Earth System Science is an interdisciplinary group set up to unite scientists working on the global evolution of the planet. The research is essentially focused on the physical environment of the Earth, its evolution through time, and the interactions between the biosphere and the geosphere.

The group carries out projects in a variety of themes such as global changes, climatology, hydrology, archeology, oceanography biogeochemistry, remote sensing and geophysics. The accent is on two scientific approaches: mathematical modeling and the use of isotopes and trace elements to document biogeochemical processes.

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23.04.2010 - Documenting ash fallout from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in Belgium

The ash cloud produced by the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland impacted air traffic all over Europe generating huge cost for public and private sectors. The ESSc Geology group initiated a research project in collaboration with volcanologists from the Ghent University and colleagues from Antwerp University to collect the ashes in Belgium, to map their distribution and to document their physico-chemical properties (grain size, density, composition etc.). A call was launched, and the public responded positively. This project makes possible in the case of future volcanic eruptions to scientifically access measures required or not to insure air traffic safety. Belgocontrol financially supports this research.

More info: Ash collecting technique, Facebook ash collection group

22.03.2010 - Price InBev-Baillet Latour for Antarctic research to Steven Goderis PhD student in ESSC

The price of 150.000€ was given to geochemist Steven Goderis, to search for micrometeorites in cracks and faults within outcropping lithologies in the surroundings of the Princess Elisabeth base in the Sør Rondane mountains of Antarctica. The study of these minuscule extraterrestrial particles will shed light on the events that let to the early formation of planets more than 4.5 billion years ago as the Solar System was still in its infancy. The Price will support an expedition in the Austral Summer of 2010-2011. The official ceremony took place in the low emission auditorium of the International Polar Foundation.

More info: Steven Goderis

21.12.2009 - Meeting of the VUB Young Researchers in ESSc

On November 30, the first meeting of the VUB Young Researchers in Earth System Science took place (see program). It was well attended; PhD students and post doctoral researchers interacted, asked each other questions, and learned about a broad variety of ongoing projects; this should be a stimulus for further more interactive research

More info: Philippe Claeys

12.10.2009 - PNAS publication

An independent evaluation of the Younger Dryas extraterrestrial impact hypothesis was published this week, with Ph. Claeys as co-author. This paper demonstrates the lack of extraterrestrial spherules in 13000 years old sediment layers. Read also the Nature News report.

More info: Philippe Claeys

11.10.2009 - Opportunity to participate in Research Cruise in Atlantic Ocean

In the framework of the COST Action ES0801, 5 scientists are invited to take part on an 8 day research 'test' cruise related to the Dutch programme, 'GEOTRACES, Global Change and Microbial Oceanography in the West Atlantic Ocean'. This is an excellent opportunity for young scientists to gain experience in all stages of sampling and analysis of trace metals onboard a research vessel.

More info: Frank Dehairs, application form

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