ERC group
MSCA Group
Scientific Supervisor
Ana María Alonso Zarza
Contact email
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Research group
Petrologia Aplicada al Análisis de Cuencas y a la Conservación del Patrimonio Geológico
Mineralogía y Petrología
Faculty / Institute
Faculty of Geological Science
Group description
Our group focusses on the study and characterization on the geological processes that occur in continental environments, in some cases under extreme conditions. These environments which include lakes, caves, soils, springs, wetlands and deserts are very sensible to environmental changes (climate, volcanism, tectonic...) and so their deposits constitute a unique record of the history of the continental areas of our planet. We compare the deposits and processes that occur at present with those archived in the geologic record. Of special interest are some of the carbonate deposits formed very recently in the Canary Island induce for human activity, which are then considered as antropogenic. The research has application to better understand the global change, sinks of CO2 and also some deposits and environments may be used as Mars analogues. The area of work is worldwide (Spain, Chile, Argentine, China...). We have a wide numbers of national and international collaborations. At present we have financial support from MINECO. Our group is also very active in divulgation of science, participating actively in Geolodia and in interviews in the media.
Research group website
Research topic
Our proposal will deal with the study of human activity in the formation of carbonate deposits in very recent times (The Antropocene). We will analyze carbonates formed in the nearby of agricultural irrigation systems. The study of these carbonates is critical to discriminate between the biogenic and abiogenic processes that control their formation. The aim is to establish a set of criteria that allow a better understanding of their formation and diagenetic processes. We will try to determine the role of different organisms (microbes, plants, insects….) and the relationship between Mg-rich clays, amorphous silica and carbonate precipitation. We will perform the common studies in Sedimentary Petrology and Geochemistry and we will include new stable isotopes techniques such as 44Ca and clumped 47, at present rarely used in continental carbonates. The results have application in different aspects:
1: To better understand the palaeonvironmental significance of some continental carbonates, formed under alkaline conditions, which include also Mg-rich minerals. This is critical to unravel the evolution of some very sensible environments such as dessert and lakes in space and time and to understand the past and future evolution of the continental areas of our planet.
2: To show how the activity of men can modify the landscape in short periods of time. Our project deals with Antropogenic carbonates, and the study is a clue to understand the man-earth surface interactions.
3: The precipitates formed at present may have some industrial applications as they are very pure carbonates. In fact, we collaborate with researchers of the Fine Art Department which are using the system to produce natural sculptures, but industrial uses as lime or chemical additions are also possible.

Research area
Environmental Sciences and Geology (ENV)
Candidatures: requirements
CV and letter of motivation.
Candidatures: deadline
C/ José Antonio Novais, nº 12; Ciudad Universitaria; 28040 - MADRID