Internship “Mechanics of swelling clay faults: granular approach”
Plate boundary fault zones exhibit a wide range of dynamic behaviors, from aseismic slip to mega-earthquakes. So far, there is no consensus on a model describing the processes controlling these fault behaviors. A possible answer might lie in the properties of smectite, a swelling clay mineral that form the core of many of the fault zones and that is able to adsorb significant amounts of water in-between nanometric minerals. Despite their potential importance, the thermodynamics of hydration/dehydration reactions in smectite and the connections between these reactions and the fault deformations, is not yet known. These fundamental questions are the heart of the ANR project SMEC of which this internship is part, and which will focus more specifically on the granular modeling part.
A Ph.D. is planned in the continuity of this internship: see the Ph.D. offer.