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Geosciences, Volume 9, Issue 5 (May 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) This study presents a new model for the hydrothermal fracture system and the enigmatic fungal [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Ecohydrological Behaviour of Mountain Beech Forest: Quantification of Stomatal Conductance Using Sap Flow Measurements
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050243
Received: 25 March 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 21 May 2019 / Published: 26 May 2019
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Abstract
In forested regions, transpiration as a main component of evaporation fluxes is important for evaporation partitioning. Physiological behaviours among various vegetation species are quite different. Thus, an accurate estimation of the transpiration rate from a certain tree species needs specific parameterization of stomatal [...] Read more.
In forested regions, transpiration as a main component of evaporation fluxes is important for evaporation partitioning. Physiological behaviours among various vegetation species are quite different. Thus, an accurate estimation of the transpiration rate from a certain tree species needs specific parameterization of stomatal response to multiple environmental conditions. In this study, we chose a 300-m2 beech forest plot located in Vydra basin, the Czech Republic, to investigate the transpiration of beech (Fagus sylvatica) from the middle of the vegetative period to the beginning of the deciduous period, covering 100 days. The sap flow equipment was installed in six trees with varying ages among 32 trees in the plot, and the measurements were used to infer the stomatal conductance. The diurnal pattern of stomatal conductance and the response of stomatal conductance under the multiple environmental conditions were analysed. The results show that the stomatal conductance inferred from sap flow reached the highest at midday but, on some days, there was a significant drop at midday, which might be attributed to the limits of the hydraulic potential of leaves (trees). The response of stomatal conductance showed no pattern with solar radiation and soil moisture, but it did show a clear correlation with the vapour deficit, in particular when explaining the midday drop. The relation to temperature was rather scattered as the measured period was in the moderate climate. The findings highlighted that the parametrization of stress functions based on the typical deciduous forest does not perfectly represent the measured stomatal response of beech. Therefore, measurements of sap flow can assist in better understanding transpiration in newly formed beech stands after bark beetle outbreaks in Central Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Rainfall and Evaporation Partitioning)
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Open AccessArticle
Combined Close Range Photogrammetry and Terrestrial Laser Scanning for Ship Hull Modelling
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050242
Received: 8 April 2019 / Revised: 7 May 2019 / Accepted: 23 May 2019 / Published: 26 May 2019
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Abstract
The paper addresses the fields of combined close-range photogrammetry and terrestrial laser scanning in the light of ship modelling. The authors pointed out precision and measurement accuracy due to their possible complex application for ship hulls inventories. Due to prescribed vitality of every [...] Read more.
The paper addresses the fields of combined close-range photogrammetry and terrestrial laser scanning in the light of ship modelling. The authors pointed out precision and measurement accuracy due to their possible complex application for ship hulls inventories. Due to prescribed vitality of every ship structure, it is crucial to prepare documentation to support the vessel processes. The presented methods are directed, combined photogrammetric techniques in ship hull inventory due to submarines. The class of photogrammetry techniques based on high quality photos are supposed to be relevant techniques of the inventories’ purpose. An innovative approach combines these methods with Terrestrial Laser Scanning. The process stages of data acquisition, post-processing, and result analysis are presented and discussed due to market requirements. Advantages and disadvantages of the applied methods are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering)
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Open AccessReview
Viroids-First—A Model for Life on Earth, Mars and Exoplanets
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050241
Received: 13 April 2019 / Revised: 15 May 2019 / Accepted: 22 May 2019 / Published: 25 May 2019
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Abstract
The search for extraterrestrial life, recently fueled by the discovery of exoplanets, requires defined biosignatures. Current biomarkers include those of extremophilic organisms, typically archaea. Yet these cellular organisms are highly complex, which makes it unlikely that similar life forms evolved on other planets. [...] Read more.
