Plenary Conferences


Strengthening Earth Science Education Initiative in Africa through institutional networking

Lecturer: S. Felix Toteu, UNESCO Nairobi, Kenya


In 2011, UNESCO launched the Earth Science Education Initiative in Africa to trigger the development of the next generation of earth scientists in Africa who are equipped with the necessary tools, networks and perspectives to apply sound science to solving and benefiting from the challenges and opportunities of sustainable development. Thanks to the successful partnership between UNESCO and Sida (PCA 2014-2017), the initiative has entered in an implementation phase with two important projects. The first was design to support the African Network of Earth Science Institutions (ANESI) as a platform of exchange and collaboration between African training and research institutions. In two years implementation, more than 130 African geoscientists have moved from their home institution to another African institution to conduct research, follow short courses, or support, through specific lectures, those institutions in need of experts in a particular field. The second project is a showcase of the potential of a strong network of experts to address a specific research problem of regional-scale interest, in this case, the Environmental and Health Impacts of Abandoned Mines in Sub-Saharan African Countries (refer to as AB mines project). More than 100 scientists were involved in the study of 29 sites in 17 countries focusing on environmental assessment, testing plants to rehabilitate contaminated sites, conducting outreach and education programmes for communities, and advising local governments. In this presentation, we will highlight lessons learnt from the two projects and propose a way forward to sustain the momentum generated by the project, with the goal of strengthening Earth science education in Africa through institutional networking.

Short CV: Current position: Retired UNESCO staff, BP 4998, Nlongkak, Yaoundé, Cameroon (
Education: BSc: (University of Yaoundé, Cameroon, 1977); MSc (University of Nancy, France, 1979); PhD, University of Nancy-1 (France), 1987, title: The geochronology of the main structural units of the Poli region: crustal accretion in the Pan-African belt in northern Cameroon. Postdoc: Prof William Randall Van Schmus, (University of Kansa, USA, Year: 1990-93), theme: reconstruct the main crustal blocks in Cameroon from Archean to Neoproterozoic.
Experience/Employment: Recruited a young researcher in 1981 at the Institute for Geological and Mining Research, Yaoundé (Cameroon) and transferred to its in Garoua. I took over the direction of the centre from 1093 to 2007 when I left for sabbatical professorship at the University of Botswana. Then I moved for a one-year visiting Professorship (Lonmin Senior Fellowship) at the University of Cape Town (2008-2009), and to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (Port Elizabeth), where was offered a full professor position (2010), but left to coordinate the UNESCO Earth science activities in sub-Saharan Africa (2010-2016) in the UNESCO Office in Nairobi.
Accomplishments: Having realised that the progress in understanding the Precambrian geology of Cameroon relies on geochronological data, I started and pursue for more than 20 years an intensive geochronological data collection using my connection with various institutions abroad (CRPG of Nancy, France, Isotopic Geochemical Laboratory of the University of Kansas in US, GEUS in Denmark, Dept. of Geosciences, University of Mainz, Germany, University of Cape Town in South Africa Today, I proudly claim the paternity of an impressive geochronological database in the central African region. This scientific activity culminated with the only IGCP ever implemented in Central Africa (IGCP-470). In 2009, I was invited by the African Earth Observatory Network of the University of Cape Town to contribute the Africa Alive Corridors Initiative, particularly in designing the African Pole of Rotation, the corridor having the Cameroon Volcanic Line as geological foundation.
I have contributed to the Tectonic Map of Africa that I officially launch on the behalf of all the co-authors, during the 23rd Colloquium of African Geology in January 2011. In sum, this active research has resulted in high ranked publications. As a consequence, I have been invited contribute to earth science journals either as reviewer, or as member of the editorial board, or as associated editor and to be member of IGCP Scientific Board. I have instrumental promoting and implementing the UN-declared International Year of Planet Earth in the African continent (2008).
As UNESCO staff, I have revitalised the UNESCO’s Earth science activities in Africa and especially through designing projects and raising funds to support capacity building of experts and institutions in the continents. In this regards, I have been instrumental in establishing the African Network of Earth Science Institution (ANESI), a platform of collaboration and exchange among institutions in Africa, and to bring teams of scientists across Africa to research on the important issue of environmental and health impacts of mining activities in Africa.
I have also served the Earth science community regionally and globally in many capacities, including:
– Vice-President and President of the Geological Society of Africa for Central Africa (2001-2008);
– Member of the Board of the International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE), representative of Africa (2007-2010);
– Member of the Nominating Committee of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) for 2008-2012;
– Leader of the IGCP-470 (2002-2006), and Member of the UNESCO/IUGS IGCP Scientific Board (2008-2010);
– Associate Editor of Journal of African Earth Sciences since May 2008-2011;
– Member of the Editorial Board of Precambrian Research since 2006-2011;
– Member of the Nominating Committee of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) for 2008-2012;
– Deputy Secretary General (since 2006) President (since 2016) for Africa at the Commission of the Geological Map of the World (CGMW);
– Chair of the Advisory Committee of the PanafGeo (Eurogeosurveys/AOGS), 2016.
Recognitions: i) United States Fulbright Programme Award, 1993, ii) Granted the title of «Kentucky Colonel» of the State of Kentucky (USA) in 2005; ii) Price of Excellence in Geosciences by the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation (Cameroon) in 2007; iii) Lonmin Senior Fellow of the African Earth Observatory Network (AEON); iv) Honorary Member of the Geological Society of London, 2011; v) Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, 2014.

