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Geosciences, Volume 6, Issue 2 (June 2016)

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Open AccessArticle
Ore Petrography Using Optical Image Analysis: Application to Zaruma-Portovelo Deposit (Ecuador)
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020030 - 21 Jun 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2526
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 automated [...] 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
Geochemical Characterization of Trace MVT Mineralization in Paleozoic Sedimentary Rocks of Northeastern Wisconsin, USA
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020029 - 21 Jun 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2561
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 of [...] 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
Groundwater Exploration for Rural Water Supply in an Arid Region of Southern Argentina
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020028 - 13 Jun 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1710
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 investigate [...] 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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)
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Open AccessArticle
Surface Area Variability of a North-Central Tanzanian Crater Lake
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020027 - 08 Jun 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1910
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 weather [...] 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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)
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Open AccessReview
Paleolimnology as a Tool to Achieve Environmental Sustainability in the Anthropocene: An Overview
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020026 - 30 May 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1863
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, freshwater [...] 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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)
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Open AccessArticle
Origin of Petrified Wood Color
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020025 - 09 May 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3311
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, but [...] 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; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020024 - 27 Apr 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2130
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 Florida [...] 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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping and Assessing Natural Disasters Using Geospatial Technologies)
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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; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020021 - 26 Apr 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2245
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 forgotten, [...] 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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Open AccessArticle
Crushed and River-Origin Sands Used as Aggregates in Repair Mortars
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020023 - 13 Apr 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1240
Abstract
The systematic analysis of mortars from monuments or historic buildings and the simultaneous study of the construction environment show that it was common practice to use naturally occurring sand from local rivers or streams for the production of the mortars. There are cases [...] Read more.
The systematic analysis of mortars from monuments or historic buildings and the simultaneous study of the construction environment show that it was common practice to use naturally occurring sand from local rivers or streams for the production of the mortars. There are cases though, mainly on islands, where sands of natural origin were limited, and marine or crushed sands were used possibly after elaboration. In all cases the particle size analysis of old mortar confirms the presence of even distribution of the granules. As regards the design of the repair mortars, there are criteria that should be taken into consideration in order to produce materials with compatible properties. The main properties concerning sands are the grain distribution and maximum size, the color, the content of fines, and soluble salts. The objective of this research is the study of the physical characteristics of the sands such as the sand equivalent, the gradation, the apparent density, the morphology of the grains, their mineralogical composition and the influence of these properties on the behavior of lime mortars, notably the mechanical and physical properties acquired. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment 2016 Edition)
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Open AccessReview
An Overview of the Use of Absolute Dating Techniques in Ancient Construction Materials
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020022 - 13 Apr 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1709
Abstract
The reconstruction of the chronology of historical buildings is a tricky issue, as usually there are not historical documents that allow the assessment of construction phases, and some materials are hardly reliable for the use of dating techniques (e.g., stone). However, in the [...] Read more.
The reconstruction of the chronology of historical buildings is a tricky issue, as usually there are not historical documents that allow the assessment of construction phases, and some materials are hardly reliable for the use of dating techniques (e.g., stone). However, in the last two decades, important advances on the use of absolute dating methods on building materials have increased the possibilities of reconstructing building chronologies, although some advances are still scarcely known among archaeologists and architects. Recent studies performed on several kinds of mortars, fired bricks, mud-bricks, and even stone surfaces have shown that it is possible to date them. Both radiocarbon and luminescence dating have been the most frequently used techniques but others such as archaeomagnetism can also be used in some cases. This paper intends to give an overview of the recent achievements on the use of absolute dating techniques for building materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment 2016 Edition)
Open AccessArticle
Seismic Hazard Analysis along Koyna Dam Area, Western Maharashtra, India: A Contribution of Remote Sensing and GIS
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020020 - 07 Apr 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2092
Abstract
The Koyna-Warna area in Maharashtra, Western India, is one of the world’s best examples of reservoir-induced seismicity. The occurrence of earthquakes in the vicinity of Koyna Dam (Shivaji Sagar Lake) started since 1962, soon after the initiation of water impoundment. To understand the [...] Read more.
