Session 1- Geodynamics and Mineral Ressources

Johan De Grave, UGent (
Stijn Dewaele, UGent (
Philippe Muchez, KU Leuven (
Johan Yans, UNamur (
Anouk Borst, RMCA & KU Leuven (
Thierry De Putter, RMCA (
Max Fernandez-Alonso, RMCA (

Invited speaker:
Antonio Carlos Pedrosa Soares, Geotectonics Research Group at the CPMTC Research Centre, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Session 1Mineral resources are at the heart of our modern societies, with high-tech technologies fuelling a fast-growing demand for commodities and rare elements or metals. The formation of ore deposits is intimately linked to major geodynamic events – magmatic activity, hydrothermal fluids circulation, vertical movements, weathering, etc. The objective of this session is to explore the various geological contexts in which ore deposits can form. Several conveners have an acknowledged expertise in Africa, and hence welcome contributions on African research topics. However, case studies from other regions are most welcome as geodynamic processes are never restricted to one specific area in the world. Contributions on the link between mineral resources exploitation and green techs or development goals are also most welcome.

Specific topics include (not exclusive): the geodynamics and mineralization of Mesoproterozoic belts in Central Africa; ore-forming process in the Neoproterozoic of Central Africa; West Congo Belt in Africa and its counterpart in SE Brazil; supergene ores; metals for a green future; secondary metal resources.


Session 2- Earth Surface Processes and Geohazards

Xavier Devleeschouwer, RBINS-GSB (
Steven Goderis, VUB (
François Fripiat, ULB (
Matthieu Kervyn, VUB (
Matthias Vanmaercke, ULiège (
Olivier Dewitte, RMCA (
François Kervyn, RMCA (

Session 2

Invited speaker:
Tomáš Pánek, Dept. of Physical Geography and Geoecology, University of Ostrava, Czech Republic

The Earth's ever-changing surface is shaped by processes that govern its evolution over all temporal and spatial scales. These processes frequently act in interactions, leading to physical, chemical and biological changes. Geohazards are processes associated with sudden environmental changes. They often result in loss of life and socio-economic impacts. This session welcomes contribution in the broad fields of geomorphology and geohazards.

Specific topics include (not exclusive): fluvial, aeolian and coastal sediment transport; hillslope mass movements and soil erosion; surface manifestation of volcanisms and tectonism; weathering and pedogenesis, modelling and theoretical and quantitative geomorphology; geological records of Earth surface processes in relation to environmental change; impacts of past, current and future environmental change upon Earth surface processes; relationship between Earth surface processes, hazard, risk, and management.


Session 3- Planetary Magmatic and Metamorphic Systems

Olivier Namur, KU Leuven (
Jacqueline Vander Auwera, ULiège (

Session 3Igneous activity has affected all planets. On Earth, the compositional variability of magmas is large and depends on the nature of the source, the conditions of partial melting as well as the on the effects of magmatic differentiation processes, such as crystal fractionation, mixing, assimilation or immiscibility. Basalts appear to be common to all rocky bodies but the abundance of highly evolved felsic magmas seems to be a characteristic of our planet. Metamorphism will modify the rocks from their original igneous state. In most extraterrestrial bodies, fragmentation due to impacts is the main form of metamorphism but thermal and hydrothermal metamorphism has also been recognized in meteorites. On Earth, the dynamic evolution of the lithosphere is preserved in the metamorphic rock record that encompass a large variety of processes ranging from thermal to regional scale metamorphism.

This session will highlight research on case studies of magmatic differentiation starting from the formation of the solar system and meteorites, the partial melting of the upper mantle and lower crust, up to the formation of upper crustal melts. We welcome contributions in integrated metamorphic petrology and its application to the Earth lithosphere and rocky bodies.

