Open AccessArticle
Assessing Floods and Droughts in Ungauged Small Reservoirs with Long-Term Landsat Imagery
Geosciences 2016, 6(4), 42; doi:10.3390/geosciences6040042 -
Abstract
Small reservoirs have developed across semi-arid areas as a low cost solution for millions of rural small holders to harvest scarce water resources. Studies have highlighted limited agricultural water use and low water availability on individual reservoirs, but no information exists on [...] Read more.
Small reservoirs have developed across semi-arid areas as a low cost solution for millions of rural small holders to harvest scarce water resources. Studies have highlighted limited agricultural water use and low water availability on individual reservoirs, but no information exists on the drought patterns of multiple small reservoirs. Their small size and dispersion prevents individualised hydrological monitoring, while hydrological modelling suffers from rainfall variability and heterogeneity across data sparse catchments and reservoirs. A semi-automated original approach exploiting free, archive Landsat satellite images is developed here for long-term monitoring of multiple ungauged small water bodies. Adapted and tested against significant hydrometric time series on three lakes, the method confirms its potential to monitor water availability on the smallest water bodies (1–10 ha) with a mean RMSE of 20,600 m3 (NRMSE = 26%). Uncertainties from the absence of site-specific and updated surface-volume rating curves were here contained through a power relationship adapted over time for silting based on data from 15 surrounding lakes. Applied to 51 small reservoirs and 546 images over 1999–2014, results highlight the ability of this transposable method to shed light on flood dynamics and allow inter annual and inter lake comparisons of water availability. In the Merguellil upper catchment, in Central Tunisia, results reveal the significant droughts affecting over 80% of reservoirs, confirming the need for small reservoirs to maintain a supplementary irrigation objective only. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Turtles From an Arkadelphia Formation—Midway Group Lag Deposit (Maastrichtian—Paleocene), Hot Spring County, Arkansas, USA
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 41; doi:10.3390/geosciences6030041 -
Abstract
The Arkadelphia Formation—Midway Group (Maastrichtian—Paleocene) contact near Malvern, Arkansas preserves a K-Pg boundary assemblage of turtle species consisting of skull, shell, and non-shell postcranial skeletal elements. The Malvern turtles are preserved within a coquina lag deposit that comprises the basalmost Midway Group [...] Read more.
The Arkadelphia Formation—Midway Group (Maastrichtian—Paleocene) contact near Malvern, Arkansas preserves a K-Pg boundary assemblage of turtle species consisting of skull, shell, and non-shell postcranial skeletal elements. The Malvern turtles are preserved within a coquina lag deposit that comprises the basalmost Midway Group and also contains an abundance of other reptiles, as well as chondrichthyans, osteichthyans, and invertebrates. This coquina lag deposit records a complex taphonomic history of exhumation and reburial of vertebrate skeletal elements along a dynamic ancestral shoreline in southwestern Arkansas during the late Cretaceous-early Paleocene. Based on stratigraphic occurrence, the Malvern turtle assemblage indicates that these marine reptiles were living at or near the time of the K-Pg mass extinction and represent some of the latest Cretaceous turtles yet recovered from the Gulf Coastal Plain of the United States. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Monitoring Network to Map and Assess Landslide Activity in a Highly Anthropized Area
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 40; doi:10.3390/geosciences6030040 -
Abstract
Mapping landslide activity in a highly anthropized area entails specific problems. The integration of different monitoring techniques in order to measure the displacements rate within the slope is mandatory. We describe our activity for the Mortisa landslide which is located on the [...] Read more.
Mapping landslide activity in a highly anthropized area entails specific problems. The integration of different monitoring techniques in order to measure the displacements rate within the slope is mandatory. We describe our activity for the Mortisa landslide which is located on the western flank of the Cortina d’Ampezzo valley (northeastern Italy) in a highly anthropized area in the heart of the Dolomites, a UNESCO world heritage site. The mass movement threatens some houses, an important national road, and part of the area that will be the venue for the upcoming 2021 Alpine Skiing World Championship. The hazardous context along with its prestigious location makes the construction of new settlements and infrastructure very challenging. Owing to that, precise mapping and assessment of the activity of the Mortisa landslide is extremely important. To achieve this task, multitemporal aerial photo interpretation, A-DInSAR analysis, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) surveys, and inclinometric measurements were performed. Through the integration of the monitoring data and geomorphological interpretation, a hazard map of the Mortisa area was produced with the intent to assist the local authorities in the definition of the new urban development plan. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Regional Lithological Mapping Using ASTER-TIR Data: Case Study for the Tibetan Plateau and the Surrounding Area
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 39; doi:10.3390/geosciences6030039 -
Abstract
The mineralogical indices the Quartz Index (QI), Carbonate Index (CI) and Mafic Index (MI) for ASTER multispectral thermal infrared (TIR) data were applied to various geological materials for regional lithological mapping on the Tibetan Plateau. Many lithological and structural features are not [...] Read more.
