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Geosciences, Volume 5, Issue 2 (June 2015) – 7 articles , Pages 95-221

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Open AccessArticle
Flash Floods in the Guelmim Area/Southwest Morocco–Use of Remote Sensing and GIS-Tools for the Detection of Flooding-Prone Areas
Geosciences 2015, 5(2), 203-221; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences5020203 - 27 May 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3398
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geological Mapping and Modeling of Earth Architectures)
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Open AccessArticle
Landform Monitoring and Warning Framework Based on Time Series Modeling of Topographic Databases
Geosciences 2015, 5(2), 177-202; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences5020177 - 30 Apr 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2626
Abstract
Global Positioning System (GPS) and geodetic control networks are used today for analyzing and monitoring time-dependent crustal deformations, providing a series of accurate positional measurements to deliver information on positional changes and deformations that have occurred. Still, such networks present a low-resolution dispersal [...] Read more.
Global Positioning System (GPS) and geodetic control networks are used today for analyzing and monitoring time-dependent crustal deformations, providing a series of accurate positional measurements to deliver information on positional changes and deformations that have occurred. Still, such networks present a low-resolution dispersal of positional measures, and do not take into account various physical constraints that affect the terrain’s seismic behavior. An alternative form of spatio-temporal infrastructure that is feasible and practical to establish might involve the use of Digital Terrain Model (DTM) databases. These databases use higher positional resolutions, and are exhibiting an increasing level of positional and height accuracy. Still, when comparing temporal DTMs, the separation of actual physical phenomena from data-related ambiguities is essential in the framework of spatio-temporal analysis. This paper proposes the use of a hierarchical co-modeling of different DTM databases for the task of landform monitoring. Analyses showed promising results, pointing to the feasibility of the proposed methodology in monitoring and quantifying topographic-related spatio-temporal phenomena, such as landslides and change detection, thus facilitating a reliable and precise landform monitoring and warning framework for geomorphodynamic analyses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impacts of Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) on Environment and Human Health of Gorontalo Utara Regency, Gorontalo Province, Indonesia
Geosciences 2015, 5(2), 160-176; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences5020160 - 16 Apr 2015
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 4558
Abstract
Mercury concentrations in the environment (river sediments and fish) and in the hair of artisanal gold miners and inhabitants of the Gorontalo Utara Regency were determined in order to understand the status of contamination, sources and their impacts on human health. Mercury concentrations [...] Read more.
Mercury concentrations in the environment (river sediments and fish) and in the hair of artisanal gold miners and inhabitants of the Gorontalo Utara Regency were determined in order to understand the status of contamination, sources and their impacts on human health. Mercury concentrations in the sediments along the Wubudu and Anggrek rivers are already above the tolerable level declared safe by the World Health Organization (WHO). Meanwhile, commonly consumed fish, such as snapper, have mercury levels above the threshold limit (0.5 μg/g). The mean mercury concentrations in the hair of a group of inhabitants from Anggrek and Sumalata are higher than those in hair from control group (the inhabitants of Monano, Tolinggula and Kwandang). The mean mercury concentration in the hair of female inhabitants is higher than that in the hair of male inhabitants in each group. Neurological examinations were performed on 44 participants of artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) miners and inhabitants of Anggrek and Sumalata. From the 12 investigated symptoms, four common symptoms were already observed among the participants, namely, bluish gums, Babinski reflex, labial reflex and tremor. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Actual Evapotranspiration in the Al-Khazir Gomal Basin (Northern Iraq) Using the Surface Energy Balance Algorithm for Land (SEBAL) and Water Balance
Geosciences 2015, 5(2), 141-159; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences5020141 - 15 Apr 2015
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3549
Abstract
Increasing dependence on groundwater requires a detailed determination of the different outputs and inputs of a basin for better water management. Determination of spatial and temporal actual evapotranspiration (ETa), in this regard, is of vital importance as there is significant water loss from [...] Read more.
Increasing dependence on groundwater requires a detailed determination of the different outputs and inputs of a basin for better water management. Determination of spatial and temporal actual evapotranspiration (ETa), in this regard, is of vital importance as there is significant water loss from drainage basins. This research paper uses the Surface Energy Balance Algorithm for Land (SEBAL), as well as the water balance, to estimate the spatial and temporal ETa in the Al-Khazir Gomal Basin, Northern Iraq. To compensate for the shortage in rainfall, and to irrigate summer crops, farmers in this basin have been depending, to a large extent, on groundwater extracted from the underlying unconfined aquifer, which is considered the major source for both domestic and agricultural uses in this basin. Rainfed farming of wheat and barley is one of the most important activities in the basin in the winter season, while in the summer season, agricultural activity is limited to small rice fields and narrow strips of vegetable cultivation along the Al-Khazir River. The Landsat Thematic Mapper images (TM5) acquired on 21 November 2006, 9 March 2007, 5 May 2007, 21 July 2007, and 23 September 2007 were used, along with a digital elevation model (DEM) and ground-based meteorological data, measured within the area of interest. Estimation of seasonal ETa from periods between satellite overpasses was computed using the evaporative fraction (Ʌ). The water balance approach was utilized, using meteorological data and river hydrograph analysis, to estimate the ETa as the only missing input in the predefined water balance equation. The results of the two applied methods were comparable. SEBAL results were compared with the land use land cover (LULC) map. The river showed the highest ETa, as evaporation from the free-water surface. Rice fields, irrigated in the summer season, have a high ETa in the images, as these fields are immersed in water during June, July and August. Vegetated corridors along the riverside showed different ETa values, as they contain a mosaic of different crops in different stages of growth. Conglomerate and bare sandstone outcrops showed no ETa, with some exceptions in the mountainous area, where these outcrops are affected by perennial springs. The results indicate the applicability of SEBAL in the study area, and they could be used in further studies to estimate the water budget of the basin. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sorption of Lithium on Bentonite, Kaolin and Zeolite
Geosciences 2015, 5(2), 127-140; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences5020127 - 14 Apr 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3186
Abstract
Li sorption was studied on natural bentonite, kaolin and zeolite in batch experiments at variable Li and Na concentrations (0, 1.5, 15, 150, 750 mM LiCl and 0.01, 0.1, 1, 3, 5 M NaCl). The solid-to-solution ratio was 1:4 and pH ranged from [...] Read more.
