CRITEX : why and how?
While the Critical Zone is so important for the future of human activities on Earth, our knowledge on this thin veneer is still very poor. We lack indirect means of investigation that would allow us to observe it and monitor its pulsations in response to external forcing. We need to develop new and innovative techniques allowing exploring it like those used by physicians to image the inaccessible parts of human body. This lack of powerful investigation tools strongly limits our capability of predicting how the Critical Zone will respond to the new epoch of the Anthropocene.
CRITEX (Challenging equipments for the temporal and spatial exploration of the Critical Zone at the catchment scale) is an instrumental project aiming at buying and building innovative instruments for better understanding and scrutinize the Critical Zone of the Earth. It is viewed as a shared analytical facility supported by all French research institution involved in environmental studies (CNRS, INRA, IRSTEA, IRD, BRGM) and 15 universities aiming at equipping the Critical Zone observatories of a new generation of performing sensors.
CRITEX aims to develop new sensors and to deploy commercial instruments in well chosen critical zone observatories by fostering collaborations between disciplins and approaches (i.e. geochemistry and geophysics or hydrology). Instruments may be a good way of reconciling the dialogue between disciplines in the Critical Zone.
CRITEX also aims at improving the international visibility and collaboration with international teams for a better exploration and understanding of the Critical Zone.