Measuring the dynamic nature of geological processes
***While the museum building will close its doors mid-2013 for
renovation, scientific research will continue at Tervuren.***
Geochemistry is the study of geological processes by which chemical elements and isotopes are displaced on the surface and inside the earth.
Measuring the concentrations of these elements and isotopes in the rocks enable scientists to quantify the dynamic nature of geological processes which may be:
- slow: over several millions of years
- fast: in a few days or centuries.
The RMCA has a particular interest in biogeochemical aspects (transit of elements in the biosphere) and in geological processes which have an impact on human society (climate change, anthropogenic pollution, volcanic activity, etc.). With a view to obtaining the most appropriate and accurate responses, we are continually improving our chemical and isotopic tracers.
- study of former silicification and their link to the origin of life,
- measuring climate variability and the quality of water in Africa and Europea using biological recorders,
- role of the southern ocean in global biogeochemical cycles and in regulating the global climate,
- impact of vegetation cover on the dynamic nature of silicon in the basin of the Scheldt and the Congo.
Measurements are carried out using various spectrometric instruments managed in collaboration with the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
The results and the methods developed in projects outside Africa are then redirected towards specific research in various regions of Africa.
Most of our projects are carried out using cooperation networks with other Belgian, European and African institutions.