experimental model after extensional deformation.

Cross sectional view of a model simulating salt-related deformation.

References mentioned:
Martha Oliver Withjack, Alissa A. Henza, Roy W. Schlische, 2017. Three-dimensional fault geometries and interactions within experimental models of multiphase extension. AAPG Bulletin ; 101 (11): 1767–1789. doi: