Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

The Science Behind Laboratory-Scale Models of the Earth

Workshop on Advances in Quantitative Analogue Modelling (AiQAM); Potsdam, Germany, 23–25 September 2013



Deformation processes involve systems of tens to hundreds of kilometers moving at highly variable rates. Because direct kinematic observations have proven difficult, geoscientists are sometimes found in the lab creating analogs, or laboratory models of the Earth. The main scope—and a key challenge—of laboratory modeling of Earth systems is to provide a quantitative approach for understanding geological processes. Since the last decade, various image analysis techniques in laboratory modeling have been designed and used to constrain the kinematics of the simulated processes at an unprecedented resolution. These techniques prove to be the key quantification tools in experimental modeling, not only allowing mechanical analysis of the experiments but also producing experimental data sets that are directly comparable to geophysical and geodetic data in nature and numerical models.