Laboratoire de Déformation des Roches


The Laboratoire de Déformation des Roches (LDR) is located at the École et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre (EOST), Université de Strasbourg. The LDR, part of the Géophysique Expérimentale team, houses a variety of purpose-built equipment designed to investigate the deformation behaviour and fluid flow properties of the Earth's crust. 

Recent publications

Scroll to explore some of our recent research, and follow the [links] to access published articles.

Aben, F.M., Doan, M.L., Mitchell, T.M., Toussaint, R., Reuschlé, T., Fondriest, M., Gratier, J.P. and Renard, F., 2016. Dynamic fracturing by successive coseismic loadings leads to pulverization in active fault zones. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 121(4), pp.2338-2360.

Griffiths, L., Heap, M.J., Wang, F., Daval, D., Gilg, H.A., Baud, P., Schmittbuhl, J. and Genter, A., 2016. Geothermal implications for fracture-filling hydrothermal precipitation. Geothermics, 64, pp.235-245.

Farquharson, J. I., M. J. Heap, Y. Lavallée, N. R. Varley, P. Baud. 2016. Evidence for the development of permeability anisotropy in lava domes and volcanic conduits. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 323, pp.163-185. [pdf]

Heap, M. J., and B. M. Kennedy 2016. Exploring the scale-dependent permeability of fractured andesite. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 447, pp.139-150. [pdf]

Wei, X., M. Duc, M. Hattab, T. Reuschlé, S. Taibi, J.-M. Fleureau, 2016. Effect of decompression and suction on macroscopic and microscopic behavior of a clay rock. Acta Geotechnica. DOI: 10.1007/s11440-016-0454-8.

Baud, P., A. Rolland, M. J. Heap, T. Xu, M. Nicolé, T. Ferrand, T. Reuschlé, R. Toussaint, and N. Conil, 2016. Impact of stylolites of the mechanical strength of limestone. Tectonophysics.

Heap, M. J. , Wadsworth, F. B., Xu, T., Chen, C.-f., and Tang, C.-a. 2016. The strength of heterogeneous volcanic rocks: A 2D approximation. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 319, pp.1-11. [pdf]

Heap, M. J. , and Wadsworth, F. B., 2016. Closing an open system: Pore pressure changes in permeable edifice rock at high strain rates. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2016.02.011. [pdf]

Kushnir, A. R. L., C. Martel, J.-L. Bourdier, M. J. Heap, T. Reuschlé , S. Erdmann, J.-C. Komorowski, and N. Cholik, 2016. Probing permeability and microstructure: Unravelling the role of a low-permeability dome on the explosivity of Merapi (Indonesia). Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 316, pp.56-71.

Wadsworth, F. B., M. J. Heap, and D. B. Dingwell, 2016. Friendly fire: Engineering a fort wall in the Iron Age. Journal of Archaeological Science. 10.1016/j.jas.2016.01.011.

Farquharson, J. I., M. J. Heap, P. Baud, T. Reuschlé , and N. Varley 2016. Pore pressure embrittlement in a volcanic edifice. Bulletin of Volcanology. 78(6). [pdf]

Montanaro, C., Scheu, B., Gudmundsson, M.T., Vogfjörd, K., Reynolds, H.I., Dürig, T., Strehlow, K., Rott, S., Reuschlé, T. and Dingwell, D.B., 2016. Multidisciplinary constraints of hydrothermal explosions based on the 2013 Gengissig lake events, Kverkfjöll volcano, Iceland. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 434, pp.308-319. [pdf]

Baud, P., Reuschlé, T., Ji, Y., Cheung, C.S. and Wong, T.F., 2015. Mechanical compaction and strain localization in Bleurswiller sandstone. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 120(9), 6501-6522. [pdf]

Heap, M. J., J. I. Farquharson, F. B. Wadsworth, S. Kolzenburg, and J. K. Russell, 2015. Timescales for permeability reduction and strength recovery in densifying magma. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 429, 223-233. [pdf]

Mayer, K., Scheu, B., H. A. Gilg, M. J. Heap, B. M. Kennedy, Y. Lavallée, M. Letham-Brake, and D. B. Dingwell, 2015. Experimental constraints on phreatic eruption processes at Whakaari (White Island volcano). Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 302, 150-162. [Open access]

The LDR Team

Thierry Reuschlé Patrick Baud
Thierry Reuschlé Patrick Baud

Chargé de recherche CNRS


Mike Heap Alex Kuhnir
Mike Heap Alexandra Kushnir
Maître de conférences Post-doc
Jamie Farquharson Luke Griffiths
Jamie Farquharson Luke Griffiths
Ph.D student Ph.D student

What we do

Sample preparation

Sample characterisation

Water and gas porosity

Using our vacuum setup, we can accurately determine double and triple weight water porosity. 

We can also measure gas porosity via helium pycnometry.

Our samples are kept dry in a vacuum oven set at 40 °C.
Water and gas permeability
  We have a range of custom-built permeameters, which can operate up to confining pressures of 50 MPa on samples 20 mm in diameter and 40 mm in length. We are able to measure (distilled) water or gas permeability using steady-state or the transient (pulse-decay) methods.  For longstanding applications, our long-term permeameters are capable of measuring the permeability of rocks under very stable environmental (pressure and temperature) conditions. The operating temperature can be set as high as 200 °C.
Ultrasonic wave velocities Specific surface area
 Our benchtop acoustic wave velocity setup is designed to measure both P- and S- wave velocities on rock core samples. We also measure attenuation. A load cell embedded in the base of the jig ensures that we applied the same load from measurement to measurement  Our BET (Brunauer-Emmett-Teller) absorption apparatus measures the specific surface area of rocks, by monitoring the physical adsorption of nitrogen or krypton gas molecules onto the solid inner surface of rocks.

Sample deformation

Uniaxial deformation

Our servo-controlled uniaxial deformation apparatus can deform rock samples under a variety of loading (constant strain rate, constant stress) and environmental (dry and wet) conditions up to axial stresses of 160 MPa (for the standard sample size of 20 mm diameter).   We routinely measure stress, axial strain, and the output of acoustic emission energy during experimentation. However, the setup can be easily modified to measure ultrasonic velocities, radial strain, and electrical conductivity during deformation.
  Our newest uniaxial deformation rig has been customised so as to deform samples at high temperatures. It also has been outfitted with sensors to monitor acoustic emissions during deformation with a low noise threshold.  

Triaxial deformation

High temperature furnace 

Our conventional servo-controlled triaxial deformation apparatus is capable of reaching confining and pore fluid pressures of 200 MPa, and differential stresses up to 400 MPa. Rock samples (20 mm in diameter by 40 mm in length) can be deformed under a variety of different loading conditions (hydrostatic, constant strain rate, constant stress) whilst continuously monitoring stress, axial strain, pore volume change, the output of acoustic emission energy, and permeability (gas or water). Our high temperature furnace operates at temperatures up to 1000 °C and can heat/cool rocks under controlled conditions. Typically, we use the furnace to induce thermal microcrack populations in rock samples.

Coming soon

We are currently installing, calibrating, and testing a new high-temperature/ high-pressure triaxial deformation rig. With the potential to deform materials at up to 500°C and 400 MPa, whilst monitoring axial and radial deformation, P- or S-wave velocities, gas permeability measurement, and a host of other features, it's an exciting new addition to the lab!

Research opportunities

We are always interested in collaborators, and those interested in studying for a Ph.D or applying for a European or International Research Fellowship in our lab. Don't hesitate to contact us!

Website maintained by M. Heap and J. Farquharson