The research targets are primarily studied in the field, but also in the laboratory with various experimental approaches. The institute has a large variety of analytical and experimental instruments, including biogeochemical mesocosms (where environmental samples are placed under controlled conditions to investigate biotic-abiotic mechanisms), nano-fluidic equipment (specific optical and Raman/IR microscopes; ‑100 - 600°C thermal stages; particle image velocimeter), an Argon-Argon platform, and high-pressure, high-temperature experimental equipment (e.g. cold-joint autoclaves, internally-heated pressure vessels, and piston cyclinder presses designed for ex situ and in situ analysis, Paterson and Griggs presses), supplemented by various spectroscopy and microscopy techniques. The institute’s equipment is maintained and expanded through various sources of funding, mainly through major projects, such as the IA-Planex and IA-Voltaire, but also through a number of ERC grants, other types of European projects, ANR’s, and funding from the region Centre.
Numerical modeling is a crucial component for linking experimental and field-based approaches, allowing the validation of mechanisms and processes proposed, and visualizing the relations between structures and properties, generalizing beyond regional case studies. The quantitative study of anthropogenic impact on fragile resources (water, energy) is increasingly important to our modern societies, with the aim of predicting the evolution of complex natural systems under changing forces. Predictive modeling is at the heart of ISTO’s collaboration with the BRGM. All digital activities benefit immensely from ISTO’s privileged access to the CaSciModOT calculation mesocenter (1500 cores, 3 GB / core).