Session 4- Geology, Man and Society

Nuno Da Silva, President of UBLG (
Michiel Dusar,  RBINS-GSB (
Jan Elsen, KU Leuven (
Eric Goemaere, RBINS-GSB (
Dimitri Vandenberghe, UGent (

Invited speaker:
Gilles Rixhon, Faculté de géographie et d'aménagement and Ecole Nationale du Génie de l'Eau et de l'Environnement, University of Strasbourg, France

TaiferIn this section Belgium’s rich geological heritage is depicted in its impact on landscapes and its provision of the mineral base of the built environment, past and present. The link between the geological substrate and cultural heritage were created and maintained by many generations of inhabitants with profound knowledge of their environment, but this link seems to be broken today. Much of the traditional knowledge has been lost on where to find and how to use local mineral resources or on the hazards related to former exploitations or land use. Geoscientists have become essential partners to archeologists, historians, architects, city planners, tourist agencies … in reconstructing these links, but also to quarry operators, construction companies for providing sound bases for efficient and ecological extraction and use of the subsurface materials. The geological diversity of Belgium’s landscapes is gradually becoming acknowledged as a valuable resource for education and tourism and integrated into global protection and management schemes.


Session 5- Basin Research and Sedimentology

Session 5-QuarryConveners: 
Anne Christine da Silva, ULiège (
Marc De Batist, UGent (
Vanessa Heyvaert, RBINS-GSB (
Noel Vandenberghe, KU Leuven (
Gert Jan Weltje, KU Leuven (
Damien Delvaux, RMCA (

This session supports any submission related to basin research and sedimentology and stratigraphy. This includes all types of sedimentary settings (marine, continental, deep, shallow, clastics, carbonate), oriented towards basin scale or more local studies. We also welcome research associated with techniques and technologies in sedimentary and stratigraphy research.

Specific themes include (not exclusive): the East African Rift; the Congo Basin; the sedimentological imprint of natural hazards.


Session 6- Past, Present and Future of Life on Earth

Julien Denayer, ULiège ( 
Valentin Fisher, ULiège (
Stephen Louwye, UGent (
Cyrille Prestianni, ULiège & RBINS (
Thierry Smith, RBINS (
Robert Speijer, KU Leuven (

Sessin 6For this session we invite contributions from the entire spectrum of palaeontology. We aim at establishing an interesting mix of new developments in palaeontology, representative of the various research groups and lines of research “made in Belgium”. Accordingly, the scope will range from micropalaeontology to macropalaeontology, from systematics to stratigraphy, from ecology to evolution, from climate to CT-scanning, and from dinosaur digs to nannofossil oozes.


This session will be dedicated to Philippe Gerrienne and Eric Simon, two good colleagues that left us in recent years.


Session 7- Karst Investigation and Subsurface Researches

Vincent Hallet, UNamur (
Michel Van Camp, ROB (
Sophie Verheyden, RBINS (
Pascale Lahogue, RMCA (

Karstic regions face even more than other regions several societal challenges due to their specific characteristics, such as their secondary permeability, mid-to-long-term instability, detrital and chemical deposits as well as their strong anthropogenic interactions among which tourism. Karstic regions cover between 10 and 15% of the continental surface (with exception of Antarctica), and 25% of the world population is dependent of karstic water. Recently karst research gain interest on the international agenda since the discovery of new antibiotics in caves and the identification of potential karst systems on planet Mars, a pledge of successful human colonization since sheltered from cosmic rays. Karstic deposits, detrital or chemical provide since several decennia a window on earth history, through information on local and regional karstological, geological, tectonic, geomorphological, environmental and climatic evolution. Recently, Belgium was the driver of a change in paradigm of speleogenesis. The recent new perspectives ask for a better comprehension of karstic processes, still too much considered as a black box in its relationship with large geological processes, such as ore mineralization. These karst regions which are full of enchantment and legends are since long visited by humans that left their traces. The richness of these areas is the core of the geoheritage interest of several touristic areas. It is therefore no surprise that 2021 is the international year of karst

