Dr Sandra Piazolo

BSc  & MSc University of Freiburg, Germany; PhD University of Mainz, Germany.



Microstructural analysis, microdynamic modeling, structural / metamorphic geology


Contact Details

Office : E7A 425
Phone : 61-(0)2-9850 4407
Fax : 61-(0)2-9850 6904
email : sandra.piazolo@ mq.edu.au

Dr Sandra Piazolo
GEMOC, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Macquarie University NSW, 2109



Sandra Piazolo is a ARC Future Fellow within the Centre of Crustal Fluid Systems (CCFS), Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences,  (and guest professor at Stockholm University http://people.su.se/~spiaz/research.htm)

My main scientific interest is the understanding of micro- and mesoscale processes and their link to macro-scale phenomena. To achieve this, it is essential to quantify microstructures and thus micro-structural processes active during a variety of P-T-fluid conditions. In addition, the development of new techniques to observe, interpret and evaluate processes is part of my research.

Fields of research interest include: (i) structural geology and tectonics, (ii) microstructural and-chemical analysis, (iii) microdynamic modelling, (iv) experimental deformation and heating of rocks and analogue materials i.e. metals, (v) field mapping.

Current main projects
“Investigating the fundamental link between deformation, fluids and the rates of reactions in minerals” (Piazolo and Daczko; ARC Discovery grant 2012-2014)
“Flow characteristics of lower crustal rocks: Developing a toolbox to improve geodynamic models” (Piazolo, ARC Future Fellowship, 2011-2016)


01.01.2012 – 2016

   ARC Future Fellow, CCFS, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

01.08.2010 -  2011 Lecturer, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
01.11.2004 - 2010 Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor/ Professor in Tectonics and Structural Geology, Department of Geology and Geochemistry, University of Stockholm.(SU)
08.2002 – 10.2004   Marie Curie research fellow, Department of Ocean and Earth Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK. “Quantification of Deformation Microstructures.”
05.2001- 06.2002 Project researcher, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Denmark.
04.2001   Postdoctoral researcher, University of Mainz, Germany.
02 - 03.2001 Project researcher: fluid inclusion analysis, German Department of Resources / University of Mainz, Germany


Feb. 2010   Full Professor/Chair in Structural Geology and Tectonics, Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, Sweden.
Dec. 2005 “Docent” in Geology, Department of Geology and Geochemistry, Stockholm University, Sweden.
Jan. 2001  PhD in geology at the University of Mainz, Germany. “Shape fabric development during progressive deformation“.
Oct. 1997   “Diplom” (MSc) in Geology, University of Freiburg, Germany; “Geological and petrological investigations in Central Dronning Maud Land”
July 1993   “Vordiplom” (BSc) in Geology, University of Freiburg, Germany


Publications (Status April. 2012)
Publication Summary

>50  research articles (internationally peer reviewed: published), 4 reviewed book chapters, > 90 abstracts at scientific conferences / workshops and contributions to 5 geological maps (published, in press or in preparation)

Peer-reviewed international papers

V.E. Borthwick, Schmidt S., Piazolo S., & Gundlach C (in press) Quantification of Mineral Behaviour in 4 dimensions: Grain Boundary and Substructure Dynamics in Salt. G-cubed

V.E. Borthwick, Piazolo S., Schmidt S. & Gundlach C (in press) In-situ 3D X-ray Diffraction annealing of deformed single crystal halite: Early results from partial reconstructions and during heating diffraction patterns. Material Science Forum

J. R. Godinho, S. Piazolo, L.Z. Evans (in press) Effect of surface orientation on dissolution rates and topography of CaF2. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.

L. Brander, H. Svahnberg, S. Piazolo (2012) Brittle-plastic deformation in initially dry rocks at fluid-present conditions: transient behaviour of feldspar at mid-crustal levels has now been published in the following paginated issue of Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology: Volume 163, Issue 3 (2012), Page 403-425.

J. E. Hoffmann, H. Svahnberg, S. Piazolo, A. Scherstén, C.Münker (2012) The geodynamic evolution of Mesoarchean anorthosite complexes inferred from the Naajat Kuuat Complex, southern West Greenland. Precambrian Research 196– 197, 149– 170.

J. Wheeler, A. Cross, M. Drury, R.M. Hough, E. Mariani, S. Piazolo and D.J. Prior (2011) Time-lapse misorientation maps for the analysis of electron backscatter diffraction data from evolving microstructures. Scripta Materialia 65, 600–603.

