Open AccessArticle
Kinematic Reconstruction of a Deep-Seated Gravitational Slope Deformation by Geomorphic Analyses
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 26; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010026 (registering DOI) -
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 × 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
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Open AccessReview
Valuing Humans and Valuing Places: “Integrity” and the Preferred Terminology for Geoethics
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 25; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010025 -
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
Open AccessReview
Environment and Human Health: The Challenge of Uncertainty in Risk Assessment
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 24; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010024 -
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; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010023 -
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
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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; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010022 -
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; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010021 -
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
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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; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010020 -
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; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010019 -
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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Open AccessArticle
Quantitative Assessment of Epistemic Uncertainties in Tsunami Hazard Effects on Building Risk Assessments
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 17; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010017 -
Abstract
Based on the definition of tsunami risk, we quantitatively evaluated the annual expected tsunami loss ratio (Tsunami Risk Index) and clarified the quantitative effects of epistemic uncertainties in tsunami hazard assessments on the tsunami risk of buildings by combining probabilistic information regarding tsunami
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Based on the definition of tsunami risk, we quantitatively evaluated the annual expected tsunami loss ratio (Tsunami Risk Index) and clarified the quantitative effects of epistemic uncertainties in tsunami hazard assessments on the tsunami risk of buildings by combining probabilistic information regarding tsunami inundation depths at target points and tsunami fragility assessments of buildings. For the risk assessment, we targeted buildings with four different structures (reinforced concrete, steel, brick, wood) located in three different areas (Soma, Sendai, Kesennuma). In conclusion, we demonstrated that the expected tsunami risk could vary by approximately two orders of magnitude when considering tsunami hazard uncertainties between the 95th percentile and the 5th percentile. In addition, we quantitatively clarified the fact that we cannot properly understand the tsunami risk by evaluating the tsunami fragility alone. For example, the analysis results indicate that the tsunami risk of a wood building located in Kesennuma is lower than that of a reinforced concrete building located in either Soma or Sendai. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Meteorological Patterns Linked to Landslide Triggering in Asturias (NW Spain): A Preliminary Analysis
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 18; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010018 -
Abstract
Asturias is one of the most landslide prone areas in the north of Spain. Most landslides are linked to intense and continue rainfall events, especially between October and May. This fact points out precipitation as the main triggering factor in the study area.
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Asturias is one of the most landslide prone areas in the north of Spain. Most landslides are linked to intense and continue rainfall events, especially between October and May. This fact points out precipitation as the main triggering factor in the study area. Thirteen rainfall episodes that caused 1064 landslides between 2008 and 2016 have been selected for its study. Landslide records come from the Principality of Asturias Landslide Database (BAPA) and meteorological data from the Spanish Meteorological Agency (AEMET). Meteorological conditions which took place during each period have been characterized by using NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis data. Four main landslide-triggering meteorological patterns have been identified for the Asturian territory: Strong Atlantic Anticyclone pattern (SAA), Atlantic Depression pattern (AD), Anticyclonic ridge pattern (AR) and Cut-off Low pattern (CL). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Earthquake Magnitude and Shaking Intensity Dependent Fragility Functions for Rapid Risk Assessment of Buildings
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 16; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010016 -
Abstract
An integrated web application, referred to as ER2 for rapid risk evaluator, is under development for a user-friendly seismic risk assessment by the non-expert public safety community. The assessment of likely negative consequences is based on pre-populated databases of seismic, building inventory
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An integrated web application, referred to as ER2 for rapid risk evaluator, is under development for a user-friendly seismic risk assessment by the non-expert public safety community. The assessment of likely negative consequences is based on pre-populated databases of seismic, building inventory and vulnerability parameters. To further accelerate the computation for near real-time analyses, implicit building fragility curves were developed as functions of the magnitude and the intensity of the seismic shaking defined with a single intensity measure, input spectral acceleration at 1.0 s implicitly considering the epicentral distance and local soil conditions. Damage probabilities were compared with those obtained with the standard fragility functions explicitly considering epicentral distances and local site classes in addition to the earthquake magnitudes and respective intensity of the seismic shaking. Different seismic scenarios were considered first for 53 building classes common in Eastern Canada, and then a reduced number of 24 combined building classes was proposed. Comparison of results indicate that the damage predictions with implicit fragility functions for short (M ≤ 5.5) and medium strong motion duration (5.5 < M ≤ 7.5) show low variation with distance and soil class, with average error of less than 3.6%. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Oxygen Isotope Thermometry of DaG 476 and SaU 008 Martian Meteorites: Implications for Their Origin
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 15; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010015 -
Abstract
We report the equilibration temperatures derived from the oxygen isotope thermometry of pyroxene-olivine pair from the Dar al Ghani (DaG) 476 (1200 +105/−90 °C) and Sayh al Uhaymir (SaU) 008 (1430 +220/−155 °C) meteorites showing a difference of over 200 °C at the
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We report the equilibration temperatures derived from the oxygen isotope thermometry of pyroxene-olivine pair from the Dar al Ghani (DaG) 476 (1200 +105/−90 °C) and Sayh al Uhaymir (SaU) 008 (1430 +220/−155 °C) meteorites showing a difference of over 200 °C at the face values. Regardless of the large associated uncertainties, contrasting geochemical and isotopic characteristics such as oxygen fugacities, hydrogen isotopic compositions (referred to as the D/H ratios), olivine abundances, presence of merrillite and/or apatite, and their chlorine contents between the two meteorites are observed in the literature. These opposing features lend support to the idea that the relative difference observed in the estimated temperatures is probably real and significant, thus providing insights into the Martian mantle magmatism. Based on our temperature estimation and previous magmatic models, we propose that SaU 008 could have been originated from a deeper depleted mantle source. However, DaG 476 may have been produced by the partial melting of the entrained pockets of the depleted mantle similar to that of the SaU 008’s source at a relatively shallower depth. Both meteorites erupted as a relatively thick lava flow or a shallow intrusion at approximately the same time followed by a launch initiated by a single meteoritic impact 1.1 million years (Ma) ago. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Bathymetry- and Reflectivity-Based Approach for Seafloor Segmentation
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 14; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010014 -
Abstract
A robust and flexible technique to segment seafloor acoustic mapping data by analyzing co-located bathymetric digital elevation models and acoustic backscatter mosaics is presented. The algorithm first uses principles of topographic openness, pattern recognition, and texture classification to identify geomorphic elements of the
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A robust and flexible technique to segment seafloor acoustic mapping data by analyzing co-located bathymetric digital elevation models and acoustic backscatter mosaics is presented. The algorithm first uses principles of topographic openness, pattern recognition, and texture classification to identify geomorphic elements of the seafloor or “area kernels”, and then derives the final seafloor segmentation by merging or splitting the kernels based on principles of similarity and multi-modality. The output is a collection of homogeneous, non-overlapping seafloor segments of consistent morphology and acoustic backscatter texture. Each labeled segment is enriched by a list of derived, physically-meaningful attributes that can be used for subsequent task-specific analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Geochemical Characteristics of Soils on Ellis Island, New York-New Jersey, Sixty Years after the Abandonment of the Hospital Complex
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 13; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010013 -
Abstract
Soil plays many critical roles in ecosystem health. As urbanization expands into once industrial and commercial lands, there is increased potential for human exposure to soil contaminants, including heavy metals introduced by past anthropogenic activities. Thus, it is important to assess soil contamination
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Soil plays many critical roles in ecosystem health. As urbanization expands into once industrial and commercial lands, there is increased potential for human exposure to soil contaminants, including heavy metals introduced by past anthropogenic activities. Thus, it is important to assess soil contamination in such areas for public health concerns. In this study, we investigated the physico-chemical characteristics of soils from an abandoned hospital complex on Ellis Island, New York (NY) – New Jersey (NJ) to assess the geochemical conditions of the local soil environment and metal contamination from historical activities, including coal-burning and use of lead arsenate insecticide and lead paint. The soil texture, nutrient content and heavy metal (As, Pb, Cr, Cd, Cu and Hg) concentrations were determined and their impact was evaluated. Soils were mostly sandy loam with C:N ratios of about 20:1. Heavy metals were elevated compared to background soils. Concentrations of acid extractable As and Pb ranged from 8.12 to 26.3 mg·kg−1 and 257 to 1008 mg·kg−1, respectively. Total-Hg concentrations varied from 0.191 to 0.899 mg·kg−1, with the higher levels likely from local coal-burning and deposition from the prevailing westerly winds. Overall, we find that even after 60 years of abandonment, the impact to Ellis Island soil from past human activities can still be observed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Tsunami Inundation Analysis Model for Urban Areas Using a Porous Body Model
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 12; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010012 -
