The unit integrates a range of research and development activities encompassing three different dimensions of geosciences: 1) Fundamental Geosciences; 2) Applied Geosciences, and 3) Technical Applications of Geosciences.
1. Fundamental Geosciences
a) Geology, mineralogy, petrography, geochemistry and isotopic geology of unaltered granitic rocks and enclaves to study their petrogenesis and find mechanisms responsible for associated mineralizations. Crystal chemistry of tourmaline and ore minerals to explain their formations.
b) Ordovician and Jurassic Invertebrate Palaeontology and Stratigraphy of Portugal, with emphasis on trilobites, ammonoids, brachiopods and foraminifer’s taxonomy and biostratigraphy. Validation of such geoheritage and establishment of Geoconservation as an academic discipline, and protection of reference outcrops.
c) Global approach to the human adaptations to the environment and landscape changes throughout the Quaternary.
2. Applied Geosciences
a) Intensive outreach activities are planned to be implemented by the unit during 2007-2009 under the aim of the International Year of Planet Earth activities in Portugal.
b) MSc training in: Science Education for Sustainable Development; Hydrocarbon Geology; Geological Engineering and Mining; Archaeology, Prehistory and Rock Art.
c) PhD programs in: Mineralogy, Petrology, Geochemistry, Geology; Geological Engineering and Mining; Quaternary materials and cultures.
d) Study of environmental impact of abandoned old mine workings to identify pollutants, their origins, distributions and effects to devise remediation measures.
e) Biostratigraphy, Depositional Systems and Basin Analysis research on Mesozoic sediments. Integrated Stratigraphy methodologies on reference sections (e.g., Bajocian GSSP and Bathonian reference section at Cabo Mondego).
f) Basin Analysis research in the Lusitanian Basin to improve the knowledge of the oil system in Mesozoic sediments.
g) Global approach to human adaptations to the environment and landscape changes throughout the Quaternary: quaternary industries and environmental contexts; rock art and symbolics; collections and heritage management.
h) Properties, characteristics and behavior of geological materials used in engineering works.
i) Phyto-remediation using passive treatment systems.
3. Technical Applications of Geosciences
a) Engineering geology study of geological materials: site investigation; laboratory testing; geomechanical behaviour; properties of alterable soft rocks (mudstones).
b) Stone used in construction (buildings, monuments and archaeological sites).
c) Production, testing and utilization of aggregates in engineering.
d) Application of schist waste for production of ceramics tiles.
e) Slope stability analysis. Evaluation of stability using a modified classification of Romana SMR. Deterministic and probabilistic stability analysis of slopes. Influence of precipitation on landslides.
f) Planning and environment. Geotechnical cartography of urban areas for better land management.
g) Applications of geophysical prospecting to archeology, groundwater resources research, building assessment and environmental assessment.
j) Groundwater hydrology, wellhead protection zones and numerical modeling.
k) Use of traditional mining methods for the separation of urban wastes envisaging recycling.