H. Bergmann, S. Piazolo (2011) The recognition of multiple magmatic events and pre-existing deformation zones in metamorphic rocks as illustrated by CL signatures and numerical modelling: examples from the Ballachulish contact aureole, Scotland. International Journal of Earth Science, DOI 10.1007/s00531-011-0731-6.

M. Montagnat, J. R. Blackford, S. Piazolo, L. Arnaud, R. A. Lebensohn (2011) Measurement and full-field predictions of deformation heterogeneities in ice. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 305, 153-160.

M. A. Mamtani, S. Piazolo, R. O. Greiling, A. Kontny, F. Hrouda (2011) Process of magnetite fabric development during granite deformation. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 308, 77-89.

J. R. Godinho, S. Piazolo, M.C Stennett, N. C. Hyatt (2011) Sintering of CaF2 pellets as nuclear fuel analog for surface stability experiments. Journal of Nuclear Materials 419, 46–51.

M. Ebner, S. Piazolo, F. Renard, D. Köhn (2010) The influence of localized pressure solution at and around stylolite interfaces: multi-scale quenched noise as roughness origin. Journal of Structural Geology, 32, 1070-1084.

M. Peternell, P. Hasalova, C. J. Wilson, S. Piazolo, K. Schulmann (2010) A comparative study of quartz EBSD and Fabric Analyser: crystallographic preferred orientation from the Thaya region, Czeck Republic. Journal of Structural Geology, 32, 803-817.

L. Menegon, S. Piazolo, G. Pennacchioni (2010) The role of Dauphiné twinning in the initiation of dynamic recrystallization within quartz Porphyroclasts (Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, DOI 10.1007/s00410-010-0554-7.

V.E. Borthwick, S. Piazolo (2010) Complex temperature dependent behaviour revealed by in-situ heating experiments on single crystals of deformed halite: New ways to recognize and evaluate annealing in geological materials. Journal of Structural Geology, 32, 982-996

J. Wheeler, Drury, M. Piazolo, S. Prior, D.J. (2010) Quantitative analysis of EBSD data in rocks and other crystalline materials: investigation of strain induced recrystallisation and growth of new phases. Material Science Forum.

S. Piazolo, Borthwick V.E., Griera A. , Montagnat M., Jessell M. W., Lebensohn R. & Evans L. (2010) Substructure Dynamics in crystalline materials: New insight from in-situ experiments, detailed EBSD analysis of experimental and natural samples and numerical modelling. Material Science Forum.

H. Henkel, Piazolo, S., Wörman A. and Jing L. Proposal for a Deep Rock Laboratory in the Dellen Impact Crater. GFF, 132, 45-54.

S. Piazolo, M.W. Jessell, P. D. Bons, L. Evans, J. Becker (2010) Numerical Simulations of microstructures using the Elle platform: A modern research and teaching tool. Invited review for the Journal of the Geological Society of India, 75, 110-127.

H. Solgevik, , Piazolo, S., (2010) The initiation of strain localisation in plagioclase-rich rocks: insights from detailed microstructural analyses. Journal of structural geology (32, 1404-1416)

J. Wheeler, E. Mariani, S. Piazolo, D. Prior, P. Trimby, M. Drury (2009). The weighted Burgers vector: a new quantity for constraining dislocation densities and types using electron backscatter diffraction on 2D sections through crystalline materials. Journal of Microscopy, 233, 482-494

S. Piazolo, M. Montagnat, J. R. Blackford (2008) Substructure characterization of experimentally and naturally deformed ice using cryo-EBSD. Journal of Microscopy, 230, 509-519.

S. Piazolo, D. J. Prior, M. D. Holness, A. O. Harstad. (2007) Annealing in a natural laboratory: an EBSD and Cl study of calcite and quartz growth from volumes of rock heated by a nearby melt intrusion. Materials Science Forum 550, 333-338.

A. Rimsa, M.J. Whitehouse, S. Piazolo (2007) Brittle fracturing and fracture healing of zircon: integrated cathodoluminescence, U-Th-Pb and REE study. American Mineralogist., 92, 1213-1224

S. Piazolo, M. Bestmann, C. Spiers, D. J. Prior (2006) Temperature dependent grain boundary migration mechanisms: Insights from in-situ experiments. Tectonophysics 427, 55-71.

J. M. A. van Gool, S. Piazolo (2006) Presentation and interpretation of structural data from the Nagssugtoqidian orogen using a GIS Platform: General trends and features. Bulletin of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. 11. Precambrian crustal evolution and Cretaceous- Palaeogene faulting in West Greenland, 125-144.

