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FCTUC

Centro de Geociências / Geosciences Center

Regional impact

CGEO privileges territory based projects bridging 3 domains of human adaptation: identification of resources, their transformation through technology and mechanisms of identification of needs and design of strategies to face dilemmas.

Five main contributions of CGEO members were: 1) participation in the international steering committee and coordination of Iberian actions of the International Year of Global Understanding (IYGU); 2) participation in the steering committees of UNESCO projects on Geo-Parks,  International Geoscience Programme (IGP), Landscape Management (Apheleia) and Sustainability Science (SuS), including two UNESCO chairs; 3) enlarge resources exploration, in academic research on sedimentary basins and collaborative projects with the oil industry; 4) deepen engineering geology use of natural materials, management of the geological environment and multi risk assessment; 5) full multidisciplinary review of the Neolithic process in the Tagus basin, including the elaboration of the rock art integral corpus and within comparative approaches.

IYGU, with ICSU, ISSC and CIPSH (via a CGEO member), created 38 centers in all continents, Western Europe being led by CGEO and ITM, and set a five objectives agenda: increase awareness of the natural and cultural dimensions of human action; contribute to change harmful habits and foster best practice; enhance individual capacity and responsibility; produce teaching modules; serve as catalyst for transdisciplinary.

CGEO was pioneer in discussions and implementation of the Geoparks UNESCO programme, and hosts a chair on this topic, at UTAD, a clear example of integration of geosciences and sciences and knowledge at large. It is also the basis of the European Apheleia strategic partnership, coordinated by IPT, with UNESCO from 2016 and from 2018 with a UNESCO chair. Together with the collaboration with the IGP, it integrated the steering committee of UNESCO’s project on SuS, which revised its principles fully in line with CGEO approach: new capacities, critical analysis and foresight, systems thinking, changing environments, risks and insecurity, recognize and address diverse values, conflicts of goals and interests.

Social impact of research activities focused on sedimentary geology can be estimated through the number and diversity of areas of human activity that refer to and/or refer to it, with emphasis not only on the academic context but also on the interrelationships with fossil energy production companies and organizations that oversee environmental management and tourism. High resolution biostratigraphy enabled to: improve calibration of the Geological Time calendar; deepen knowledge of Earth History; establish time scales based on microfossils with application in the interpretation of drilling in the scope of oil and gas exploration activities. Advances contributed to attract increasing number of partnerships with oil companies, in prospecting and research (upstream) projects and in advanced training through indoor specialization courses and field courses oriented to their staff. CGEO hosted the American Association of Petroleum Geologists European Regional Conference & Exhibition: Tethys-Atlantic interaction along the European-Iberian-African plate boundaries (Lisbon, 2015), a significant initiative of knowledge transfer from the academy to the petroleum companies. It allowed integration of postgraduate students in the world of industry through presentation of scientific communications at the meeting, besides Master's theses in Geosciences, in the Area of Petroleum Geology.

The analysis of geological and geotechnical studies for the construction of engineering infrastructures in Cabo Verde and Mozambique (dams), Angola (slopes), Spain (tunnels, dams and harbour), Brazil (ore transport railway), and Portugal (slopes, buildings, roads, dams) was thoroughly investigated. The study of natural materials encompassed: a) the physical and mechanical characterization of limestones, igneous and metamorphic rocks; b) the technical and laboratory support on stone and mortar interventions for strengthening architectural heritage; c) granite and marble microtextural (nanotextural) anisotropy implications on building stone decay. The management of the geological environment and multi risk assessment was focused on: a) the Managing Mediterranean Mountain Geoheritage (Conference); b) coordination of International research Project on Architecture and Sustainable Development Based on Eco-Humanistic Principles & Advanced Technologies Without Losing Identity  (SEHUD Project, 2013-2016). Concerning the strategic minerals is quite relevant the implementation (2017-2018), as project leader (SAICT/2016), of strategies for the lithiniferous deposits in sustainable development of low density regions. Recycling of plastics requires the separation from other constituents (e.g.: cooper) and the separation of plastics mixture into individual plastics. The application of separation methods used in the mining industry, particularly froth flotation and gravity methods was deeply investigated. Since 2017 the multidisciplinary project Integrative Research in Environment, Agro-Chains and Technology (INTERACT) is developed at UTAD, integrating the BEST line (Bio-economics and Sustainability) and the research on “Preserving Water Resources” where hydromineral systems are studied. This work also includes the research on the “Transference mechanisms of phosphorus, metals and pesticides among soils sediments and water”. Research on the dispersion of raw materials in the surface environment and implications for pollution control in river and urban environments was investigated.

In the study of transition into food production in the Tagus basin, studies (including PhD projects) demonstrated, as previously assumed from stratigraphy of karstic deposits, that vegetation cover decay preceded first farming activities, the adaptation of different groups being related to dry episodes of 8.2 and 7.6 ka. Taphonomy studies demonstrated the role of animals in the accumulation of organic remains in human burials, while combination of raw materials provenance studies (ceramics, lithics, construction materials, pigments) and eco-bio-anthropological analysis (including DNA) evidenced two settlement networks, on each side of the basin, as a matrix of herders, foragers and, later, early farmers. The rock art complex corpus and chronology has been revised and comparative approaches to transition processes in Brazil and Angola have been assessed. Research improved methodologies, including design of new software (EU project HANPAS), knowledge dissemination tools and models on anthropological dynamics in relation to resources (EU project GESTART).