Analogue Modelling - SMOLAB


The analogue modeling laboratory of the Department of Mathematics and Geoscience was founded in 2016 thanks to a project supported by the University of Trieste, the Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (OGS), and the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV).

The laboratory is devoted to the evolution of tectonic structures with the main aim to study the relationship between faults and folds. Most of the experiments in the SMOLAB use wet clay (kaolin) as the analogue of natural rocks. This material allows to study with a high resolution the mechanisms acting during the development of tectonic structures. Moreover, wet kaolin allows to use a technique that is able to insert in the initial setup of an experimental model, complex existing fault geometries to study the role of pre-exiting structures on the development of new ones.




  • experimental boxes capable of reproducing extensional, contractional, strike-slip and gravitational (or a mix of them) experiments,
  • tree stepper motors to apply strain in the experimental boxes,
  • one structured light scanner,
  • one collaborative arm robot,
  • UHD cameras,
  • 5 PC to analyse the experimental results using different software.




Lorenzo Bonini –

Last update: 07-06-2021 - 10:08