The Earth Surface Processes group investigates coastal Natural Hazards, Climate Change at different time-scales and hydrological Resources. The group measures, monitors and models external geodynamics from source to sink, at the interface biosphere-lithosphere-hydrosphere using expertise in coastal processes, geomorphology, engineering geology, hydrogeology, paleontology, sedimentology, remote sensing/geospatial information.

Group Leaders: Maria Isabel Fernandes and Carlos Marques da Silva.

Scientific Highlights 2017

Coastal morphodynamics

IDL developed models to assess impacts of storm events and climate change on coastal systems, including vulnerability mapping methods for both sandy and rocky coasts and methods to evaluate changes in low energy intertidal domains. New conceptual models were developed, challenging existing forcing-response mechanisms (e.g. platform beaches, saltmarshes), based on a better understanding of system functioning and sensitivity to environmental changes, and supported by extensive monitoring based on standard acquisition techniques and state-of-the-art observation systems developed within the research team.



Tsunami deposit research


IDL  developed sedimentological methodologies (e.g. microtextural analysis, high-resolution digital image analysis and geochemistry XRF – analyses, heavy minerals, magnetic susceptibility, micromorphology, ground penetrating radar, etc.) to study tsunami and storm deposits, with a focus on Holocene cases in Portugal, Scotland, Chile, Japan, Indonesia, and the USA. The group also developed numerical and physical modelling (e.g. wave tanks and sediment transport modelling software). This approach allowed for improved reconstructions of past tsunami and storm variables, such as run-up height, sediment provenance, inundation extent, and backwash and inundation phases.



Câmara Municipal de Almada, Portugal
Instituto Hidrográfico, Portugal
Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología (CSIC), Spain
Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil, Portugal
Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia, Portugal
UNED Madrid, Spain
United States Geological Survey
Universidad de Cantábria, Spain
Universidad de Extremadura, Spain
Universidad de Huelva, Spain
Universidad de Salamanca, Spain
Universidade Agostinho Neto, Angola
Universidade da Coruña, Spain
Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
University of Bremen, Germany
University of Cincinnati, USA
University of Dundee, Scotland
University of Geneva, Switzerland
University of Parma, Italy
University of Vigo, Spain
Williams College, United States