The natural laboratory - Brenner basis tunnel

From profile construction over fabric and elastic anisotropy analysis to structural modelling in 4D

The anatomy and internal structure of the central Alps is difficult to unravel. The 55 km long Brenner basis tunnel (BBT) trending north-south and thus nearly perpendicular to the strike of the eastern alpine tectonic units, offers the unique opportunity to construct a cross-section through the Alpine orogen. For this purpose, we will use surface geology, geological information from the tunnel itself, as well as 350 research boreholes with more than 30 km of core. This geological database spans nearly 2000 m of height with recognized lithological boundaries, structure, faults and shear zones.

We will use all available geological and structural information from around the BBT to construct detailed tectonic cross-sections and models, not only in 2D but also in 3D. In addition, the tectonic model will be populated with microstructural data as well as published age data and new thermochronological data from the DFG priority programme "4D-Mountain Building". It will therefore be possible to retro-deform the model to gain information about the tectonic history in 4D.