The Research Unit name is " Evolução Litosférica e Meio Ambiente Superficial" (acronym: ELMAS).

It was created in 1998 by merging two pre-existing research units (PPEL and EMPAS). This was recommended by the evaluation panel in 1996 as a way of improving the performance of the two previously formed groups.

Its main objective is to conduct interdisciplinary studies in both fundamental and applied aspects of geology and biology. In order to pursue this objective, the Unit has defined several lines of research covering the following topics: (1) crustal and upper mantle evolution; (2) characterization and assessment of surficial environment processes; (3) development and application of high resolution geophysical methods and (4) hydrogeology and hidrochemistry.

Most of the scientists involved in the ELMAS research Unit are also members of the academic staff of the University of Aveiro and can use the available analytical and computing facilities. The University has well-equipped laboratories of geophysics, geochemistry, isotope geology, transmitted and reflected light microscopy, electron microscopy, hydrochemistry, photogeology, remote sensing and geographical information systems. Since the formation of the ELMAS Unit, efforts have been done to optimize the performance of the available equipment and to develop new analytical methodologies.

As part of the proposed investigation programme, a number of post-graduate students are currently preparing their PhD or MSc thesis under the supervision of members of the team.

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