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Geosciences, Volume 8, Issue 1 (January 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Cenomanian–Turonian (94 Ma) reconstructed paleobathymetry, extrapolated from a parameterized modern [...] Read more.
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Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Geosciences in 2017
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8010033
Received: 18 January 2018 / Accepted: 18 January 2018 / Published: 22 January 2018
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Abstract
Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Geosciences maintains high quality standards for its published papers[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle Generalized Pan-European Geological Database for Shallow Geothermal Installations
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8010032
Received: 18 December 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 17 January 2018 / Published: 22 January 2018
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Abstract
The relatively high installation costs for different types of shallow geothermal energy systems are obstacles that have lowered the impact of geothermal solutions in the renewable energy market. In order to reduce planning costs and obtain a lithological overview of geothermal potentials and
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The relatively high installation costs for different types of shallow geothermal energy systems are obstacles that have lowered the impact of geothermal solutions in the renewable energy market. In order to reduce planning costs and obtain a lithological overview of geothermal potentials and drilling conditions, a pan-European geological overview map was created using freely accessible JRC (Joint Research Centre) data and ArcGIS software. JRC data were interpreted and merged together in order to collect information about the expenditure of installing geothermal systems in specific geological set-ups, and thereby select the most economic drilling technique. Within the four-year project of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program, which is known as “Cheap-GSHPs” (the Cheap and efficient application of reliable Ground Source Heat exchangers and Pumps), the most diffused lithologies and corresponding drilling costs were analyzed to provide a 1 km × 1 km raster with the required underground information. The final outline map should be valid throughout Europe, and should respect the INSPIRE (INfrastructure for SPatial InfoRmation in Europe) guidelines. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Automatic Procedure for the Quantitative Characterization of Submarine Bedforms
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8010028
Received: 22 November 2017 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published: 21 January 2018
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Abstract
A model for the extraction and quantitative characterization of submarine landforms from high-resolution digital bathymetry is presented. The procedure is fully automated and comprises two parts. The first part consists of an analytical model which extracts quantitative information from a Digital Elevation Model
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A model for the extraction and quantitative characterization of submarine landforms from high-resolution digital bathymetry is presented. The procedure is fully automated and comprises two parts. The first part consists of an analytical model which extracts quantitative information from a Digital Elevation Model in the form of objects with similar parametric characteristics (terrain objects). The second part is a rule-based model where the terrain objects are reclassified into distinct landforms with well-defined three dimensional characteristics. For the focus of this work, the quantitative characterization of isolated dunes (height greater than 2 m) is used to exemplify the process. The primary metrics used to extract terrain objects are the flatness threshold and the search radius, which are then used by the analytical model to identify the feature type. Once identified as dunes, a sequence of spatial analysis routines is applied to identify and compute metrics for each dune including length, height, width, ray of curvature, slope analysis for each stoss and lee side, and dune symmetry. Dividing the model into two parts, one scale-dependent and another centered around the shape of the landform, makes the model applicable to other submarine landforms like ripples, mega-ripples, and coral reefs, which also have well-defined three-dimensional characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Geomorphometry)
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Open AccessArticle Mangifera indica as Bioindicator of Mercury Atmospheric Contamination in an ASGM Area in North Gorontalo Regency, Indonesia
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8010031
Received: 20 November 2017 / Revised: 31 December 2017 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 19 January 2018
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Abstract
We report the atmospheric Hg contamination in an artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) area in North Gorontalo, Indonesia. It is well known that atmospheric Hg contaminates the air, water, soil, and living organisms, including trees. In this study, we calculated total weight
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We report the atmospheric Hg contamination in an artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) area in North Gorontalo, Indonesia. It is well known that atmospheric Hg contaminates the air, water, soil, and living organisms, including trees. In this study, we calculated total weight of heavy metals, especially Hg, and quantitatively measure the concentrations of heavy metals, especially Hg, in tree bark from an ASGM area. Tree bark can be used for the environmental assessment of atmospheric contamination because it attaches and absorbs heavy metals. Atmospheric Hg and other heavy metals, including Fe and Mn, and As were detected on the tree bark samples. The total weight of Hg, As, Fe, and Mn in the tree bark samples ranged from undetectable (ND) to 9.77, ND to 81.3, 124–4028, 37.0–1376 µg dry weight (DW), respectively per weight of sample. Based on quantitatively analysis micro-PIXE, the highest concentrations of all these metals were detected in the outer part of the bark. We conclude that tree bark can adsorb atmospheric contamination, which is then absorbed into the inner tissues. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Preliminary Validation of a Novel Method for the Assessment of Effective Stress State in Partially Saturated Soils by Cone Penetration Tests