Abstract
To evaluate tsunami hazards with strong locality in urban areas, this study developed a novel tsunami inundation model based on nonlinear shallow water wave equations and a porous body model (PBM). By applying a kinematic boundary condition that includes both porosity and surface
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To evaluate tsunami hazards with strong locality in urban areas, this study developed a novel tsunami inundation model based on nonlinear shallow water wave equations and a porous body model (PBM). By applying a kinematic boundary condition that includes both porosity and surface permeability of the porous medium, the proposed model could accurately incorporate geometric effects such as the flow anisotropy caused by the distributions of buildings. The proposed PBM demonstrated as good accuracy for the inundation heights around buildings near the coastline as with a conventional three-dimensional simulation with high resolution. In addition, the model showed its capability to reproduce a tsunami’s essential behaviors in urban areas. In particular, the amplification effect of flow velocity along straight roads surrounded by buildings was reasonably reproduced. It can be expected that the present model can become a useful tool to accurately evaluate the tsunami risks in urban areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Feasibility Study of SQp and SQs Attributes Application for Facies Classification
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 10; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010010 -
Abstract
Formation evaluation is a critical requirement in oil and gas exploration and development projects. Although it may be costly, wireline logs need to be acquired to evaluate and understand the subsurface formation. Gamma ray and resistivity are the two main well-log data used
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Formation evaluation is a critical requirement in oil and gas exploration and development projects. Although it may be costly, wireline logs need to be acquired to evaluate and understand the subsurface formation. Gamma ray and resistivity are the two main well-log data used for formation evaluation purposes. However, outside the well, formation evaluation becomes difficult, as these logs are not available. Hence, it is important to have other data equivalent to the gamma ray or resistivity logs, which can be derived from other technique, such as seismic data. As a consequence, the dependency on well-log data can be avoided. Thus, the complexity in formation evaluation outside the well, such as the determination of facies, lithology, and fluid content, as well as petrophysical properties can be solved accurately even without well-log data. The objective of this paper was to demonstrate an application of the SQp and SQs attributes for facies classification. These attributes were derived from attenuation attributes through rock physics approximation by using basic elastic properties: P-wave, S-wave, and density. A series of tests were carried out to show the applicability of these attributes on well-logs and real seismic data from offshore the Malaysia Peninsular. Simultaneous inversion was used in the data sets to produce the three-dimensional (3D) SQp and SQs attributes required as inputs of a neural network engine in defining the facies distribution. The results showed that the SQp attribute was very similar to the gamma ray, while the SQs attribute was similar to the resistivity responses even in different reservoir conditions, including low resistivity low contrast and coal masking environment. In conclusion, the SQp motif, which is similar to the gamma ray motif, can potentially be used for facies classification/identification. Together with the SQs attribute, the SQp attribute can be used as input for the facies classification workflow. The application of the SQp and SQs attributes successfully identified the gas sand distribution and separated it clearly from the brine distribution in an offshore Malaysian field. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Multibeam Bathymetric Investigations of the Morphology and Associated Bedforms, Sulina Channel, Danube Delta
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 7; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010007 -
Abstract
In the Danube Delta, on the Sulina branch, the morphology, sediment, and bedform characteristics were investigated. Three-dimensional (3D) bathymetry, flow velocity, suspended-load concentration, and liquid and solid discharge data were acquired throughout several cross sections along the Sulina channel, in order to investigate
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In the Danube Delta, on the Sulina branch, the morphology, sediment, and bedform characteristics were investigated. Three-dimensional (3D) bathymetry, flow velocity, suspended-load concentration, and liquid and solid discharge data were acquired throughout several cross sections along the Sulina channel, in order to investigate the distribution of water and sediment discharges and their influence against the river bed. A single observation (in February 2007) was made regarding the geometry, sediment composition, and hydraulic conditions under which the dunes grew and degenerated. The investigation focuses here mostly on the geometrical parameters of these bedforms, such as height, length, as well as grain size characteristic of the sediment and water dynamics. Based on in-site measurements, different hydraulic parameters were calculated, such as bed shear stresses and Reynolds number. During the field campaign, the measured water mean velocity was from v = 0.22–1.13 m∙s−1. At the same time, the measured range of shear stresses within the dune field formation was from τ0 = 2.86 N·m−2 (on the cutoffs) to 8.62 N·m−2 (on the main channel). It was found that the correlation between height (H) and length (L) of the Sulina branch dunes describes the formula: H = 0.093L0.5268. The bedforms of the Sulina channel are, in general, developed in fine sand (D50 between 0.06 and 0.35 mm). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Groundwater Natural Contamination by Toluene in Beja and Faro Districts, Portugal
