Geodynamics and natural resources

***While the museum building is closed for
renovation, scientific research continues at Tervuren.***

geodynamics.jpgThe Geodynamics and mineral resources service carries out fundamental and applied research in the fields of geology, geodynamic processes and natural resources (essentially minerals) in central Africa and neighbouring regions.

It is part of the museum’s long tradition in geology which contributed greatly to an understanding of central Africa’s geological history and mineralisations. This tradition is renewed and enriched with ongoing multidisciplinary research that grapple with current social issues.


The service’s main objective is to study the major lithological groups (cratons, mobile belts, sedimentary terrains) to understand their genesis and behaviour over geological time (geodynamics), paying special attention to the formation of ore deposits. Our research also seeks to evaluate the ways  these minerals are exploited and traded. Fieldwork is combined with laboratory methods (petrology, geochemistry, geochronology) and cartography, and is also designed to enhance the department’s geological archives and collections through a multidisciplinary approach.

The service has acquired scientific expertise in several research areas, in partnership with Belgian and foreign partners. It is devoted to developing a multidisciplinary approach for research areas that allow it, such as environmental governance or the history behind the creation of its major collections. The service is also actively involved in the museum’s renovation.

Knowledge and skills transfer

The service has adopted a knowledge and skills transfer policy for universities and institutions in charge of geology and mines (particularly in, but not limited to, the DRC, Burundi, and Rwanda). It is involved in several scientific and technical cooperation projects, in partnership with the Natural hazards service, that are sponsored by the Framework Agreement (RMCA-Belgian Development Cooperation DG-D agreement), the BTC (Belgian Technical Cooperation) in Burundi, or international donors (World Bank, in the DRC).

Infrastructure, collections and archives

Finally, the service is equipped with a thin section laboratory and hosts a very large collection of rocks and minerals, and geological and mining archives. For more than 15 years, the latter have proven to be a rich source of information for mining firms seeking information on mining in the DRC. These archives are now also regarded as an invaluable part of scientific heritage, used once again in a multidisciplinary manner with promising results, for instance in the Brain Paleurafrica project on the Bas-Congo paleontology collections, in partnership with the Environment service and the paleontologists of the RBINS (Dr. T. Smith).



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