Marleen De Ceukelaire is the curator of the geological collections. And no, she hasn't been mad about rocks since she was a little girl. "I wanted to study natural science and I chose geology, because it touches on all the other sciences: I mean biology, maths, physics, chemistry and so on. I didn't want to have to choose between them.’

Marleen De Ceukelaire, curator of the geology collections, decribing core samples
Map of the substrate

While she was studying at the University of Ghent, Marleen became more and more absorbed by what geology actually is, our knowledge of the subsurface. "I did my research on groundwater: on the ideal drilling locations, on how pollution spreads through water." Marleen spent the next ten years working on the geological map of Flanders. "We used the information available to us at the time to map out the different strata. With this map users can "read" whether they are standing on sand or on clay."

A job as data manager for the Belgian Geological Department, which is part of the RBINS, was the ideal way to familiarise herself with the geological collections. Becoming the curator was the cherry on the cake, a dream job, she says: "It is up to me to make sure that researchers and visitors find what they are looking for. We work for exhibitions too, and together we pick out the most suitable pieces. For example, there are fragments of moon from our own collection at the Euro Space Center in Transinne."

Curator Marleen De Ceukelaire collecting field samples
Interesting country

Geologically speaking, Belgium is a very interesting country. It is no coincidence that many of the (internationally recognised) stratigraphic names are based on Belgian locations: consider, for example, the Yperian and Dinantian. "There's a great deal to be seen right on our doorstep." Marleen has recently devoted much of her attention to Belgian natural stone, chiefly "regional" Flemish stone, as well as Belgian marble.

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