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 9; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010009 -
Abstract
The focus area is located along Beja and Faro districts (southwestern of Portugal), where the Baixo Alentejo Flysch Group exists, is composed of the Mértola, Mira, and Brejeira Formations. The aim of this article is to characterize the groundwater contamination by toluene, one
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The focus area is located along Beja and Faro districts (southwestern of Portugal), where the Baixo Alentejo Flysch Group exists, is composed of the Mértola, Mira, and Brejeira Formations. The aim of this article is to characterize the groundwater contamination by toluene, one of the petroleum products that may originate from natural petroleum systems and have been introduced into the environment by natural seepage. For this study, twenty soil samples and thirty-one water samples were collected, in 2016, from artesian wells, boreholes, and springs, and analyzed in a GC-FID system. Sampling was performed using headspace vials, with distilled water and a bactericide to inhibit any bacterial activities. The results showed that 93.5% of water samples range between 1000 and 6000 μg/L, and 55% are higher than 3000 μg/L of toluene concentration. In soil samples, amounts of toluene are less than 1000 μg/L in general. These levels are much higher than the World Health Organization health-based guideline for drinkable water (700 μg/L) and higher than those usually found in other places, being only comparable with values from severe industrial contamination. Contaminated groundwater represents a serious concern for human health, and residents should be informed to avoid drinking contaminated ground water or using it for other domestic proposes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Seamless, High-Resolution Bathymetric Model to Compare Reef Morphology around the Subtropical Island Shelves of Lord Howe Island and Balls Pyramid, Southwest Pacific Ocean
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 11; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010011 -
Abstract
Lord Howe Island and Balls Pyramid are located approximately 600 km offshore of the southeastern Australian mainland, in the subtropical waters of the northern Tasman Sea. Lord Howe Island hosts the most southern coral reef in the Pacific Ocean, and the shelves surrounding
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Lord Howe Island and Balls Pyramid are located approximately 600 km offshore of the southeastern Australian mainland, in the subtropical waters of the northern Tasman Sea. Lord Howe Island hosts the most southern coral reef in the Pacific Ocean, and the shelves surrounding both islands feature fossil coral reefs. This study creates a seamless, high-resolution (5 m cell size) bathymetry model of the two shelves to compare and contrast the extent of reef development and shelf morphology. This was produced by integrating satellite-derived depth data (derived to 35 m depth) and multibeam echosounder (MBES) data. Image partitioning and filtering improved the accuracy of the bathymetry estimates and the suitability for integration with MBES data. Diverse accretionary and erosional geomorphic features were mapped on both shelves, with fossil reefs dominating the shelves in 25–50 m depth. Similar patterns of shelf morphology were observed for the middle and outer shelves, while the inner shelf regions were most dissimilar, with reef development greater around Lord Howe Island compared to the more restricted inner shelf reefs around Balls Pyramid. Understanding the relative extent and morphology of shelf features provides insights into the geological and ecological processes that have influenced the formation of the shelves. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Subsidence Trends of Volturno River Coastal Plain (Northern Campania, Southern Italy) Inferred by SAR Interferometry Data
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 8; doi:10.3390/geosciences8010008 -
Abstract
The Volturno Plain is one of the largest alluvial plains of peninsular Italy, which is one of the most susceptible plains to coastal hazards. This area is characterized by both natural and human-induced subsidence. This present study is based on the post-processing, analysis
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The Volturno Plain is one of the largest alluvial plains of peninsular Italy, which is one of the most susceptible plains to coastal hazards. This area is characterized by both natural and human-induced subsidence. This present study is based on the post-processing, analysis and mapping of the available Persistent Scatterer interferometry datasets. The latter were derived from the combination of both ascending and descending orbits of three different radar satellite systems during an observation period of almost two decades (June 1992–September 2010). The main output of this study is a map of vertical deformation, which provides new insights into the areal variability of the ground deformation processes (subsidence/uplift) of Volturno plain over the last few decades. The vertical displacement values obtained by the post-processing of the interferometric data show that the Volturno river plain is characterized by significant subsidence in the central axial sectors and in the river mouth area. Moderate uplift is detected in the eastern part of the plain, whereas other sectors of the study area are characterized by moderate subsidence and/or stability. On the basis of the analyzed subsoil stratigraphy, we inferred that the subsidence recorded in the Volturno plain is mainly a consequence of a natural process related to the compaction of the fluvial and palustrine deposits that form the alluvial plain. The anthropic influences (e.g., water exploitation, urbanization) are substantially considered to be an additional factor that may enhance subsidence only locally. The uplift mapped in the eastern sector of the plain is related to the tectonic activity. The study of the subsidence in the Volturno plain is a valuable tool for river flood analyses and the assessment of the coastal inundation hazards and related risk mitigation. Full article
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