Xavier Devleeschouwer

Senior Geologist
Sedimentary Geology & Geohazards

                            +32 2 788 76 38

Private website


Since my PhD (completed both at the Université Libre de Bruxelles [ULB] and at the Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille [USTL] in 1999), my research interests were linked to different thematic (i.e.  sedimentary geology, urban geology, and geohazards mainly observed through geodetic techniques).

I started my career as a junior research geologist at UCL (Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve) to describe geological boreholes in carbonates rocks mainly. Other type of sedimentary rocks were also described after drilling campaigns. Some of these cores are still available today in the core depository of the Geological Survey of Belgium.

After several years, I jumped on the creation of a coal mining database (mine shafts, coal mining documents of the underground exploitations, etc.) with the main idea to digitalize progressively these old mine documents to see them in a GIS environment as it was, and it is still a geohazard affecting the growing urbanized areas above the underground coal exploitations.

Through being hired at the RBINS in 2006, I took the opportunity to work again on the understanding of the anoxic and black shales events associated to minor or major faunal extinction steps during the Devonian and Carboniferous stratigraphic interval. My main areas is to combine several tools or techniques to determine the depositional environments, the detrital fluxes and the causes of the anoxic events. Multi-disciplinary methods (microfacies and petrography, magnetic susceptibility and magnetic mineralogy, gamma-ray spectrometry, elementary and isotope geochemistry, clay mineralogy (DRX), SEM-EDS analyses, grain sizes, XRF data, etc.) are thus combined altogether providing an enhanced overview of the different signals hidden in the sedimentary record.

A few years after, the opportunity of using radar interferometry data and SAR scene imagery provided by European satellite on the Belgian territory allowed me to participate to several ESA and EU funded project dealing with geohazards using the Earth Observation approach. This thematic is still ongoing with new projects, expertise’s, and the supervision of PhD students dealing with this technique.

The last part of my activities is related to the management and development of the 2D and 3D geological maps and GIS models of the Brussels Region through several successive projects dealing both with the hydrogeological and geological aspects. The last results issued from the Brustrati3D project are now completely accessible using a webGIS environment. Those models are updated with new geological data and are the primary data for the development of the geothermal energy approach used in several past and ongoing funded projects managed at the Geological Survey of Belgium.

Since 2008, I was appointed at ULB as a visiting professor to teach sedimentology and advanced sedimentary techniques at bachelor and master levels, and more recently I started teaching microfacies/petrography and micropaleontology to the bachelors.

I have 31 peer-reviewed IF publications, 34 peer reviewed publications, 20 unpublished reports, 107 abstracts in conference books and proceedings. I have supervised 3 PhD thesis (two are still ongoing), 14 Ma thesis, and several internships in our department/unit.

I’m also a member of several geological associations (SEPM, Geological Belgica) and the main editor of the geological journals issued by the GSB (Memoirs, Professional Papers).

Research groups

Research interests

  • Sedimentary Geology
  • Geophysics and Geochemistry
  • Geodetic tools (SAR interferometry, GNSS) and GIS
  • Geodiversity and geoheritage


Petrography of carbonate rocks, Paleozoic oceanic anoxic events, black shales. Microfossils extraction for biostratigraphy (conodonts and ostracods).

Detrital fluxes in sedimentary series using multi-disciplinary tools (Magnetic susceptibility and magnetic mineralogy, Gamma-ray spectrometry, elementary and isotope geochemistry, SEM-EDS analyses, XRD analyses, grain sizes, clay mineralogy, carbon organic content and organic matter analyses, XRF analyses, etc.).

Geohazards affecting growing urbanized areas associated to underground exploitation activities (mining, quarry, karst, etc.) and their mapping using the Radar Interferometry technique (PSInSAR data) over the whole Belgian territory. Coal mining exploitations and their effect at the surface. The monitoring of the ground deformations is done using geodetic tools (GNSS stations and PSInSAR data).

Urban geology and GIS models in 2D and 3D of the subcrop of the Region of Brussels using all the existing information in the actual database (core drillings, boreholes, cone penetration tests, outcrops, underground cavities, etc.). Development of the GIS layers from the top Paleozoic to the Quaternary including geophysical campaigns using passive seismic tools to map the top of the Paleozoic.

Key publications

IF- peer-reviewed papers

[31] Choopani A., Declercq P.-Y., Dassargues A., Devleeschouwer X. (2021). Land subsidence observed in the Merchtem Area (Flanders) – 30 years of SAR data associated to groundwater withdrawal?  International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium – IGARSS 2021 Brussels, Belgium, 12-16 July 2021, conference paper.

[30] Wouters S., Crucifix M., Sinnesael M., Da Silva A-C., Zeeden C., Zivanovic M., Boulvain F., Devleeschouwer, X. (2021). A Decomposition Approach to Cyclostratigraphic Signal Processing. Earth Science Reviews, submitted after review.

