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Subsurface Science generates new understanding about the physical, chemical, structural, hydraulic, and transport processes operating in the Earth’s subsurface, and provides fundamental knowledge concerning the Earth’s structure, composition and properties. Subsurface Engineering converts the knowledge generated by Subsurface Science into practical applications that address societal needs, including environmental protection, resource exploitation, and amelioration of threats arising from natural processes.

The subsurface is key to the well-being of society because it provides many of the resources that we require - water, minerals, energy and storage/disposal capacity. The subsurface is also the source of major threats, including geohazards such as earthquakes, and rapidly-releasable greenhouse gases and stored contaminants. Study and exploitation of the subsurface requires the integration of fundamental scientific and engineering skills, knowledge and facilities.

One of the key strengths of ECOSSE is that it consolidates a wide range of expertise that is needed for understanding the feedbacks that occur in subsurface systems due to process interactions and critical coupling – the old “static” view of geology is no longer appropriate. Understanding and utilising the structure, components and dynamic behaviour of the subsurface has been, and will increasingly be, fundamental to the development of sustainable economic growth and the management of our environment.

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