Palaeozoic evolution of Morocco; from Gondwana to Pangaea

Lecturer: Prof. Rui Manuel Soares Dias, Earth Sciences Institute (ICT), Pole of the University of Évora, Portugal; Dep. Geociências da Escola de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Évora, Portugal


The Gondwana supercontinent was the most long-lasting and stable continental block in the Earth geodynamics. The Palaeozoic evolution in its north to northwest margin is fundamental to understand a crucial period of our planet; the transition from the Neoproterozoic Pannotia supercontinent to the Pangaea one.
The assembling of the last supercontinent, mostly in the Upper Carboniferous to the Permian times, gives rise to the Ouachita-Appalachian-Mauritanide-Variscan complex orogen. Although Morocco had a slightly marginal position to this fold belt, the coeval deformation are here well represented by a heterogeneous deformation. Such complex pattern mainly results from the reworking of the Palaeozoic basins. Indeed their heterogeneous and localized distribution, coupled with the importance of their boundary faults, result in the complexity of the Moroccan Palaeozoic deformation.
This deformation could be interpreted mostly as the result of an important dextral transpressive regime along the E-W to ENE-WSW trend. Such regime was induced by an WNW-ESE main shortening during the Upper Carboniferous to the Permian. The presence of older major E-W high angle faults, induced an important strain partitioning which explains the juxtaposition of adjacent blocks with a strong divers deformation.
Such geodynamics is compatible with the dextral oblique collision between Gondwana and Laurussia in the Upper Palaeozoic.

Short CV: PhD in Internal Geodynamics by Lisbon University in 1994, where he has been teaching from 1982 to 1996. In 1996 he moves to the Évora University where he is currently Associated Professor with Habilitation. His main scientific activities, concerning structural geology and tectonics, have been developed in Portugal, Morocco and Eastern Timor, where he has supervise 30 PhD and MSc thesis in cooperation with local universities.This work give rise to 55 papers in specialized magazines and more than 200 works in scientific meetings. For more than 20 years he is deeply involved in science divulgation, being Executive Director of the Estremoz Science Centre, an interactive museum in Earth Sciences belonging to “Ciência Viva” the Portuguese network of Science Centres. Since 2014 is President of the Portuguese Geological Society.

Hydrocarbon-rich fluid seepage in the Gibraltar Arc System

Lecturer: Prof. Luis Menezes Pinheiro, Dep. Geociências and CESAM, University of Aveiro, Portugal


Extensive areas of mud volcanism and gas seepage form in the oceans in all kinds of geodynamic settings and host some of the most interesting deep-sea chemosynthetic ecosystems. In the deep S. Iberia and Northwestern Moroccan margins, an area often described as the “Gulf of Cadiz”, and in the Alboran Sea, extensive multinational and multidisciplinary research carried out since 1999, largely in the scope of the IOC-sponsored Training Through Research (TTR) Floating University Program, has allowed the discovery of large fields of mud volcanoes and other seafloor structures associated with gas seepage, such as pockmarks and diapiric ridges. More than 60 mud volcanoes of various sizes, reaching more than 3km in diameter and a few hundred meters in height, have been identified in these areas by geophysical surveys, confirmed by coring and underwater high-resolution video surveys. Most of these structures concentrate in the compressional accretionary wedge of the Gulf of Cadiz, related to the Africa-Eurasia convergence since the Cenozoic, but also in the Alboran Sea, in an extensional setting. Recently, similar structures were found west of the accretionary wedge along the Azores-Gibraltar Fracture Zone. Thermogenic gas hydrates, a potential alternative energy source for the future, have been recovered from several mud volcanoes in this area, and a large diversity of chemosynthetic communities, including new species for the science, has been identified. Evidence of major past episodes of methane release from depth have been recorded by the occurrence of vast fields of methane-derived authigenic carbonate crusts and chimneys, some of which composed of dolomite, precipitated through anaerobic methane oxidation by consortia of archaea and bacteria. Such episodes of methane release from the deep sea, in particular associated with gas hydrate dissociation in deep sea sediments, may have had a significant impact on past climate change.

