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Research Departments

Physics of natural sites


Natural sites around us, to whom we are extremely attached, sometimes through affective ties, also offer numerous scientific questions. What is happening in front of us? What is going to happen after a perturbation? These questions we are asking outselves, but also the persons around us ask, society asks, companies ask, are not trifle questions. While generally these questions are considered applied problems, related for example to economical resources or polluted sites, the underlying problems and the understanding of the processes taking place are fundamental and delicate questions, and, to be able to provide tentative answers, it is necessary to mobilize the latest concepts and the most refined technologies.

The group "Physics of Natural Sites", established in September 2014 by Frédéric Perrier and lead by Frédéric Girault since 2919, is endowed with the mission, in the context of the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, of putting into practice in natural sites the techniques of applied geosciences and the tools developed by the fundamental researches of the institute. Thus, this team proposes natural sites as the living supports contributing to the general intellectual scientific creativity of the institute, and as living supports for higher courses combining fundamental and applied skills. Conversely, natural sites provide examples of processes and situations which are real intellectual and technical challenges leading to the development of new knowledge.

Our group relies on intensive experimental practice, both in the laboratory and in the field to nurture modelling tools and a theoretical physical approach adapted, in the case of natural sites, from out of equilibrium thermodynamics. Rather than proposing an independent subject, the team relies on the competence and knowledge of the other teams of the institute working in natural sites, and to create a common working context together with teams from fundamental physics.

The research of the team is organized around a main topic: hydrothermal systems in the context of active tectonics, and five satellite research actions.

Hot News and PSN events:

Adhikari, L.B., L. Bollinger, J. Vergne, S. Lambotte, K. Chanard, M. Laporte, L. Li, B.P. Koirala, M. Bhattarai, C. Timsina, N. Bishwokarma, N. Wendling-Vazquez, F. Girault and F. Perrier, Orogenic collapse and stress adjustments revealed by an intense seismic swarm following the 2015 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal

Perrier and Girault Symmetries, recurrence, and explicit expressions of two-point resistances in 2×n globe resistor networks

Perrier and Girault Recurrence relations in m×3 scaffolding and globe resistor networks

Girault et al. Substratum influences uptake ot radium-226 by plants

Perrier and Girault Rotational invariance in resistor networks: Two-point resistances around an n-fold corner

Perrier and Girault An example of the relevance of symmetry in physics: Corner theorems in grids and cubic resistor networks

Recent student research projects:

  • Janvier-Février 2017: Marie Bouih L3 Caractérisation des émissions de CO2 métamorphique sur le système hydrothermal de Bahundanda au Népal central (encadrant Frédéric Girault)
  • Avril-Septembre 2016: Bastien Joly M1 Caractérisation pédologique et structurale pour l’interprétation de données d’émanométrie : synthèse de données satellitaires et mesures en laboratoire (encadrant Frédéric Girault, stage en partie en entreprise)
  • Juin 2016: Roxane Ferry et Maud Watkinson L1 Etude du radon dans les eaux d'un torrent du Mont Lozère (encadrant Frédéric Perrier)
  • Juin 2016: Roxane Ferry L1 Préparation et mesures magnétiques dans des échantillons de sols et de plantes du Pech Merle (encadrants Frédéric Girault et Aude Isambert, stage en collaboration avec l'équipe de Paléomagnétisme)
  • Janvier-Février 2016: Etienne Marti L3 Magnétisme environnemental: Etude de la grotte ornée de Pech Merle (encadrante Aude Isambert, stage en collaboration avec l'équipe de Paléomagnétisme)
  • Janvier-Février 2015: Marina Bernard L3 Etude du radon dans diverses eaux de la région parisienne (encadrant Frédéric Perrier)

Recent publications :