The search for extraterrestrial life, recently fueled by the discovery of exoplanets, requires defined biosignatures. Current biomarkers include those of extremophilic organisms, typically archaea. Yet these cellular organisms are highly complex, which makes it unlikely that similar life forms evolved on other planets. Earlier forms of life on Earth may serve as better models for extraterrestrial life. On modern Earth, the simplest and most abundant biological entities are viroids and viruses that exert many properties of life, such as the abilities to replicate and undergo Darwinian evolution. Viroids have virus-like features, and are related to ribozymes, consisting solely of non-coding RNA, and may serve as more universal models for early life than do cellular life forms. Among the various proposed concepts, such as “proteins-first” or “metabolism-first”, we think that “viruses-first” can be specified to “viroids-first” as the most likely scenario for the emergence of life on Earth, and possibly elsewhere. With this article we intend to inspire the integration of virus research and the biosignatures of viroids and viruses into the search for extraterrestrial life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planetary Evolution and Search for Life on Habitable Planets)
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Open AccessArticle
Composite Anchors for Slope Stabilisation: Monitoring of their In-Situ Behaviour with Optical Fibre
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050240
Received: 1 March 2019 / Revised: 28 March 2019 / Accepted: 4 April 2019 / Published: 25 May 2019
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Abstract
Composite anchors are special passive sub-horizontal reinforcements recently developed for remediation of unstable slopes. They are composed of a hollow steel bar, installed by a self-drilling technique in the soil, coupled with tendons cemented in the inner hole to increase the global anchor [...] Read more.
Composite anchors are special passive sub-horizontal reinforcements recently developed for remediation of unstable slopes. They are composed of a hollow steel bar, installed by a self-drilling technique in the soil, coupled with tendons cemented in the inner hole to increase the global anchor tensile strength. The anchors are primarily intended to stabilise medium to deep landslides, both in soils or weathered rock masses. Among the valuable advantages of composite anchors are their low cost, ease of installation, and flexibility in execution, as testified by a rapid increase in their use in recent years. The bond strength at the soil-anchor interface is the main parameter for both the design of these reinforcements and the evaluation of their long-term effects for landslide stabilisation. After a brief description of the composite anchor technology, this paper presents a novel methodology for monitoring the strain and stress accumulated in the anchors over time when installed in an unstable slope. The new monitoring system is composed of a distributed fibre optic sensing system, exploiting the optical frequency domain reflectometry (OFDR) technique, to measure the strain exerted on the optical fibre cable embedded with the tendons inside the bar. The system permits an evaluation of the axial force distribution in the anchor and the soil-anchor interface actions with a spatial resolution of up to some millimetres. Therefore, it allows determination of the stabilising capability associated with the specific hydrogeological conditions of the site. Furthermore, upon an extensive validation, the system may become part of a standard practice to be applied in this type of intervention, aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of the anchor installation and its evolution over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountain Landslides: Monitoring, Modeling, and Mitigation)
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Open AccessArticle
Coastal Flood Assessment due to Sea Level Rise and Extreme Storm Events: A Case Study of the Atlantic Coast of Portugal’s Mainland
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050239
Received: 3 May 2019 / Revised: 17 May 2019 / Accepted: 22 May 2019 / Published: 24 May 2019
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Abstract
Portugal’s mainland has hundreds of thousands of people living in the Atlantic coastal zone, with numerous high economic value activities and a high number of infrastructures that must be adapted and protected from natural coastal hazards, namely, extreme storms and sea level rise [...] Read more.
Portugal’s mainland has hundreds of thousands of people living in the Atlantic coastal zone, with numerous high economic value activities and a high number of infrastructures that must be adapted and protected from natural coastal hazards, namely, extreme storms and sea level rise (SLR). In the context of climate change adaptation strategies, a reliable and accurate assessment of the physical vulnerability to SLR is crucial. This study is a contribution to the implementation of flooding standards imposed by the European Directive 2007/60/EC, which requires each member state to assess the risk associated to SLR and floods caused by extreme events. Therefore, coastal hazard on the Atlantic Coast of Portugal’s mainland was evaluated for 2025, 2050, and 2100 over the whole extension due to SLR, with different sea level scenarios for different extreme event return periods. A coastal probabilistic flooding map was produced based on the developed probabilistic cartography methodology using geographic information system (GIS) technology. The Extreme Flood Hazard Index (EFHI) was determined on probabilistic flood bases using five probability intervals of 20% amplitude. For a given SLR scenario, the EFHI is expressed, on the probabilistic flooding maps for an extreme tidal maximum level, by five hazard classes ranging from 1 (Very Low) to 5 (Extreme). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Compound Hydrological Hazards or Extremes)
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Open AccessArticle
How Glaciers Function and How They Create Landforms: Testing the Effectiveness of Fieldwork on Students’ Mental Models—A Case Study from the Sanabria Lake (NW Spain)
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050238
Received: 13 April 2019 / Revised: 17 May 2019 / Accepted: 21 May 2019 / Published: 23 May 2019
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Abstract
This paper analyzes the impact of fieldwork on the development of students’ mental models concerning glaciers and their effects on the landscape. Data were collected by means of an open-ended questionnaire that was administered to 279 pre-service teachers before and after an educational [...] Read more.