Short CV: Associate Professor in Marine Geology and Geophysics, University of Aveiro (UA). PhD in Marine Geophysics, Imperial College, London. President, Portuguese Committee to the IOC of UNESCO, National Delegate to the Executive Council. Coordinator of the Sea Technology Platform of the University of Aveiro. ECORD National Delegate, Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. Coordinator of the Coordinating Group for Research Ships & Shiptime Allocation, Portuguese Science Foundation (2006-at present). Member of the Coordinating Comm. Assoc. Laboratory CESAM. Effective Member of the Academy of the Navy.
Coordinator/participant in a high number of national and international research projects. Participation in 50 Research Cruises (21 international; 29 national) – Chief/Co-Chief Scientist in 34 (12 international; 22 national). Former Director, Marine Geology Department, Geological and Mining Institute. Author/co-author of more than 250 publications, including 58 papers in international journals (52 ISI), with 1489 citations; h-index 21. Research interests: Marine Geology and Geophysics; geophysical data processing and interpretation; structure and evolution of continental passive margins; rifting mechanisms and Ocean-Continent Transition; tectonics; mud volcanism, hydrocarbon-rich fluid seepage shallow gas and gas hydrates; Seismic Oceanography; hydrocarbon reservoir characterization.

Palaeogeographic controls on clay minerals occurrences in upper jurassic-cretaceous sediments of Morocco: a comparison with Tethyan and Atlantic adjacent basins

Lecturer: Prof. Lahcen Daoudi, Laboratoire de Géosciences et Environnement, Département des Sciences de la Terre, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, Marrakech, Morocco


Clay mineral assemblages of upper jurassic and cretaceous sediments deposited in several basins of Morocco, are studied on more than 1000 samples distributed on 40 sections. These clay assemblages are controlled by the evolution of the sedimentary environments through time.
In the Upper Jurassic to Early Cretaceous, the clay mineral assemblages identified are usually dominated by illite, sometimes by chlorite or illite-smectite mixed layer. Kaolinite and smectite occur in smaller quantities. The inputs of illite and chlorite coming from Precambrian and Palaeozoic belts (Anti Atlas, Meseta and High Atlas), result from the destabilization of the Atlantic and Tethyan margins, caused by the opening of the Atlantic, Atlas gulf evolution, and rejuvenation of the High Atlas range. Off the Moroccan coasts, clay mineral assemblages are similar to those encountered in the Moroccan basins and reflect the same sedimentary features. The differences recorded are marked by the occurrence of smectites southward of Morocco. This reflects the stability of the African basement relatively to the instability of the Alpine Chains in North-West Africa.
The Albian-Cenomanian interval is marked by a dramatic change from strongly illite and kaolinite dominated clay mineral assemblages in the lower and middle part of the Albian to progressively more smectite dominated assemblages from the late Albian onwards. Upper Cretaceous corresponds to more stable periods leading to the formation of the smectite-rich paleosols and confined environments which favoured genesis of fibrous clays. Clay minerals identified in this period suggest a warm and a seasonally humid climate. Moreover, sea level changes at different scales appear to control partly the input of clay minerals. Complex relationships between clay minerals and eustatic movements are related with depositional environments in this period.

Short CV: Associated Professor at the University of Marrakech. Graduation in Geology, University of Marrakevh,, Master in Geosciences (Raw materials), University of Paris XI (France), PhD. in Geosciences (Mineralogy), University of Sciences and Technologies of Lille (France), and DSc. in Geosciences (Clay Science), Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakech. Director of the Laboratory « Géosciences et Environnement » since 2010 and Expert evaluator for CNRST « Centre National de Recherche Scientifique et Techniques » since 2014. The main research interests include Clay mineralogy and geochemistry, Industrial minerals, Sedimentology and Pedology, Environmental Geology, Marine and Coastal Geology and Geography. Published 85 full papers in international and national journals and proceedings such as: Economic Modelling; Empirica, FinanzArchive; Journal of Applied Economics; Public Choice; Applied Economics Letters; Journal of International Money and Finance; Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions & Money ; Regional Studies; Review of World Economics. Co-authored a book on introductory financial economics and another on economics and public finances. Responsible of 12 international and 8 national research projects
Member of Scientific commission of The Faculty of Sciences and Technologies of Marrakech, 2008 and Member of the Board of the Moroccan Society of Clays, since 2006.

