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Prof. Dr. Janos Urai

Office Location

Building: Lochnerstr.
Room: 309
Lochnerstrasse 4 - 20
52056 Aachen
(17) Teilort


Institute of Structural Geology, Tectonics and Geomechanics


Phone: +49 241 80-95723
Email: j.urai@ged.rwth-aachen.de

curriculum vitae

Current positions

Professor of Structural Geology, Tectonics and Geomechanics at RWTH Aachen University.

Inaugural Dean, Faculty of Science, German University of Technology (GUtech), Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.


..................Elementary and secondary school, Budapest, Hungary

1980:...........Drs, Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, Structural Geology and Crystallography.

1983:...........Dr, Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht, Summa Cum Laude.


1984:...........State University of New York at Albany.

1985-1989:.....Constantijn en Christiaan Huygens fellow, NWO.

1986:...........University of California at Davis.

1987:...........Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University.


1989-1996:.....Senior Research Geologist, Shell Research, Rijswijk.


1996- present:.Professor of Structural Geology and Tectonics, RWTH Aachen University.

2006- present:.Inaugural Dean, Faculty of Science, German University of Technology (GUtech), Muscat, Oman.

2006- 2010.....Head of the Department of Applied Geoscience, German University of Technology (GUtech), Muscat, Oman.


Topics of interest

Micro- and mesoscale processes of rock deformation in the presence of fluids, investigated by field, laboratory and numerical methods.

Salt tectonics, evolution of salt structures

Deformation mechanisms and fluid flow in Halite rocks

Structure of mobile grain boundaries in the presence of a fluid phase

Nanoscale morphology of the pore space in fine grained rocks

Sealing of fractures and crystal growth in fractured rock

Evolution of fault gouge, fault seal prediction

Seal integrity and seal breakdown

Boudinage in layered rocks

Evolution of the high pressure cell in the Jebel Akhdar anticline, Oman

Evolution of the metamorphic core complex on Naxos, Greece

Development of apparatus for deformation experiments


Courses in structural geology, geomechanics and geodynamics at all levels, in industry and academic environment.

Development of multimedia-based teaching tools in structural geology.

Regular invited lectures worldwide.

Lectures to the public in Geoscience topics.

Exchange programme (Masterclasses, Projects) with secondary schools in Limburg, the Netherlands.

Development and accreditation of Academic study programme (BSc and MSc), Faculty of Science, German University of Technology (GUtech), Muscat, Oman.



2006- present:..Inaugural Dean, Department of Applied Geoscience, German University of Technology (GUtech), Muscat, Oman.

2006- 2010......Head of the Department of Applied Geoscience, German University of Technology (GUtech), Muscat, Oman.

1999-2001.......Head of the Department of Geoscience, RWTH Aachen University.

1997..............Secretary, Committee “Physical Properties of Geomaterials” , European Geophysical Union.

...................Functions in international scientific committees and review boards.

...................Convener of symposia at international conferences.

...................Wide network of international cooperations and contacts.

...................Member of American Geophysical Union, European Union of Geoscience, 

...................Koninklijke Nederlandse Geologisch en Mijnbouwkundig Gezelschap. Geological Society of Oman.

...................Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Virtual Explorer.



1985.............Constantijn en Christiaan Huygens fellowship of NWO

2002.............Andre Dumont medal, Belgian Geological Society

Research Associations

RWTH Aachen University (Prof. P.A. Kukla, PD Dr. C. Hilgers)

Universität Tübingen (Prof. Dr. P. Bons)

Université Paul-Sabatier Toulouse (Dr. M. Jessell)

Universiteit Utrecht (Prof. Dr. C.J. Spiers)

KU Leuven (Prof. Dr. M. Sintubin)

Shell International, (Dr. P. Richard)

German University of technology in Oman (Prof. Dr. B. Stauble, Prof. Dr. B. den Brok)

EXXONMOBIL Research, Houston (Dr. P. Vrolijk, Dr. D. Olgaard)


PhD students

Paul D. Bons: Rheology of multiphase rocks (copromotor, RU Utrecht, 1993)

Roland Bekendam, (1998) Pillar stability and large-scale collapse of abandoned room and pillar limestone mines in South-Limburg, the Netherlands. (TU Delft, co-supervised with Prof. D.G. Price)

Christian Scheffzück: Textures in experimentally deformed halite (1999)

Christoph Hilgers (2000) Vein Growth in Fractures – experimental, numerical and real rock studies

