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Geosciences, Volume 3, Issue 1 (March 2013), Pages 1-139

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Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Nacre in Molluscs from the Ordovician of the Midwestern United States
Geosciences 2013, 3(1), 1-29; doi:10.3390/geosciences3010001
Received: 13 November 2012 / Revised: 24 December 2012 / Accepted: 31 December 2012 / Published: 8 January 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (7072 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nacre was previously thought to be primitive in the Mollusca, but no convincing Cambrian examples are known. This aragonitic microstructure with crystal tablets that grow within an organic framework is thought to be the strongest, most fracture-resistant type of shell microstructure. Fossils [...] Read more.
Nacre was previously thought to be primitive in the Mollusca, but no convincing Cambrian examples are known. This aragonitic microstructure with crystal tablets that grow within an organic framework is thought to be the strongest, most fracture-resistant type of shell microstructure. Fossils described herein from the Ordovician of Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio provide supporting evidence for the hypothesis that sometime between the middle Cambrian and late Ordovician, nacre originated in cephalopod, bivalve, and possibly gastropod lineages. The correlation of independent origins of fracture-resistant nacre with increasing shell-crushing abilities of predators during the Cambrian-Ordovician suggests an early pulse in the evolutionary arms race between predators and molluscan prey. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Paleontology and Geo/Biological Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle Engineering Geology Maps for Planning and Management of Natural Parks: “Las Batuecas-Sierra de Francia” and “Quilamas” (Central Spanish System, Salamanca, Spain)
Geosciences 2013, 3(1), 46-62; doi:10.3390/geosciences3010046
Received: 31 October 2012 / Revised: 10 January 2013 / Accepted: 10 January 2013 / Published: 18 January 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (4370 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Presented herein is a cartographic procedure that is easy to utilise and at low-cost, which facilitates the first stages of planning and management of a naturally protected space and considers the geotechnical parameters that influence human activity. This procedure uses geographical information [...] Read more.
Presented herein is a cartographic procedure that is easy to utilise and at low-cost, which facilitates the first stages of planning and management of a naturally protected space and considers the geotechnical parameters that influence human activity. This procedure uses geographical information systems technology by combining the cartographies for the most influential parameters on the stability of the area (lithology, hydrogeology, geomorphology, slopes, lineament/fractures and seismicity) with geomechanical mapping generated from geotechnical parameters obtained through field and laboratory tests. This geotechnical mapping facilitates the division of a territory into zones according to each type of problem and generates a cartography for natural hazards. Using this information, it is possible to produce a cartography of constructive conditions or geotechnical hazards. This methodology has been validated by application to two natural protected spaces, “Las Batuecas-Sierra de Francia” and “Quilamas”. The validation confirmed that the cartography procedure described herein is a preventive, and not a structural measure. It is a tool that delimits areas with different constructive use recommendations and limitations, and therefore, is useful for natural space managers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle Rocks, Clays, Water, and Salts: Highly Durable, Infinitely Rechargeable, Eminently Controllable Thermal Batteries for Buildings
Geosciences 2013, 3(1), 63-101; doi:10.3390/geosciences3010063
Received: 3 December 2012 / Revised: 13 January 2013 / Accepted: 15 January 2013 / Published: 25 January 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2361 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Materials that store the energy of warm days, to return that heat during cool nights, have been fundamental to vernacular building since ancient times. Although building with thermally rechargeable materials became a niche pursuit with the advent of fossil fuel-based heating and [...] Read more.
Materials that store the energy of warm days, to return that heat during cool nights, have been fundamental to vernacular building since ancient times. Although building with thermally rechargeable materials became a niche pursuit with the advent of fossil fuel-based heating and cooling, energy and climate change concerns have sparked new enthusiasm for these substances of high heat capacity and moderate thermal conductivity: stone, adobe, rammed earth, brick, water, concrete, and more recently, phase-change materials. While broadly similar, these substances absorb and release heat in unique patterns characteristic of their mineralogies, densities, fluidities, emissivities, and latent heats of fusion. Current architectural practice, however, shows little awareness of these differences and the resulting potential to match materials to desired thermal performance. This investigation explores that potential, illustrating the correspondence between physical parameters and thermal storage-and-release patterns in direct-, indirect-, and isolated-gain passive solar configurations. Focusing on heating applications, results demonstrate the superiority of water walls for daytime warmth, the tunability of granite and concrete for evening warmth, and the exceptional ability of phase-change materials to sustain near-constant heat delivery throughout the night. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment)
Open AccessArticle Verde Macael: A Serpentinite Wrongly Referred to as a Marble
Geosciences 2013, 3(1), 102-113; doi:10.3390/geosciences3010102
Received: 16 November 2012 / Revised: 18 January 2013 / Accepted: 28 January 2013 / Published: 5 February 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2457 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Serpentinites are used in both exterior and interior locations, but not all serpentinites are equal: they vary in physical-mechanical behavior and are not all suitable for similar uses. The serpentinites most commonly used worldwide come from India, Pakistan or Egypt. Spain has [...] Read more.
Serpentinites are used in both exterior and interior locations, but not all serpentinites are equal: they vary in physical-mechanical behavior and are not all suitable for similar uses. The serpentinites most commonly used worldwide come from India, Pakistan or Egypt. Spain has traditionally quarried two ultramafic massifs, one in Galicia (Verde Pirineos) and one in Andalucía (Verde Macael). Some of these quarries were small family-run businesses. In both cases, these rocks are commercially available as “green marble.” These serpentinites commonly have a high degree of carbonation, but the process does not always take place with the same intensity. Carbonate can act as a cementing agent of the other phases, increasing the mechanical strength parameters. As a result, an improvement in the strength conditions is achieved, but a misinterpretation of the suitability of the rock may occur because a perception among users that “green marble” is similar to geologically defined marble. This may lead to inappropriate applications as an ornamental stone. At a time of economic crisis in Europe, the natural stone sector is encouraged to invest in research to identify the best quality products that can compete profitably with those currently being imported from other countries. This paper provides a comparison of properties of the Verde Macael serpentinite with a true marble in the hope of contributing to improving the natural stone industrial sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment)

