Geomorphological processes, natural resources and geological hazards

The program is committed to understanding and monitoring earth surface processes and hydrogeological water resources. The program has practical implications on the society in terms of assessment of environmental risk (e.g. landslides, floods, coastal morphodynamics, groundwater pollution), evaluation and exploitation of renewable natural resources (e.g. groundwater and geothermal resources). Our research is carried out through field survey, geophysical analyses, remote sensing, numerical and physical modeling.

Some of the ongoing research within the Program "Geomorphological processes, natural resources and geological hazards" includes:

  • Analysis of geomorphological processes and geological hazards (contacts: Alberto Carton, Luca Carturan, Andrea D'Alpaos, Mario Floris, Alessandro Fontana, Antonio Galgaro, Massimiliano Ghinassi, Paolo Mozzi, Paolo Scotton, Nicola Surian).

The research group deals with the analysis, monitoring and management of geomorphological risk, considering in particular risks related to evolutionary geomorphological processes in mountain and coastal areas, with a main focus on slope instability and coastal erosion. The research is carried out through integrated innovative monitoring of landslides, aimed at defining significant kinematic parameters. Additional research activity deals with the generation of evolutionary geological-technical models and of cause-effect relations to study slope instability phenomena. The activities carried out by the research groups also include sensorial and instrumental development and engineering of monitoring systems.

  • Characterization, evaluation and protection of groundwater resources (contacts: Paolo Fabbri, Leonardo Piccinini, Dario Zampieri).

This project is concerned with the hydrogeological characteristics, the protection and the exploitation situation of the main aquifers located in NE Italy. The aim is to identify the hydrodynamic processes controlling the recharge and groundwater flowpaths. The aquifers are defined in their hydro-stratigraphical structure, spatial geometry, water budget, flow velocity, transmissivity, permeability and storability. Hydrogeological interests also concentrate on the monitoring of the aquifer potentiometric level changes caused by exploitation for industrial and agricultural purposes. Final goal is to provide at the decision support level some fundamental operational conditions.

  • Near surface Geophysics (contacts: Jacopo Boaga, Giorgio Cassiani).
  • Natural resources: Geothermal energy and shallow geothermal resources (contacts: Jacopo Boaga, Giorgio Cassiani, Paolo Fabbri, Antonio Galgaro, Silvana Martin, Leonardo Piccinini, Paolo Scotton, Raffaele Sassi, Dario Zampieri).

The main activity of this research group covers a wide range of disciplines with respect to geological knowledge in geoenergy issues. The main topics span from low to medium and high enthalpy geothermal systems involving multidisciplinary research fields such as hydrogeology, tectonophysics, petrophysics, geophysics and geochemistry, to develop conceptual and numerical models of underground heat transfer and storage processes, and innovative ground heat exchange and storage solutions and geothermal mapping. This activity aims at developing a sustainable exploitation of geothermal resources by means of scientific approach, and is included in several EU projects active in the H2020 program.