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Geosciences, Volume 6, Issue 3 (September 2016)

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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; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030041 - 14 Sep 2016
Viewed by 1813
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 and [...] 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; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030040 - 13 Sep 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1956
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 western [...] 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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping and Assessing Natural Disasters Using Geospatial Technologies)
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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; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030039 - 02 Sep 2016
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2720
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 currently [...] 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; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030038 - 31 Aug 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2645
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 qanats, [...] 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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment 2016 Edition)
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Open AccessReview
Climate Change and Future Fire Regimes: Examples from California
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030037 - 17 Aug 2016
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 3405
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 control [...] 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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)
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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; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030036 - 29 Jul 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1902
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 rocks [...] 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 AccessReview
Getting Ahead of the Wildfire Problem: Quantifying and Mapping Management Challenges and Opportunities
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030035 - 29 Jul 2016
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 1932
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 sensitive [...] 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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping and Assessing Natural Disasters Using Geospatial Technologies)
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Open AccessArticle
Climate Change and Watershed Hydrology—Heavier Precipitation Influence on Stormwater Runoff
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030034 - 18 Jul 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2220
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. The [...] 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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)
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Open AccessArticle
A Multi-Satellite Approach for Water Storage Monitoring in an Arid Watershed
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030033 - 15 Jul 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1807
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 examined [...] 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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)
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Open AccessArticle
Three-Dimensional Geological Model of Quaternary Sediments in Walworth County, Wisconsin, USA
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030032 - 11 Jul 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2214
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 glacial [...] 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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Remote Sensing and GIS for Geomorphological Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Motivated for Action and Collaboration: The Abrahamic Religions and Climate Change
Geosciences 2016, 6(3), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6030031 - 28 Jun 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1780
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 Rabbi [...] 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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Geosciences)
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