Objectives

Scientific rationale and context of the research staff exchange programme

 

Figure 1. (a) (left) Topography, Bathymetry, Plate Structure, Seismicity and Geodetic movements in the westernmost Mediterranean (after 2); (b) (lright) Vertical movements and Mantle Tomography in the Eurasian-African boundary (after 6).

At the triple junction between the West African Craton, the Atlantic Ocean and the Western Mediterranean Basin, the North-westernmost Africa boundary is characterized by significant seismicity, a rugged topography—including the highest reliefs in northern Africa—long-lasting volcanic activity, and numerous natural resources (Fig. 1a). This geological setting is widely considered as a unique natural laboratory where interactions between mantle and lithosphere dynamics, crustal extension and compression, subsidence and uplift, can be documented and investigated in detail. This is the reason why it constitutes the focus site of international integrated Earth Sciences research—geodynamics, geohazards, genesis of mineral and industrial resources and their industrial application—that involves many research groups in Europe and Mediterranean Partnership Countries (MPC) such as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

         The NW African margin is characterized by frequent earthquakes (e.g. Al Hoceima, 2004, M> 6.3). Seismicity is present in the “Alpine” Maghreb and extents to the N of the Western African Craton. Although the Geology of the area is well known, the Northern African plate boundary system is paradoxically the least understood segment of the Earth global convergent system. This largely reflects the intrinsic complexity of the present-day plate boundary, characterized by a diffuse geometry and several lithospheric domains accommodating the relative motion between Eurasia and Africa (Fig. 1a).

The overarching goal of IRSES MEDYNA was to create and/or reinforce networks for long-term, joint research projects and high-level training of personnel between European and Maghreb research staff working in the fields of Geodynamics, Geohazards, and Applied Geology in NW Africa. MEDYNA will reinforce existing successful collaborative networks of Mediterranean EU institutions with Maghreb researchers that shared an interested in multidisciplinary Earth Science research with a focus on NW Africa. The goal of the MEDYNA exchange of staff was to provide Maghreb partners with training of a critical mass and profit from educational, technological, industrial and social impact. On the other hand, EU research staff tapped the long standing and unique in-depth knowledge of Maghreb’s research staff on the Geodynamics, Geohazards, and Applied Geology of NW Africa.

According to the prior knowledge by participants, the secondment, scientific goals and tasks were grouped into four research-focus Work Packages (WP1-4) (cf. DoW)

 

Work package n°

Work package title

Start month

End month

1

Present-day kinematics and Seismic Hazards

1

48

2

Landscape Evolution and Paleoclimate

1

48

3

Deep Structures and Mantle Processes

1

48

4

Applied Geology

1

48

 

 

WPs 1-3 are multidisciplinary and include disciplinary or cross-disciplinary tasks. They tackled the four prominent and complementary aspects of the geodynamic interactions between tectonic plates and convecting mantle in NW Africa. The WP4 was devoted to increase the synergies among multidisciplinary studies to investigate the origin of georesources in close connection with WPs1-3, and use of these georesources for societal and industrial applications (geological rawmaterials).