  1. Girault, F., F. Perrier, M. Moreira, B. Zanda, P. Rochette, Y. Teitler, Effective radium-226 concentration in meteorites, Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, 208, 198-219, 2017.
  2. Girault, F., B. Koirala, M. Bhattarai, F. Perrier, Radon and carbon dioxide around remote Himalayan thermal springs, In Gillmore, G.K., Perrier, F.E., Crockett, R.G.M. (eds) Radon, Health and Natural Hazards. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 451, SPA451.6, 2016.
  3. Girault, F., F. Perrier, T. Przylibski, Radon-222 and radium-226 occurrence in water: A review, In Gillmore, G.K., Perrier, F.E., Crockett, R.G.M. (eds) Radon, Health and Natural Hazards. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 451, SPA451.3, 2016.
  4. Perrier, F., F. Girault, H. Bouquerel, Effective radium-226 concentration in rocks, soils, plants, and bones, In Gillmore, G.K., Perrier, F.E., Crockett, R.G.M. (eds) Radon, Health and Natural Hazards. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 451, SPA451.8, 2016.
  5. Le Mouël, J.-L., V. Kossobokov, F. Perrier, P. Morat, Intermittent heat instabilities in an air plume, Non-Linear Processes in Geophysics, 23, 319-330, 2016.
  6. Girault, F., F. Perrier, C. Poitou, A. Isambert, H. Théveniaut, V. Laperche, B. Clozel-Leloup, F. Douay, Effective radium concentration in topsoils contaminated by lead and zinc smelters, Science of the Total Environment, 566-567, 865-876, 2016.
  7. Perrier, F., F. Girault, H. Bouquerel, L. Bollinger, Effective radium concentration in agricultural versus forest topsoils, Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 160, 123-134, 2016.
  8. Perrier, F., J. Aupiais, F. Girault, T. Przylibski, H. Bouquerel, Optimized measurement of radium-226 concentration in liquid samples with radon-222 emanation, Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 157, 52-59, 2016.
  9. Sapkota, S.N., L. Bollinger, F. Perrier, Fatality rates of the Mw~8.2, 1934, Bihar-Nepal earthquake and comparison with the April 2015 Gorkha earthquake, Earth, Planets Space, 68, 40, 2016.
  10. Perrier, F., J.-L. Le Mouël, Stationary and transient thermal states of barometric pumping in the access pit of an underground quarry, Science of the Total Environment, 550, 1044-1056, 2016.
  11. Girault, F., L. Bollinger, M. Bhattarai, B.P. Koirala, C. France-Lanord, S. Rajaure, J. Gaillardet, M. Fort, S.N. Sapkota, F. Perrier, Large-scale organization of carbon dioxide discharge in the Nepal Himalayas, Geophysical Research Letters, 41, 6358-6366, 2014.
  12. Girault, F., F. Perrier, The Syabru-Bensi hydrothermal system in central Nepal: 2. Modeling and significance of the radon signature, J. Geophysical Research, 119, 4056-4089, 2014.
  13. Girault, F., F. Perrier, R. Crockett, M. Bhattarai, B.P. Koirala, C. France-Lanord, P. Agrinier, M. Ader, F. Fluteau, C. Gréau, M. Moreira, The Syabru-Bensi hydrothermal system in central Nepal: 1. Characterization of carbon dioxide and radon fluxes, J. Geophysical Research, 119, 4017-4055, 2014.
Other publications of the PSN team:
  1. Girault, F., A. Schubnel, E. Pili, Transient radon signals driven by fluid pressure pulse, micro-crack closure, and failure during granite deformation experiments, Earth Planetary Science Letters, 474, 409-418, 2017.
  2. Costa, A., Y.J. Suzuki, M. Cerminara, B.J. Devenish, T. Esposti Ongaro, M. Herzog, .R. Van Eaton, L.C. Denby, M. Bursik, M. de Michieli Vitturi, S. Engwell, A. Neri, S. Barsotti, A. Folch, G.Macedonio, F. Girault, G. Carazzo, S. Tait, E. Kaminski, L.G. Mastin, M.J.Woodhouse, J.C. Phillips, A.J. Hogg, W. Degruyter, C. Bonadonna, Results of the eruptive column model inter-comparison study, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 326, 2-25, 2016.
  3. Girault, F., G. Carazzo, S. Tait, E. Kaminski, Combined effects of total grain-size distribution and crosswind on the rise of eruptive volcanic columns, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 326, 103-113, 2016.


National Seismological Center, Department of Mines and Geology, Kathmandu