Sohrab Noorsalehi - Garakani


Sohrab Noorsalehi - Garakani

PhD Student

+49[0]2451 80 98443
Office location:
Lochnerstraße 4-20



Feb. 2010 - recent:

PhD student @ Geologie - Endogene Dynamik, RWTH-Aachen University

Apr. 2005 - Dec. 2009

Graduate studies Geology @ RWTH-Aachen University.
Focussing disciplines: i. Structural Geology ii. Geology and Geochemistry of Petroleum and Coal  iii. Applied Geophysics.
Graduated with Diplom (MSc-equiv.).

Oct. 2003 - Mar. 2005:

Undergraduate studies Geology at RWTH-Aachen University. (Vordiplom)

Diploma Mapping


Kartierung der westlichen Vulkaneifel im Raum Rockeskyll - Walsdorf

Mapping campain with focus on the differntiation of local eruptive centres by petrographic studies and by mapping the geomagnetic Total Field.

Diploma Thesis


Experimental modeling of clay smear processes

Supervisors: As a follow up of the work of Joyce Schmatz, the aim of the project was to gain further understanding of the evolution clay smear processes in fault zones. The work focusses on the extension of the existing technique of sandbox experiments to the third dimension. It can be shown, that the 3D-structure of the sheared clay layer is complexly and heterogeneuosly deformed and that its geometry is very similar to that of natural normal faults. Clay smear varies in thickness, composition and can be contiuous but understanding of this is still poor.  Recent and future studies will focus on accurate measurements of the material's mechanical properties under sandbox stress conditions and the dependencies of mechanical strength, initial geometries, clay smear constitution thickness and (dis-)continity. The pictures below show an example of an excavated clay layer with segmented fault zone and discontiuous clay smear visible (red areas in picture c).



Heitfeldpreis 2010

Donated by the "Dr. Karl-Heinrich Heitfeld-Stiftung" for outstanding diploma thesis

PhD Project


Clay smear in normal faults

DFG sponsored project in cooperation with the Chair of Geotechnical Engineering @ RWTH Aachen University.
The intregrativ project combines field studies, scaled analogue modeling and numerical modeling (FEM & DEM) of clay-smear and clay-smear processes in layered sand clay sequences.

Scaled Analogue Modeling


New version of underwater sandbox

Scaled analogue models of clay-smear processes in normal faulting are carried out using "benchmark" materials. The experiments are monitored by time-lapse imaging of the side view which are processed by an image correlation algorithm (PIV) to get insight in the kinematics of the system. The deformed clay layers get exhumed and digitized from both sides to obtain a full 3D model of the clay containg part of the fault zone, which gets analyzed in terms of composition, thickness, continitiy and geometry/roughness.

Full 3D model of clay-containing fault gauge

Low stress direct-shear apparatus

Due to the non-linear character of material failure, standard geotechnical measurments at high stresses are not sufficient to describe the material behavior under sandbox stress conditions. For this reasons a low-stress direct shear cell was constructed, allowing simple-shear experiments at very low vertical stresses.

Low confining pressure triaxial measurements

For the same reasons of non-linear material properties additionally a miniature triaxial test stand was developed to observe material failure at low confining pressures below 5 kPa.

Field Work in Miri, Sarawak (Malaysia)