Abstract: Snowpack properties like temperature or density are the result of a complex energy and mass balance process in the snowpack that varies temporally and spatially. The Snow Thermal Model (SNTHERM) is a 1-dimensional model, energy and mass balance-driven, that simulates these properties. This article analyzes the simulated snowpack properties using SNTHERM forced with two datasets, namely measured meteorological data at the Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology-Snow Analysis and Field Experiment (CREST-SAFE) site and the National Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS). The study area is located on the premises of Caribou Municipal Airport at Caribou (ME, USA). The model evaluation is based on properties such as snow depth, snow water equivalent, and snow density, in addition to a layer-by-layer comparison of snowpack properties. The simulations were assessed with precise in situ observations collected at the CREST-SAFE site. The outputs of the SNTHERM model showed very good agreement with observed data in properties like snow depth, snow water equivalent, and average temperature. Conversely, the model was not very efficient when simulating properties like temperature and grain size in different layers of the snowpack.
Abstract: Late Tertiary fossil woods from the state of Nevada provide an opportunity for observing the mineralization sequences that cause buried wood to become permineralized. Oligocene and Miocene caldera basins contain abundant petrified wood that ranges in composition from incipient silicification to complete permineralization. Examination of specimens from 21 localities reveals that the petrifaction sequence can follow multiple pathways. Fossil wood specimens from a single stratum may have different mineralization; silicification may vary even within a single specimen. Despite these variations, several trends are evident. Features in Nevada specimens suggest that two fundamental processes are involved: early mineralization of cell walls, and later silica deposition in lumina, vessels, and rot pockets from groundwater that permeated these open spaces. The process of open-space filling may be analogous to the genesis of geodes and veins, where multiple episodes of hydrothermal precipitation may produce opal, chalcedony, and quartz as deposits within a single cavity. Silica polymorphs may coexist as primary precipitates, or they may originate from solid-state transformation of a single parent material. Relic lepisphere textures observed in some chalcedony wood specimens are evidence of opal→chalcedony transition. In Nevada, specimens that contain crystalline quartz, this mineral appears to have been formed by direct precipitation in open spaces, not from recrystallization of chalcedony. Opal-A has seldom been reported in fossil wood, but this amorphous material is fairly common in Nevada specimens.
Abstract: Alpine areas pose challenges for many existing remote sensing methods for snow depth retrieval, thus leading to uncertainty in water forecasting and budgeting. Herein, we present the results of a field campaign conducted in Tasmania, Australia in 2013 from which estimates of snow depth were derived using a low-cost photogrammetric approach on-board a micro unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) sensors mounted on a multi-rotor UAS and photogrammetric image processing techniques, the results demonstrate that snow depth can be accurately retrieved by differencing two surface models corresponding to the snow-free and snow-covered scenes, respectively. In addition to accurate snow depth retrieval, we show that high-resolution (50 cm) spatially continuous snow depth maps can be created using this methodology. Two types of photogrammetric bundle adjustment (BA) routines are implemented in this study to determine the optimal estimates of sensor position and orientation, in addition to 3D scene information; conventional BA (which relies on measured ground control points) and direct BA (which does not require ground control points). Error sources that affect the accuracy of the BA and subsequent snow depth reconstruction are discussed. The results indicate the UAS is capable of providing high-resolution and high-accuracy (<10 cm) estimates of snow depth over a small alpine area (~0.7 ha) with significant snow accumulation (depths greater than one meter) at a fraction of the cost of full-size aerial survey approaches. The RMSE of estimated snow depths using the conventional BA approach is 9.6 cm, whereas the direct BA is characterized by larger error, with an RMSE of 18.4 cm. If a simple affine transformation is applied to the point cloud derived from the direct BA, the overall RMSE is reduced to 8.8 cm RMSE.
Abstract: Eocene lakebed sediments at Stonerose Interpretive Center in Republic, Washington, USA are one of the most important Cenozoic fossil sites in North America, having gained international attention because of the abundance and diversity of plant, insect, and fish fossils. This report describes the first detailed geologic investigation of this unusual lagerstätten. Strata are gradationally divided into three units: Siliceous shale that originated as diatomite, overlain by laminated mudstone, which is in turn overlain by massive beds of lithic sandstone. The sedimentary sequence records topographic and hydrologic changes that caused a deep lake to become progressively filled with volcaniclastic detritus from earlier volcanic episodes. The location of the ancient lake within an active graben suggests that displacements along the boundary faults were the most likely trigger for changes in depositional processes.
Abstract: A comprehensive classification of primitive achondrites is difficult due to the high compositional and textural variability and the low number of samples available. Besides oxygen isotopic analysis, other minerochemical and textural parameters may provide a useful tool to solve taxonomic and genetic problems related to these achondrites. The results of a detailed modal, textural and minerochemical analysis of a set of primitive achondrites are presented and compared with literature data. All the samples show an extremely variable modal composition among both silicate and opaque phases. A general trend of troilite depletion vs. silicate fraction enrichment has been observed, with differences among coarse-grained and fine-grained meteorites. In regard to the mineral chemistry, olivine shows marked differences between the acapulcoite-lodranite and winonaite groups, while a compositional equilibrium between matrix and chondrules for both groups, probably due to the scarce influence of metamorphic grade on this phase, was observed. The analysis of Cr and Mn in clinopyroxene revealed two separate clusters for the acapulcoite/lodranite and winonaite groups, while the analysis of the reduction state highlighted three separate clusters. An estimate of equilibrium temperatures for the acapulcoite-lodranite and winonaite groups is provided. Finally, proposals regarding the genetic processes of these groups are discussed.
Abstract: The violent storms of 22–30 November 2014, resulted in flash floods and wadi floods (rivers) in large parts of Southern Morocco, at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. The Guelmim area was the most affected part with at least 32 fatalities and damages due to inundations. The flooding hazard in the Guelmim region initiated this study in order to investigate the use of remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) for the detection and identification of areas most likely to be flooded in the future again due to their morphologic properties during similar weather conditions. By combining morphometric analysis and visual interpretation based on Landsat 8 satellite data and derived images such as water index (NDWI) images, areas with relatively higher soil moisture and recently deposited sediments were identified. The resulting maps of weighted overlay procedures, aggregating causal, morphometric factors influencing the susceptibility to flooding (lowest height levels, flattest areas), allowed for the distinguishing of areas with higher, medium and lower susceptibility to flooding. Thus, GIS and remote sensing tools contribut to the recognition and mapping of areas and infrastructure prone to flooding in the Guelmim area.