The mineralogical indices the Quartz Index (QI), Carbonate Index (CI) and Mafic Index (MI) for ASTER multispectral thermal infrared (TIR) data were applied to various geological materials for regional lithological mapping on the Tibetan Plateau. Many lithological and structural features are not currently well understood in the central Tibetan Plateau, including the distribution of mafic-ultramafic rocks related to the suture zones, the quartzose and carbonate sedimentary rocks accreted to the Eurasian continent, and sulfate layers related to the Tethys and neo-Tethys geological setting. These rock types can now be mapped with the interpretation of the processed ASTER TIR images described in this paper. A methodology is described for the processing of ASTER TIR data applied to a very wide region of the Tibetan Plateau. The geometrical and radiometric performance of the processed images is discussed, and the advantages of using ortho-rectified data are shown. The challenges of using ASTER data with a small footprint in addition to selecting an appropriate subset of scenes are also examined. ASTER scenes possess a narrow swath width when compared to LANDSAT data (60 km vs. 185 km, respectively). Furthermore, the ASTER data archive is vast, consisting of approximately three million images. These details can present an added level of complexity during an image processing workflow. Finally, geological interpretations made on the maps of the indices are compared with prior geological field studies. The results from the investigations suggest that the indices perform well in the classification of quartzose rocks based on the carbonate and mafic mineral content, in addition to the granitic rocks based on the feldspar content. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Intrinsic Evaporative Cooling by Hygroscopic Earth Materials
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 38; doi:10.3390/geosciences6030038 -
Abstract
The phase change of water from liquid to vapor is one of the most energy-intensive physical processes in nature, giving it immense potential for cooling. Diverse evaporative cooling strategies have resulted worldwide, including roof ponds and sprinklers, courtyard fountains, wind catchers with [...] Read more.
The phase change of water from liquid to vapor is one of the most energy-intensive physical processes in nature, giving it immense potential for cooling. Diverse evaporative cooling strategies have resulted worldwide, including roof ponds and sprinklers, courtyard fountains, wind catchers with qanats, irrigated green roofs, and fan-assisted evaporative coolers. These methods all require water in bulk liquid form. The evaporation of moisture that has been sorbed from the atmosphere by hygroscopic materials is equally energy-intensive, however, yet has not been examined for its cooling potential. In arid and semi-arid climates, hygroscopic earth buildings occur widely and are known to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures, but evaporation of moisture from their walls and roofs has been regarded as unimportant since water scarcity limits irrigation and rainfall; instead, their cool interiors are attributed to well-established mass effects in delaying the transmission of sensible gains. Here, we investigate the cooling accomplished by daily cycles of moisture sorption and evaporation which, requiring only ambient humidity, we designate as “intrinsic” evaporative cooling. Connecting recent soil science to heat and moisture transport studies in building materials, we use soils, adobe, cob, unfired earth bricks, rammed earth, and limestone to reveal the effects of numerous parameters (temperature and relative humidity, material orientation, thickness, moisture retention properties, vapor diffusion resistance, and liquid transport properties) on the magnitude of intrinsic evaporative cooling and the stabilization of indoor relative humidity. We further synthesize these effects into concrete design guidance. Together, these results show that earth buildings in diverse climates have significant potential to cool themselves evaporatively through sorption of moisture from humid night air and evaporation during the following day’s heat. This finding challenges the perception of limited evaporative cooling resources in arid climates and greatly expands the applicability of evaporative cooling in contemporary buildings to water-stressed regions. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Climate Change and Future Fire Regimes: Examples from California
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 37; doi:10.3390/geosciences6030037 -
Abstract
Climate and weather have long been noted as playing key roles in wildfire activity, and global warming is expected to exacerbate fire impacts on natural and urban ecosystems. Predicting future fire regimes requires an understanding of how temperature and precipitation interact to [...] Read more.
