From MATIV to MATV !

UPGRADING our geomorphic analog material (MATIV) to better investigate the interactions between Tectonics/Surface processes/Climate

<- Romain Sylvain’s Master Thesis

During his Ph.D. (2008), Fabien Graveleau developed at LMA the first specific analog material (MATIV) design to study the interactions between Tectonics/Erosion/Sedimentation processes in active mountain forelands (Graveleau and Dominguez, 2008; Graveleau et al., 2011, 2012, 2015). Since then, we have significantly widened its field of applications to other geological contexts such as crustal extension or wrench tectonics (Strak et al., 2011, Viaplana-Muzas et al., 2015, 2018; Guerit et al, 2016, Henriquet et al., 2019), including more recently, submarine geological environments (Tectonic inversion of the Algerian Margin, Strzerzynski et al., 2021).

Considering the last scientific advances and the emergence of new monitoring technologies, the time has come to update the MatIV properties to improve its analogy to Nature. With this aim, we just started, in the framework of the ANR TopoExtreme Project (P.I. R. Cattin, GM-UM), the first experimental investigations to test the incorporation of an additional component to the MATIV which will result in a new version of our geomorphic analog material; the MATV !.

This work started in January 2021, is being done by Romain Sylvain (Master thesis student) with the help of Clément Garcia-Estève (Ph.D. student), and supervised by S. Dominguez and R. Cattin.

The general methodology relies on a quantitative comparison of the MATV morphology with selected natural examples using landform geomorphic indices. Numerical modeling, based on the Landlab software (@Landlab), and geomechanical tests are also intensively used to determine MATV physical, mechanical, and geomorphological properties.

A view of the 15/04/2021 Geomorphic experiment. Nice, but not yet optimal ;-> !

After several tests, to properly define the experimental protocol and adapt the experimental set-up, about 10 experiments sharing the same initial boundary conditions and tectonic kinematics have been performed. These first sets of experiments are densely monitored and represent an already huge database > 1 To.

Results are still being interpreted by Romain and Clément but the MATV1.6 and MATV1.9 morphologies look great and we are, then, quite optimistic!

Comparisons between experimental and natural landscape morphologies are essential to ensure that the MATV is properly scaled. Several natural examples characterized by tectono-climatic conditions similar to those imposed in the analog models have been selected. These examples are located in the Caucasus, Western Tian-Shan, and New Zealand mountain ranges.

… to be completed + picture of a natural landscape morphology (Alos DEM)

Dedicated numerical simulations are also in progress to constrain MATV erosionnal properties to help improve its composition. Erodability, fluvial incision vs slope diffusion ratio, sediment transport distance, … are some of the critical parameters controlling MATV morphology that are investigated numerically by Clément Garcia-Estève (PhD Student).


Clément Garcia-Estève performing a Landlab numerical simulation of a MATV analog experiment

Learn more:

-> Graveleau, F., V. Strak, S. Dominguez, J. Malavieille, M. Chatton, I. Manighetti, C. Petit,  2015. Experimental modelling of tectonics–erosion–sedimentation interactions in compressional, extensional, and strike–slip settings, Geomorphology, Volume 244, Pages 146-168, ISSN 0169-555X,

-> Graveleau F., Malavieille, J., Dominguez, S., 2012. Experimental modelling of orogenic wedges: A review, Tectonophysics, 538-540: 1-66,

-> Graveleau F., J.-E. Hurtrez, S. Dominguez, J. Malavieille, 2011. A new experimental material for modelling relief dynamics and interactions between tectonics and surface processes, Tectonophysics, Volume 513, Issues 1–4, 5 December 2011, Pages 68–87,

-> Graveleau, F., and S. Dominguez, 2008. Analogue modelling of the interaction between tectonics, erosion, and sedimentation in foreland thrust belts: Comptes Rendus Geoscience, v. 340, p. 324-333,

See also:

-> Viaplana‐Muzas, M, Babault, J, Dominguez, S, Van Den Driessche, J, Legrand, X., 2018. Modelling of drainage dynamics influence on sediment routing system in a fold‐and‐thrust belt, Basin Res.; 31: 290– 310.

-> Strak, V., Dominguez, S., Petit, C., Meyer, B., Loget, N., 2011. Interaction between normal fault slip and erosion on relief evolution: Insights from experimental modeling, Tectonophysics, 513,