Tous les articles par Alain Préat

Full-time professor at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium • Department of Earth Sciences and Environment Res. Grp. - Biogeochemistry & Modeling of the Earth System Sedimentology & Basin Analysis • Alumnus, Collège des Alumni, Académie Royale de Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux Arts de Belgique (mars 2013). • Prof. Invited, Université de Mons-Hainaut (2010-present-day) • Prof. Coordinator and invited to the Royal Academy of Sciences of Belgium (Belgian College) (2009- present day) • Prof. partim to the DEA (third cycle) led by the University of Lille (9 universities from 1999 to 2004) - Prof. partim at the University of Paris-Sud/Orsay, European-Socrates Agreement (1995-1998) • Prof. partim at the University of Louvain, Convention ULB-UCL (1993-2000) • Since 2015 : Member of Comité éditorial de la Revue Géologie de la France • Since 2014 : Regular author of texts for ‘la Revue Science et Pseudosciences’ • Many field works (several weeks to 2 months) (Meso- and Paleozoic carbonates, Paleo- to Neoproterozoic carbonates) in Europe, USA (Nevada), Papouasia (Holocene), North Africa (Algeria, Morrocco, Tunisia), West Africa (Gabon, DRC, Congo-Brazzaville, South Africa, Angola), Iraq... Recently : field works (3 to 5 weeks) Congo- Brazzaville 2012, 2015, 2016 (carbonate Neoproterozoic). Degree in geological sciences at the Free University of Brussels (ULB) in 1974, I went to Algeria for two years teaching mining geology at the University of Constantine. Back in Belgium I worked for two years as an expert for the EEC (European Commission), first on the prospecting of Pb and Zn in carbonate environments, then the uranium exploration in Belgium. Then Assistant at ULB, Department of Geology I got the degree of Doctor of Sciences (Geology) in 1985. My thesis, devoted to the study of the Devonian carbonate sedimentology of northern France and southern Belgium, comprised a significant portion of field work whose interpretation and synthesis conducted to the establishment of model of carbonate platforms and ramps with reefal constructions. I then worked for Petrofina SA and shared a little more than two years in Angola as Director of the Research Laboratory of this oil company. The lab included 22 people (micropaleontology, sedimentology, petrophysics). My main activity was to interpret facies reservoirs from drillings in the Cretaceous, sometimes in the Tertiary. I carried out many studies for oil companies operating in this country. I returned to the ULB in 1988 as First Assistant and was appointed Professor in 1990. I carried out various missions for mining companies in Belgium and oil companies abroad and continued research, particularly through projects of the Scientific Research National Funds (FNRS). My research still concerns sedimentology, geochemistry and diagenesis of carbonate rocks which leads me to travel many countries in Europe or outside Europe, North Africa, Papua New Guinea and the USA, to conduct field missions. Since the late 90's, I expanded my field of research in addressing the problem of mass extinctions of organisms from the Upper Devonian series across Euramerica (from North America to Poland) and I also specialized in microbiological and geochemical analyses of ancient carbonate series developing a sustained collaboration with biologists of my university. We are at the origin of a paleoecological model based on the presence of iron-bacterial microfossils, which led me to travel many countries in Europe and North Africa. This model accounts for the red pigmentation of many marble and ornamental stones used in the world. This research also has implications on the emergence of Life from the earliest stages of formation of Earth, as well as in the field of exobiology or extraterrestrial life ... More recently I invested in the study from the Precambrian series of Gabon and Congo. These works with colleagues from BRGM (Orléans) are as much about the academic side (consequences of the appearance of oxygen in the Paleoproterozoic and study of Neoproterozoic glaciations) that the potential applications in reservoir rocks and source rocks of oil (in collaboration with oil companies). Finally I recently established a close collaboration with the Royal Institute of Natural Sciences of Belgium to study the susceptibility magnetic signal from various European Paleozoic series. All these works allowed me to gain a thorough understanding of carbonate rocks (petrology, micropaleontology, geobiology, geochemistry, sequence stratigraphy, diagenesis) as well in Precambrian (2.2 Ga and 0.6 Ga), Paleozoic (from Silurian to Carboniferous) and Mesozoic (Jurassic and Cretaceous) rocks. Recently (2010) I have established a collaboration with Iraqi Kurdistan as part of a government program to boost scientific research in this country. My research led me to publish about 180 papers in international and national journals and presented more than 170 conference papers. I am a holder of eight courses at the ULB (5 mandatory and 3 optional), excursions and field stages, I taught at the third cycle in several French universities and led or co-managed a score of 20 Doctoral (PhD) and Post-doctoral theses and has been the promotor of more than 50 Masters theses.

Geologic Evidence of Recurring Climate Cycles and Their Implications for the Cause of Global Climate Changes. The Past is the Key to the Future

Don J. Easterbrook, 2011

Department of Geology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225, USA

Temperatures have risen approximately a degree or so per century since the coldest part of the Little Ice Age ~500 years ago, but the rise has not been linear. Global temperatures have warmed and cooled many times in 25-35-year cycles, well before the atmospheric CO2 began to rise significantly.

Two episodes of global warming and two episodes of global cooling occurred during the 20th century (Fig. 1). Overall, temperatures during the century rose about the same as the rate of warming per century since the Little Ice Age 500 years ago.

World’s oldest fossils unearthed

by University College London, March 1, 2017

Remains of microorganisms at least 3,770 million years old have been discovered by an international team led by UCL scientists, providing direct evidence of one of the oldest life forms on Earth.

Tiny filaments and tubes formed by bacteria that lived on iron were found encased in quartz layers in the Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt (NSB), Quebec, Canada.

The NSB contains some of the oldest sedimentary rocks known on Earth which likely formed part of an iron-rich deep-sea hydrothermal vent system that provided a habitat for Earth’s first life forms between 3,770 and 4,300 million years ago …

Scrutinizing the carbon cycle and CO2 residence time in the atmosphere

by Hermann Harde, Global and Planetary Change, 24 February 2017


An alternative carbon cycle is presented in agreement with the carbon 14 decay.

The CO2 uptake rate scales proportional to the COconcentration.

Temperature dependent natural emission and absorption rates are considered.

The average residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is found to be 4 years.

Paleoclimatic CO2 variations and the actual CO2 growth rate are well-reproduced.

The anthropogenic fraction of CO2 in the atmosphere is only 4.3%.

Human emissions only contribute 15% to the CO2 increase over the Industrial Era.

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Diamond’s 2-billion-year growth charts tectonic shift in early Earth’s carbon cycle

Science Daily, February 23, 2017

A study of tiny mineral ‘inclusions’ within diamonds from Botswana has shown that diamond crystals can take billions of years to grow. One diamond was found to contain silicate material that formed 2.3 billion years ago in its interior and a 250 million-year-old garnet crystal towards its outer rim, the largest age range ever detected in a single specimen. Analysis of the inclusions also suggests that the way that carbon is exchanged and deposited between the atmosphere, biosphere, oceans and geosphere may have changed significantly over the past 2.5 billion years.

S. Timmerman, J.M. Koornneef, I.L. Chinn, G.R. Davies. Dated eclogitic diamond growth zones reveal variable recycling of crustal carbon through timeEarth and Planetary Science Letters, 2017; 463: 178 DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2017.02.001

Baffin Bay and Kane Basin polar bears not ‘declining’ concludes new report

by Polar Bear Science, February 15, 2017

The 2016 Scientific Working Group report on Baffin Bay and Kane Basin polar bears was released online without fanfare last week, confirming what local Inuit have been saying for years: contrary to the assertions of Polar Bear Specialist Group scientists, Baffin Bay and Kane Basin subpopulations have not been declining but are stable.

Combien y a-t-il de continents sur Terre ? 7 avec Zealandia !

par Christophe Magdelaine, 20 février 2017

Savez-vous combien y a-t-il de continents sur Terre ? 5 ou 6 ? Alors que la question divise encore certaines personnes, un nouveau continent caché en partie sous l'océan Pacifique vient d'être confirmé par une équipe de scientifiques après des dizaines d'années de recherche. Le 7e continent : Zealandia est maintenant officiellement reconnu.
Source :,

Climate models for the layman

by Judith Curry, Feb 2017

Professor Judith A. Curry is the author of over 180 scienti c papers on weather and climate and is a recipient of the Henry G. Houghton Research Award from the Amer- ican Meteorological Society in 1992. She recently retired from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she held the positions of Professor and Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. She is currently President of Climate Forecast Appli- cations Network.

Oil – Where did it come from?

by David Middleton, petroleum geologist/geophysicist,  February 18, 2017

As the biomass is buried more deeply in the sedimentary column, increasing pressure compacts it, increasing temperature cooks it and over time, the hydrocarbons slowly migrate toward the surface because they are less dense than connate/formation water. The kerogen first cooks to heavy oil, then light oil, then wet thermogenic gas, then thermogenic light gas, then high temperature methane…

Oil – Will we run out?

By Andy May, February 17, 2017

In November, 2016 the USGS (United States Geological Survey) reported their assessment of the recent discovery of 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent (technically recoverable) in the Midland Basin of West Texas. About the same time IHS researcher Peter Blomquist published an estimate of 35 billion barrels. Compare these estimates with Ghawar Field in Saudi Arabia, the largest conventional oil field in the world, which contained 80 billion barrels when discovered. There is an old saying in the oil and gas exploration business “big discoveries get bigger and small discoveries get smaller.” …

Scientists uncover huge reservoir of melting carbon under Western United States

by Saswata Hier-Majumder et al., February 2017

Pervasive upper mantle melting beneath the western US, Earth and Planetary Science Letters (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2016.12.041

New research published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters describes how scientists have used the world’s largest array of seismic sensors to map a deep-Earth area of melting carbon covering 1.8 million square kilometres. Situated under the Western US, 350km beneath the Earth’s surface, the discovered melting region challenges accepted understanding of how much carbon the Earth contains – much more than previously understood …
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Le sol, un héritage méprisé

par Ales Bartos, 16 février 2017

Étant très marginalisées sur le champ médiatique, les problématiques liées aux sols échappent largement à l'attention du public. Pourtant, la pollution et l'érosion des sols fait annuellement baisser la capacité des sols de produire des aliments en qualité et quantité suffisantes pour nourrir une population mondiale croissante. Cet article tente d'ouvrir des pistes vers une meilleure gestion des sols, physique et réglementaire, s'inscrivant dans les logiques du développement durable.

Atlantique Nord : le risque d’un refroidissement rapide au XXIe siècle revu à la hausse

par D. Swingedouw et al., CNRS, 15 février 2017

Dans le cadre du projet européen EMBRACE, une équipe d’océanographes a réexaminé ces 40 projections climatiques en se focalisant sur un point névralgique au nord-ouest de l’Atlantique Nord : la mer du Labrador. Cette mer est le siège d’un phénomène de convection, qui nourrit à plus grande échelle la circulation océanique de retournement. Ses eaux de surface se refroidissent fortement en hiver, deviennent plus denses que les eaux de profondeur et plongent vers le fond. La chaleur des eaux profondes est transférée vers la surface et empêche la formation de banquise