The Koyna-Warna area in Maharashtra, Western India, is one of the world’s best examples of reservoir-induced seismicity. The occurrence of earthquakes in the vicinity of Koyna Dam (Shivaji Sagar Lake) started since 1962, soon after the initiation of water impoundment. To understand the tectonics and seismicity of the region, recent Landsat 8 images and Sentinel radar data were evaluated in GIS, as well as SRTM and ASTER Digital Elevation Model data (DEM) and the DEM-derived morphometric maps. Geophysical and climate data were also included in the GIS database. The analysis of satellite data contributed towards understanding the tectonic framework of the Koyna reservoir area by visual lineament analysis. Thus, Landsat 8 and Sentinel radar data brought out the structural pattern and made visible larger fault zones. The detailed lineament analysis detected areas, presumed to have rocks of relatively higher permeability, supporting intrusion and infiltration of surface water. The resulting maps of weighted overlay procedures derived from causal morphometric factors that influence the susceptibility to ground motion revealed areas with higher, medium and lower susceptibility to soil amplification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment 2016 Edition)
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Open AccessArticle
Sequential Ensembles Tolerant to Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Soil Moisture Retrieval Errors
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020019 - 06 Apr 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1643
Abstract
Due to complicated and undefined systematic errors in satellite observation, data assimilation integrating model states with satellite observations is more complicated than field measurements-based data assimilation at a local scale. In the case of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) soil moisture, the systematic errors [...] Read more.
Due to complicated and undefined systematic errors in satellite observation, data assimilation integrating model states with satellite observations is more complicated than field measurements-based data assimilation at a local scale. In the case of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) soil moisture, the systematic errors arising from uncertainties in roughness conditions are significant and unavoidable, but current satellite bias correction methods do not resolve the problems very well. Thus, apart from the bias correction process of satellite observation, it is important to assess the inherent capability of satellite data assimilation in such sub-optimal but more realistic observational error conditions. To this end, time-evolving sequential ensembles of the Ensemble Kalman Filter (EnKF) is compared with stationary ensemble of the Ensemble Optimal Interpolation (EnOI) scheme that does not evolve the ensembles over time. As the sensitivity analysis demonstrated that the surface roughness is more sensitive to the SAR retrievals than measurement errors, it is a scope of this study to monitor how data assimilation alters the effects of roughness on SAR soil moisture retrievals. In results, two data assimilation schemes all provided intermediate values between SAR overestimation, and model underestimation. However, under the same SAR observational error conditions, the sequential ensembles approached a calibrated model showing the lowest Root Mean Square Error (RMSE), while the stationary ensemble converged towards the SAR observations exhibiting the highest RMSE. As compared to stationary ensembles, sequential ensembles have a better tolerance to SAR retrieval errors. Such inherent nature of EnKF suggests an operational merit as a satellite data assimilation system, due to the limitation of bias correction methods currently available. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
GIS and Optimisation: Potential Benefits for Emergency Facility Location in Humanitarian Logistics
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020018 - 29 Mar 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2798
Abstract
Floods are one of the most dangerous and common disasters worldwide, and these disasters are closely linked to the geography of the affected area. As a result, several papers in the academic field of humanitarian logistics have incorporated the use of Geographical Information [...] Read more.
Floods are one of the most dangerous and common disasters worldwide, and these disasters are closely linked to the geography of the affected area. As a result, several papers in the academic field of humanitarian logistics have incorporated the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for disaster management. However, most of the contributions in the literature are using these systems for network analysis and display, with just a few papers exploiting the capabilities of GIS to improve planning and preparedness. To show the capabilities of GIS for disaster management, this paper uses raster GIS to analyse potential flooding scenarios and provide input to an optimisation model. The combination is applied to two real-world floods in Mexico to evaluate the value of incorporating GIS for disaster planning. The results provide evidence that including GIS analysis for a decision-making tool in disaster management can improve the outcome of disaster operations by reducing the number of facilities used at risk of flooding. Empirical results imply the importance of the integration of advanced remote sensing images and GIS for future systems in humanitarian logistics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping and Assessing Natural Disasters Using Geospatial Technologies)
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Open AccessReview
A Review of Advances in the Identification and Characterization of Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Using Geospatial Technologies
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020017 - 25 Mar 2016
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2198
Abstract
Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem (GDE) protection is increasingly being recognized as essential for the sustainable management and allocation of water resources. GDE services are crucial for human well-being and for a variety of flora and fauna. However, the conservation of GDEs is only possible [...] Read more.
Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem (GDE) protection is increasingly being recognized as essential for the sustainable management and allocation of water resources. GDE services are crucial for human well-being and for a variety of flora and fauna. However, the conservation of GDEs is only possible if knowledge about their location and extent is available. Several studies have focused on the identification of GDEs at specific locations using ground-based measurements. However, recent progress in remote sensing technologies and their integration with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has provided alternative ways to map GDEs at a much larger spatial extent. This paper presents a review of the geospatial methods that have been used to map and delineate GDEs at spatial different extents. Additionally, a summary of the satellite sensors useful for identification of GDEs and the integration of remote sensing data with ground-based measurements in the process of mapping GDEs is presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geosciences and Future Earth)
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