Flagship Research Projects


The NILAFAR program proposes to study the impact of hydrological fluctuations on societies in NE Africa over the last 20,000 years and in particular on the development of pastoralism. NILAFAR also aims to better understand the climatic mechanisms at the origin of the fluctuation intensity of the African monsoon (external forcing and internal feedbacks of the climate system), and at the origin of short hyperarid episodes. During the African Humid Period (AHP) these episodes saw the retraction or dissemination of particularly mobile human groups. In an environment that may have been as limiting as it was stimulating due to the alternance of these hyperarid and wet phases, populations innovated using new economic strategies, shifting from a predation to a production economy.

logo EARLINatural hazards such as earthquakes are difficult to predict. Dramatic developments in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), however, are paving the way for anticipating destructive events. The EU-funded EARLI project will use AI to identify weak, early seismic signals to both speed up early warning and explore the possibility of earthquake prediction. Specifically, it will implement an early-warning approach based on a newly identified signal, caused by the perturbation of the gravity field generated by an earthquake, which is ~6 orders of magnitude smaller than seismic waves (strongly limiting its detection with standard techniques), but precedes them. The second, more exploratory, objective will be to adapt the developed AI algorithm to search for even earlier signals preceding the origin of large earthquakes.

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Slow slip events (SSE) are transient processes releasing stress at faults without significant earthquake. Their discovery about two decades ago in subduction zones demonstrates a complex dynamics of the megathrust controlled by spatially variable friction at the plate interface. While deep SSEs occurring downdip of highly locked areas have been extensively studied, other subduction zones highlight another transient process where slip occurs at the same depths as large earthquakes and is synchronous to intense micro-seismicity. We refer to this type of transient as S5 for Synchronous Slow Slip & Seismic Swarm, which is the focus of our proposal.