International PhD researchers visit every year Geosciences Barcelona (GEO3BCN-CSIC). This kind of scientific journeys are a method to exchange knowledge between senior researchers and juniors, as well as an opportunity for GEO3BCN-CSIC to expand its scientific expertise all over the world.
Florian Trilsch, currently staying at Barcelona for six months, is one of this predoctoral student. Trilsch, who came from the Institute of Geology at TU Bergakademie Freiberg (Germany), does research in structural geology, structural balancing and thermochronology focus on the Western Tian-Shan. Jaume Vergès, GEO3BCN-CSIC researcher, is tutoring him during his stay.
Tian Shan mountains are one of the largest systems in the world and it ranges in altitude from 700 to 4.503 m. According to UNESCO data, it features diverse landscapes, which are home to exceptionally rich biodiversity. “The Tian Shan is very interesting as it is one of the largest intra-continental mountain ranges in the world”, points out Trilsch. In particular, he adds, the South Western part is “especially” important as it is interlinked with the formation of the Tajik Basin and the Pamir, which, according to Trilsch, is not very well understood. “It's a motivation to contribute something that maybe have an impact in the future”, highlights the researcher.
In his PhD-thesis, Trilsch is trying to decode and to enhance knowledge about the recent mountain building episode of that particular part of this Asiatic mountains: “So far I worked a lot on applying thermochronologic methods to better understand and quantify the timing of deformation of different blocks between the range mainly along two North-South transects across my study area”. The predoctoral researcher explains that his work also includes small methodological aspects as testing a new etching strategy and its potential impact for thermal history modelling to natural samples, and to introduce a new kinematic parameter that can be applied for quantifying mineral chemistry and age interpretation.
“At Geosciences Barcelona my aim is together with Jaume Vergès to develop a reasonable structural geologic sub-surface model”, describes Trilsch, who wants to simulate how surface deformation is transformed to depth to explain the evolution from an initial flat topography to its recent expression. These results, explains the researcher, will allow them to give a first quantification of deformation for that part of the Tian Shan. At the institute, the researcher is using the software package MOVE for modelling.
“I believe that it is very important to present a first rough model for the evolution of a continuous part of the Tian Shan that can at least explain some features and can later be complemented by, for example, geophysical studies or numerical modelling approaches”, says Florian Trilsch, who was always interested in natural sciences.