Economic geologists, hydrogeologists and engineering geologists represent the applied geosciences. Their task is to evaluate occurrences of raw materials or groundwater and to assess slope stability. GBA undertakes assessments of the geo-potential of a region in the overlapping fields of resource planning, environmental protection, land use or groundwater supply.
Beside ores and hydrocarbons, surficial deposits of mineral resources (construction materials and industrial minerals) play an important economic role. In Austria, the yearly consumption of sand, gravel, natural stone, limestone, clay and industrial minerals such as gypsum, salt or magnesite, exceeds 100 million tons.
The task of hydrogeologists is to study underground flow paths of water through rocks (aquifers). Especially shallow groundwater bodies and karst water systems are relevant. Deep water resources of drinking water quality are significant for emergency water supply. Not only flow paths but quality and temperature of groundwater (thermal water) become increasingly important. Geothermal heat has great potential as a future source of renewable energy.
In an alpine country like Austria, the expertise of engineering geologists is needed to assess mass movements which are a common phenomenon due to relief, climate and rock properties. Engineering geologists together with geophysicists and other experts collect and evaluate evidence for mass movements. Based on conceptual models, hazard susceptibility maps are produced.