Climate and weather have long been noted as playing key roles in wildfire activity, and global warming is expected to exacerbate fire impacts on natural and urban ecosystems. Predicting future fire regimes requires an understanding of how temperature and precipitation interact to control fire activity. Inevitably this requires historical analyses that relate annual burning to climate variation. Fuel structure plays a critical role in determining which climatic parameters are most influential on fire activity, and here, by focusing on the diversity of ecosystems in California, we illustrate some principles that need to be recognized in predicting future fire regimes. Spatial scale of analysis is important in that large heterogeneous landscapes may not fully capture accurate relationships between climate and fires. Within climatically homogeneous subregions, montane forested landscapes show strong relationships between annual fluctuations in temperature and precipitation with area burned; however, this is strongly seasonal dependent; e.g., winter temperatures have very little or no effect but spring and summer temperatures are critical. Climate models that predict future seasonal temperature changes are needed to improve fire regime projections. Climate does not appear to be a major determinant of fire activity on all landscapes. Lower elevations and lower latitudes show little or no increase in fire activity with hotter and drier conditions. On these landscapes climate is not usually limiting to fires but these vegetation types are ignition-limited. Moreover, because they are closely juxtaposed with human habitations, fire regimes are more strongly controlled by other direct anthropogenic impacts. Predicting future fire regimes is not rocket science; it is far more complicated than that. Climate change is not relevant to some landscapes, but where climate is relevant, the relationship will change due to direct climate effects on vegetation trajectories, as well as by feedback processes of fire effects on vegetation distribution, plus policy changes in how we manage ecosystems. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Getting Ahead of the Wildfire Problem: Quantifying and Mapping Management Challenges and Opportunities
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 35; doi:10.3390/geosciences6030035 -
Abstract
Wildfire is a global phenomenon that plays a vital role in regulating and maintaining many natural and human-influenced ecosystems but that also poses considerable risks to human populations and infrastructure. Fire managers are charged with balancing the short-term protection of human assets [...] Read more.
Wildfire is a global phenomenon that plays a vital role in regulating and maintaining many natural and human-influenced ecosystems but that also poses considerable risks to human populations and infrastructure. Fire managers are charged with balancing the short-term protection of human assets sensitive to fire exposure against the potential long-term benefits that wildfires can provide to natural systems and wildlife populations. The compressed decision timeframes imposed on fire managers during an incident are often insufficient to fully assess a range of fire management options and their respective implications for public and fire responder safety, attainment of land and resource objectives, and future trajectories of hazard and risk. This paper reviews the role of GIS-based assessment and planning to support operational wildfire management decisions, with a focus on recent and emerging research that pre-identifies anthropogenic and biophysical landscape features that can be leveraged to increase the safety and effectiveness of wildfire management operations. We use a case study from the United States to illustrate the development and application of tools that draw from research generated by the global fire management community. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Multi-Style Hydrothermal Alteration Using Integrated Compositional and Topographic Remote Sensing Datasets
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 36; doi:10.3390/geosciences6030036 -
Abstract
The western part of the island of Milos, Greece has undergone widespread, intense alteration associated with a range of mineralization, including seafloor Mn-Fe-Ba, sub seafloor Pb-Zn-Ag, and epithermal Au-Ag. The surrounding country rocks are a mixture of submarine and subaerial calc-alkaline volcanic [...] Read more.
The western part of the island of Milos, Greece has undergone widespread, intense alteration associated with a range of mineralization, including seafloor Mn-Fe-Ba, sub seafloor Pb-Zn-Ag, and epithermal Au-Ag. The surrounding country rocks are a mixture of submarine and subaerial calc-alkaline volcanic rocks ranging from basaltic andesite to rhyolite in composition, but are predominantly andesites and dacites. The current surface spatial distribution of the alteration mineralogy is a function not only of the original hydrothermal, but also subsequent tectonic and erosional processes. The high relief and the excellent rock exposure provide ideal conditions to evaluate the potential of Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) satellite remote sensing data to identify and differentiate the different styles of alteration mineralisation. Laboratory spectral reflectance and calculated emittance measurements of field samples, supported by XRD analysis and field mapping, were used to support the analysis. Band ratio and spectral matching techniques were applied to the shortwave-infrared (SWIR) reflectance and thermal-infrared (TIR) emissivity imagery separately and were then integrated with topographic data. The band ratio and spectral matching approaches produced similar results in both the SWIR and TIR imagery. In the SWIR imagery, the advanced argillic, argillic and hydrous silica alteration zones were clearly identifiable, while in the TIR imagery, the silicic and advanced argillic alteration zones, along with the country rock, were differentiable. The integrated mineralogical–topographic datasets provided an enhanced understanding of the spatial and altitude distribution of the alteration zones when combined with conceptual models of their genesis, which provides a methodology for the differentiation of the multiple styles of alteration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Climate Change and Watershed Hydrology—Heavier Precipitation Influence on Stormwater Runoff
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 34; doi:10.3390/geosciences6030034 -
Abstract
Stormwater runoff in the USA is a main driver of non-point source pollution and other major problems for urbanizing areas, and runoff effects will be exacerbated by the increased frequency and intensity of heavier storm events that are projected as climate changes. [...] Read more.