Medical Geology, mining, and economic diversification in Africa

Lecturer: Prof. K’tso Nghargbu, Department of Geology and Mining, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nigeria


Given the fast depletion of fossil fuels across the globe with Africa inclusive, mono commodity economies are seeking numerous forms of economic diversification programs. This is more so, considering the fact that there is a strong push from the big economies of the world to reduce utilization of hydrocarbon resources, especially for energy generation. Based on the foregoing, more activities relating to solid minerals mining are on the rise in most African countries, hence resulting in different sorts of attendant negative consequences. On the other hand, new mineral resources are also being discovered with beneficial health impacts. This paper seeks to encourage responsible mining in order to curtail the prevalence of geomedical diseases, as well as the exploration and exploitation of geomedical resources for the promotion of health resort medicine in Africa and beyond. For Africa, and indeed the entire globe, more resources mean more wealth or more diseases depending on how we strike the balance between responsible mining and wealth creation. Our policy/law makers within Africa and elsewhere on the globe must take deliberate steps towards increasing health and wealth at the same time, as only a healthy people can create a healthy economy.

Keywords: Medical geology, mining, healthy people, healthy economy, policy

Short CV: Short CV: Medical Geologist at Nasarawa State University. Graduation in Geology and Mining (Second Class Upper Division), University of Jos, (Nigeria), Master in M. Sc Geology, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, (Nigeria), PhD. in Ph. D. Geology, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, (Nigeria). Deputy Director Linkages, NSUK 2016.
The main research interests include Mining and Environmental Geo sciences with special interest in Medical, Hydro & Balneo-Geology. The present research topic is related to the Medicinal Value of Selected Springs within West Africa. Published 12 full papers in international and national journals. Authored a book, Co-authored a book and 5 book-chapters on Balneology & Physical Medicine and Medical Geology.
Prof K’tso Nghargbu is a Council Member, NMGS & Leader of the Medical Geology Specialist Group in Nigeria, is Member representing Africa and The Middle East on the board of the International Society for Medical Hydrology and Climatology (ISMH) and also the Chairperson, Polish Balneology and Physical Medicine Association, Nigeria Chapter. Member scientific board of the “Journal-Acta Balneologica” and “Journal-Techirghiol Balneological” and Reviewing editor, Journal of Earth Science and Engineering, published by David Publishing, New York, U.S.A. He is also Chairman/Convener of technical sessions on medical geology within and outside Nigeria.

United Nations Framework Classifications for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources (UNFC) and Africa Mineral and Energy Resource Classification and Management System (AMREC) Business Model Canvas for Mineral Industry in Africa

Lecturer: Arisekola Tunde Muritala, Vice Chair, EGRC, Technical group Chair AMREC/PARC, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency Abuja, Nigeria


The principal objective of UNFC is to enhance international communication by providing a generic classification framework for reporting fossil energy and mineral reserves and resources on land, continental shelf and seabed worldwide. UNFC has been developed to meet, to extent possible, the needs of applications pertaining to international energy and mineral studies, government resource management functions, corporate business processes and financial reporting standards.
A key benefit of UNFC is the potential to provide a common basis for minerals and petroleum sectors, whose classification system have been developed primarily for mining of solid minerals and production of fluids respectively, but which now address the increasingly overlap between the two extractive industries. Example of this overlap, include the mining of natural bitumen or coal for processing into synthetic oil or gas. Importance of environmental and social issues in the context of resource extraction is appropriately recognized in line with Africa Mining Vision (AMV) and Sustainable Development Goals(SDG)
UNFC is generic principle-based system in which quantities are classified on basis of three fundamental criteria of economic and social viability (E). Field project status and feasibility (F), and Geology Knowledge (G), using a numerical coding system. Combination of these criteria create and three dimensional system. E.g. E1, E2, E3 for (E), F1, F2,F3 for (F) and G1, G2, G3, G4 for (G).
It is important to note that this Framework Classification was developed by United Nations to capture all mineral endowments around the world either economically viable today or not. Its allow Government of member States of United Nation to properly document and track all categories of it minerals resources. Several bridging documents were developed to correlate UNFC with CRIRSCO and PMRS templates.
The African Mineral and Energy Resources Classification and Management System (AMREC) is a unique continental system for the management of the whole mineral and energy value chain in Africa. No country in Africa currently has a comprehensive resource classification and management system. With the exception of South Africa, no country in Africa has a code for reporting mineral and energy resources to stock exchanges and financial institutions, which is key if foreign investments are to be attracted. AMREC is essentially based on the principles of UNFC, with modifications of Africa peculiarities.