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8010030
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 8 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 19 January 2018
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Abstract
A proper assessment of the soil effective stress state is crucial in many cases to identify a potential geological/geotechnical hazard as shallow landslides or failure of levees that may have a significant impact on human activities and development. This paper is aimed at
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A proper assessment of the soil effective stress state is crucial in many cases to identify a potential geological/geotechnical hazard as shallow landslides or failure of levees that may have a significant impact on human activities and development. This paper is aimed at validating a methodology for the expeditious and economic determination of effective stress state in the vadose zone recently proposed by Lo Presti et al. in 2016. The method is based on the interpretation of cone penetration tests (CPTu). Its validation was carried out by comparing the CPTu predicted values of suction against the measured ones in a well-documented and monitored site. The comparison also includes the prediction of suction that was obtained by using the so-called Modified Kovacs model (MK). Moreover, additional data of water content and saturation degree from another site were used to predict the suction by using the MK model. These values of suction were compared with those inferred by the CPTu. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Ground-Based Measurements of the 2014–2015 Holuhraun Volcanic Cloud (Iceland)
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8010029
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 8 January 2018 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
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Abstract
The 2014–2015 Bárðarbunga fissure eruption at Holuhraun in central Iceland was distinguished by the high emission of gases, in total 9.6 Mt SO2, with almost no tephra. This work collates all ground-based measurements of this extraordinary eruption cloud made under particularly
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The 2014–2015 Bárðarbunga fissure eruption at Holuhraun in central Iceland was distinguished by the high emission of gases, in total 9.6 Mt SO2, with almost no tephra. This work collates all ground-based measurements of this extraordinary eruption cloud made under particularly challenging conditions: remote location, optically dense cloud with high SO2 column amounts, low UV intensity, frequent clouds and precipitation, an extensive and hot lava field, developing ramparts, and high-latitude winter conditions. Semi-continuous measurements of SO2 flux with three scanning DOAS instruments were augmented by car traverses along the ring-road and along the lava. The ratios of other gases/SO2 were measured by OP-FTIR, MultiGAS, and filter packs. Ratios of SO2/HCl = 30–110 and SO2/HF = 30–130 show a halogen-poor eruption cloud. Scientists on-site reported extremely minor tephra production during the eruption. OPC and filter packs showed low particle concentrations similar to non-eruption cloud conditions. Three weather radars detected a droplet-rich eruption cloud. Top of eruption cloud heights of 0.3–5.5 km agl were measured with ground- and aircraft-based visual observations, web camera and NicAIR II infrared images, triangulation of scanning DOAS instruments, and the location of SO2 peaks measured by DOAS traverses. Cloud height and emission rate measurements were critical for initializing gas dispersal simulations for hazard forecasting. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle A New Degassing Model to Infer Magma Dynamics from Radioactive Disequilibria in Volcanic Plumes
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8010027
Received: 15 November 2017 / Revised: 11 January 2018 / Accepted: 14 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
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Abstract
Mount Etna volcano (Sicily, Italy) is the place where short-lived radioactive disequilibrium measurements in volcanic gases were initiated more than 40 years ago. Almost two decades after the last measurements in Mount Etna plume, we carried out in 2015 a new survey of
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Mount Etna volcano (Sicily, Italy) is the place where short-lived radioactive disequilibrium measurements in volcanic gases were initiated more than 40 years ago. Almost two decades after the last measurements in Mount Etna plume, we carried out in 2015 a new survey of 210Pb-210Bi-210Po radioactive disequilibria in gaseous emanations from the volcano. These new results [ ( 210 Po / 210 Pb ) = 42 and ( 210 Bi / 210 Pb ) = 7.5 ] are in fair agreement with those previously reported. Previously published degassing models fail to explain satisfactorily measured activity ratios. We present here a new degassing model, which accounts for 222Rn enrichment in volcanic gases and its subsequent decay into 210Pb within gas bubbles en route to the surface. Theoretical short-lived radioactive disequilibria in volcanic gases predicted by this new model differ from those produced by the former models and better match the values we measured in the plume during the 2015 campaign. A Monte Carlo-like simulation based on variable parameters characterising the degassing process (magma residence time in the degassing reservoir, gas transfer time, Rn-Pb-Bi-Po volatilities, magma volatile content) suggests that short-lived disequilibria in volcanic gases may be of use to infer both magma dynamics and degassing kinetics beneath Mount Etna, and in general at basaltic volcanoes. However, this simulation emphasizes the need for accurately determined input parameters in order to produce unambiguous results, allowing sharp characterisation of degassing processes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Kinematic Reconstruction of a Deep-Seated Gravitational Slope Deformation by Geomorphic Analyses
