Epos-France in the ecosystem of national, European and international research infrastructures

The consortium agreement signed in October 2011 between 18 major players in geophysical research in France established Résif-Epos as a national research infrastructure (RI). In November 2023, Résif-Epos became Epos-France, with an expanded scope. This new RI will replace Résif-Epos in the next Research Infrastructures roadmap published by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research (due for publication in 2024).

This roadmap sets out the strategy for nearly a hundred international organizations, research infrastructures (RIs) and projects, grouped by major fields. Among these, the Earth and Environment System RIs contribute to the advancement of knowledge on the processes at work within and between the planet’s major compartments. They are part of a major initiative entitled “Knowing, monitoring and forecasting the Earth System”. This action contributes to the implementation of scientifically validated information and/or forecasting services on climatic, environmental and telluric risk, and at the same time offers related services in the fields of energy, resources, risk and safety in the broadest sense. These products and services are aimed at the scientific community, as well as public and socio-economic players.

IR roadmap 2021

[1] ESFRI roadmap, ENVRIplus cluster Environmental Research Infrastructures providing shared solutions for science and society

The IR of the Earth and Environment System, often distributed, are very diverse. They are conceived on a European or international scale, and built around facilities accredited by research establishments.

The Earth and Environment System sciences field is structured around logistical infrastructures such as the French Ocean Fleet (FOF) and observation and experimentation infrastructures, including Epos-France. These research infrastructures are dedicated to the study of the inner Earth, the Atmosphere, the Ocean, and the understanding of coastlines, continental surfaces, biodiversity and ecosystems. Each operates on its own scale and in its own field, but the boundaries between them are fluid, and Epos-France collaborates with four of them.

In addition, Data Terra, an e-infrastructure, offers a centralized portal for data and services derived from Earth system research infrastructures. Epos-France works in synergy with ForM@Ter, its Solid Earth cluster, to provide high quality, FAIR-compliant data for the whole of France. Together, they control the entire data creation process, from measurement and distribution (Epos-France) to high-level services for visualizing, combining and analyzing this data (Data Terra).

Epos-France’s links extend beyond the field of Earth and environmental sciences, notably through its interactions with Refimeve in the field of matter and engineering sciences. Epos-France is also active in Europe and worldwide, in particular with EPOS (European Plate Observing System). EPOS facilitates the integrated use of data, products and equipment from the solid Earth sciences community on a European scale. Epos-France maintains very close links with EPOS, providing data and actively participating in its development and evolution.



Epos-France dans l'écosystème des Infrastructures de recherche française dans le domaine Terre solide

Epos-France in the ecosystem of French Solid Earth Research Infrastructures © Epos-France 2024 – Download pdf version

Logo de l'infrastructure de recherche Ozcar

Epos-France and the IR “Observatoires de la zone critique : application et recherche” (Ozcar)

Ozcar brings together instrumented sites based on long-term observations of water, ice, soils, wetlands and their biodiversity. Two of the observatories affiliated to Ozcar are multi-instrument sites that also house Epos-France’s seismological and geodetic instruments.

This is the case for the Observatoire hydrogéochimique de l’environnement (OHGE) in the Strengbach watershed in the Vosges mountains (Aubure, Haut-Rhin). Created in 1986, the OHGE’s role is to study and monitor ecosystems over the long term, as well as any changes they may undergo as a result of natural or man-made disturbances. The equipment installed on the site enables the acquisition of meteorological, hydrological and geochemical data on a basin-wide scale, as well as gravimetric, geodetic and magneto-telluric observations. A GNSS Renag station (code AUBU), for example, is installed here.

The second Ozcar site is the multi-instrumented Durson site (part of the national network of H+ hydrogeological sites) on the Larzac plateau (commune of Nant, Aveyron). The dynamic storage of water in such aquifers cannot be measured or modelled using conventional hydrological methods. By measuring, for example, the impact of water on deformation and the gravity field, it is possible to obtain essential information on the hydrological functioning of the karst.