This paper analyzes the impact of fieldwork on the development of students’ mental models concerning glaciers and their effects on the landscape. Data were collected by means of an open-ended questionnaire that was administered to 279 pre-service teachers before and after an educational field trip, which analyzed its impact on short-term and long-term outcomes. In general, students’ mental models about how glaciers function and how they create landforms are relatively simplistic and incomplete. Students are unaware of the major erosional properties associated with glaciers and many of them do not specify that glaciers are bodies of ice that have a tendency to move down slope. The analysis of the data yielded four mental model categories. Fieldwork influenced the short-term effects on mental model development even though its positive impact decreases over time. Mental models including scientific views were only found in the post-instruction group. On the other hand, the pre-instruction group was strongly influenced by a catastrophic event that occurred in the region in 1959 (the Ribadelago flooding), which interferes with students’ mental reasoning on the formation of landscape features. This way of thinking is reinforced and/or mixed with a religious myth (Villaverde de Lucerna legend), which also invokes a catastrophic origin of the lake. In this case, this includes mystic flooding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educating for Geoscience)
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Open AccessArticle
How Do Continuous High-Resolution Models of Patchy Seabed Habitats Enhance Classification Schemes?
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050237
Received: 23 March 2019 / Revised: 29 April 2019 / Accepted: 21 May 2019 / Published: 23 May 2019
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Abstract
Predefined classification schemes and fixed geographic scales are often used to simplify and cost-effectively map the spatial complexity of nature. These simplifications can however limit the usefulness of the mapping effort for users who need information across a different range of thematic and [...] Read more.
Predefined classification schemes and fixed geographic scales are often used to simplify and cost-effectively map the spatial complexity of nature. These simplifications can however limit the usefulness of the mapping effort for users who need information across a different range of thematic and spatial resolutions. We demonstrate how substrate and biological information from point samples and photos, combined with continuous multibeam data, can be modeled to predictively map percentage cover conforming with multiple existing classification schemes (i.e., HELCOM HUB; Natura 2000), while also providing high-resolution (5 m) maps of individual substrate and biological components across a 1344 km2 offshore bank in the Baltic Sea. Data for substrate and epibenthic organisms were obtained from high-resolution photo mosaics, sediment grab samples, legacy data and expert annotations. Environmental variables included pixel and object based metrics at multiple scales (0.5 m–2 km), which improved the accuracy of models. We found that using Boosted Regression Trees (BRTs) to predict continuous models of substrate and biological components provided additional detail for each component without losing accuracy in the classified maps, compared with a thematic model. Results demonstrate the sensitivity of habitat maps to the effects of spatial and thematic resolution and the importance of high-resolution maps to management applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geological Seafloor Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Insight into Heterogeneous Calcite Cementation of Turbidite Channel-Fills from UAV Photogrammetry
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050236
Received: 2 April 2019 / Revised: 9 May 2019 / Accepted: 13 May 2019 / Published: 23 May 2019
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Abstract
Diagenesis is a key controlling factor on sandstone porosity and permeability. Understanding type, paragenetic sequence and spatial patterns of cements is thus important for assessing sandstone hydrocarbon reservoir properties. In this study Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) photogrammetry is used to evaluate the shape [...] Read more.