Li sorption was studied on natural bentonite, kaolin and zeolite in batch experiments at variable Li and Na concentrations (0, 1.5, 15, 150, 750 mM LiCl and 0.01, 0.1, 1, 3, 5 M NaCl). The solid-to-solution ratio was 1:4 and pH ranged from 2 to 10. Maximum Li sorption was determined at 0.01 M NaCl and 750 mM LiCl concentration in solution. It was 3800 ± 380 ppm, 1300 ± 130 ppm and 3900 ± 390 ppm on bentonite, kaolin and zeolite, respectively, which is in the average to upper range typical for clay minerals. Under these conditions, kaolin was saturated with Li, whereas Li in bentonite and zeolite occupied only about 55%–79% and 9%–26% of the typical cation exchange capacity (CEC) of smectites and zeolites, respectively. This is explained by differences in the way Li is bound in the materials studied. Li sorption on bentonite was independent of pH due to strong pH buffering. Above pH 5, kaolin was transformed to gibbsite, which completely changed its Li sorption capabilities. Extremely low as well as extremely high pH destabilized the crystal lattice of zeolite. All in all it was shown that, under the studied conditions, Li sorption on the studied materials occurs in detectable quantities. So, clay minerals and zeolites can act as a sink for Li if Li concentrations in solution are sufficiently high. Full article
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Open AccessShort Communication
A New European Slope Length and Steepness Factor (LS-Factor) for Modeling Soil Erosion by Water
Geosciences 2015, 5(2), 117-126; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences5020117 - 03 Apr 2015
Cited by 101 | Viewed by 12576
Abstract
The Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) model is the most frequently used model for soil erosion risk estimation. Among the six input layers, the combined slope length and slope angle (LS-factor) has the greatest influence on soil loss at the European scale. The [...] Read more.
The Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) model is the most frequently used model for soil erosion risk estimation. Among the six input layers, the combined slope length and slope angle (LS-factor) has the greatest influence on soil loss at the European scale. The S-factor measures the effect of slope steepness, and the L-factor defines the impact of slope length. The combined LS-factor describes the effect of topography on soil erosion. The European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC) developed a new pan-European high-resolution soil erosion assessment to achieve a better understanding of the spatial and temporal patterns of soil erosion in Europe. The LS-calculation was performed using the original equation proposed by Desmet and Govers (1996) and implemented using the System for Automated Geoscientific Analyses (SAGA), which incorporates a multiple flow algorithm and contributes to a precise estimation of flow accumulation. The LS-factor dataset was calculated using a high-resolution (25 m) Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for the whole European Union, resulting in an improved delineation of areas at risk of soil erosion as compared to lower-resolution datasets. This combined approach of using GIS software tools with high-resolution DEMs has been successfully applied in regional assessments in the past, and is now being applied for first time at the European scale. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fluvial Transport Model from Spatial Distribution Analysis of Libyan Desert Glass Mass on the Great Sand Sea (Southwest Egypt): Clues to Primary Glass Distribution
Geosciences 2015, 5(2), 95-116; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences5020095 - 02 Apr 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4194
Abstract
Libyan Desert Glass (LDG) is a natural silica-rich melted rock found as pieces scattered over the sand and bedrock of the Western Desert of Egypt, northeast of the Gilf Kebir. In this work, a population mixture analysis serves to relate the present spatial [...] Read more.
Libyan Desert Glass (LDG) is a natural silica-rich melted rock found as pieces scattered over the sand and bedrock of the Western Desert of Egypt, northeast of the Gilf Kebir. In this work, a population mixture analysis serves to relate the present spatial distribution of LDG mass density with the Late Oligocene–Early Miocene fluvial dynamics in the Western Desert of Egypt. This was verified from a spatial distribution model that was predicted from the log-normal kriging method using the LDG–mass-dependent transformed variable, Y(x). Both low- and high-density normal populations (–9.2 < Y(x) < –3.5 and –3.8 < Y(x) < 2.1, respectively) were identified. The low-density population was the result of an ordinary fluvial LDG transport/deposition sequence that was active from the time of the melting process, and which lasted until the end of activity of the Gilf River. The surface distribution of the high-density population allowed us to restrict the source area of the melting process. We demonstrate the importance of this geostatistical study in unveiling the probable location of the point where the melting of surficial material occurred and the role of the Gilf River in the configuration of the observed strewn field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planetary Geosciences and Space Exploration)
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