Institute of environmental geology and geoengineering (IGAG)

Research activities

The research groups at IGAG cover five main research lines, which are considered strategic and most promising:
(1) "Geological processes for the knowledge and mitigation of natural hazards and for the assessment and exploitation of natural resources"
Aims: It addresses fundamental and advanced geological researches at different scales aimed at identifying and understanding the geological processes ruling some of the main natural hazards (seismic, volcanic, slope instability) and natural resource abundances (hydrocarbons, geothermal fluids, groundwater). The artificial subsurface storage of fluids such as CO2 and CH4 is also addressed.
Methods: It uses multidisciplinary methods such as geological mapping, reflection seismic cross-sectioning, paleoseismological analyses, tephrochronology, and various petrophysical and petrochemical measurements.
(2) "Geomorphological evolution of continental margins and adjoining marine areas for the mitigation of geological hazards"
Aims: It addresses the geomorphology of marine areas through the collection of high-resolution morphobathymetric data and the development of geographic databases. The main aim is to produce new and suitable morphobathymetric models for hazard assessment such as slope instability, seismic faulting, and submarine volcanism.
Methods: It uses all standard and novel marine methods of data acquisition including multibeam, reflection seismics, and sample dredging.
(3) "Soil and fluid geochemistry for environmental assessments"
Aims: It addresses the distribution, mobility, and migration of chemical elements and of their stable and radioactive isotopes in the very shallow crustal environment to understand and assess the processes ruling the elements fractionation and dispersion in different environmental matrices. Its main goal is to find new methods for the assessment of the human environment quality, the identification of mineral resources, and the recognition of pollution sources.
Methods: This research line uses multidisciplinary methods such as geochemical prospecting with passive radon control systems, surface gamma ray logging, uranium-series radionuclides migration assessment, and newly developed flux accumulation passive chambers.
(4) "Site remediation and recovery technologies of industrial waste"
Aims: It addresses polluted site remediation and recovery technologies of industrial wastes, including WEEE (Waste of Electric and Electronic Equipment), with treatment and disposal of hazardous wastes, in situ remediation of soils contaminated by hydrocarbons and metals, and bioconversion of organic compounds occurring in environmental matrices.
Methods: It uses novel and advanced methods of environmental remediation including chemical, physical, and biological techniques, full cycle rRNA analysis, mineralurgic and biotechnological decontamination, waste recycling, and impervious confinement of hazardous wastes.
(5) "Exploitation and promotion of geological raw materials and safety of disused mining areas"
Aims: It addresses the prospecting, minero-petrographical, and physical-chemical characterization of geological raw materials as well as the development of new mineral treatments to obtain marketable products but also to minimize the contaminants and the rejected materials in mining sites.
Methods: It uses different chemical, biological, physical methods integrated to develop innovative technologies such as water jet and diamond wire.
Excellence groups: in terms of number of publications, attracted funds, and attractiveness to young researchers (see the data in the related sections below), two excellence groups are recognized in IGAG: the research lines related to geological processes (see no. 1 above) and to the geomorphology of marine areas.