Profil de muriel gerbault

gerbault muriel

Email :

Téléphone / phone: 0561332653

Bureau / office : F154

Institution : IRD

Statut / status: Chercheur

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Site perso / personal website :

• Academic Researcher at IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement)

   - Since 2015: GET, Toulouse, France.

   - 2008-2014: Geoazur, Sophia-Antipolis, France.

   - 2004-2008: Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

   - 2002-2004: LMTG, Toulouse, France.

• 2001-2002: PostDoc fellowship at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdamwith ISES program: thermo-mechanical modeling of continental convergence,

• 1999-2001: Post-Doctoral contract with IGNS (Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences),>SIGHT project, New Zealand:thermomechanical modeling of the Southern Alps.

• 1999: PhD at the Lab. Geophys. Tectonics, University of Montpellier II, France:Numerical models of localised deformation at the lithospheric scale.

I mainly use numerical methods to test and validate geodynamical scenarii that involve the role of elsto-visco-plastic rheologies and produce specific deformational structures. Sometimes, these applications require algorithmic implementation. In general I seek to compare modeled features of deformation to multi-disciplinary data, including structural geology and geophysics, at the scales of thrust nappes and lithospheric convergence. I like to show the importance of a dynamical stress evolution as opposed to simple kinematical concepts.

PAST: I started with applying the theory of non-associated elasto-plasticity to reproduce the progressive localisation of deformation at the crustal and lithospheric scale, with special emphasis on the co-development of periodic buckling and faulting in intrplate domains. I've studied mountain building in the New-Zealand Southern Alps, understanding the link between surface processes, brittle deformation in the upper crust and 2D and 3D lateral flow in the lower crust (Gerbault etal., 2002, 2003). I' also studied lateral flow of orogenic crust in continental orogenies (Gerbault & Willingshoffer, 2003) and along strike  Andean orogenic flow (Gerbault etal., 2005). I looked at the importance of spatially variable strength contrasts in the oceanic and continental lithospheres to explain the variable morphology of the Chilean Andes, where similar kinematic boundaries produce contrasting features such as the  extremely thick Altiplano lithosphere (~19°S) and the flat subduction area (~31.5°S)  (Dorbath et al., 2008, Gerbault et al., 2009,  Marot et al., 2014).

We've also explored periodic variations in stress regime in the overriding plate induced by the folding interaction of a subducting plate with the 660 km depth mantle transition zone (Cerpa et al., 2014,2015).


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I  study modes of exhumation of lower crustal rocks in warm orogens such as in Western Africa (2 Gy, Ganne et al., 2014) and in the Maures Massif (Variscan belt, Gerbault et al., 2017). Compression leads to burrial and heating, triggering partial melting and production of light material, which in turn generates gravitational instabilities in the core of crustal roots and during ongoing convergence. Depending on the relative strength of the surrounding layers and the speed of convergence, light molten crust may either flow upwards and form diapiric domes intruding the upper crust, or flow laterally in opposite direction to convergence, participating in widening/equilibration  of the orogenic domain. Internal heat sources trigger partial melting and exhumation within about 20 Myrs.

One of my projects still focusses on such diapiric exhumation in 3D, in collaboration with the Fluid Mechanics Institute in Toulouse (IMFT).



    I am also interested in the mechanical state of magmatic chambers embedded in the crust. I have worked on showing the role of depth-dependent failure on the internal state of pressure of a magmatic chamber and the associated patterns of elastic and brittle deformation propagating to the surface (shear vs. tensile failure, Gerbault et al., 2012). 3D models iin preparation! I am presently involved in developing quantitative models applied to seismo-volcanic activity in Southern Chile, in collaboration with the Univeristy of Concepcion (UDEC).


 Finally, i am studying  in collaboration with M. Rabinowicz (GET), the thermo-mechanical interaction of a lithosphere and a plume in terms of stress field control on the migration of deep magmas towards the surface, in oceanic  (eg. Yellowstone - Rigo et al., 2015; La Réunion, collab. F. Fontaine, IPGP, Gerbault et al., 2017), and continental contexts (eg. northern Africa, Iranian plateau) ..More publications to come!

Main/Recent publications

- Ganne, J., Gerbault, M., & Block, S. Thermo-mechanical modeling of lower crust exhumation—Constraints from the metamorphic record of the Palaeoproterozoic Eburnean orogeny, West African Craton.Precambrian Research,243, 88-109, 2014.

- Marot, M., Monfret, T., Gerbault, M., Nolet, G., Ranalli, G., & Pardo, M. Flat versus normal subduction zones: a comparison based on 3-D regional traveltime tomography and petrological modelling of central Chile and western Argentina (29°–35° S)."Geophysical Journal International 199.3, 1633-1654, 2014.

- Cerpa, N. G., Araya, R., Gerbault, M., & Hassani, R. (2015). Relationship between slab dip and topography segmentation in an oblique subduction zone: Insights from numerical modeling. Geophysical Research Letters, 42(14), 5786-5795.

- Rigo, A., Adam, C., Grégoire, M., Gerbault, M., Meyer, R., Rabinowicz, M., Fontaine F.J., Bonvalot, S. (2015). Insights for the melt migration, the volcanic activity and the ultrafast lithosphere delamination related to the Yellowstone plume (Western USA). Geophysical Journal International, 203(2), 1274-1301.

- Contreras, M., Tassara, A., Gerbault, M., Araya, R., & Bataille, K. (2016). Interseismic deformation at subduction zones investigated by 2D numerical modeling: case study before the 2010 Maule earthquake. Andean Geology, 43(3), 247-262.

- Gerbault M., Schneider J. Reverso-Peila A., Corsini M., Exhumation of orogenic lower crust during ongoing compression in Maures Massif, France: geological synthesis and thermo-mechanical models, Tectonophysics 2016.

- Gerbault M., Fontaine F., Rabinowicz M., Bystricky M., Elastic flexure above mantle plumes explains the upstream offset of La reunion and Hawaii volcanic Islands. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2017.

Teaching : - thermics, gravimetry, electromagnetism (licence 2, 30 hours) 2011-2013

                   - thermo-mechanical numerical modeling (masters level, 30 hours) 2003-2014

                   - thermomechanics  and planetary tectonics (masters level, 20 hours)  2011-2013

Co-Supervision of 10 Masters training and 4 PhD.

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