How to adapt subsurface imaging strategies to the processes of interest is an overarching question addressed in ENIGMA.

Most geophysical methods used by practitioners aim at improving our knowledge of subsurface structures. But field techniques for monitoring and imaging flow, transport, and reaction processes that evolve in space and time are still nascent. A new generation of scientists familiar with both emerging Earth observation technologies and detailed process upscaling and modelling is thus needed to respond to the increasing demand to understand and monitor subsurface processes at the scientific, public administration and industrial levels. To address this challenge, the ENIGMA training network will create an innovative and entrepreneurial training environment for young scientists, which will gather:

  • outstanding academic teams and emerging companies that develop innovative sensors and hydrogeophysical and inversion methods, including time-lapse tomographic approaches to track temporal changes and assess fine-scale spatial distributions, in-situ experiments and remote sensing techniques to derive spatially distributed information on temperature, water content, and flow on multiple scales;
  • world-leading experts in subsurface coupled flow and transport modelling in heterogeneous porous and fractured media, developing simulation platforms, upscaling theories, and stochastic models;
  • densely-monitored field infrastructures designed to host both long-term monitoring and experimental campaigns for process observation, building on cumulative knowledge through databases.

The ENIGMA network builds on the added-value that can be gained by enhancing exchanges between these areas of excellence, which have developed relatively independently so far.

ENIGMA will thus train a new generation of young researchers in the development of innovative methods for imaging process dynamics in subsurface hydrosystems, in order to enhance understanding and predictive modelling capacities  and transfer these innovations to the economic sector. The term imaging refers herein to the spatial representation of subsurface heterogeneity, fluxes, chemical reactions and microbial activity, through the integration of data and approaches from geophysics, hydrology, soil physics, and biochemistry.