Stormwater runoff in the USA is a main driver of non-point source pollution and other major problems for urbanizing areas, and runoff effects will be exacerbated by the increased frequency and intensity of heavier storm events that are projected as climate changes. The purpose of this paper is to consider how increased rainfall from storms could influence direct stormwater runoff in urbanizing watersheds. As part of a recent research project in coastal Beaufort County, South Carolina, USA, we applied the Stormwater Runoff Modeling System (SWARM) to model various combinations of development levels and climate change scenarios. SWARM single-event output showed dramatic increases in runoff volume and rate, in some cases almost doubling under moderate climate change scenario and tripling under severe climate change scenario. In all cases, modeled impacts from climate change exceeded those of development. By quantifying stormwater runoff based on climate change scenarios within the context of development, the findings add to the recognition that they must be considered together when projecting changes in watershed hydrology and that climate change effects potentially exceed those of development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Multi-Satellite Approach for Water Storage Monitoring in an Arid Watershed
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 33; doi:10.3390/geosciences6030033 -
Abstract
The objective of this study was to use satellite imagery to monitor the water budget of Al Ain region in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Inflows and outflows were estimated and the trend of water storage variation in the study area was [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to use satellite imagery to monitor the water budget of Al Ain region in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Inflows and outflows were estimated and the trend of water storage variation in the study area was examined from 2005 to 2014. Evapotranspiration was estimated using the simplified Penman-Monteith equation. Landsat images were used to determine the extent of agricultural and green areas. Time series of gravity recovery and climate experiment (GRACE) observations over the study area were used to assess the inferred water storage variation from satellite data. The change of storage inferred from the Water Budget Equation showed a decreasing trend at an average rate of 2.57 Mm3 annually. Moreover, GRACE readings showed a decreasing trend at a rate of 0.35 cm of water depth annually. Mann-Kendal, a non-parametric trend test, proved the presence of significant negative trends in both time series at a 5% significance level. A two-month lag resulted in a better agreement (R2 = 0.55) between the change in water storage and GRACE anomalies within the study area. These results suggest that water storage in the study area is being depleted significantly. Moreover, the potential of remote sensing in water resource management, especially in remote and arid areas, was demonstrated. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Three-Dimensional Geological Model of Quaternary Sediments in Walworth County, Wisconsin, USA
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 32; doi:10.3390/geosciences6030032 -
Abstract
A three-dimensional (3D) geologic model was developed for Quaternary deposits in southern Walworth County, WI using Petrel, a software package primarily designed for use in the energy industry. The purpose of this research was to better delineate and characterize the shallow [...] Read more.
A three-dimensional (3D) geologic model was developed for Quaternary deposits in southern Walworth County, WI using Petrel, a software package primarily designed for use in the energy industry. The purpose of this research was to better delineate and characterize the shallow glacial deposits, which include multiple shallow sand and gravel aquifers. The 3D model of Walworth County was constructed using datasets such as the U.S. Geological Survey 30 m digital elevation model (DEM) of land surface, published maps of the regional surficial geology and bedrock topography, and a database of water-well records. Using 3D visualization and interpretation tools, more than 1400 lithostratigraphic picks were efficiently interpreted amongst 725 well records. The final 3D geologic model consisted of six Quaternary lithostratigraphic units and a bedrock horizon as the model base. The Quaternary units include in stratigraphic order from youngest to oldest: the New Berlin Member of the Holy Hill Formation, the Tiskilwa Member of the Zenda Formation, a Sub-Tiskilwa Sand/Gravel unit, the Walworth Formation, a Sub-Walworth Sand/Gravel unit, and a Pre-Illinoisan unit. Compared to previous studies, the results of this study indicate a more detailed distribution, thickness, and interconnectivity between shallow sand and gravel aquifers and their connectivity to shallow bedrock aquifers. This study can also help understand uncertainty within previous local groundwater-flow modeling studies and improve future studies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Motivated for Action and Collaboration: The Abrahamic Religions and Climate Change
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 31; doi:10.3390/geosciences6030031 -
Abstract
Leaders of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have publicly advocated action to mitigate the adverse effects of human-forced climate change. Particularly prominent prior to, during, and after the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change were [...] Read more.
