Inaugural Lecture - Prof. Marie Violay


Event details

Date 04.10.2022 17:1518:00  
Speaker Prof. Marie Violay
Location Online
Category Inaugural lectures - Honorary Lecture
Event Language English
Date: 4 October 2022
  • 17:15-17:25 Introduction by the Dean
  • 17:25-18:00 Prof. Marie Violay
  • 18:05-18:15 Introduction by the Dean
  • 18:15-18:50 Prof. Brice Lecampion
  • 18:50-18:55 Closure
  • 19:00 Aperitif, Alpine-FoodLab
Place: CM1
Zoom link

“Laboratory simulations of fluid-induced earthquakes (FIE)”

Many faults throughout the Earth’s crust are in a state of critical failure equilibrium. Anthropogenic fluid injections during hydraulic stimulation, reservoir impoundment, injection of waste water or CO2 storage can induce small stress perturbations in the underground and lead to fault reactivation and enhanced seismic activity. These earthquakes result from the interaction between fluid pressure perturbations, in-situ stresses, frictional and rupture processes at micro to macro scales, and the geometric complexity of the fault zone. Methods for risk assessment and forecasting (in terms of time, location and magnitude) of FIEs require a sound physical basis. However, much of the primary parameters controlling FIE dynamics cannot be measured by geophysical methods. Thus, to establish new general constitutive physical FIE laws, the temporal- and spatial-scale dependence of FIEs should first be properly investigated in the laboratory. I will discuss several methodologies developed in our group to capture the mechanical and physical properties of rock materials and faults under crustal conditions and to constrain the associated seismicity. This is accomplished by means of experimental research performed with unique apparatuses coupled with microstructural studies of the micro-scale processes and physical modelling of these processes. This approach can provide fundamental insight into both natural earthquakes and tectonic processes as well as further aid scientists and engineers to better understand, and one day manage, induced seismicity, an increasingly relevant topic in geoengineering both globally and in Switzerland.

About the speaker
Marie Violay completed her PhD at the Geoscience faculty of the Montpellier University in 2011. She then was a research assistant at National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Rome and at ETH Zurich. In 2015 she was appointed Assistant Professor and head of the Laboratory of Experimental Rock Mechanics (LEMR) at EPFL and was awarded one of the seven Energy grant of the SNSF. In 2017, Violay was awarded the ERC Starting Grant in the area of Earth System Science.
The focus of Violay’s research is to better understand the mechanical and physical processes in the first 15 kilometers of the earth’s crust. She brings better understanding on how fluids and rocks interact at these depths, which is crucial for the development of deep geothermal energy production. Understanding earthquake nucleation and propagation are other focuses of her work. She has developed new approaches combining experimental deformation, microstructural studies of the micro-scale processes, and modelling of these processes for the study of earthquakes and geological reservoirs.

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