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Welcome to the Department of Earth Sciences

The Department of Earth Sciences at UWC hosts teaching and research programmes in Applied Geology and Environmental and Water Science. These programmes are broadly integrated through a strategic focus on natural resources, where we aim to advance understanding of fundamental Earth system processes, and of the linkages between different components of the Earth System (lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere).

The range of research topics covered within the department and in collaboration with other research institutes and universities is very broad, and reflects the diversity in the research interests of staff.

Prominent research niche areas represented within the department include petroleum geosciences and geo-energy resources, and integrated water resources science and management.

The department boasts one NRF B and seven NRF C-rated researchers.

The applied geology section of the department focuses on hard rock and geo-energy resources, with research interests in the Namaqua-Natal belt, the Cape Fold belt, the Vredefort impact structure and UHT (Ultra high temperature) rocks and assemblages.

Many of our academic staff have strong international collaborations and are often requested for studies relating to impact structures, zircon dating or granite emplacement modeling. 

Our geo-energy and petroleum section primarily studies on and offshore basins in the Southern Africa region, with a focus on the Bredasdorp and Orange basins. Other interests of the group are carbon capture and sequestration, with multiple current MSc and PhD level researchers.

We offer BSc and BSc (Honours) degree programmes in environmental and water science, a postgraduate diploma and taught MPhil in Integrated Water Resources Management, and research Masters and PhD degrees that fall within the expertise of staff and research associates. Our teaching and research is integrated around a core focus on water resources science and management.

Current research project focus areas include but are not limited to the following:
  • Improving the efficiency of water use in agriculture (Prof Nebo Jovanovic).
  • Mapping and modelling the spread of invasive alien plants (Prof Timothy Dube).
  • Understanding river and wetland morphodynamics as a basis for refining environmental water allocation or predicting effects of environmental change (Prof Michael Grenfell).
  • Monitoring and modelling water resources in agricultural landscapes; balancing the needs of people, agriculture and ecosystems (Prof Dominic Mazvimavi).
  • Exploring groundwater flow processes through fly ash backfill, and the potential for geochemical remediation and treatment of wastewater (Dr Sumaya Clarke).
  • Enhancing groundwater management through application of the principles of integrated water resources management (Prof Thokozani Kanyerere).
  • Integrating human perspectives and citizen science in water resources management (Extraordinary Prof Jacqueline Goldin).
For profiles on our academic staff, click here.