Leaders of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have publicly advocated action to mitigate the adverse effects of human-forced climate change. Particularly prominent prior to, during, and after the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change were Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Pope Francis, and Patriarch Bartholomew. Also prominent was a group of Islamic clerics, leaders of organizations, and scholars who collaborated in issuing a declaration on climate change three months prior to COP 21. Informed by the Earth sciences, these leaders shared their faith-based rationales for acting locally to internationally as indicated in the documents explored in this article. Examples of organizations motivated by their leaders’ faith perspectives demonstrate their readiness to act informed by scientists. To work effectively, these religious leaders and activist groups require well-substantiated conclusions from data collected to counter unsubstantiated claims by climate skeptics. Earth scientists will find among the religious leaders and groups allies in the quest for a flourishing planet. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Geochemical Characterization of Trace MVT Mineralization in Paleozoic Sedimentary Rocks of Northeastern Wisconsin, USA
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 29; doi:10.3390/geosciences6020029 -
Abstract
Disseminated Mississippi Valley-type (MVT) mineralization occurs throughout northeastern Wisconsin, USA, and is recognized as the source of regionally extensive natural groundwater contamination in the form of dissolved arsenic, nickel, and other related metals. Although considerable attention has been given to arsenic contamination [...] Read more.
Disseminated Mississippi Valley-type (MVT) mineralization occurs throughout northeastern Wisconsin, USA, and is recognized as the source of regionally extensive natural groundwater contamination in the form of dissolved arsenic, nickel, and other related metals. Although considerable attention has been given to arsenic contamination of groundwater in the region, limited attention has been focused on characterizing the bedrock sources of these and other metals. A better understanding of the potential sources of groundwater contamination is needed, especially in areas where groundwater is the dominant source of drinking water. This article describes the regional, stratigraphic, and petrographic distribution of MVT mineralization in Paleozoic rocks of northeastern Wisconsin, with a focus on sulfide minerals. Whole-rock geochemical analysis performed on 310 samples of dolomite, sandstone, and shale show detectable levels of arsenic, nickel, cobalt, copper, lead, zinc, and other metals related to various sulfide mineral phases identified using scanning electron microscopy. MVT minerals include pyrite, marcasite, sphalerite, galena, chalcopyrite, fluorite, celestine, barite, and others. We describe the first nickel- and cobalt-bearing sulfide mineral phases known from Paleozoic strata in the region. Arsenic, nickel, and cobalt are sometimes present as isomorphous substitutions in pyrite and marcasite, but discrete mineral phases containing nickel and cobalt elements are also observed, including bravoite and vaesite. Locally abundant stratigraphic zones of sulfide minerals occur across the region, especially in the highly enriched Sulfide Cement Horizon at the top of the Ordovician St. Peter Sandstone. Abundant quantities of sulfides also appear near the contact between the Silurian Mayville Formation and the underlying Maquoketa and Neda formations in certain areas along and east of the Niagara escarpment. This article illustrates how a detailed geochemical and mineralogical investigation can yield a better understanding of groundwater quality problems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ore Petrography Using Optical Image Analysis: Application to Zaruma-Portovelo Deposit (Ecuador)
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 30; doi:10.3390/geosciences6020030 -
Abstract
Optical image analysis (OIA) supporting microscopic observation can be applied to improve ore mineral characterization of ore deposits, providing accurate and representative numerical support to petrographic studies, on the polished section scale. In this paper, we present an experimental application of an [...] Read more.