Wouter van der Zee, (2001), Dynamics of fault gouge development in layered sand-clay sequences

Alexandra Hildenbrand, (2003) Fluid transport processes in mudstones RWTH Aachen, (co-supervised with Prof. Dr. R. Littke)

Ilse Kenis, (2004) Brittle-ductile deformation behaviour in the middle crust as exemplified by mullions in the high-Ardenne slate belt (KU Leuven, Promotor: Prof. Dr. M. Sintubin)

Oliver Schenk, (2005) Grain Boundary Structure in recrystallizing rocks (DFG)

Emmanuel Eseme, (2006) Oil shales: Compaction, Petroleum Generation and Expulsion (Promotor: Prof. Littke )

Sofie Nollet, (2006) Fracture sealing processes in the Buntsandstein (DFG)

Zsolt Schleder, (2006) Microtectonics of Halite (DFG)

Johannes Schoenherr, (2007) Halite and Bitumen cementation in Carbonate stringers enclosed in Halite, South Oman Salt Basin (PDO, co-supervised with Prof. Littke and Prof. Kukla)

Marc Holland, (2009) Fault zone structure in carbonate rocks. (Shell)

Heijn van Gent, (2010) Stress and Strain from Reflection seismic data (DFG)

Joyce Schmatz, (2010) Grain boundary- fluid inclusion interaction  (EU)


PhD's In progress (funding)

Marcus Mohr, Salt Tectonics (co-supervised with Prof. Dr. P. Kukla)  (DFG)

Shiyuan Li, Numerical modeling of deformation of carbonate stringers in salt (PDO)

Zoltán Komoróczi, Faults and fractures in Sandstone reservoirs (Wintershall)

Andrea Komoróczi, Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics models of Geomechanics (PDO)

Susanne Hemes, Nanoscale pore morphology of Boom Clay (ANDRAS)

Maartje Houben, Nanoscale pore morphology of Opalinus Clay (NAGRA)

Jop Klaver, Nanoscale pore morphology of Gas Shales (Shell)

Sohrab Nooralseli-Garakani, Clay smear in Normal faults (DFG)

Max Arndt, Crystal Growth Dynamics in Veins (DGMK)

Simon Virgo, Vein Mechanics (DGMK)


Diploma, MSc and BSc students

Utrecht: Maarten Krabbendam (effect of graphite on recrystallization of quartzite mylonites, Naxos); Maaike Koopman (3D grain morphology and crystal orientations in coarse grained Olivine tectonites); John Ter Haar (deformation of OCP-Camphor aggregates in transmitted light); Bart Berger (3D grain morphology and crystal orientations in coarse grained Olivine tectonites); Annewill van Loon (grain size and 3D grain morphology in statically recrystallize marbles, Naxos); Peter Visser (movies of OCP see through deformation); Alice Post (experimental simulation of veins); Ineke Dijkstra (Qz exp deformation and fluid-assisted recrystallization)

Shell: Marc de Urreiztieta (capillary seals database); Lodewijk de Mol van Otterloo (ringshear experiments in salt); Dirk Ramautansink (Rock mechanics Database); Rob van Wijk (Rock mechanics Database); Wouter van der Zee (Rock mechanics Database); Lodewijk Bos (in-situ stress in Salt); Peter Blauw (artificial shale preparation); Mathieu Molenaar (Neural nets and wellbore stability)

Aachen: Andrea Heide, Michael Hansen (Naxos fluids); Ulrich Zier; Ingo Kuhl (Rursee veins); Martin Lurkens (Salt metamorphism); Michael Weissleder (Diablerets Nappe); Sandra Hildebrand (Woods Metal porosimetry); Karin Dilg (Vein growth experiments); Oliver Schenk (Naxos Boudins); Daniel Benkert (Scaled models of folding); Martijn Dingelmans (Adaptive hypermedia); Michael Berger (Rursee); Marc Holland (scaled models of brittle faulting) Joyce Schmatz (Clay smear experiments), Katerina Scholz (drilling in salt), Fotios Risvanis (Vitrinite deformation); Ansger Heinmann (Oman salt domes), Keyvan Osivandi (drilling in salt), Heijn van Gent (scaled models of faulting), Erik Wanningen (Jebel Hafeet tectonics), Max Arndt (Oman Veins), Simon Virgo (Oman Veins), Zoe Soebisch (Oman Veins), Michael Kettermann (Boudinage), Ben Laurich, Patrick Wüstefeld, Alexander Raith, Sebastian Thronberens (veins in Oman)