SUBITOP: a European project training 15 PhD students in Geodynamics, Geophysics, Geology and Geomorphology

The ETN "European Training Network" SUBITOP was created within the framework of the European funding programme Horizon 2020. Benjamin Guillaume, Jean-Pierre Brun and Philippe Yamato, research professors at Géosciences Rennes, are participating in it.

The project

The Earth's surface is shaped by plate tectonics, which creates reliefs that are immediately subject to erosion. The SUBITOP project aims to study the dynamics of active margins, places where plates sink deep into the Earth's mantle via subduction. This process, which is an essential driver of plate tectonics, induces, on different time scales, a recycling of lithospheric plates, water and gases, including CO2, within our planet. On a terrestrial scale, subduction supports mantle convection and global heat transfer. It is also responsible for the most powerful and destructive earthquakes and is the source of spectacular and dangerous aerial volcanism. It is therefore a fundamental geological process with a major societal impact.


The SUBITOP project aims to fill a knowledge gap, particularly concerning the mechanisms that control the deformation of the Earth's outer envelope and the way in which the Earth's relief forms and evolves above these subduction zones and, conversely, on what the Earth's deformation and topography tell us about deep Earth processes. The project will use multi-scale observation and modelling techniques to couple deep dynamics with surface processes and will exploit the diversity of present and past subduction zones in Europe as a field laboratory.

International dimension

This training-through-research network, which brings together 10 research units of excellence in Earth Sciences in eight European countries, has set up partnerships and co-supervision with 15 private companies for each of the project's ESRs (Early-Stage Researcher). The SUBITOP project will also rely on the TOPO-Europe research community, which has been in place for the last ten years and is supported by the European Geosciences Union. This ETN which started in March 2016 will cover a period of 4 years.


It is in this context that Carlos Fernandez-Garcia from Spain was recruited as a PhD student. His research work entitled Deformation processes of slab tearing, from crust to mantle started in November 2016.

Identity card

SUBITOP European Project - HORIZON 2020 Programme - Marie S. Curie Action Curie Action

Name of the Scientific Leader: Benjamin GUILLAUME
Laboratory / UMR: GEOSCIENCES Rennes - UMR CNRS 6118
Project duration: From 01/03/16 to 29/02/20 (4 years)