Laboratory of Hydrology and Geochemistry of Strasbourg

The Laboratory of Hydrology and Geochemistry of Strasbourg – LHyGeS- is a joint research unit (UMR 7517) appointed and supported by three authorities, i.e. the French National Center for Scientific Research (i.e. CNRS), the University of Strasbourg, and the Ecole Nationale du Genie de l’Eau et de l’Environnement de Strasbourg (ENGEES).
The LHyGeS is a center for research and higher education dedicated to the study of weathering processes and transfers in continental hydrosystems. It belongs to the few French laboratories associating hydrology and geochemistry within various approaches, especially those needing important modeling efforts. Since its beginning – in 2009 from the merging of three former research units – the LHyGeS has developed fundamental knowledge, theories and methods to characterize and understand the functioning of continental hydrosystems. The evolution of this functioning under the modifications of natural forcing and anthropic activity is also investigated.
Two major topics make the heart of the LHyGeS research activity:

  • mathematical hydrology
  • biogeochemistry and isotopic geochemistry.

These topics are handled by three teams, the whole research unit being composed of more than 80 people, say, 30 permanent researchers, 25 permanent engineers and administrative staff, and, 30 PhD students and post-doc fellows.

Web site (french) :

Research teams

Isotopic and Environmental geochemistry  

The team GICE is concerned with studying the mechanims and characteristic times involved in wethering processes and various transfers of matter in continental eco-hydro-systems. These studies are carried out by developing and using the tools of elementary and isotopic geochemistry.

Reactive transfers in hydrosystems

The team TreHa is involved in experimental studies and models for hydrology and hydrogeology. For example, the team tackles problems such as: understanding the water cycle and the migration of associated chemical elements through continental surfaces and its interfaces, the interactions between fluids and solids along natural flow paths, transfers at different scales of time and space…
The research activity also rests on aquifer analogs (e.g., the SCERES platform) and on «natural» experimental sites : the Strengbach or the Rouffach watersheds in the Vosges mountains. Finally, the team develops 3-D simulation tools that are key features to interpret data and to understand chemical, mineralogical, and hydrodynamic evolutions of the studied systems.

Methods and Numerical Tools for the continental hydrosystems

The team MONHyC develops a research activity at the interface between geosciences and applied mathematics. The main targeted objectives are:

  • the development of numerical tools and techniques for solving complex problems
  • the sensitivity analysis of numerical models mimicking fluid flow and fluxes of matter and energy in soils and sub-surface environments.

Laboratory initiatives

The LHyGeS possesses and operates various technical and analytical platforms (for instance, water geochemistry analysis, isotopic analysis) which are conducive to initiatives shared between the different research teams.

The project «Biogeochemistry of water-mineral-biological bodies systems» is dedicated to the characterization and modeling of the interactions between biological, chemical and geochemical processes prevailing to the fate of contaminants in surface and sub-surface environments. In this context, it can be dealt for instance with problems at the small scale that are reproduced in the lab by conceiving and then running experiments in mesocosms (experimental devices of small to medium size).

The initiative «Dynamics and structure of hydro-geochemical transfers in small watersheds» is mainly interested in the (geometric) characterization of underground reservoirs, their storage capacity, and their main flow paths. The experimental site set up at the Strengbach watershed serves as a natural reference and a three-dimensional modeling of both geological structures and water fluxes is one of the main expected results.