M. Lund, S. Piazolo, S. Harley (2006) Microtextures and Deformation Mechanisms in deformed felsic high grade granulites: Insights from EBSD analysis. Tectonophysics 427, 133-151.

S. Mazur, S. Piazolo, G. I. Alsop (2006) Patterns of structural interference in a high-grade metamorphic terrain – a case study from the Northern Nagssugtoqidian orogen. Bulletin of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. 11. Precambrian crustal evolution and Cretaceous- Palaeogene faulting in West Greenland, 163-178.

H.-J. Paech, J. Jacobs, S. Piazolo, G. Markl (2006) Comparison of the geology of the central Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica, with other fragments of the Gondwana Supercontinent; Geologisches Jahrbuch, 97

O. Schenk, J. L. Urai & S. Piazolo (2006) Character of brine-filled grain boundaries in synthetic polycrystalline, statically recrystallized halite – new insights from cryo-SEM observations. Geofluids 6, 93-104.

S. Piazolo, V. Surseava, D. J. Prior (2005) The influence of triple junction kinetics on the evolution of polycrystalline materials during normal grain growth: New evidence from in-situ experiments using columnar Al foil. Zeitschrift fuer Metallkunde, 96, 1152-1157.

S. Piazolo, V.G. Sursaeva, D. J. Prior (2005). Optical grain size measurements: What is being measured? Comparative study of optical and EBSD grain sizes determination in 2D Al foil. Materials Science Forum, 495-497, 213-218.

S. Piazolo (2005) Detailed geological mapping of Nunataki Mramornye and the western part of the Schirmacher Oasis, Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica; Geologisches Jahrbuch, 96, 469-497.

S. Piazolo, D.J Prior, M. D. Holness (2005) The use of combined Cathodoluminescence and EBSD analysis: A case study investigating grain boundary migration mechanisms in quartz. Journal of Microscopy, 217, 152-161.

M. W. Jessel, E. Siebert, P. D. Bons, L. Evans, S. Piazolo (2005) A new type of numerical experiment on the spatial and temporal patterns of localization of deformation in a material with a coupling of grain-size and rheology. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 239, 309-326.

G. Markl, S. Piazolo, H.-J Paech, W. Bauer, U. Krauße & Z. Mikhalsky (2005) Panafrican massif-type anorthosites from central Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica; Geologisches Jahrbuch, 96, 77-138.

M. Bestmann, S. Piazolo, C. Spiers, D. J. Prior (2005) Microstructural development of rocksalt during in-situ heating experiments. Journal of Structural Geology, 27, 447-457. 

S. Piazolo, G. I. Alsop, J. A. M. van Gool, B. Møller Nielsen (2004) Using GIS to unravel high strain patterns in high grade terranes: a case study of indentor tectonics from West Greenland In: Alsop, G.I., Holdsworth, R.E., McCaffrey, K.J.W. & Hand, M. (Editors) Flow Processes in Faults and Shear Zones. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 224, 63-78.

S. Piazolo, G. Seward, N. Seaton, D. J. Prior (2004) The potential of combined in-situ heating experiments and detailed EBSD analysis in the investigation of grain scale processes such as recrystallization and phase transformation. Materials Science Forum, 467-470, 1407-1412

S. Piazolo, V.G. Sursaeva, D. J. Prior (2004) Grain growth in Al: First results from a combined study of bulk and in-situ experiments using a columnar structured Al foil. Materials Science Forum, 467-470, 935-940.

S. Piazolo,  M. W. Jessell, D. J. Prior, P. D Bons (2004) The integration of experimental in-situ EBSD observations and numerical simulations: a novel technique of microstructural process analysis. Journal of Microscopy, 213, 273-284.

M. W. Jessel, P. D. Bons, L. Evans, S. Piazolo (2004) Numerical Experiments into the Localisation of Deformation during Recrystallization Flow. Materials Science Forum, 467-470, 647-652.

D. J. Prior, M. Bestmann, A. Halfpenny, E. Mariani, S. Piazolo, J. Tullis, J. Wheeler (2004) Recrystallization and grain growth in rocks and minerals. Materials Science Forum, 467-470, 545-550.

A. A. Garde, J. N. Connelly, A. W. Krawiec, S. Piazolo & K Thrane (2002) A coastal survey in the southern part of the Palaeoproterozoic Rinkian fold belt, central West Greenland. Geology of Greenland Survey Bulletin, 191, 33-38.