Review

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Open AccessReview Evolution of Endemic Species, Ecological Interactions and Geographical Changes in an Insular Environment: A Case Study of Quaternary Mammals of Sicily (Italy, EU)
Geosciences 2013, 3(1), 114-139; doi:10.3390/geosciences3010114
Received: 12 December 2012 / Revised: 21 January 2013 / Accepted: 21 January 2013 / Published: 5 February 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2109 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Quaternary mammals of Sicily are well known, and five faunal complexes have been distinguished on the basis of bioevents (extinctions and new arrivals) and evolution of endemic species. It is clear that the composition of mammal faunas is strictly related to [...] Read more.
The Quaternary mammals of Sicily are well known, and five faunal complexes have been distinguished on the basis of bioevents (extinctions and new arrivals) and evolution of endemic species. It is clear that the composition of mammal faunas is strictly related to the dispersal ability of each species and to the paleogeography of the area. Until now, researches have chiefly attributed paleogeographical changes as controlling these dispersals: the sea strait between the island and the Italian peninsula has had different widths and depths over time, operating different kinds of filters on the spreading of terrestrial mammals. Moreover, Sicily and its nearby mainland underwent changes in paleogeography. Some incongruence in bioevents has been attributed to the filter operated by the marine strait, which could have acted in differential ways on large and small mammals. However, the roles of ecological interactions among vertebrate species and their control on bioevents have been greatly underestimated. In this critical review, changes in mammals’ associations are reconsidered not only in terms of biochronology and dispersal ability of taxa through the marine strait, evolution of endemic features, in addition to the paleogeography of the island, but also considering the ecological role of each species and the interactions among the species with each faunal complex. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Paleontology and Geo/Biological Evolution)
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Other

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Open AccessTechnical Note Hydrophobization by Means of Nanotechnology on Greek Sandstones Used as Building Facades
Geosciences 2013, 3(1), 30-45; doi:10.3390/geosciences3010030
Received: 2 November 2012 / Revised: 8 January 2013 / Accepted: 9 January 2013 / Published: 18 January 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2776 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Modern sustainable architecture indicates the use of local natural stones for building. Greek sandstones from Epirus (Demati, Greece, EN 12440) used as building facades meet aesthetic and have high mechanical properties, but the inevitable interaction between stone materials and natural or anthropogenic [...] Read more.
Modern sustainable architecture indicates the use of local natural stones for building. Greek sandstones from Epirus (Demati, Greece, EN 12440) used as building facades meet aesthetic and have high mechanical properties, but the inevitable interaction between stone materials and natural or anthropogenic weathering factors controls the type, and extent of stone damages. In the present paper, samples of sandstone were treated with a conventional hydrophobic product and four solutions of the same product, enriched with nanosilica of different concentrations. The properties of the treated samples, such as porosity and pore size distribution, microstructure, static contact angle of a water droplet, and durability to deterioration cycles (freeze-thaw) were recorded and conclusions were drawn. The research indicates the increased hydrophobic properties in nanosilica solutions but also the optimum content in nanoparticles that provides hydrophobicity without altering the properties of the stone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment)

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