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
    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

    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?
    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]External link


Compact course for MSc.-students 26 Feb-01 Mar, 2024. 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.
On 2023-12-13 Christoph Grützner will give an online talk on the Active tectonics of the Alps-Dinarides junction in the TSK seminar series.
Jakob Stubenrauch received the Graduate Award Geosciences 2023 of the faculty for his MSc thesis "Active tectonics and tectonic geomorphology in the region of the Fella-Sava Fault". Congratulations!
In a new study of Holocene earthquakes in Cusco, Peru, an international team combines dating of moraines with paleoseismological studies. The Tambomachay fault caused at least three major earthquakes in the last 9,000 years.
On 24 November, 2023 Christoph Grützner will give a lecture at the symposium "Kärnten bebt(e) - Neue Fragen und Aspekte zur Archäoseismologie" on "Strong earthquakes in the Alps and how to date them" at the kä in Klagenfurt.
In a new paper we investigate the tectonic geomorphology of Slovenia and we point out why commonly used methods often do not work.
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