Sorry! De informatie die je zoekt, is enkel beschikbaar in het Engels.
This programme is saved in My Study Choice.
Something went wrong with processing the request.
Something went wrong with processing the request.

Kuenen-Escher Geodynamics Laboratory (KEG Lab)

The Kuenen-Escher Geodynamics Laboratory (KEG Lab in short) is an experimental (analogue) modelling facility, specifically designed to conduct scaled (analogue) experiments of crustal, lithospheric and mantle-scale processes.

The lab was completed in 2018 and named after the first Dutch geodynamic modellers, Philip Kuenen ( and Berend G. Escher ( Notably, Kuenen published what is likely the first paper showing analogue models simulating a form of subduction [Kuenen, P.H., 1936. The negative isostatic anomalies in the East Indies (with experiments). Leidse Geologische Mededeelingen 8, 169–214].

The KEG Lab is headed by Wouter Schellart ( and is based at the VU campus in Amsterdam.

Main geological processes under investigation

  • Subduction
  • Mantle flow
  • Collision and mountain building
  • Fold-and-thrust belts & accretionary wedges

Lab facilities

PIV system
The KEG lab hosts a Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) system from LaVision to record, monitor, quantify and analyse surface deformation, surface topography and the three-dimensional flow field at depth. In particular, the facility is unique in its usage of a tomographic PIV system for the simultaneous 4D visualisation and analysis of mantle flow, surface deformation and surface topography in subduction experiments.

The lab hosts an advanced, twin-drive, ultra-low friction air-baring rheometer (Anton Paar MCR 702 twin-drive rheometer) for detailed rheological analysis of viscous, visco-plastic, visco-elastic and visco-elasto-plastic materials.

Modelling tanks
The lab hosts 6 modelling tanks, 1 deformation apparatus and 1 indenter apparatus to model the various aspects of convergent plate dynamics. Our biggest tank, with internal dimensions of 180 cm by 150 cm by 45 cm, is used for modelling very large-scale subduction and collision settings, such as the South American subduction zone and the India-Eurasia-Sunda collision-subduction system.

Density meter
The lab hosts a high-precision density meter for quantifying the density of various modelling materials.

Analogue modelling materials
We use various types of materials, including glucose syrup, silicone oils, silicone rubbers, paraffins, various granular materials and powders (e.g. quartz sand, olivine sand, glass spheres, hollow glass spheres, iron powder), and mixtures of these materials.

Some Open Access publications by MSc students and PhD students
Chen, Z., Schellart, W.P. and Duarte, J.C., 2015. Overriding plate deformation and variability of fore-arc deformation during subduction: Insight from geodynamic models and application to the Calabria subduction zone. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 16: 3697-3715,

Chen, Z., Schellart, W.P., Duarte, J.C. and Strak, V., 2017. Topography of the overriding plate during progressive subduction: A dynamic model to explain forearc subsidence. Geophysical Research Letters, 44: 9632-9643,

Edwards, S.J., Schellart, W.P. and Duarte, J.C., 2015. Geodynamic models of continental subduction and obduction of overriding plate forearc oceanic lithosphere on top of continental crust. Tectonics, 34: 1494-1515,

Flórez-Rodríguez, A.G., Schellart, W.P. and Strak, V., 2019. Impact of aseismic ridges on subduction systems: Insights from analog modeling. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 124: 5951–5969,

Irvine, D.N. and Schellart, W.P., 2012. Effect of plate thickness on bending radius and energy dissipation at the subduction zone hinge. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117: B06405,

Meyer, C. and Schellart, W.P., 2013. Three-dimensional dynamic models of subducting plate-overriding plate-upper mantle interaction. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 118: 775-790,

Xue, K., Schellart, W.P. and Strak, V., 2020. Effect of plate length on subduction kinematics and slab geometry: Insights from buoyancy-driven analog subduction models. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 125: e2020JB020514,

Xue, K., Schellart, W.P. and Strak, V., 2022. Overriding plate deformation and topography during slab rollback and slab rollover: Insights from subduction experiments. Tectonics, 41: e2021TC007089,

Some Open Access publications by Postdocs
Duarte, J.C., Schellart, W.P. and Cruden, A.R., 2013. Three-dimensional dynamic laboratory models of subduction with an overriding plate and variable interplate rheology. Geophysical Journal International, 195: 47-66,

Duarte, J.C., Schellart, W.P. and Cruden, A.R., 2015. How weak is the subduction zone interface? Geophysical Research Letters, 42: 2664-2673,

Strak, V. and Schellart, W.P., 2016. Control of slab width on subduction-induced upper mantle flow and associated upwellings: Insights from analog models. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 121: 4641-4654,

Strak, V. and Schellart, W.P., 2018. A subduction and mantle plume origin for Samoan volcanism. Scientific Reports, 8: 10424,

Open access review paper on analogue modelling
Schellart, W.P. and Strak, V., 2016. A review of analogue modelling of geodynamic processes: Approaches, scaling, materials and quantification, with an application to subduction experiments. Journal of Geodynamics, 100: 7-32,

Some papers on the rheology of analogue modelling materials
Duarte, J.C., Schellart, W.P. and Cruden, A.R., 2014. Rheology of petrolatum-paraffin oil mixtures: Applications to analogue modelling of geological processes. Journal of Structural Geology, 63: 1-11,

Schellart, W.P., 2000. Shear test results for cohesion and friction coefficients for different granular materials: scaling implications for their usage in analogue modelling. Tectonophysics, 324: 1-16,

Schellart, W.P., 2011. Rheology and density of glucose syrup and honey: Determining their suitability for usage in analogue and fluid dynamic models of geological processes. Journal of Structural Geology, 33: 1079-1088,