A geologist surveys limestone folds outcropping above Lake Volta in the Oterkpolu quarry (Ghana, 2008). © BRGM - Jean-Yves Roig

“Mobility is essential in my job”

Caroline Ricordel-Prognon, 31, BRGM geological engineer.

Portrait Caroline Ricordel-Prognon

“I was recruited by the BRGM in 2007 as a geological engineer, right after my doctoral thesis at the Higher National School of Mine Engineering (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines) in Paris. The main focus of my thesis was on how to assess the geological stability of the Paris basin, in terms of both tectonics and vulnerability to erosion. 

During my PhD course, I gradually specialised in surface and regolith geology. Surface formations are especially interesting because they are the substrate for all human activities, which means we have to see them as a form of capital to be preserved and properly managed.

At the BRGM, I joined a team specialising in studies of regolith formations. My qualifications from the Ecole des Mines and my competences in surface geology and paleomagnetism matched the BRGM’s priorities.

One of our main roles is to meet the demand for detailed characterisation of surface formations to address pressing issues for society, such as climate change, resource management, geological risks or the impacts of human pressures.

Since 2007, projects and missions have kept coming: I’m now coordinating a public service project to establish a reference platform on the geological infrastructure of surface formations in France, which will help to transfer scientific research results for applications in society.

I’m also involved in various research projects that sometimes involve missions abroad. Mobility is essential in my job, and I love field work! It’s always something of an adventure, and always rewarding. For example, I’ll be spending six weeks in New Caledonia soon, for a research project on nickel.”


Caroline studied geosciences at the universities of Nantes, Paris and Lille, gaining a doctorate from the Paris Ecole des Mines engineering school before joining the BRGM in 2007. She is now a project manager and works in France and abroad on topics concerning surface geology.

BRGM - 3 avenue Claude-Guillemin - BP 36009 45060 Orléans Cedex 2 - France Tel.: +33 (0)2 38 64 34 34