Diagenesis is a key controlling factor on sandstone porosity and permeability. Understanding type, paragenetic sequence and spatial patterns of cements is thus important for assessing sandstone hydrocarbon reservoir properties. In this study Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) photogrammetry is used to evaluate the shape and spatial distribution of calcite concretions developed within the sand-prone fill of a turbidite channel. The studied channel-fill is entrenched into hemipelagic marlstones and include a lower conglomeratic sandstone loaded with marlstone rip-ups and an upper fill featuring a range of turbidite bed types, which, up-section and off the channel axis, are progressively finer grained and less amalgamated. Concretion shape analysis highlighted a continuum of equant to oblate shapes with flat-lying major axes and a cumulative volume fraction of ca. 22%. Equant to sub-equant concretions are ubiquitous and occur at different heights within beds, often developing around marlstone rip-ups. Conversely, elongated concretions are either strata-bound concretions or completely cemented beds which become volumetrically dominant up section and off the channel axis. The interparticle pore-space of concretions represents on average ca. 22% and is tightly filled by poikilotopic and blocky calcite cement precipitated near to maximum burial depth, whereas host sandstones lack calcite cements and show smectite clay cement and an average preserved porosity of ca. 15%. The oxygen and carbon isotopes of calcite cements point to the marlstone as the main source of carbonate ions, suggesting concretions developed during burial by either diffusion from rip-ups and mud caps or recrystallization of, matrix micrite. Results suggest that the process by which the carbonate-rich component was eroded from the substrate and trapped within the channel-fill is a key control on spatial distribution of calcite concretions, likely to reflect on spatial variability of reservoir properties. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
New Feature Classes for Acoustic Habitat Mapping—A Multibeam Echosounder Point Cloud Analysis for Mapping Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV)
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050235
Received: 29 March 2019 / Revised: 15 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 23 May 2019
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Abstract
A new method for multibeam echosounder (MBES) data analysis is presented with the aim of improving habitat mapping, especially when considering submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). MBES data were acquired with 400 kHz in 1–8 m water depth with a spatial resolution in the [...] Read more.
A new method for multibeam echosounder (MBES) data analysis is presented with the aim of improving habitat mapping, especially when considering submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). MBES data were acquired with 400 kHz in 1–8 m water depth with a spatial resolution in the decimeter scale. The survey area was known to be populated with the seagrass Zostera marina and the bathymetric soundings were highly influenced by this habitat. The depth values often coincide with the canopy of the seagrass. Instead of classifying the data with a digital terrain model and the given derivatives, we derive predictive features from the native point cloud of the MBES soundings in a similar way to terrestrial LiDAR data analysis. We calculated the eigenvalues to derive nine characteristic features, which include linearity, planarity, and sphericity. The features were calculated for each sounding within a cylindrical neighborhood of 0.5 m radius and holding 88 neighboring soundings, on average, during our survey. The occurrence of seagrass was ground-truthed by divers and aerial photography. A data model was constructed and we applied a random forest machine learning supervised classification to predict between the two cases of “seafloor” and “vegetation”. Prediction by linearity, planarity, and sphericity resulted in 88.5% prediction accuracy. After constructing the higher-order eigenvalue derivatives and having the nine features available, the model resulted in 96% prediction accuracy. This study outlines for the first time that valuable feature classes can be derived from MBES point clouds—an approach that could substantially improve bathymetric measurements and habitat mapping. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geological Seafloor Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Potential Instability of Gas Hydrates along the Chilean Margin Due to Ocean Warming
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050234
Received: 22 March 2019 / Revised: 9 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 21 May 2019
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Abstract
In the last few years, interest in the offshore Chilean margin has increased rapidly due to the presence of gas hydrates. We have modelled the gas hydrate stability zone off Chilean shores (from 33° S to 46° S) using a steady state approach [...] Read more.