Optical image analysis (OIA) supporting microscopic observation can be applied to improve ore mineral characterization of ore deposits, providing accurate and representative numerical support to petrographic studies, on the polished section scale. In this paper, we present an experimental application of an automated mineral quantification process on polished sections from Zaruma-Portovelo intermediate sulfidation epithermal deposit (Ecuador) using multispectral and color images. Minerals under study were gold, sphalerite, chalcopyrite, galena, pyrite, pyrrhotite, bornite, hematite, chalcocite, pentlandite, covellite, tetrahedrite and native bismuth. The aim of the study was to quantify the ore minerals visible in polished section through OIA and, mainly, to show a detailed description of the methodology implemented. Automated ore identification and determination of geometric parameters predictive of geometallurgical behavior, such as grade, grain size or liberation, have been successfully performed. The results show that automated identification and quantification of ore mineral images are possible through multispectral and color image analysis. Therefore, the optical image analysis method could be a consistent automated mineralogical alternative to carry on detailed ore petrography. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Groundwater Exploration for Rural Water Supply in an Arid Region of Southern Argentina
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 28; doi:10.3390/geosciences6020028 -
Abstract
Climate change has led to an increase in extreme weather events and desertification of vast areas of southern Argentina. Water shortages are a major concern, and this problem is expected to be exacerbated in the future. An exploration program was undertaken to [...] Read more.
Climate change has led to an increase in extreme weather events and desertification of vast areas of southern Argentina. Water shortages are a major concern, and this problem is expected to be exacerbated in the future. An exploration program was undertaken to investigate the groundwater occurrence in areas of the Chubut River basin in order to provide new supply options for pastoral farming. The investigation involved the drilling of exploration holes and construction of bores for long-term monitoring. Water quality and hydraulic test data were also collected. Findings from the study indicate that alluvial sediments extend to a maximum of 45 m below the surface, and are underlain by a sequence of clays and subordinated sands that exceed 100 m in thickness. The bulk of groundwater lies within the shallow sediments, which act as an unconfined aquifer. Hydraulic conductivities up to 10 m/day were estimated from pumping tests, although granulometric analyses indicate that higher values may occur. Chemical characterization indicates that waters are typically fresh, low in sodium, and largely suitable for stock-grazing or horticulture. Anomalous salinities at one of the sites are likely due to the effects of a nearby waste dump. Even though further work is required, the study contributes to a better understanding of the dynamics of the hydrogeological system in the basin under a warming climate, and provides useful information for the expansion of economic activities in remote communities of Argentina. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Surface Area Variability of a North-Central Tanzanian Crater Lake
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 27; doi:10.3390/geosciences6020027 -
Abstract
A history of modern (1973–2015) surface area variability for Lake Basotu in north-central Tanzania has been reconstructed using archived Landsat images from the dry season between June and October. This record was compared to local weather data as well as larger scale [...] Read more.
A history of modern (1973–2015) surface area variability for Lake Basotu in north-central Tanzania has been reconstructed using archived Landsat images from the dry season between June and October. This record was compared to local weather data as well as larger scale weather patterns. The lake has been in a state of decline interrupted by major flood events since the beginning of the satellite record. From 1973 to 1997, the lake area was between 0.97 km2 and 4.28 km2. Lake extent abruptly increased to 13.86 km2 in 1998, when a co-occurrence of El Niño and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole led to extensive flooding. It is hypothesized that local agricultural practices leading to soil erosion and subsequent basin sedimentation have most likely increased the sensitivity of Lake Basotu to climatic fluctuations. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Paleolimnology as a Tool to Achieve Environmental Sustainability in the Anthropocene: An Overview
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 26; doi:10.3390/geosciences6020026 -
Abstract
Lacustrine sediment accumulation provides meaningful and diverse long-term records of environmental change. This overview highlights the usefulness of the paleolimnological approach in evaluating the magnitude and direction of human-induced environmental change in lakes and their catchments. Because of the services they provide, [...] Read more.
Lacustrine sediment accumulation provides meaningful and diverse long-term records of environmental change. This overview highlights the usefulness of the paleolimnological approach in evaluating the magnitude and direction of human-induced environmental change in lakes and their catchments. Because of the services they provide, freshwater ecosystems have always been significantly affected by human activities. However, the rate and extent of human-induced change in continental freshwaters and their catchments has considerably increased since the beginning of industrialization (mid-18th century), and are even more pronounced since the advent of the “Great Acceleration” (since the mid-20th century). Global change, including climate and landscape changes, loss of biodiversity, species introductions and the spread of pollutants, leave traces in lake sediment archives that provide valuable long-term information with which to evaluate and quantify past environmental changes. This paper outlines how the knowledge gleaned from an interdisciplinary paleolimnological approach can benefit the development of mitigation and adaptation measures to current global change at various latitudes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Origin of Petrified Wood Color
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 25; doi:10.3390/geosciences6020025 -
Abstract
Fossil forests have world-wide distribution, commonly preserving mineralized wood that displays vivid hues and complex color patterns. However, the origin of petrified color has received little scientific attention. Color of silicified wood may be influenced by the presence of relict organic matter, [...] Read more.