The instruments deployed at the Durson site ensure hydro-geophysical monitoring of the karst hydrosystem through repeated or continuous geodetic, gravimetric, topographic, electrical resistivity and hydrological measurements. The site is home to a seismological station (Code LAJAS), a GNSS station (Code HOLA) and several gravimeters integrated into Epos-France.

Logo de l'infrastructure de recherche Ilico

Epos-France and the Coastal Research Infrastructure (Ilico

Created in 2016, the Infrastructures de Recherche Littorale et côtière (Ilico) aims to observe and understand coastal and marine environments and ecosystems in their entirety. As such, Ilico brings together a set of observation devices for collecting samples and deploying various measuring instruments by federating eight observation services, including Sonel.

The Sonel project (Système d’observation du niveau des eaux littorales) is an in situ observation project dedicated to real-time observation of sea level along the coast. It brings together metrological-quality data from tide gauges and geodetic techniques such as GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and levelling. Its objectives are to analyze long-term trends in sea-level rise, calibrate satellite instruments and understand the processes of sea-level variation near the coast. Sonel acts as a GNSS data center for tide gauges in the Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS) program, which operates under the aegis of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).

Other links still need to be developed between the Permanent Broadband Network (RLBP) and Ilico to monitor sea state, wave/coast interaction, etc. from RLBP seismological stations, in particular by analyzing the microseismic background noise detected at these stations.


Infrastructure de recherche Flotte océanigraphique française

Epos-France and the IR French Oceanographic Fleet (FOF)

The French Oceanographic Fleet (FOF), operated by Ifremer, is a major research infrastructure at the service of the various user communities, providing them with a set of tools and instruments, including research vessels, for deploying and maintaining a network of measuring instruments in the oceans. It enables the study of various aspects of oceanography, meteorology, marine biology and geophysics. It also coordinates, on behalf of France, the development of international agreements concerning oceanographic fleets.

Under the aegis of Epos-France, a large number of offshore campaigns are carried out with the support of this FOF research infrastructure. Epos-France’s Marmor project, with the deployment of seismometers on the seabed or hydrophones in the water column, is a good illustration of the important links between 3 research infrastructures: Epos-France, FOF and Emso.


Logo de l'infrastructure de recherche Ozcar

Epos-france and the IR European multidisciplinary seafloor and water column observatory (Emso)

The European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and water column Observatory is a pan-European technological research infrastructure for continuous, interactive, high-resolution observation of the oceans via a system of regional facilities placed at key sites in Europe, from the North-East to the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The observatories are platforms equipped with multiple sensors, positioned along the water column and on the seabed. They continuously measure a range of biogeochemical and physical parameters relating to natural hazards, climate change and marine ecosystems.

Some Emso observatories are located in seismic and volcanic marine zones in European seas, such as the Sea of Marmara, a high-risk area for strong earthquakes, submarine landslides and tsunamis. Likewise off the Azores islands, where a complex marine volcanic system regularly releases methane and other gases, fostering a special ecosystem. Or to monitor submarine landslides in the Ligurian Sea and the resulting tsunamis, which are among the main geohazards affecting coastal populations, including in France.


Logo de l'infrastructure de recherche Data Terra

Epos-France and the Data Terra RI

Epos-France develops and builds projects in synergy with the Data Terra research infrastructure through its Solid Earth cluster, ForM@Ter. Data Terra is an open, interoperable e-infrastructure for the environment, enabling the extraction, cross-referencing and seamless access to multi-source, multi-domain and multi-organism data from the Earth system (continental surfaces, atmosphere, oceans, solid Earth). Data Terra is based on five clusters (Aeris for atmosphere, Odatis for oceans, ForM@Ter for solid Earth, Theia for continental surfaces and interfaces, and PNDB for biodiversity) and cross-disciplinary services (e.g. Dinamis, a shared service for access to high-resolution satellite images). Data Terra’s mission is to make data more accessible and interoperable, by developing a global system for accessing and processing data and products, in line with FAIR principles. IR supports interdisciplinary approaches for scientific communities and players in the public and innovation spheres.

