Geodynamics of Mountain Belts

The primary objective is to understand and quantify the geodynamic processes responsible for mountain building. These include (i) the formation of tectonic nappes, (ii) coupling of rock deformation with fluid flow and metamorphic reactions, (iii) the formation and exhumation of (U)HP rock, (iv) coupling of tectonic and surface processes, and (v) the control of current and pre-orogenic structures on mountain building. The applied multi-disciplinary approach includes process-oriented detailed geological mapping, geophysical imaging and data analysis, mathematical modelling, high-performance scientific computing, and laboratory microanalysis.


 Locating a historical earthquake in the Bhutan Himalaya, from Hetényi etal., 2016. More information on the OROG3NY project can be found at:


Folds superimposition patterns (refolded  folds). Alternation of decimetric beds of sandstones, calcareous sandstones and calcschists, St-Christophe Formation, Sion-Courmayeur Nappe (Lower Penninics). The outcrop is located 1 km East of the Simplon Pass.

Permanent research team

Field and structural geology

Prof. Jean-Luc Epard


Jean-Luc Epard is specialized in structural and Alpine geology. His research concerns the geometry and kinematics of tectonic nappes formed in collisional-type mountain chains like the Alps and the Himalayas, detachment folding (kinematics and balancing) and strain quantification at all scales.

Lines of research:

  • Formation of mountain ranges, such as the Alps and the Himalayas
  • Geological modeling and deformation quantification



Tectonics and geodynamics

Prof. Stefan Schmalholz


Our research interests are the deformation of rocks at all scales and the structures resulting from this deformation. We aim to better understand the thermo-mechanics of tectonic processes with the concepts of continuum mechanics.

Lines of research:

  • Plate tectonics
  • Numerical modeling of rock deformation and resulting structures
  • Thermo-mechanical processes responsible for the deformation of the lithosphere
  • Nappes and folds formation
  • Structural geology and geodynamics


Prof. György Hetényi


I am interested in the geodynamics of the continental lithosphere: structure, deformation and associated physical processes. My principal tools of investigation are geophysical imaging (seismology, gravimetry) and numerical modelling (themo-mechanical, petrological).

Lines of research:

  • Geodynamics
  • Orogenesis
  • Seismology
  • Tectonics


Research group: OROG3NY

Computational geodynamics

Prof. Yuri Podladchikov


Lines of research:

  • Development of high-performance geocomputing applications and algorithms


Research group: Swiss Geocomputing Centre

Associated research groups


Permanent staff

Research team

Former members

  • Dr. Evangelous Moulas
  • Dr. Thibault Duretz
  • Dr. Daniel Kiss
  • Dr. Leonardo Colavitti
  • Dr. Ludovic Raess
  • Dr. Nicolas Buchs
  • Dr. Richard Spitz
  • Dr. Yoann Jaquet


Associated research groups

Géopolis - CH-1015 Lausanne
Tel. +41 21 692 43 06
Fax +41 21 692 43 05