Fossil forests have world-wide distribution, commonly preserving mineralized wood that displays vivid hues and complex color patterns. However, the origin of petrified color has received little scientific attention. Color of silicified wood may be influenced by the presence of relict organic matter, but the most significant contribution comes from trace metals. This study reports quantitative analysis of trace metals in 35 silicified wood samples, determined using LA-ICP-MS spectrometry. The most important of these metals is Fe, which can produce a rainbow of hues depending on its abundance and oxidation state. Cr is the dominant colorant for bright green fossil wood from Arizona, USA and Zimbabwe, Africa. Complex color patterns result from the progressive nature of the fossilization process, which causes wood to have varying degrees of permeability during successive episodes of permineralization. These processes include simple diffusion, chromatographic separation, infiltration of groundwater along fractures and void spaces, and oxidation/reduction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Using SPOT and Aerial False-Color Infrared (fCIR) Imagery to Verify Floodplain Model Results in West Central Florida
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 24; doi:10.3390/geosciences6020024 -
Abstract
Tropical Storm Debby brought severe flooding to portions of southwestern Florida during the summer of 2012. Remotely-sensed images were collected to document the flooding and test the results of Hydrologic and Hydraulic (H & H) storm water models constructed by the Southwest [...] Read more.
Tropical Storm Debby brought severe flooding to portions of southwestern Florida during the summer of 2012. Remotely-sensed images were collected to document the flooding and test the results of Hydrologic and Hydraulic (H & H) storm water models constructed by the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD). One image, a satellite, multi-band SPOT image was provided to the SWFWMD by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This image was collected within 48 h of the storm event. The SWFWMD also contracted for a very high resolution (60 cm Ground Sample Distance (GSD)) fCIR image to be captured for selected watersheds in Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties, the areas most impacted by the flooding. Modeled floodplain results were compared to remotely-sensed images that were georeferenced and analyzed using remote sensing techniques. The higher resolution fCIR images more clearly identified flooding for better comparison with modeled results. Although the fCIR images, which were collected three to four days after the storm event, under predicted the overall extent of the modeled floodplain, as the images could not confirm the presence of flooding in areas obscured by dense vegetation, they did consistently confirm both the location and shape of flooding simulated by the model. By using image analysis methods on the Near-Infrared (NIR) band of the fCIR image in conjunction with the Digital Elevation Model (DEM), however, it was possible to identify the extent of flooding in those obscured areas. Field surveys of high water elevations indicated that many locations had receded within hours of the storm event, limiting the ability of the fCIR image from capturing peak flood level in all areas. Overall, these remotely-sensed images provided a good validation of predicted flood levels for a design storm of the magnitude of Tropical Storm Debby. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Multi-Stage Silicification of Pliocene Wood: Re-Examination of an 1895 Discovery from Idaho, USA
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 21; doi:10.3390/geosciences6020021 -
Abstract
The 1895 discovery of a petrified tree near Clover Creek in south-central Idaho, USA, attracted worldwide attention and resulted in the naming of a new species of ancient oak, Quercinium pliocaenicum Schuster. For more than a century, the discovery has largely been [...] Read more.
The 1895 discovery of a petrified tree near Clover Creek in south-central Idaho, USA, attracted worldwide attention and resulted in the naming of a new species of ancient oak, Quercinium pliocaenicum Schuster. For more than a century, the discovery has largely been forgotten, even though specimens reside in reputable museums. Reinvestigation of the locality in 2014/2015 resulted in newly-collected specimens and a wealth of new data. Optical microscopy confirms the cellular anatomy used for the original taxonomic study. X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive electron spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy and cathodoluminescence microscopy reveal details of the mineralization, showing the presence of opal-CT as the primary component, with chalcedony as a lesser constituent. This mineralogy suggests petrifaction occurred in at least two stages, beginning with opalization of cellular tissue, leaving open vessels that became filled with chalcedony during a later mineralization episode. Clover Creek oak represents relict flora growing in a wetter climate before the uplift of the Cascade Range created a rain shadow that caused profound desertification of the inland Pacific Northwest. Full article
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