Gianreto Manatschal was born in a small rumantsch village (Sta Maria/Val Müstair) in the Alps of SE Switzerland. He received his PhD in geology from the ETH Zürich, Switzerland in 1995. After postdoctoral appointments at the Danish Lithosphere Centre and at ETH Zürich, he moved to Strasbourg (France), where he became full professor in tectonics at the Ecole et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre in 2003. His major research interests are related to the formation and reactivation of rifted margins in the Atlantic and Alpine Tethys domains. He participated on ODP Legs 173 and 210 at the Iberia and Newfoundland margins and worked in the Alps, Pyrenees and at many rifted margins in research projets and/or with industry. He is head of the geology group at the University of Strasbourg and supervised or co-supervised 33 Master students, 30 PhD students and 15 Post Docs. He is involved in several research projects financed by national science foundations and companies, holds (together with Nick Kusnir) a consortium with 13 companies (M6 consortium) was and is PI of several big research projects. He is married and father of 3 children.

Research/Academic positions

Since 1.09.2003 :                      Full professor at the l’Ecole et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre, University of Strasbourg.
01.11.1999 - 31.09.2003 :      Assistant professor at the l’Ecole et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre, University Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg.
01.04.1997 - 31.10.1999 :      Post Doc at the Institut of Geology at the ETH Zürich (Switzerland).
01.07.1995 - 31.03.1997 :      Post Doc at the Dansk Lithosfaerecenter, Copenhague (Danemark).
01.05.1991 - 30.04.1995 :      PhD and teaching assistant at the Institut of Geology at the ETH Zürich (Switzerland).

University degrees

HDR (Habilitation):   5.12.2001 at the EOST in Strasbourg)
title: De l’extension précoce à l’ouverture océanique: exemples des marges ibérique actuelle et adriatique ancienne

PhD:                            1.5.1991 – 31.6.1995 at the ETH Zürich  
title: Jurassic rifting and formation of a passive continental margin (Platta and Err nappes, Eastern Switzerland): geometry, kinematics and geochemistry of fault rocks and a comparison with the Galicia margin.

Research interest :

  • major research interests are related to the formation and reactivation of rifted margins in the Atlantic and Alpine Tethys domains

Methods :
multidisciplinary and multiscale tectonic approach integrating onshore and offshore geological and geophysical data 

Sites :
Alps, Pyrénées and all global rifted margins 

Some studies: 

some projects:

  • PI of M6 research consortium with three main research themes:
    I.Understanding “necking” of the crust lithosphere during rifting (when, where and how)
    II.Describing magmatic systems and their link to rifting (when, where, and how much)
    III.Mapping multistage rift systems and describing the related tectono-magmatic and stratigraphic evolution using a “Wheeler” approach (linking the temporal and spatial scale)

  • PI in the OROGEN Project
  • PI  of the proejct « Assessing the structural, rheological and temporal evolution of hyper extended deep water rifted margins» financed by ExxonMobil
  • PI of the project « Fluids in hyper-extended deep water rifted margins » financed by Petrobras

Publication record

Ten career-best publications

  1. Manatschal, G., Lavier, L.L., Chenin, P. (2015). The role of inheritance in structuring hyperextended rift systems: Some considerations based on observations and numerical modeling. Gondwana Research, Elsevier, 27, pp.140-164. <10.1016/
    This paper provides a conceptual view of how to integrate the role of inheritance in extensional systems related to the formation of rifted margins.
  2. Pinto, V.H., Manatschal, G., Karpoff, A-M., Viana A. (2015). Tracing mantle-reacted fluids in magma-poor rifted margins: The example of Alpine Tethyan rifted margins. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 16, doi:10.1002/2015GC005830.
    This paper is one of the first showing evidence for large scale hydrothermal convection cells associated with hyper-extension and transport of fluids into the mantle and back to the surface.
  3. Gillard, M., Manatschal G., Autin, J. (2015). How can asymmetric detachment faults generate symmetric Ocean Continent Transitions?. Terra Nova, Wiley-Blackwell, <10.1111/ter.12183>. 
    This paper addresses a major issue in extensional systems, namely what is the relation between the deformation at the scale of a fault system and the one at the scale of a margin.
  4. Tugend, J., Manatschal, G., Kusznirm N. (2015). Spatial and temporal evolution of hyperextended rift systems: Implication for the nature, kinematics, and timing of the Iberian-European plate boundary. Geology, Geological Society of America, 43, pp. 15-18.
    This paper discusses the Mesozoic hyper-extended system at the scale of the Iberian-European plate boundary and shows their complex spatial and temporal evolution. 
  5. Mohn, G., Manatschal, G., Beltrando, M., Masini, E., Kusznir, N. (2012). Necking of continental crust in magma-poor rifted margins: Evidence from the fossil Alpine Tethys margins. Tectonics, 31 (1), art. no. TC1012 .
    This paper is one of the first describing the necking process in hyper-extended rifted margins using field observations. 
  6. Bronner A., Sauter D., Manatschal G., Péron-Pinvidic G., Munschy M., 2011— Magmatic breakup as a new explanation for magnetic anomalies at magma-poor rifted margins. NatureGeoscience
    This paper discusses the processes related to continental breakup and proposes a new explanation for magnetic anomalies at magma-poor rifted margins.
  7. Manatschal, G., & Müntener, O. (2009). A type sequence across an ancient magma-poor ocean-continent transition: The example of the western alpine tethys ophiolites. Tectonophysics, 473(1-2), 4-19.
    This paper describes type sections of Alpine Type Ophiolites and suggest that these sequences are not related to true oceans, but rather to Ocean Continent Transitions
  8. Lavier, L. L., & Manatschal, G. (2006). A mechanism to thin the continental lithosphere at magma-poor margins. Nature, 440(7082), 324-328.
    This paper proposes a dynamic model to explain the thinning of continental lithosphere in magma-poor rifted margins using data from the Iberia-Newfoundland and Alpine Tethys margins.
  9. Manatschal, G. (2004). New models for evolution of magma-poor rifted margins based on a review of data and concepts from west iberia and the alps. International Journal of Earth Sciences, 93(3), 432-466.
    This paper reviews the key observations made in the Alps and western Iberia and discusses new concepts to explain hyper-extended, magma-poor rifted margins.
  10. Whitmarsh, R. B., Manatschal, G., & Minshull, T. A. (2001). Evolution of magma-poor continental margins from rifting to seafloor spreading.Nature, 413(6852), 150-154.
    This paper describes the structure and evolution of Zone of Exhumed Continental Mantle using the example of Iberia Newfoundland and the Alpine Tethys systems.

Professional Affiliations

      • American Geophysical Union (USA)
      • Geologische Vereinigung (Germany)
      • Société Géologique de France (France)
      • Schweizerische Geologische Gesellschaft (Switzerland)


2003-          University of Strasbourg, full professor

1999-2003    University of Strasbourg, assistant professor

1997-1999    ETH Zürich, Postdoctoral Fellowship in Geology, Department of Earth Sciences

1995-1997    Danish Lithosphere Centre, Postdoctoral Fellowship


2008           ExxonMobil Grant for excellence in research

2007           ExxonMobil Grant for excellence in research

2000           HANS CLOOS prize for young scientists Geologische Vereinigung (Germany)

1991           Silver medal and distinction for diploma thesis, ETH Zürich