SRP-Onderzoekszwaartepunt: Earth: from Accretion to Anthropocene: Documenting 4.5 Billion Years of Global Changes

Project Details


The SRP studies ancient and modern changes of the global Earth System. Coupled with numerical modelling, the behavior and concentration of selected chemical elements (Cd, Fe..), and isotope ratios (13C/12C, 18O/16O…), measured in minerals, fossils, sediments, water, ice, bones, etc. document factors and processes triggering and/or resulting from (paleo)environmental changes, at timescales ranging from millions of years to seasons, or days. This project supports 4 research priorities. The first 3 build on the work previously carried out on 1) meteorites & impact craters, 2) paleoclimate reconstruction, and 3) anthropogenic pollution. The 4th new line in bioarchaeology uses these same chemical tracers to sheds a light on the interactions between ancient population and landscape and their interplay through time. The work planned addresses more particularly: 1) The characterization of the flux of extraterrestrial material to Earth focusing on geological periods, likely marked by higher intensity: the late Eocene, Triassic-Jurassic and mid-Ordovician. 2) The modeling of climate conditions during Pleistocene interglacial periods and the investigation at high resolution of ancient warming / cooling transitions. 3) The study, in dense urbanized zones located near active volcanoes, of how volcanic ashes absorb/accumulate hazardous pollutants and their potential effects on local populations. 4) The documentation of bio-available Sr (and metals) incorporation in plants, as Sr isotope measured on bones and teeth from archaeological sites documents living patterns of ancient human populations. As long-term goal, this SRP aims at gathering all VUB actors around the Earth and Environmental sciences, to position the VUB as a global change research pilar at national and international level.
Effective start/end date1/11/2231/10/27


  • Earth

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Other social and economic geography not elsewhere classified


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