Gergely Seminar Series: Guglielmo Scovazzi


B14 Hollister Hall


Gergely Seminar Series 

CEE Civil Infrastructure Group 

"Simulating the Formation of Salt Diapirs Using Eulerian Computational Solid Mechanics and Immersed Interfaces/Boundaries"

Guglielmo Scovazzi 
Associate Professor 
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Duke University 


Salt diapirs are associated with the formation of salt domes in the subsurface. Recently, they have received increased attention since offshore oil exploration often involves drilling in proximity of diapir structures. The simulation of salt diapirs is a complex problem at the basin scale, since buoyant instabilities of deposited salt layers induce large deformations in the subsurface. The current state of the art method in the simulation of salt diapirs relies on a nonlinear form of the Stokes flow equations, which is considered by structural geologists as an oversimplified treatment of the over/under-burden of salt layers. In this presentation, a new approach is pursued, based on Eulerian solid mechanics and immersed boundary methods. When considering the deformation of the Earth’s crust, we observe that the continental drift induces the accumulation of stresses that are released by seismic events. Computationally, it is highly inefficient to track seismic events, if characteristic time scales of millions of years are pursued. Dual-scale asymptotics are proposed to simplify the governing equations and avoid seismicity tracking. Because of large deformations, Eulerian solid mechanics, a little explored field over the past decades, may offer considerable advantages. Finally, the various geologic strata of the subsurface may interact at their interfaces, which need to be characterized numerically. For this purpose, a new immersed interface approach is sought, based on the “shifted boundary method,” recently developed by the presenter’s research group at Duke University. 

About the Speaker 

Guglielmo Scovazzi earned a B.S./M.S. Degrees in aerospace engineering at Politecnico di Torino in 1998. He received a M.S. in 2001 and a Ph.D. in 2004 from Stanford University, both in Mechanical Engineering. Between 2004 and 2012, he worked as Senior Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque (New Mexico), and since August 2012, he is Associate Professor in the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department at Duke University, with a secondary appointment in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Department. 

Guglielmo Scovazzi is a recipient of the 2014 Early Career Award from the Office of Science of the US Department Of Energy (ASCR program), and the 2017 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) award. In February 2018, he was named Kavli Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences and the Kavli Foundation. The Kavli Fellowship acknowledges contributions of U.S. scientists under the age of 45. 

His interests are in the general area of computational mechanics, and more specifically in computational geomechanics, flow through porous media, CFD, computational solid mechanics, and fluid/structure interaction. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal on Numerical Methods in Fluids, and a member of SIAM, USACM, ASCE, and ASME. 


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