Geologists Rewarded With a Medal for Mapping the Walloon Subsoil



Groepsportret van de winnaars van de Van den Broeck-medaille.
Geologists Rewarded With a Medal for Mapping the Walloon Subsoil
post by
Reinout Verbeke

The Van den Broeck Medal was awarded to geologists who, for 30 years, mapped the abundant Walloon subsoil. By giving this medal every year, the geologists’ association Geologica Belgica honours the scientists who largely contributed to the geosciences in Belgium.

Among the ones rewarded, four geologists are working or have worked for the Geological Survey of Belgium (which is now a part of our Institute): Isabelle Belanger, Léon Dejonghe, Pierre Ghysel, Luc Hance and Bernard Mottequin (previously working for the University of Liège and nowadays working for us). During the last thirty years, they conducted field works, exploratory research and studies in association with their geologist colleagues from Belgian universities to map the Walloon subsoil.

Here is the result of this work: a geological map made of 142 pages used as fundamental information for the exploration and management of water stocks, of geothermal sources and to estimate natural risks such as landslides. This work is also very important from an economic point of view because it unveils the interesting areas for the extractive industry.

It’s not the first time geologists drew an underground map of Wallonia. The first geological map of Belgium was published in 1919, exactly a century ago.

The Van den Broeck Medal is named after Belgian geologist Ernest Van den Broeck whose expertise in cartography deeply extended knowledge of Belgian geology. Between 1883 and 1885, he undertook research for the Belgian geological map in 1:20000 scale and between 1893 and 1905, for the map in 1:40000 scale. On 4th October, the medal was awarded during an excursion in the Stavelot Massif.


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