Environmental and Resource Geochemistry (ERG)
Processes of rock–water interaction relevant to groundwater quality, remediation of contaminated sites, deep geological disposal of radioactive and toxic wastes, genesis and exploration of mineral resources, and development of secondary resources.
Information: Dr. Peter Alt-Epping (Bern), Prof. Larryn Diamond (Bern) or Prof. Bernard Grobety (Fribourg)
From a scientific point of view, all of the above applications are linked by a common theme: the chemical and physical interaction between some kind of water, on the one hand, and some kind of solid material (rock, mineral, solid waste etc.) on the other. The curriculum of the Specialty in Environmental and Resource Geochemistry spans this realm of ”water–rock” interaction, in order to prepare students to tackle the huge variety of problems that are encountered in professional practice.
MSc students have access to a wide range of modern analytical facilities at the host institute, including petrographic microscopy, cathode-luminescence, scanning-electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, electron microprobe, Laser-Raman and FTIR spectroscopy, Laser-ablation-ICP-MS, fluid inclusion microthermometry, rock porosity and permeability apparatus, wet-chemical laboratories with atomic-absorption and ion-chromatography, mass-spectrometers for stable isotopes of C, O and H, and for radiogenic isotopes of the K-Ar, Rb-Sr, Nd-Sm, U-Pb, Ca, Mo and He systems. Experimental equipment includes porewater extraction devices, flow-through reaction vessels, exchange columns and hydrothermal autoclaves for high P–T studies. Computational facilities include computer clusters for geochemical modelling and GIS applications. Additional facilities are available at the BeNeFri partner universities and at collaborating research institutes.