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8010026
Received: 9 November 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
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Abstract
On 4 November 2010, a deep-seated gravitational slope deformation (North Italy) reactivated with sudden ground movement. A 450,000 m2 mountainous area moved some metres downslope, but the undeniable signs were only connected to the triggering of a debris flow from the bulging
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On 4 November 2010, a deep-seated gravitational slope deformation (North Italy) reactivated with sudden ground movement. A 450,000 m2 mountainous area moved some metres downslope, but the undeniable signs were only connected to the triggering of a debris flow from the bulging area’s detrital cover and the presence of a continuous perimeter fracture near the crown area. Based on two detailed LiDAR surveys (2 m × 2 m) performed just a few days before and after the event, a quantitative topographic analysis was performed in a GIS environment, integrating morphometric terrain parameters (slope, aspect, surface roughness, hill shade, and curvature). The DEMs analysis highlighted some morphological changes related to deeper as well as shallow movements. Both global and sectorial displacements were widely verified and discussed, finally inferring that the geometry, persistence, and layout of all movements properly justify each current morphostructure, which has the shape of a typical Sackung-type structure with impulsive kinematics. Moreover, a targeted field survey allowed specific clues to be found that confirmed the global deduced dynamics of the slope deformation. Finally, thanks to a ground-based interferometric radar system (GB-InSAR) that was installed a few days after the reactivation, the residual deep-seated gravitational slope deformation (DSGSD) movements were also monitored. In the landslide lower bulging area, a localized material progression of small entities was observed for some months after the parossistic event, indicating a slow dissipation of forces in sectors more distant from the crown area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Hazards and Risks Assessment)
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Open AccessReview Valuing Humans and Valuing Places: “Integrity” and the Preferred Terminology for Geoethics
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8010025
Received: 8 October 2017 / Revised: 24 December 2017 / Accepted: 12 January 2018 / Published: 17 January 2018
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Abstract
What follows will support the centrality of appeals to the integrity of places as a plausible way of extending the concept of integrity in the light of our actual practices of valuing. The emphasis will, however, be upon practices of valuing rather than
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What follows will support the centrality of appeals to the integrity of places as a plausible way of extending the concept of integrity in the light of our actual practices of valuing. The emphasis will, however, be upon practices of valuing rather than upon metaphysical claims about "inherent value”. The latter are not dismissed, they are merely set aside. The guiding thought is that our ethical theory should not depart too greatly from our understanding of how and what humans actually do hold to be of value in any particular culturally-shaped context. Following an introduction to the concept of integrity (Section 1), the discussion will open with an attempt to show that we do sometimes value places non-instrumentally (Section 2), even though we tend to look elsewhere to justify our respect for, and valuing of, places (Section 3). It will then proceed through a defence of appeals to such valuing as ethically significant (Section 4), before moving on to a provisional account of integrity as an effective way of making sense of what it is that we value when we value places in their own right (Section 5). Unlike Rolston, who is strongly associated with the concept of integrity, the intention is not to go metaphysically deep and identify something akin to the moral properties of things. Rather, the concern will be with the kinds of considerations that agents would typically point to as a reason for valuing places without any deeper set of claims about inherent value. This provides a less troubling, more metaphysically “neutral”, way of addressing matters. The paper is intended for an audience working on Geoethics; however, the norms of argument will be those associated more narrowly with philosophical ethics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Geoethics in Geosciences)
Open AccessReview Environment and Human Health: The Challenge of Uncertainty in Risk Assessment
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8010024
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 12 January 2018 / Published: 17 January 2018
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Abstract
High quality and accurate environmental investigations and analysis are essential to any assessment of contamination and to the decision-making process thereafter. Remediation decisions may be focused by health outcomes, whether already present or a predicted risk. The variability inherent in environmental media and