[29] Declercq P.-Y., Choopani A., Dassargues A., Devleeschouwer X. (2021). Areas prone to land subsidence and their evolutions in Belgium during the last 30 years. International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium – IGARSS 2021 Brussels, Belgium, 12-16 July 2021, conference paper.

[28] Wouters S., Da Silva A-C., Boulvain F., Devleeschouwer, X. (2021). StratigrapheR: Concepts for LithologGeneration in R. R Journal, vol. xx, xx-xx (accepted).

[27] Van Noten K., Lecocq T., Goffin C., Meyvis B., Molron J., Debacker T.N., Devleeschouwer X. (2021). Brussels’ bedrock paleorelief from borehole-controlled powerlaws linking polarised H/V resonance frequencies and sediment thickness. Journal of Seismology, accepted.

 [26] Triantafyllou A., Mattielli N., Clerbois S., Da Silva A.C., Kaskes P., Claeys Ph., Devleeschouwer X., Brkojewitsch G. (2021). Optimizing multiple non-invasive techniques (PXRF, pMS, IA) to characterize coarse-grained igneous rocks used as building stones. Journal of Archaeological Science, 129, 105376. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2021.105376

 [25] Declercq P.-Y., Gérard P., Pirard E., Walstra J., Devleeschouwer, X., (2021). Long-Term Subsidence Monitoring of the Alluvial Plain of the Scheldt River in Antwerp (Belgium) Using Radar Interferometry. Remote Sensing 13/6: 1160. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13061160, (open access – PDF).

 [24] Wouters S., Spassov S., Martinez M., Steurbaut E., Storme J.-Y., Yans J., Devleeschouwer X., (2019). Rock magnetic investigation of the Danian/Selandian transition in Loubieng (France), Zumaia (Spain) and Sidi Nasseur (Tunisia). Geological Magazine, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0016756819000281

 [23] Declercq P.-Y., Walstra, J., Gérard P., Pirard E., Perissin D., Devleeschouwer X., (2017). Subsidence related to groundwater pumping for breweries in Merchtem are (Belgium) highlighted by Persistent Scaterrer Interferometry. International Journal of Applied Earth Observations and Geoinformation, 63, 178–185. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jag.2017.07.012

[22] Declercq P.-Y., Walstra, J., Gérard P., Pirard E., Perissin D., Meyvis B. & Devleeschouwer X., (2017). 25 years of ground movements in Brussels (Belgium) monitored by Persistent Scatterer Interferometry. Geosciences, 7, 115. doi:10.3390/geosciences7040115

 [21] Delpomdor F., Van Vliet N., Devleeschouwer X., Tack, L., Préat A. (2017?) Evolution and Estimated Age of the C5 Lukala Carbonate-Evaporite Ramp Complex in the Lower Congo region (Democratic Republic of Congo): New perspectives in Central Africa. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 137, 261-277. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2017.10.021

 [20] Delpomdor F., Devleeschouwer X., Blanpied C., Schröder S., Fernandez-Alonso M., Spassov S., Préat A. (2017). Early Neoproterzoic carbonate correlations within two stratigraphic sequences from Mbuji-Mayi Supergroup (Oriental Kasai Province, Democratic Republic of Congo) – Microfacies versus magnetic susceptibility, combined with C, O and Sr chemostratigraphy, new tools for Neoproterozoic stratigraphy. Sedimentary Geology, 351, 80-101.

 [19] Pas D., Da Silva A.-C., Devleeschouwer X., De Vleeschouwer D., Cornet D., Labaye C. & Boulvain F. 2016. Insights into a million-year scale carbonate platform evolution through a multi-disciplinary approach: example of a Givetian carbonate record from Belgium. Geological Magazine, doi.org/10.1017/S0016756816000261

 [18] Da Silva A. C., Whalen M. T., Hladil J., Chadimova L., Chen D., Spassov S., Boulvain F. & Devleeschouwer X. (Eds), (2015). Magnetic Susceptibility Application: A Window onto Ancient Environments and Climatic Variations. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 414, 1-13.

 [17] Pas D., Da Silva A.C., Devleeschouwer X., De Vleeschouwer D., Labaye C., Cornet P., Michel J. & Boulvain F. (2015). Sedimentary development and magnetic susceptibility evolution of the Frasnian in Western Belgium (Dinant Synclinorium, la Thure section). Special Publication of the Geological society of London, 414.

 [16] Devleeschouwer X., Riquier L., Babek O., De Vleeshouwer D., Petitclerc E., Sterckx S. & Spassov, S. (2015). Magnetization carriers of red deep-water limestones in the GSSP for the Givetian-Frasnian boundary (Puech de la Suque, France): a diagenetic overprinting signal. Special Publication of the Geological society of London, 414, 157-180.