J. A. M. van Gool, G. I . Alsop, U. E. Aarting, A. A. Garde, C. Knudsen, A. W. Krawiec, S. Mazur, J. Nygaard, S. Piazolo, C. W. Thomas and K. Thrane (2002) Precambrian geology of the northern Nagssugtoqidian orogen, West Greenland: mapping in the Kangaatsiq area. Geology of Greenland Survey Bulletin, 191, 13-23.

S. Piazolo & C. W. Passchier (2002) Controls on lineation development in low to medium grade shear zones: A study from the Cap de Creus peninsula, NE Spain, Journal of Structural Geology, 24, 25-44.

S. Piazolo, P. D. Bons, M. W. Jessell, L. Evans, C. W. Passchier (2002) Dominance of Microstructural Processes and their effect on microstructural development: Insights from Numerical Modelling of dynamic recrystallization, Geological Society of London, Special Publications, 200, 149-170.

S. Piazolo, P. D. Bons, C. W. Passchier (2002) The influence of matrix rheology and vorticity on fabric development of populations of rigid objects during progressive plane strain deformation, Tectonophysics, 351, 315-329.

S. Piazolo & C. W. Passchier (2002) Experimental modelling of fabric development within simple shear zones: Implications for the interpretation of stretching lineations and the use of strain analysis, Journal of Geophysical Research, DOI.10.1029/2000JB000030.

S. ten Grotenhuis, S. Piazolo, T. Pakula, C. W. Passchier, P. D. Bons (2002) Are polymers really suitable for geologically relevant analogue modelling? Tectonophysics, 350, 35-47.

K. Gessner, S. Piazolo, T. Güngör T, U. Ring, C. W. Passchier (2001) Deformation history and kinematics of metagranitoids in the Menderes massif, SW Turkey, International Journal of Earth Sciences, 89, 766-780.

S. Piazolo, M. W. Jessell, P. D. Bons, L. Evans (2001) Numerical modelling of dynamic recrystallization in geomaterials, ceramics and metals, in Gottstein and Molodov: Recrystallization and Grain Growth, Proceedings of the first Joint International Conference of Recrystallization and Grain Growth, Aachen, 981-986.

S. Piazolo, M. W. Jessell, P. D. Bons, L. Evans (2001) Animations of dynamic recrystallization with the numerical modelling system Elle, Virtual Explorer, Volume 4.

S. Piazolo, S. ten Grotenhuis, C. W. Passchier (2001) A new apparatus for controlled general flow modelling of analogue material, Bulletin of the American Geological Society 193, 249-258.

S. Piazolo & G. Markl (1999) Humite- and scapolite-bearing assemblages in marbles and calcsilicates of Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica: new data for Gondwana reconstructions; Journal of Metamorphic Geology, 17, 91-107.

G. Markl & S. Piazolo (1999) High-Al titanites from low pressure calcsilicates: the effect of fluid and host composition and evidence of exchange vectors involving vacancies; American Mineralogist, 84, 37-47.

G. Markl & S. Piazolo (1998) Halogen-bearing minerals in syenites and high-grade marbles of Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica: monitors of compositional changes of magmatic fluids during fluid-rock interaction processes; Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 132, 246-268.

Book Chapters (peer reviewed)

S. Piazolo, M. W. Jessell (2008) Chapter 3.3 Subgrain growth-Potts model. In Koehn, Jessell, Bons: Microdynamics simulation. SPRINGER book series "Lecture Notes in Earth Science” 106, 97-104.

S. Piazolo, M. W. Jessell (2008) Chapter 3.4 Nucleation and subgrain formation. In Koehn, Jessell, Bons: Microdynamics simulation. SPRINGER book series "Lecture Notes in Earth Science” 106, 105-114.

S. Piazolo (2008) Chapter 4.2 Application of microdynamic simulation, involving coupling of two or more processes: Dynamic Recrystallization/Crystalline Plasticity. In Koehn, Jessell, Bons Microdynamic simulation. SPRINGER book series "Lecture Notes in Earth Science” 106, 215-224.

M. W. Jessell, E. Sibert, P. D. Bons, L. Evans, S. Piazolo (2008) Chapter 4.3 Simple experiments in deformation localization. In Koehn, Jessell, Bons: Microdynamics simulation. SPRINGER book series "Lecture Notes in Earth Science” 106, 225-230.


S. Piazolo (2001) Shape fabric development during progressive deformation. Shaker Verlag, Series Geowissenschaften, 251 pages (PhD thesis)



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