In the last few years, interest in the offshore Chilean margin has increased rapidly due to the presence of gas hydrates. We have modelled the gas hydrate stability zone off Chilean shores (from 33° S to 46° S) using a steady state approach to evaluate the effects of climate change on gas hydrate stability. Present day conditions were modelled using published literature and compared with available measurements. Then, we simulated the effects of climate change on gas hydrate stability in 50 and 100 years on the basis of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and National Aeronautics and Space Administration forecasts. An increase in temperature might cause the dissociation of gas hydrate that could strongly affect gas hydrate stability. Moreover, we found that the high seismicity of this area could have a strong effect on gas hydrate stability. Clearly, the Chilean margin should be considered as a natural laboratory for understanding the relationship between gas hydrate systems and complex natural phenomena, such as climate change, slope stability and earthquakes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas Hydrate: Environmental and Climate Impacts)
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Open AccessArticle
The Noise Properties and Velocities from a Time-Series of Estonian Permanent GNSS Stations
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050233
Received: 9 April 2019 / Revised: 15 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 21 May 2019
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to estimate the noise properties, velocities, and their uncertainties from a time-series of selected (~9 years long) Estonian continuously operating Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) stations. Two software packages based on different processing methods, Gipsy–Oasis and Bernese, [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to estimate the noise properties, velocities, and their uncertainties from a time-series of selected (~9 years long) Estonian continuously operating Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) stations. Two software packages based on different processing methods, Gipsy–Oasis and Bernese, were used for daily coordinate calculations. Different methods and software (Tsview, Hector, and MIDAS) were used for coordinate time-series analysis. Outliers were removed using three different strategies. Six different stochastic noise models were used for trend estimation altogether with the analysis of the noise properties of the residual time-series with Hector. Obtained velocities were compared with different land uplift and glacial isostatic adjustment models (e.g., ICE-6G (VM5a), NKG2016LU, etc.). All compared solutions showed similar fit to the compared models. It was confirmed that the best fit to the time-series residuals were with the flicker noise plus white noise model (for the North and East component) and generalized Gauss–Markov model (for Up). Velocities from MIDAS, Tsview, and Hector solutions within the same time-series (Gipsy–Oasis or Bernese) agreed well but velocity uncertainties differed up to four times. The smallest uncertainties were obtained from Tsview; the MIDAS solution produced the most conservative values. Although the East and Up component velocities between Gipsy and Bernese solutions agreed well, the North component velocities were systematically shifted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Permafrost Degradation within Eastern Chukotka CALM Sites in the 21st Century Based on CMIP5 Climate Models
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050232
Received: 30 March 2019 / Revised: 14 May 2019 / Accepted: 17 May 2019 / Published: 21 May 2019
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Abstract
Permafrost degradation caused by contemporary climate change significantly affects arctic regions. Active layer thickening combined with the thaw subsidence of ice-rich sediments leads to irreversible transformation of permafrost conditions and activation of exogenous processes, such as active layer detachment, thermokarst and thermal erosion. [...] Read more.
Permafrost degradation caused by contemporary climate change significantly affects arctic regions. Active layer thickening combined with the thaw subsidence of ice-rich sediments leads to irreversible transformation of permafrost conditions and activation of exogenous processes, such as active layer detachment, thermokarst and thermal erosion. Climatic and permafrost models combined with a field monitoring dataset enable the provision of predicted estimations of the active layer and permafrost characteristics. In this paper, we present the projections of active layer thickness and thaw subsidence values for two Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring (CALM) sites of Eastern Chukotka coastal plains. The calculated parameters were used for estimation of permafrost degradation rates in this region for the 21st century under various IPCC climate change scenarios. According to the studies, by the end of the century, the active layer will be 6–13% thicker than current values under the RCP (Representative Concentration Pathway) 2.6 climate scenario and 43–87% under RCP 8.5. This process will be accompanied by thaw subsidence with the rates of 0.4–3.7 cm∙a−1. Summarized surface level lowering will have reached up to 5 times more than current active layer thickness. Total permafrost table lowering by the end of the century will be from 150 to 310 cm; however, it will not lead to non-merging permafrost formation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryosphere II)
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Open AccessArticle