 [15] Da Silva A.-C., Whalen M.T., Hladil J., Koptikova L., Chen D., Spassov S., Boulvain F. & Devleeschouwer X. (2014). Application of magnetic susceptibility as a paleo-climatic proxy on Paleozoic sedimentary rocks and characterization of the magnetic signal – IGCP580 projects and events. Episodes, 37/2, 87-95.

 [14] Storme J.-Y., Steurbaut E., Devleeschouwer X., Dupuis C., Iacumin P., Rochez G. & Yans J. (2014). Integrated bio-chemostratigraphical correlations and climatic evolution across the Danian-Selandian boundary at low latitudes. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 414, 212-224.

[13] Devleeschouwer X., Vanessa M.A. Heyvaert, V.M.A., Louwye, S., Piessens, K. & Smith, T. (2013). Moving plates and melting icecaps – Processes and forcing factors in geology, 4th International Geologica Belgica meeting, September 11-14, 2012. Geologica Belgica, 16/4, 208-210.

 [12] Cambier G. & Devleeschouwer X. (2013). A GIS-based methodology for creating 3D geological models in sedimentary environment: application to the subcrop of Brussels. Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften, 164 (4), 557–567.

 [11] Casier J.-G., Devleeschouwer X., Maillet S., Petitclerc E. & Préat A. (2013). Ostracods and rock facies of the Givetian / Frasnian transition in the Sourd d’Ave section at Ave-et-Auffe (Dinant Synclinorium, Belgium). Bulletin of Geosciences, 88/2, 241-264.

 [10] Storme J.-Y., Devleeschouwer X., Schnyder J., Cambier G., Baceta J.I., Pujalte V., Di Matteo A., Iacumin P. & Yans J. (2012) – The Palaeocene/Eocene boundary section at Zumaia (Basque-Cantabric Basin) revisited: new insights from high-resolution magnetic susceptibility and carbon isotope chemostratigraphy on organic matter (δ13Corg). Terra Nova, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3121.2012.01064.x.

 [9] Devleeschouwer X., Petitclerc E., Spassov S. & Préat A. (2010) – The Givetian-Frasnian boundary at Nismes parastratrotype (Belgium): the magnetic susceptibility signal controlled by ferromagnetic minerals. Geologica Belgica, 13/4, 345-360.

[8] Riquier L., Averbuch O., Devleeschouwer X. & Tribovillard N. (2010) – Diagenetic versus detrital origin of the magnetic susceptibility variations in some carbonate Frasnian–Famennian boundary sections from Northern Africa and Western Europe: implications for paleoenvironmental reconstructions. International Journal of Earth Sciences, 99, S57-S73. DOI 10.1007/s00531-009-0492-7

[7] Riquier L, Tribovillard N, Averbuch O, Devleeschouwer X, Riboulleau A (2006) – The Late Frasnian Kellwasser horizons of the Harz Mountains (Germany): two oxygen-deficient periods resulting from contrasting mechanisms. Chemical Geology, 233 (1-2), 137-155.

[6] Averbuch O., Tribovillard N., Devleeschouwer X., Riquier L., Mistiaen B. & van Vliet-Lanoe B. (2005) – Mountain building-enhanced continental weathering and organic carbon burial as major causes for climatic cooling at the Frasnian-Famennian boundary (ca 376 Ma BP). Terra Nova, 17, 25-34.

[5] Tribovillard N., Averbuch O., Devleeschouwer X., Racki G. & Riboulleau A. (2004) – Deep-water anoxia during the Frasnian-Famennian boundary events (La Serre, France): an echo of a tectonically-induced Late Devonian oceanic anoxic event? Terra Nova, 16, 288-295.

[4] Racki G., Racka M., Matyja H. & Devleeschouwer X. (2002) – The Frasnian/Famennian boundary interval in the South Polish-Moravian shelf basins: integrated event-stratigraphical approach. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 181, 251-297.

[3] Casier J.-G., Devleeschouwer X., Lethiers F., Préat A. and Racki G. (2002) – Ostracods and fore-reef sedimentology of the Frasnian-Famennian boundary beds in Kielce (Holy Cross Mountains, Poland). Acta Paleontologica Polonica, 47 (2), 227-246.

[2] Devleeschouwer X., Herbosch A. and Préat A. (2002) – Microfacies, sequence stratigraphy and clay mineralogy of a condensed deep-water section around the Frasnian-Famennian boundary (Steinbruch Schmidt, Germany). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 181, 171-193.

[1] Préat A., Mamet B. & Devleeschouwer X. (1998) – Microfaciès et séquences dans une série condensée du Dévonien Supérieur, Coumiac, Montagne Noire. – Bull. Soc. Géol. France, 3, 331-342.