‘Observe the present, and consider the past, to ponder the Future’

Iphakade links earth systems science with earth stewardship goals, increasing needs for greater transdisciplinarity, greater geotechnical skills development, and social cohesion. It reflects the essence of Earth Stewardship Science where science is used in the broadest sense of the word, covering all fields of scientific enquiry and testing.

The program has active participants at: Nelson Mandela University (NMU); University of Fort Hare (UFH); Walter Sisulu University (WSU); University of the Western Cape (UWC); University of Cape Town (UCT); University of Stellenbosch (US); University of the Free State (UFS); University of the North-West (UNW); University of Pretoria (UP). Collaborators include the Council for Geoscience, SEAON, PASA, and many international collaborators in Germany, France, Norway, UK, USA, Canada, Brazil, and China. 89 graduate student enrolled by end 2019, of which 27 are PhD and 54 Masters and 2 honours.

Iphakade has 12 transdisciplinary themes (70+ projects):

1.Origin and Evolution of the Indian Ocean, its Ecosystems & Gateways to the Pacific: System Studies linking Life to the Power of Tectonics and Climate Change

2. Karoo Baseline studies in anticipation of Shale Gas Development

3. Know Your Water: Determining the sustainability of Groundwater Resources through Isotope Hydrology

4. The Critical Zone of South Africa: Unravelling the Dynamics of its Complex coevolving Geoecosystems

5. Modelling groundwater flow through gravity and remote sensing by satellite

6. Marine and terrestrial soundscapes: defining the viability species’ communication systems through acoustic biogeography

7. Geo-Engineering and Geo-Physics for Coastal and Disaster management and for monitoring of hazards in mine tailing dams with applications for mineral resource evaluation

8. A pilot plant for a Passive Underground Mine-water Purification System (PUMPS)

9. Moving beyond the ‘Resource Curse of Africa’ in context of abundance

10. Africa Alive Corridors – geo-bio-cultural system analyses of Africa

11. Khoi San identities and history

12. Citizen Science

List of new projects in place for 2018/2021

  1. Invertebrate assemblages in lakes and wetlands
  2. Community impacts – history and dynamics
  3. Stratigraphy of the main Karoo Basin and Gondwana equivalents
  4. Geochemistry and Petrography of mantle xenoliths and megacrysts
  5. Groundwater chemistry and aquifer connectivity
  6. Local relations between tectonic faults and groundwater reservoirs
  7. 3D Magneto-telluric Modelling of deep water reservoirs
  8. Geochemical characterisation of the shallow water aquifers
  9. Age and origin of groundwater
  10. Controlled experiments using fracking fluids on Succulent and Thicket vegetation
  11. Mineralogical and chemical composition of groundwater
  12. Micro-Seismic velocity inversion and 3-D tomography of the Karoo Basin
  13. A Diatom early warning system to detect surface and groundwater contamination
  14. Airborne geophysics for subsurface architecture and natural resource detection
  15. Video-scientific documentary of Baseline Research (ongoing)
  16. Developing local monitoring capacities within rural communities
  17. Endemic health and disease patterns
  18. Mammals as ecosystem engineers
  19. Characterising brittle deformation structures of the critical zone
  20. Tracing geochemical evolution of Karoo Black Shales
  21. Surface and subsurface geometry and petrology of dolerite sill and dykes
  22. Micro-seismicity based on ambient noise and broadband wave field
  23. Testing local microseismic swarms
  24. Fluid migration and metamorphism adjacent to dolerite dike and sill contacts.
  25. Agriculture livelihood systems
  26. Land tenure rights in the Karoo of the Eastern Cape
  27. Social designs and entrepreneurship
  28. Landscape functionality and spectral analysis
  29. Spatial patterns of Karoo Ecosystems – integrating multiple mechanisms and spectral observations to understand natural versus anthropogenic factors
  30. The prevalence of methane in the shallow groundwater aquifers of the Karoo and the origin thereof
  31. Ambient Seismic Noise for quantification and monitoring of hazard in mine tailing dams with application to mineral resource evaluation
  32. Ambient Seismic Noise to trace mammal movements near wells and potential fracking sites
  33. Methane production of conventional farming versus organic farming – linked to anticipated climate change.
  34. Soil and ground water systems related to organic farming
  35. Past and future changes in large mammal distribution (elephants, baboons, Artvarks) using passive seismic noise
  36. Immediate response of potentially vulnerable (to disturbance and to poaching) species around drill rigs – using current water borers as surrogates for shale gas drilling rigs.