Norwegian version of this page

ERC Advanced Grant to Professor François Renard and the research project Break-Through Rocks (BREAK)

Professor François Renard, Department of Geosciences and the Njord Centrehas received an ERC Advanced Grant for the project Break-Through Rocks (BREAK). One goal is to gain more knowledge about what triggers powerful earthquakes, and if there are signals that alert such large earthquakes.

Advanced Research Grant to François Renard

Professor of Geophysics François Renard at the Department of Geosciences and the Njord Centre has received an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council for the research project "Break-Through Rocks". The project will be carried out in co-operation with the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France. One of the goals is to gain knowledge about which factors trigger powerful earthquakes or that cause slower slips in the Earth's crust (aseismic slips). How quickly will the deformation of the bedrock occur, and are there any signals that can predict the strength of the impending earthquake?

The research is based on experimental studies. An advanced laboratory will be built up to investigate stone samples for deformation and stresses such as pressure, temperature and the presence of water. The flagship instrument will get the name SEUS, named after the Greek good for the sky and the thunder. In the lab experiments, stone samples will be subjected to extreme temperatures and pressures equivqlent to burial depths of up to 10 km. Of special interest is the presence of water during and after the strain. The experiments will be analysed against rock samples taken from sites where there have been earthquakes, in Norway and in California, respectively.

The ROCKS project is described more fully in this article: Why do some earthquakes cause enormous damage while others disappear silently deep down in the ground? (

Advanced Grants are awarded to research projects over a period of 5 years. These top projects have high prestige in the research environment, and this is the fourth grant to a geoscience-project at UiO – the department already has Bjørn Jamtveit with the project 'Disequilibrium metamorphism of stressed lithosphere (DIME)', Andreas Max Kääb and 'Global Glacier Mass Continuity (ICEMASS)', and Trond Helge Torsvik with his project 'Beyond Plate Tectonics',

Congratulations from Department of Geosciences

ERC Advanced Grants allow exceptional established research leaders of any nationality and any age to pursue ground-breaking, high-risk projects that open new directions in their respective research fields or other domains. The ERC Advanced Grant funding targets researchers who have already established themselves as independent research leaders in their own right. (European Research Council).

Published Apr. 23, 2021 1:49 PM - Last modified Apr. 26, 2021 3:06 PM