The links between Epos-France and Data Terra are built through ongoing collaboration with ForM@Ter and through specific projects. These involve, where the data path is to be built, the implementation of FAIR data management principles and the development of high-level data services requiring seamless access to a continuum of digital infrastructures. The G-FROG network (Groupement Français de Recherche pour la mesure sur fibres Optiques en Géosciences), which federates an innovative approach to seismology using fiber optics (Fiber Optic Sensing or Distributed Acoustic Sensing/DAS), exploits and illustrates this synergy, with data processing and analysis services operated by ForM@Ter and FAIR data and product management services by Epos-France.


Infrastructure de recherche Refimeve+

Epos-France and IR Réseau fibré métrologique à vocation européenne (Refimeve)

Refimeve, a research infrastructure accredited in 2021 by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR), represents a major step forward in the field of time-frequency metrology. This infrastructure, which covers various scientific fields, pools sophisticated resources such as atomic clocks and laser interferometers, thus facilitating access to international-quality metrological references for laboratories and research institutes throughout France.

Epos-France, through its Seismology, GNSS Geodesy and Gravimetry thematic groups, offers an integrated approach to the study of the Earth’s movements and characteristics. The synergies between these two infrastructures enable collaboration between researchers specializing in these fields. For example, the use of Refimeve’s ultra-precise time-frequency signals to synchronize seismic measurements could improve the temporal and spatial resolution of seismic events, while geodesy and altimetry data help calibrate and validate time and frequency models, increasing the accuracy of synchronization and navigation measurements.

Finally, the integration of fiber-based measurements using DAS (Distributed Acoustic Sensing) technology with interferometric measurements such as those recorded by Refimeve opens up new perspectives for fundamental physics research. This technological and thematic combination enables in-depth study of noise processes and their interaction with the environment, potentially improving our understanding of natural phenomena and the fundamental properties of matter.

Infrastructure de recherche RéGEFEpos-France and the IR French Geochemical and Experimental Network (RéGEF)

The IR Réseau Géochimique et Expérimental Français (RéGEF) is a cross-disciplinary structure that deploys resources to provide measurements for research programs, national observation services and other research infrastructures. It is dedicated to the study of chemical elements and geochemical processes, on all time and space scales in the evolution of the Earth system and the solar system in general, within the solid Earth or its outer envelopes, but also through interactions between living organisms and minerals. It includes laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art instruments for the analysis of geological samples, experimental facilities for simulating geological conditions, and geochemical databases. This infrastructure makes it possible to explore the chemical composition of rocks, minerals, geological fluids and elements circulating in the earth’s lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere.

The research carried out within the framework of this IR contributes to a better understanding of geological processes, mineral formation, the migration of chemical elements, geochemical cycles and their interactions with the environment. This knowledge is essential for many fields, including geology, natural resource exploration, environmental protection and natural hazard management.

The links between Epos-France and IR RéGEF are particularly strong through Epos-France’s Active Fault (Fact) axis, which aims to record potentially active faults, neotectonic deformations and paleoseismic events in mainland France. The IR RéGEF’s geochemical and mineralogical data analysis capabilities make a major contribution to the characterization and dating of ancient earthquakes (paleoseismic events) that have left their mark on geological deposits.


Epos-France and European and international research infrastructures

French research infrastructures are designed and structured on a European and international scale. Epos-France is the national structure behind Epos (European Plate Observing System) at European level, and plays an active role in its development and evolution.

Epos-France is also a partner in various international research infrastructures, such as the worldwide Geoscope network of broadband seismological stations, whose French stations are integrated into the Epos-France information system. In geodesy, the GNSS stations of the worldwide Regina network also contribute to the Epos-France databases, as do those of the national RGP network managed by IGN. In the field of gravimetry, Epos-France data are integrated and distributed via the International Geodynamics and Earth Tide Service (Igets), whose aim is to measure, archive and distribute long time series of superconducting gravimeters, as well as inclinometers, extensometers, etc. The Igets service is based on the Epos-France database.

Information collected in February 2024