Optimizing an Inner-Continental Shelf Geologic Framework Investigation through Data Repurposing and Machine Learning
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050231
Received: 30 March 2019 / Revised: 14 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 21 May 2019
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Abstract
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have collected approximately 5400 km2 of geophysical and hydrographic data on the Atlantic continental shelf between Delaware and Virginia over the past decade and a half. Although originally acquired for [...] Read more.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have collected approximately 5400 km2 of geophysical and hydrographic data on the Atlantic continental shelf between Delaware and Virginia over the past decade and a half. Although originally acquired for different objectives, the comprehensive coverage and variety of data (bathymetry, backscatter, imagery and physical samples) presents an opportunity to merge collections and create high-resolution, broad-scale geologic maps of the seafloor. This compilation of data repurposes hydrographic data, expands the area of geologic investigation, highlights the versatility of mapping data, and creates new geologic products that would not have been independently possible. The data are classified using a variety of machine learning algorithms, including unsupervised and supervised methods. Four unique classes were targeted for classification, and source data include bathymetry, backscatter, slope, curvature, and shaded-relief. A random forest classifier used on all five source data layers was found to be the most accurate method for these data. Geomorphologic and sediment texture maps are derived from the classified acoustic data using over 200 ground truth samples. The geologic data products can be used to identify sediment sources, inform resource management, link seafloor environments to sediment texture, improve our understanding of the seafloor structure and sediment pathways, and demonstrate how ocean mapping resources can be useful beyond their original intent to maximize the footprint and scientific impact of a study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geological Seafloor Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Nonzero Intercept Gas Transfer Velocity Parameterizations on Global and Regional Ocean–Atmosphere CO2 Fluxes
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050230
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 13 May 2019 / Published: 20 May 2019
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Abstract
Carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes between the ocean and atmosphere (FCO2) are commonly computed from differences between their partial pressures of CO2pCO2) and the gas transfer velocity (k). Commonly used wind-based parameterizations [...] Read more.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes between the ocean and atmosphere (FCO2) are commonly computed from differences between their partial pressures of CO2pCO2) and the gas transfer velocity (k). Commonly used wind-based parameterizations for k imply a zero intercept, although in situ field data below 4 m s−1 are scarce. Considering a global average wind speed over the ocean of 6.6 m s−1, a nonzero intercept might have a significant impact on global FCO2. Here, we present a database of 245 in situ measurements of k obtained with the floating chamber technique (Sniffle), 190 of which have wind speeds lower than 4 m s−1. A quadratic parameterization with wind speed and a nonzero intercept resulted in the best fit for k. We further tested FCO2 calculated with a different parameterization with a complementary pCO2 observation-based product. Furthermore, we ran a simulation in a well-tested ocean model of intermediate complexity to test the implications of different gas transfer velocity parameterizations for the natural carbon cycle. The global ocean observation-based analysis suggests that ignoring a nonzero intercept results in an ocean-sink increase of 0.73 Gt C yr−1. This corresponds to a 28% higher uptake of CO2 compared with the flux calculated from a parameterization with a nonzero intercept. The differences in FCO2 were higher in the case of low wind conditions and large ΔpCO2 between the ocean and atmosphere. Such conditions occur frequently in the Tropics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean-Atmosphere Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Geological Map of a Treasure Chest of Geodiversity: The Lavagnina Lakes Area (Alessandria, Italy)
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050229
Received: 5 March 2019 / Revised: 28 March 2019 / Accepted: 16 April 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
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Abstract
The aim of this work is to present a new georeferenced geological map of an area in the Ligurian Western Alps (Lavagnina Lakes area) that includes both a unique geodiversity and great biodiversity, a peculiar geological heritage, and cultural features. The study area [...] Read more.
The aim of this work is to present a new georeferenced geological map of an area in the Ligurian Western Alps (Lavagnina Lakes area) that includes both a unique geodiversity and great biodiversity, a peculiar geological heritage, and cultural features. The study area is located in the northern part of the Capanne di Marcarolo Regional Natural Park, occurring in the southern Piedmont Region (Alessandria, NW Italy) and close to the suburbs of Genoa. This area has been studied by multi-disciplinary scientific researchers who, so far, have focused their attention on the occurrence of alkaline springs and investigation of different endemic floral species. