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Romée Kars and her fellow researchers from the Geological Survey of the Netherlands use geomodelling to map the Dutch subsurface. This is inspiring work, because what is more interesting than the earth, the basis of everything?
"Nowhere else in the world do we have so much knowledge of the subsurface as in the Netherlands. At the Geological Survey of the Netherlands, part of TNO, we have been studying this for a hundred years. We manage the data in a database accessible to everyone, the Key Register of the Subsurface. We increasingly learn more about what lies beneath our feet, but there is still a lot to discover. Our work is therefore far from finished, not least because new information often leads to new questions."
"Because it is not feasible to drill a hole on every square metre of land, we make models that allow us to predict the structure and properties of subsurface layers. We share this knowledge with public authorities and companies that need reliable data to safely dig tunnels, build residential areas and extract resources. For example, we have provided the water authority Hoogheemraadschap De Stichtse Rijnlanden with a detailed subsurface model, which the water authority can use to make decisions about reinforcing the Lekdijk between Amerongen and Schoonhoven. Together with residents, nature organisations and other stakeholders, the water authority looked for solutions that fit in with the landscape. The type of measure that is needed depends on the subsurface. The 3D models we made of the subsurface enable the engineers to get to work."
"We are currently making a similar subsurface model for the municipality of Enschede, by way of geomodelling. Enschede is partly located on an ice-pushed ridge which causes the groundwater to infiltrate better in one place than another. Our model will give the municipality insight into where they can expect problems with groundwater."
"I've always been fascinated by the ground beneath our feet. As a child I collected stones and wanted to know everything about volcanoes. During my Geology studies, a world opened up for me. Also at TNO I learn every day, especially from my colleagues. Many disciplines come together here. Geology, geohydrology, geochemistry: everyone here likes to share their expertise and is open to new insights. This results in interesting cross-pollination. I find working with other ‘geo-addicts’ really inspiring. For example, we recently investigated a sediment core using a CT scanner to see what information this would yield. Being a bit 'nerdy' to arrive at something useful – you can do that at TNO."