Hydrogeological side note

The Canary Islands host many natural phenomena. One of them is a significant part of the hydrogeological system which provides drinking water for the islands’ inhabitants and irrigation for the land. The annual precipitation in La Palma can vary between 300 and 1400 mm (MC Cabrera) depending on the altitude. However, a significant source of groundwater comes from “horizontal rain,” a process which involves Canary pine trees (Pinus canariensis), low altitude clouds, porous tuff and impermeable dykes. When humid air from the ocean moves over the volcanic mountains of La Palma, it is forced to ascend to a higher altitude by the topography of the island. As it cools and its pressure decreases, at a certain height water precipitates and cloud is formed. Since the air is ascending along the mountain, the clouds are often formed at ground level and flow though the Canary pine tree forests as they continue to rise. The type of pine tree endemic to the island typically has needles as long as 15 cm long. Water droplets are captured on these needles from the rising clouds, fall onto the ground and enter to the subsurface. A volcanic island, La Palma is not lacking in layers of porous tuff and igneous dykes. Water can easily flow through these tuff layers and collect in reservoirs, which are then trapped and sealed by impermeable dykes. These water bodies can be accessed and drained by horizontal tunnels, or water mines, as the locals call them.

It is also interesting that Canary pine trees have a thick bark, saturated with resin, both characteristics that help them to survive forest fires and regrow.

360 degree view under a Canary pine tree (drag and move the photo to look around).

Internship Opening!

We are looking for a new enthusiastic social media-savvy colleague! Get an inside scope on what it is like to work on international EU research projects in our science centre located in the Canary Islands. Our work focusses on various aspects of earth sciences, addressing both applied and basic research related to earth systems, resources and raw materials.

Your tasks will mainly concern preparing and creating visual content for our reports and the communication of our research results through our websites and social media pages. We would like you to set up a social media policy and start a blog for the company. This involves doing background research on science communication techniques and actively seeking interesting technical content to write about, to generate maximum interest. You will need to communicate your findings clearly internally with your colleagues during team meetings and in written reports as well as take up and translate your colleagues ideas to the outside world. We are a small company with a dynamic and flexible work environment, so you will have a chance to get involved in many of our other daily tasks and activities as well. Our wide range of research topics and activities requires being able to learning by doing, to work independently and to have a positive can-do attitude. We also want to learn from you!
We are looking for:
A student or recent graduate in geosciences or a related field, with an interest in science communication and visualizations techniques.

PLUS – Are you?
• A virtuoso in the English language
• An excellent Communicator
• A curious Creative mind
• A bit of Technology geek
• A Social media native

Does this sound like you and are you ready for a little adventure? We are offering a 3 month unpaid internship with the possibility of a 3 month extension. There might be a possibility for full-time employment afterwards. All work-related expenses like travel and accommodation will be covered and arranged for you. We would prefer you to start in September. You will be working from our office in the centre of Los Llanos de Aridane on La Palma, Canary Islands – a few minutes away from a café with the best hand-made ice-cream in the world*. On “the beautiful island” you are never more than a few kilometres away from the beach and the mountains. The internship might also involve possible work trips to our soon to be opened branch in Brussels and possible other locations in Europe.
For more information or to express your interest, send your CV and a short motivation letter to: career_at_lapalmacentre.eu

* According to our Dutch team leader. Italians might disagree.

UNEXMIN Progress Meeting in Porto

From the 4th to the 6th of July, the UNEXMIN Consortium got together to discuss UX-1’s development. The meeting was hosted in Porto, Portugal by INESC TEC. LPRC was represented by Luis Lopes.

The first day was dedicated to a review of the state of the project, which began 17 months ago. The review was conducted work package by work package and finished with WP8 – Dissemination, Technology Transfer and Exploitation, where LPRC has a big role. At the end of the day, everyone was satisfied with the results achieved and most importantly, with the rapid development of the UX-1 robot’s software and hardware.

During the second day, UNEXMIN partners presented their work to the Project Officer and to external expert reviewers. Following the review, INESC TEC personnel showed the Consortium their robotics lab, where they are carrying out their work within the framework of UNEXMIN.

Water tank at INESC TEC laboratory, used for testing

The final day was reserved for technical discussions regarding UX-1. Developing such a new advanced technology is complicated and needs constant effort from all partners in order to ensure good project growth.

The UNEXMIN team