Scientific mission in the karstic region of central Congo
The Kongo-2023.07 mission in the Mbanza-Ngungu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo is an expedition carried out in collaboration between the team of scientists from the GeoRes4Dev-MRAC project and an international team of speleologists, as well as the participation of DEA geology students from the University of Kinshasa (Nadége Ngala and Junior Lutete), Biology undergraduate students from the ISP of Mbanza-ngungu, and a doctoral student from Marien Ngouabi University in the Republic of Congo (Nicy Bazebizonza).
The team of scientists from the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium, consists of:
Pascale Lahogue: Project promoter of GeoRes4Dev. Geologist specialized in geological databases, geological mapping, and karst studies.
Imen Arfaoui: Responsible for scientific communication of the GeoRes4Dev project. Geologist specialized in limestone sedimentology and karst studies.
Their mission is to ensure the monitoring of the GeoRes4Dev project and the preparation of the international conference: "Geology and Natural Resources in Central Africa, Societal Impact, and Sustainable Development," co-organized by Marien Ngouabi University, Brazzaville - Republic of Congo, the Royal Museum for Central Africa - GeoRes4Dev Project, Tervuren - Belgium, and the Geological and Mining Research Center - DRC, which will be held in Brazzaville from December 5th to 7th, 2023.
They will also provide scientific support to the DEA scholarship holders of the Kongo area through fieldwork on karst in Mbanza-Ngungu. This includes sedimentological and karst networks evolution (formation and hydrology) studies, within cave formations, to better understand their geological history and monitoring cavities.
The team of cave explorers consists of:
Michael Laumanns: Cave research scientist, editor of the "Berliner Höhlenkundliche Berichte" journal, contributor to UNESCO's World Heritage, and topographer.
Josiane and Bernard Lips: Biospeleologists and topographers.
Jean-Philippe Dégletagne: Imaging technician (drones, LiDAR, and photogrammetry) and assistant topographer.
As part of the cave explorers' commitment to supporting young researchers in the DRC, their main objective in this mission is to share their knowledge and experience in the following areas:
Documenting the complex characteristics of caves and providing researchers with detailed information using advanced techniques: on-site exploration using advanced drone technologies, LiDAR scanning to capture images and reconstruct karst environments in 3D.
Underground exploration and topography: providing expertise in mapping underground environments, ensuring thorough exploration and accurate topographic documentation.
Underground biodiversity: documenting and collecting samples of the rich and diverse life forms thriving in the explored caves for entomologists in the DRC, in collaboration with those from the MRAC.
This effort will greatly contribute to the research of entomologists studying underground ecosystems.