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Strengthening research in the Croatian Geological Survey: Geoscience-Twinning to develop state-of-the-art subsurface modelling capability and scientific impact

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - GeoTwinn (Strengthening research in the Croatian Geological Survey: Geoscience-Twinning to develop state-of-the-art subsurface modelling capability and scientific impact)

Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2019-12-31

The project seeks to advance HGI-CGS’s capacity to undertake high-impact research in four key geoscience disciplines that lie at the heart of world-leading geological surveys and geoscience research institutes, and which address important challenges faced by Croatia. A specific objective is associated with each of these four disciplines, divided into four Work packages (WP), while a fifth overall objective provides maximal impact of the activities:
WP1 - 3D geological surveying and subsurface modelling - to embed state-of-the-art geological surveying, interpretation and modelling techniques within HGI-CGS that transform their capability to undertake research to understand, describe, and visualize the geology of Croatia and its surrounding regions in three dimensions, and its controls on processes operating in the subsurface.
WP2 - Groundwater flow and contaminant transport modelling - to undertake a programme of collaboration and knowledge exchange that advances the capability of HGI-CGS to understand, simulate and predict the movement of groundwater and contaminants in the subsurface, in a range of hydrogeological environments, leading to a better understanding of risks to water resources and their sustainable use.
WP3 - Geological hazards: data collecting and analysis - introducing engineering geologists to cutting-edge methods and techniques for remote sensing hazardous geological processes detection, monitoring and analysis; establishing cooperation of HGI-CGS experts with prominent experts in the field of geological hazards to facilitate further research and innovation.
WP4 - Geothermal energy: fluid and heat flow - to facilitate the development of new high-impact research into geothermal systems within HGI-CGS, by coordinating office and field-based scientific exchanges and training that will lead to new research into geological controls on subsurface heat flow, geochemical processes operating in hydrothermal systems, and numerical modelling of geothermal systems.
WP5 - Maximising the impact of the work programme -to realise the maximum benefit from the new capacity built by GeoTwinn, and the new opportunities it generates. Coordinated dissemination and communication of the project’s achievements ensures the project has a high profile within the geoscience research community across Europe, with Croatian Government and with important stakeholders.
The project activities have already enabled HGI-CGS’s researchers to understand, interpret and visualise the geology in three dimensions. The project enabled testing of different methodologies to collect and prepare in-situ data, empowered implementation of modern methods into geological mapping, and provide digital capture of boreholes and other digital data. The development of a shallow 3D geological model for the Zagreb pilot area enabled more detailed simulation and prediction of groundwater flow for the same area. Shallow ground subsurface models, which now can be produced by HGI-CGS geologists, have many applications related to earth sciences/management and environmental protection.
Learning to develop deeper 3D geological models from available data through specific and advanced methodology/software enabled, already now, a more realistic view into deeper earth horizons, which is important for comprehension of the genesis of the area and definition of deeper geological structures. These data are essential while estimating deeper energy and mineral resources, but also in analysis of seismic activity. As a result of the conducted comprehensive training and close cooperation of GEUS and BGS-UKRI, with HGI-CGS experts have delivered initial 3D reservoir properties model covering greater Zagreb area.
The program of GeoTwinn training developed new groundwater flow and solute transport modelling skills and capabilities at HGI-CGS. For now, that is accomplished through enhancement of capabilities in automated calibration of groundwater flow models and time series analysis, but also through the courses on emerging contaminants and field training on their sampling techniques. Mentioned techniques will enable better management and exploitation of potable water resources from both porous and karstic reservoirs.
The modelling of fluids and heat flow is enhanced by understanding of principles of stochastic and numerical modelling methods. This develops new tools and possibilities for geothermal modelling, and can contribute considerably to an increased use of geothermal energy.
The specialised statistic course introduced the use of R package in geostatistic analysis with particular attention toward spatial analysis of landslide susceptibility and discontinuity orientation. These analyses are vital in definition and quantification of geohazards, mainly resulting from landsliding or rock-falling processes which are very frequent in Croatia. Statistical approach in time series analysis incorporated in the course, will provide a good tool for the analysis of karstic groundwater flow dynamics.
Nowadays very important part in geohazard research are remote sensing data (photogrammetry, laser scanning, satellite images, etc.). Training and developing techniques to stimulate novel geohazard identification facilitates improves geohazard management in order to combat the potential impacts of climate change and support sustainable development within safer environment. In these terms specialised course was held at GEUS: Training course in landslide assessment with application of photogrammetry.
The Twinning of the Croatian Geological Survey (HGI-CGS) with two world-leading geoscience research institutes, the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) and the British Geological Survey of the United Kingdom Research and Innovation (BGS-UKRI) significantly strengthens HGI-CGS’s research, and transforms its capability.
Mentioned activities have already contributed significantly to raise the scientific competence of HGI-CGS’s research groups for the study-topics in focus. Learned techniques and implementation of the introduced state-of-the-art methods significantly expands capabilities of HGI-CGS researchers and enables launching of the new services and products. In many cases these contemporary training methods by advancing the level of competence of the HGI-CGS scientists will also influence and enhance HGI-CGS’s visibility.
Special attention is directed towards the awareness and dissemination of the project results, therefore the project activities and outcomes are continuously published on the project web page (http://geotwinn.eu/ ). The news and project events are also launched regularly via social media (https://www.facebook.com/GeoTwinn https://twitter.com/Geotwinn2018).
Together with conclusion of particular topics in this project, it is intended to exchange knowledge attained through the actions to wider audience (academics, industry and regulators/policy makers). Also, there are already planned/considered meetings and discussions about project results between geological surveys, European Geoscience community, Geoscience Information Consortium, as well as with other EU (ENeRAG - Excellency Network Building for Comprehensive Research and Assessment of Geofluids) or national projects. The project results will also be disseminated through scientific journals and conference sessions.
GeoTwinn poster from HGK Conference