Natural hazards

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

natural-hazards.jpgThe Natural Hazards Service has three main roles: scientific research, expertise and knowledge transfer.

Scientific research

The identification, assessment, study and analysis of natural hazards and risks of geological and geomorphological origin in Africa, particularly Central Africa.
The Service’s research into these hazards focuses on volcanic and seismic events, mass movements and the geological component of water-related hazards, all of which have a potential impact on the population and infrastructure.
This research employs spatial optical and radar remote sensing techniques. A particular interest is taken in radar interferometry (InSAR) for the study of ground deformations.

Specifically, the research conducted within our group relates to the following:

  • compiling an inventory of hazards of geological or geomorphological origin (focusing on Central Africa);
  • analysing these hazards and how they relate to superficial and deep geodynamic processes;
  • studying the regional and temporal variability of these phenomena and their anthropisation (the influence of human actions);
  • assessing the vulnerability of populations and infrastructure, and the risks associated with these hazards;
  • the development and utilisation of satellite methods and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools for spatial analysis and modelling.

Services and expertise

The Service is responsible for managing the collections of the map and aerial photography archives and ensuring public access to them. The expertise developed in the field of cartography and GIS is used to update maps of regions with little or no previous cartographic coverage, collect sectoral information, develop thematic GIS platforms and exploit the resources of geological archives.

Scientific cooperation and knowledge transfer

The scientific research activities are based on strong working collaborations, in particular with a network of African partners.
Knowledge transfer programmes are organised in close synergy and complementarity with the research projects.


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