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High quality and accurate environmental investigations and analysis are essential to any assessment of contamination and to the decision-making process thereafter. Remediation decisions may be focused by health outcomes, whether already present or a predicted risk. The variability inherent in environmental media and analysis can be quantified statistically; uncertainty in models can be reduced by additional research; deep uncertainty exists when environmental or biomedical processes are not understood, or agreed upon, or remain uncharacterized. Deep uncertainty is common where health and environment interact. Determinants of health operate from the individual’s genes to the international level; often several levels act synergistically. We show this in detail for lead (Pb). Pathways, exposure, dose and response also vary, modifying certainty. Multi-disciplinary approaches, built on high-quality environmental investigations, enable the management of complex and uncertain situations. High quality, accurate environmental investigations into pollution issues remain the cornerstone of understanding attributable health outcomes and developing appropriate responses and remediation. However, they are not sufficient on their own, needing careful integration with the wider contexts and stakeholder agendas, without which any response to the environmental assessment may very well founder. Such approaches may benefit more people than any other strategy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Landslide Change Detection Based on Multi-Temporal Airborne LiDAR-Derived DEMs
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8010023
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 13 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
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Abstract
Remote sensing technologies have seen extraordinary improvements in both spatial resolution and accuracy recently. In particular, airborne laser scanning systems can now provide data for surface modeling with unprecedented resolution and accuracy, which can effectively support the detection of sub-meter surface features, vital
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Remote sensing technologies have seen extraordinary improvements in both spatial resolution and accuracy recently. In particular, airborne laser scanning systems can now provide data for surface modeling with unprecedented resolution and accuracy, which can effectively support the detection of sub-meter surface features, vital for landslide mapping. Also, the easy repeatability of data acquisition offers the opportunity to monitor temporal surface changes, which are essential to identifying developing or active slides. Specific methods are needed to detect and map surface changes due to landslide activities. In this paper, we present a methodology that is based on fusing probabilistic change detection and landslide surface feature extraction utilizing multi-temporal Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) derived Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) to map surface changes demonstrating landslide activity. The proposed method was tested in an area with numerous slides ranging from 200 m2 to 27,000 m2 in area under low vegetation and tree cover, Zanesville, Ohio, USA. The surface changes observed are probabilistically evaluated to determine the likelihood of the changes being landslide activity related. Next, based on surface features, a Support Vector Machine (SVM) quantifies and maps the topographic signatures of landslides in the entire area. Finally, these two processes are fused to detect landslide prone changes. The results demonstrate that 53 out of 80 inventory mapped landslides were identified using this method. Additionally, some areas that were not mapped in the inventory map displayed changes that are likely to be developing landslides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Hazards and Risks Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle Applying the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) to Nearshore Habitats in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8010022
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 12 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
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Abstract
Many countries have classification standards for their environmental resources including criteria for classifying coastal and marine ecosystems. Until 2012, the United States just had a nationwide protocol for classifying terrestrial and aquatic habitats with no national standard for marine and most coastal habitats.
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Many countries have classification standards for their environmental resources including criteria for classifying coastal and marine ecosystems. Until 2012, the United States just had a nationwide protocol for classifying terrestrial and aquatic habitats with no national standard for marine and most coastal habitats. In 2012 the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) was implemented to address this need. In the past, coastal and marine classifications were developed at the regional or local level. Since its inception, the CMECS has not been applied in many geographic areas. My study was one of the first to apply the CMECS to the benthic habitats in the nearshore Northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Sidescan sonar mapping and dive surveys were completed at 33 sites at depths 10–23 m. Hardbottom and sand habitats characterized the study area, and the underwater surveys revealed hard corals, sponges, and macroalgae as the dominant taxa on the hardbottom. The CMECS was applied to the overall study area rather than each individual site or groups of similar sites because habitat and environmental characteristics, primarily outside the context of the CMECS, appeared to influence the distribution of taxa across sites more than the CMECS geoform, substrate, and water column components. The CMECS worked well for classifying the entire study area, but was not adequate for classifying the complex fine-scale habitats and temporal variations observed; modifications to the CMECS could help resolve these issues. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Realistic Paleobathymetry of the Cenomanian–Turonian (94 Ma) Boundary Global Ocean
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8010021
Received: 6 November 2017 / Revised: 5 January 2018 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published: 15 January 2018
