Vanessa Heyvaert

Director (ai)
Senior Geologist
Quaternary Geology & Geohazards

                            +32 2 788 76 51


Vanessa Heyvaert is – since 2014 – statutory senior geologist in coastal and fluvial sedimentology at RBINS, where she catalyzed GSB’s geohazard research group. She is currently the Head (a.i.) of the Geological Survey of Belgium. Moreover, she is Guest professor in sedimentology at Ghent University, Department of Geology. She obtained her PhD in Quaternary Geology at the VUB in 2007, whereafter she held a JSPS postdoctoral position at Nagoya University, Japan.

Vanessa’s research investigates the imprint of natural hazards (earthquakes, extreme wave events, landslides) on the sedimentary record, to have a better understanding of the rates, magnitudes, timing and impact of these processes.

She has a solid field and research experience in interdisciplinary research projects in the Middle East (Iran, Iraq), Mediterranean (Syria) , Asia (Japan, Thailand) and Europe (Shetlands, Belgium), studying Holocene coastal and fluvial sedimentary records. Moreover, she is involved in several hydrogeological research projects, delivering the stratigraphical framework for hydrogeological modelling and (transnational) Quaternary mapping.

Present professional affiliations : Belgian National Commission on Geological Sciences, Belgian National Commission on Stratigraphy, Sub commission Quaternary: Secretary, BELQUA : Vice – President; Geologica Belgica Board; Belgian Representative CCOP; Belgian Representative of BELQUA for INQUA.

Member of Editorial Board international journals: Associate editor Geologica Belgica, Editorial Board Quaternary International, Advisory Board Netherlands Journal of Geosciences.


Research group

Research interests

  • Sedimentology
  • Hazards
  • Quaternary stratigraphy
  • Hydrogeology
  • Science communication


Quaternary geology, coastal and fluvial sedimentology, extreme wave events, palaeogeographical mapping, Belgian Quaternary stratigraphy

Key publications

Selection of key publications reflecting different research topics:

Engel, M., Schön, I., Patel, T., Pawłowski, J., Szczuciński, W., Dawson, S., Garrett, E. & Heyvaert, V.M.A., 2020. Paleogenetic approach in tsunami deposit studies. In: Engel, M., Pilarczyk, J., May, S.M., Brill, D. & Garrett, E.G. (Eds.) Geological records of tsunamis and other extreme waves. Elsevier.

Lamair, L., Hubert-Ferrari, A., Yamamoto, S., El Ouahabi, M., Vander Auwera, J., Obrochta, S., Boes, E., Nakamura, A., Fujiwara, O., Shishikura, M., Schmidt, S, Siani, G., Miyairi, Y., Yokoyama, Y., De Batist, M. & Heyvaert, V.M.A., 2018. Volcanic influence of Mt. Fuji on the watershed of Lake Motosu and its impact on the lacustrine sedimentary record. Sedimentary Geology 363, 200-220.

Beerten K., Heyvaert V.M.A., Vandenberghe D., Van Nieuland J. & Bogemans F., 2017. A new lithostratigraphy for the Quaternary sandy aeolian deposits in Belgium: revising the Gent formation. Geologica Belgica 20/1-2, 95-102.

Garrett, E., Fujiwara, O., Garrett, P., Heyvaert, V.M.A., Shishikura, M., Yokoyama, Y., Hubert-Ferrari, A., Bruckner, H., Nakamura, A., De Batist, M. & the QuakeRecNankai team, 2016. A systematic review of geological evidence for Holocene earthquakes and tsunamis along the Nankai-Suruga Trough, Japan. Earth-Science Reviews 159 337-357.

Howard A.J., Kluiving, S.J., Engel M. & Heyvaert, V.M.A., 2015. Geoarchaeological records in temperate European valleys: Quantifying the resource, assessing its potential and managing its future. Quaternary International, 367 42-50.

Heyvaert, V.M.A., Walstra J., Verkinderen P., Weerts H. & Ooghe B., 2012. The role of human interference on the channel shifting of the river Karkheh in the Lower Khuzestan plain (Mesopotamia, SW Iran). Quaternary International, 251 52-63.

Heyvaert, V.M.A. & Baeteman, C., 2008. A Middle to Late Holocene avulsion history of the Euphrates river: A case study from Tell-ed Der, Iraq, Lower Mesopotamia. Quaternary Science Reviews 27, 2401-2410.

Heyvaert, V.M.A. & Baeteman, C., 2007. Holocene sedimentary evolution and palaeocoastlines of the Lower Khuzestan plain (southwest Iran), Special Issue IGCP 495, Marine Geology 242, 83-108.


Complete list available on Publons, Google Scholar, and ORCID.