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FCTUC

Centro de Geociências / Geosciences Center

Objectives                                                                   

Objectives set by CGEO build on the achievements from the previous stage, considering the work of integrated researchers that were already in the center, but also those who now joined, or resumed their affiliation. CGEO has obtained research recognition and impact in the aforementioned clusters, including on heritage evaluation and management. Its members have contributed and will continue to participate in international steering committees on fossil energy, integrated science of sustainability and Quaternary studies. Global objectives, until 2022, are: I) to pursue the interaction with international bodies to further foster collaborative projects engaging earth and human sciences, from fundamental research (e.g. the “Global History of Humankind” project) to wide social awareness of science (in line with “IYGU”) and through tools that may face societal challenges through smooth transformation of humans behavior and life quality (e.g. the Geoparks program or the Geotechnology solutions); II) to promote establishment of territory based projects of participative science and geoheritage, in partnership with public authorities and private and other local stakeholders, enhancing and spreading ongoing partnerships within the projects of geoparks and Apheleia; III) to stress dimensions transversal to all clusters (stratigraphy, risks assessment, technologies, heritage), namely through publishing in strong impact basis (journals, but also books and proceedings and attracting post-doc researchers). The 3 global objectives will be fully achieved due to the specific objectives of each research cluster.    



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The research cluster “Fossil Energy and Sustainable Development” converge into 3 major issues: Stratigraphy, Basin Analysis and Geoconservation. Interaction of members enables the development of projects and research initiatives on high resolution stratigraphy approaches supporting basin analysis studies calibrated by biostratigraphy using different fossil groups (mainly trilobites, fossil floras, ammonites, foraminifera, chitinozoans, calcareous nannofossils and ostracods). Studies are oriented both to basic research (on GSSP´s, ASSP´s and on taxonomic studies) and to time constraining of regional and global events, e.g. paleogeographic framework, paleobiologic provinces, paleoceanic dynamics, climate changes, etc. The cluster plays important role in the development of activities under the auspices of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), in global correlation programs. Petroleum systems studies and hydrocarbon exploration projects are oriented to both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon resources (oil, gas, shale gas, etc.). These studies receive major contribution of high resolution stratigraphy and turn this knowledge into contribution for industrial and economic activities, through partnerships with companies (e.g., Partex, Petrobras, Repsol, Stateoil, Simula). Natural heritage and geoconservation studies play a main role for a balanced economic development and are a major contribution to improve public perception of the natural resources exploration as a sustainable and useful activity. The cluster leads relevant national and international geoconservation initiatives and conceptual approaches to natural heritage assessment and qualification. It currently plays an important role in the development of geoconservation activities under the auspices of the European Geoparks Network and the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network. This approach will continue. both in Portugal and beyond, involving European countries and members of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries, in articulation with Master and PhD projects, reinforcing the influence of the units ‘members in international academic bodies like IUGS and UNESCO, and in the private sector. 



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The research cluster “Geotechnology” fosters use of technology to help solve problems related with geological environment, geotechnics and resources availability for sustainable development of modern societies. The wise production, transformation and use of geological resources and raw materials are increasingly stressing societies and the economy. Circular economy is a fundamental process of resources usage and a central question in all research that will be developed, e.g. the separation of plastics mixtures and separation of copper and plastics from electrical cable waste. Research will be developed to find and propose new solutions for sustainable exploitation of resources in extractive industry complemented by mineralogical, petrographic and geochemical characterization of raw materials and geological resources. Geological environment will be object of research, focused on: a) geotechnical characterization of rock masses, risk assessment of road slopes and landslides, definition of geomechanical quality of rock and rock foundations; b) preservation of heritage buildings related with the properties of stones, old construction techniques and image to maintain cultural identity and to value the memory of know-how in traditional local arts; c) modelling and visualization of the natural fracturing in building stones quarries and durability of porous granites under aggressive conditions; d) study, sensitization, information, training, monitoring and mapping of radon in buildings; e) research on hydromineral systems and associated conceptual models, origin of the mineral waters, recharge areas, residence times and the nature of the hydraulic circuits for its sustainability and protection; f) transference mechanisms of phosphorus, metals and pesticides among soils, sediments and water and their impacts on water quality in meso-scale hydrographic basins and identification of dominant processes of substances transportation to reduce the potential negative impacts of land use; g) determination of strontium and lead isotopic signatures of wine and vineyard soils and rocks-tracers of the provenience region. 



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The cluster “Quaternary, human adaptations and landscape management” has specific objectives which fall into a matrix of thematic research lines and territories of interest to assess transition processes, within the concerns of the UNESCO chair at IPT. The crossing of these two dimensions leads to project, which allow for converging several themes in a single territory (e.g. the Tagus basin) and several comparative studies of a specific them in different territories (e.g. rock art complexes in relation to socioeconomic changes). The thematic lines are artefacts technologies (lithics, ceramics, metals and organic, with a strong use of experimental archaeology), monuments technologies (prehistoric architectures and beyond), landscape studies (including raw materials economy, paleoenvironmental reconstruction and logistics assessment, also in underwater contexts), rock art (namely in contexts of sociocultural and economic transitions), cultural heritage (fostering the technology dimension of cultural heritage in its relation to geological materials and as expression of adaptive behaviour) and integrated landscape management. Main territory based projects will continue to have the Tagus basin as core focus (intensifying studies on the mountain areas), complemented with projects in Europe (Spanish Extremadura and assessing themes in wider geographic scales, e.g. on the presence of deer representations in rock art), Africa (primarily Angola and Western Africa), Southern America (primarily in 3 regions of Brazil, but also Colombia and beyond) and Asia (with China). This approach will continue to lead to theoretical and methodological innovations (e.g. on taphonomy), aiming at continuing to improve on models on landscape management, analytical techniques and the theoretical understanding on how the merge of geosciences and humanities may contribute to the debates on sustainability. All these will be articulated with Master and PhD projects, leading to publications and also influencing international policies on sustainability. The projects are also articulated with the CIPSH-UNESCO main programmes on Global History of Humankind”.