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Abstract
At present, global paleoclimate simulations are prepared with bathtub-like, flat, featureless and steep walled ocean bathymetry, which is neither realistic nor suitable. In this article, we present the first enhanced version of a reconstructed paleobathymetry for Cenomanian–Turonian (94 Ma) time in a 0.1°
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At present, global paleoclimate simulations are prepared with bathtub-like, flat, featureless and steep walled ocean bathymetry, which is neither realistic nor suitable. In this article, we present the first enhanced version of a reconstructed paleobathymetry for Cenomanian–Turonian (94 Ma) time in a 0.1° × 0.1° resolution, that is both realistic and suitable for use in paleo-climate studies. This reconstruction is an extrapolation of a parameterized modern ocean bathymetry that combines simple geophysical models (standard plate cooling model for the oceanic lithosphere) based on ocean crustal age, global modern oceanic sediment thicknesses, and generalized shelf-slope-rise structures calibrated from a published global relief model of the modern world (ETOPO1) at active and passive continental margins. The base version of this Cenomanian–Turonian paleobathymetry reconstruction is then updated with known submarine large igneous provinces, plateaus, and seamounts to minimize the difference between the reconstructed paleobathymetry and the real bathymetry that once existed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Geomorphometry)
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Open AccessArticle Submarine Depositional Terraces at Salina Island (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea) and Implications on the Late-Quaternary Evolution of the Insular Shelf
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8010020
Received: 16 November 2017 / Revised: 21 December 2017 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 13 January 2018
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Abstract
The integrated analysis of high-resolution multibeam bathymetry and single-channel seismic profiles around Salina Island allowed us to characterize the stratigraphic architecture of the insular shelf. The shelf is formed by a gently-sloping erosive surface carved on the volcanic bedrock, mostly covered by sediments
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The integrated analysis of high-resolution multibeam bathymetry and single-channel seismic profiles around Salina Island allowed us to characterize the stratigraphic architecture of the insular shelf. The shelf is formed by a gently-sloping erosive surface carved on the volcanic bedrock, mostly covered by sediments organized in a suite of terraced bodies, i.e. submarine depositional terraces. Based on their position on the shelf, depth range of their edge and inner geometry, different orders of terraces can be distinguished. The shallowest terrace (near-shore terrace) is a sedimentary prograding wedge, whose formation can be associated to the downward transport of sediments from the surf zone and shoreface during stormy conditions. According to the range depth of the terrace edge (i.e., 10–25 m, compatible with the estimated present-day, local storm-wave base level in the central and western Mediterranean), the formation of this wedge can be attributed to the present-day highstand. By assuming a similar genesis for the deeper terraces, mid-shelf terraces having the edge at depths of 40–50 m and 70–80 m can be attributed to the late and early stages of the Post-LGM transgression, respectively. Finally, the deepest terrace (shelf-edge terrace) has the edge at depths of 130–160 m, being thus referable to the lowstand occurred at ca. 20 ka. Based on the variability of edge depth in the different sectors, we also show how lowstand terraces can be used to provide insights on the recent vertical movements that affected Salina edifice in the last 20 ka, highlighting more generally their possible use for neo-tectonic studies elsewhere. Moreover, being these terraces associated to different paleo-sea levels, they can be used to constrain the relative age of the different erosive stages affecting shallow-water sectors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Exploitable Groundwater Reserves in Karst Terrain: A Case Study from Crete, Greece
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8010019
Received: 29 November 2017 / Revised: 5 January 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 11 January 2018
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Abstract
Karst systems constitute valuable freshwater resources in Crete island, a region of Greece that is threatened by water scarcity. The present work refers to evaluation of the available groundwater potential in a karst terrain and contributes to providing adequate quantities of fresh water
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Karst systems constitute valuable freshwater resources in Crete island, a region of Greece that is threatened by water scarcity. The present work refers to evaluation of the available groundwater potential in a karst terrain and contributes to providing adequate quantities of fresh water to the central southern Crete (Rethimno prefecture). The available groundwater potential was estimated by combining conventional hydrogeological approaches and an analysis of hydrographs of Kourtaliotis spring that drains the system. The research procedure contributed to the three-dimensional understanding of the karst system and provided reasonable estimates regarding the groundwater reserves in the area. The geological (permanent) storage in the karstified system was estimated to 415 × 106 m3 while the dynamic reserves were calculated equal to 43 × 106 m3. Based on the research results, it is considered possible to pump annually an amount of 21–29 × 106 m3 over the quantities of water which naturally outflow from Kourtaliotis spring, in order to satisfy the water demands in the region. The study provides a valuable guidance on predicting the groundwater reserves in aquifers with similar hydrogeological regime. Full article
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