session 7


Session 8- New Methods in Geosciences

8.1: New spectroscopic Methods Applied to Geosciences


Jean-Marc Baele, Umons, (
Sophie Decrée, GSB-RBINS (

Session 8-1The technological advances of the last decades open new opportunities for geoscientists to solve a wide range of geological problems. Besides the emergence of new techniques such as LIBS (Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy), LAMIS (Laser-Ablation Molecular Isotopic Spectroscopy), PIL (Plasma-Induced Luminescence) and THz (Terahertz) spectroscopy, the increased availability and improved performance of radiation sources, detectors and spectrometers have brought more traditional techniques such as electron microscopy, X-ray and Raman spectroscopy to the next level. With these techniques, large geochemical and mineralogical datasets can be quickly acquired and with minimal efforts, which fosters the development of imaging and screening applications. In this session, we encourage any contribution on the application of new spectroscopic methods in geosciences, emphasizing their benefits, complementarity with other well-established techniques, but also their limitations.


8.2: Advanced Monitoring Methods and Drone-Based Applications


Benoit Smets, RMCA & VUB (

NyiragongoDuring the last decade, new technologies invaded scientific research and monitoring in geosciences. The evolution of computers, do-it-yourself (DIY) electronics, mobile data networks and automated machines has strongly improved the collection of high-quality datasets and the automation of some pre-processing and processing steps, hence quickly and cost-efficiently providing the scientists with the required observations and measurements. For example, in term of remote sensing, the number of satellite images available at no charge for scientific purpose has strongly increased. New low-cost approaches, such as micro-satellite constellations and Unoccupied Aerial Systems (UAS), are in constant development. The spectral, spatial and temporal resolutions of sensors are continuously improved. All these types of evolution make research and monitoring in geosciences more efficient in interpreting natural processes. In the present sub-session, we invite any contribution highlighting the benefits and limitations of modern techniques allowing the acquisition of unprecedented datasets for application in geosciences. Research based on time-series analyses and multidisciplinary approaches are encouraged.


Session 9- Polar Sciences and Ice-sheets

Session 9Conveners:
Xavier Fettweis, ULiège (
François Fripiat, ULB (
Frank Pattyn, ULB (

This session will explore our understanding and quantification of past, present, and future interactions in the Polar Regions and the consequences for the earth system and society. We particularly invite contributions presenting the recent advances in future ice sheets and sea-level changes, atmosphere-sea ice-ocean processes, and biogeochemical cycling in the Polar Regions. Finally, this session will be an opportunity to bring together modelers and observational scientists to share information, identify common problems, and seek collective vision and endeavors for Belgian research in Polar Regions.

Session 10- Permaforst

Sandra Arndt, ULB (
Sophie Opfergelt, UCLouvain (
Bjorn Tytgat, UGent (

Session 10Permafrost, the ground that remains at or below 0°C for more than two consecutive years, underlines about one quarter of the exposed land surface in the Northern Hemisphere. In addition, the wide Arctic shelf hosts a large, yet poorly quantified reservoir of subsea permafrost- a terrestrial relict that mainly formed during glacial periods when the shelf was exposed during low sea level. The Earth’s high latitude regions are warming twice as fast as the global average. As a consequence, permafrost thaw unlocks previously frozen material which becomes available for biogeochemical reactions, with cascading, yet poorly known effects on the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, carbon and nutrient cycling, as well as Arctic greenhouse gas budgets and thus climate. In this session, we welcome contributions related permafrost-climate feedbacks, the impacts of permafrost degradation on Arctic biogeochemical cycling, ecosystems and hydrology, past permafrost dynamics as a key to future projections, Alpine permafrost systems, permafrost microbial ecology, remote sensing of permafrost dynamics, subsea permafrost, and thermokarst processes.

Session 11- Quaternary and Anthropocene (BELQUA)

Nathalie Fagel, BELQUA National Committee, ULiège (

Session 11This session, organized by the BELQUA National Committee, aims to review ongoing Quaternary research in Belgium and abroad. The Quaternary has been redefined in 2009 by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) and the International Commission of Stratigraphy (ICS) after decades of debates (Keer 2008). The Quaternary is now considered as the youngest system within the Cenozoic erathem, it is composed by the Pleistocene and the Holocene series and its base is fixed at 2.6 Ma. The Quaternary is characterized by a high climate variability, with a succession of cold (glacial) and warm (interglacial) periods. These environmental changes influence all the compartments of the Earth system (i.e., atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere). The Quaternary also corresponds to a major evolution of the Hominids with the appearance of the earliest Homo genus. The human induced environmental changes will progressively exceed the natural changes, leading to the definition of the Anthropocene. We invite any contributions dealing with any field of the Quaternary, from field campaign to climate modelling.

Session 12-Geophysics and Seismology

Thomas Lecocq, ROB (
Frédéric Nguyen, ULiège (
Adrien Oth, ECGS, Luxembourg (

Session 12

Geophysical techniques are widely used to characterise structures and dynamic processes in the subsurface. While numerous advances in experimental design, instrumentation, data acquisition and processing, numerical modeling, and inversion constantly push the limits of spatial and temporal resolution, the interpretation of the results often remains ambiguous. We invite contributions covering (but not limited to): Geophysical imaging or monitoring approaches such as seismic, electrical resistivity, electromagnetic or ground-penetrating radar. Seismological studies using ambient noise to characterise subsurface structures and dynamic processes are welcome including volcano- and induced seismicity aspects; earthquake source studies; or groundwater related studies.

Session 13-Geo-energy

Session 13-1The subsurface of our planet Earth has provided fossil fuels as the main energy source for many decades. In the fight against climate change, fossil fuel consumption must decrease, but our planet's subsurface remains an important source of solutions. Geothermal energy, both shallow and deep, plays a substantial role in the sustainable energy mix of the future as it is a local, sustainable, reliable, and affordable source of energy below our feet. Underground energy storage can be used to accommodate the seasonal difference in heat supply and demand. CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS) consist in capturing the CO2 contained in the emissions of industrial plants, then injecting it deep underground. This technology can play an important role in the transition from fossil to sustainable energy sources and reduce unavoidable process emissions. From these various applications linked to the use of the (deep) subsurface, synergies can emerge but also conflicts of use; to avoid the latter while offering realistic, safe, economical and sustainable solutions, a new level of subsoil planning and assessment methods is needed.

13.1. Geo-energy: Opportunities and Constraints for Subsurface Uses

Virginie Harcouët-Menou, VITO (

Olivier Kaufmann, UMons (
David Lagrou, VITO (
Kris Welkenhuysen, GSB (

This session will cover the specific themes (not exclusive): geothermal energy (shallow, deep and ultra-deep), energy storage, CO2-storage, geological economics, synergies and conflicts of use.

Session 14.2 Interreg logo13.2. DGE Rollout, Roll-out of deep geothermal energy in NW-Europe

Matsen Broothaers, VITO ( 
Tobias Fritschle, GD-NRW ( 
Estelle Petitclerc, RBINS-GSB (

Session 14.2The transnational EU-Interreg funded project “Roll-out of Deep Geothermal Energy in North-West Europe” (DGE-ROLLOUT; aims to foster the use of deep geothermal energy as a climate- and environmentally-friendly resource in North-West Europe (NWE). Following a multi-disciplinary geoscientific approach, DGE-ROLLOUT investigates one of the most promising carbonate reservoirs in NWE, the Lower Carboniferous Kohlenkalk-Group situated within the Rhenohercynian Basin. The exploitation of such reservoirs using hydrothermal techniques provides the potential to generate climate-neutral heat and power, and therefore helps reduce CO2 emissions.

This session aims to present the different aspects implemented through and within DGE-ROLLOUT. Presenters from Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands will provide insight to current projects, such as cross-border acquisition of 2D-seismic surveys, 3D-modelling of the Kohlenkalk-Group in the subsurface of the transnational area, as well as the development and optimisation of new and existing deep geothermal power plants. A major focus of this session is to contribute to the dissemination of the state of the art on deep geothermal energy, and to establish transnational collaboration to promote the use of this sustainable and widely available energy resource.