About Short Course - ESS1:
Connecting Earth's Mantle Events and the Critical Zone: Applications from thermochronometry, geophysics, remote sensing and genetics
To meet the global challenges of climate change, ecosystem diversity and natural resources, among others, requires not only understanding the Earth as a system, but also robust Earth stewardship science, which involves understanding social and engineering systems and their links to the natural sciences and decision-making system, and how they all interact.
AEON (Africa Earth Observatory Network), is managed from a central hub at NMMU in PE, and fosters cutting-edge, interdisciplinary, internationally-connected science and analytical learning to explore Earth and society, particularly in Africa. Its programmes are aimed at resolving complex challenges related to people and the planet, as well as meeting socio-economic needs.
AEON is contributing to this through both big and small science, and above all through proactive human-capacity building. The science requires expensive field and laboratory equipment (e.g. marine research vessels and earth-orbiting satellites), as well as one-to-one dedicated mentorship of emerging young talent.
Inkaba yeAfrica is one of AEON's bilateral programmes, namely a SA-German initiative, blending pure and applied earth systems science. Since its inception in 2004, 3 teams of Earth scientists from over 20 universities and research institutes have been surveying a cone-shaped sector of the Earth from core to space, and has become a central part of the DST's Global Change Challenge since 2011.
This includes SA and the Southern Oceans. Their task is to track Earth's history 200 million years into the past, examining natural phenomena that provide fundamental insights into the workings of the planet to facilitate planning for the future. Inkaba yeAfrica projects cover issues from implementing basic physics into soil and food security science, and designing value-added chains for minerals and mining, to solving the problems of chemistry and economics involved in water quality and acid mine drainage, and monitoring fracking technologies for the Karoo.