Folded pelagic limestones in northern Albania
Our research interests focus on the tectonics and associated sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous processes along converging plate boundary settings. Data collection in the field forms the backbone of our research. Currently we work in the Alps, on the Balkan Peninsula, in the Zagros Mountains, in Central Asia, as well as in Taiwan.
Folded pelagic limestones in northern Albania
Image: Kamil Ustaszewski

Structural geology and tectonics in Jena

What we do Expand entry
Major tectonic structures of the Eastern Alps seen from the International Space Station ISS Major tectonic structures of the Eastern Alps seen from the International Space Station ISS Image: @nasa / Kepler ISS. Annotationen: Kamil Ustaszewski

A three-dimensional assessment of geological structures and an understanding of their evolution is not only of academic interest, but very often also of economic relevance, for instance in the targeted exploration of natural resources in structurally or stratigraphically controlled deposits, or for identifying suitable sites for the exploitation of renewable geothermal energy. Structural geology is a geoscientific sub-discipline concerned with geometric and kinematic analyses of tectonic structures such as folds, shear zones and fractures. Detailed field studies as well as the interpretation of seismic data and borehole logs form the backbone of our investigations.

Apart from structural analyses, an understanding of the temporal changes in the geometry is required to unravel the tectonic evolution of particular structures. For dating tectonic deformation events and for determining physical conditions (pressure and temperature) that prevailed during the deformation of rocks, structural geologists rely on methods from other geoscience disciplines, particularly from petrology, isotope geochemistry, rock mechanics, sedimentology, as well as geophysics and geomorphology. Structural geology hence forms an important pivot and interface for numerous other geoscientific disciplines.

Where we work Expand entry

Our principal research interests are tectonic and associated petrologic and sedimentological processes along converging plate boundaries during the formation of mountain belts. Currently, we conduct studies in the Alps, on the Balkan Peninsula, in the Zagros Mountains, in Central Asia as well as in Taiwan.

Why Jena? Expand entry
Panorama Jena Panorama Jena Image: Benjamin Schmitz

Jena is a dynamic and rapidly growing university town in the centre of Germany. Numerous geological attractions are within easy reach around the city. Among the several geological highlights, there is the seismically active Vogtland (bordering the Czech Republic), high-grade metamorphosed rocks in the Erzgebirge of Saxony and salt-tectonics in the Werra mining district. Interesting structures can even be explored within the city limits: Excursion guide: Geology around Jena [pdf 5MB]


In a new paper, we report on an great earthquake that occurred in the Kazakh-Chinese border region about 2000 - 4000 years ago.
BSc. student Muriel Bülhoff was selected for the Honours Programme for Future Researchers to investigate pseudotachylytes in the Alps.
In a new study published in BSSA we report on a large earthquake that happened in Medieval times in Turkmenistan.
The first Spring School "Structure-from-Motion in Earth Sciences​" took place in Jena from 21-23 March, 2022. We had participants from various institutions across Jena and enjoyed three wonderful days full of science, exchanging ideas and news on latest developments.
Spring School 21.— 23.03.2022 | Jena & online. Two days workshop "Best Practises in Virtual Geology" plus one day of lectures and discussions on current SfM-related research in Earth observation, Geography and Geology.​ For advanced users.
Compact course for MSc.-students 14.-18. March, 2022. Topics: Photogrammetry, Structure-from-Motion and Virtual Geology/3D outcrops. Teaching language will English; the course will be held by Marko Vrabec from Uni Ljubljana.
Paleoseismicity Blog
Priority Programme "Mountain Building Processes in Four Dimensions (MB-4D)" SPP 2017
SPP Mountain Building Processes in 4D
Institut für Geowissenschaften, Jena (IGW)
Institute of Geosciences
Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Geowissenschaften Jena  e.V.
Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Geowissenschaften
Thüringischer Geologischer Verein
Thüringischer Geologischer Verein
JST Logo en
Jena Structural Geology - Tectonics YouTube Chanel
DigitalGeology - 30 Geotopes³
DigitalGeology - 30 Geotope³
Jena Structures & Tectonics at Sketchfab
Jena Structures & Tectonics at Sketchfab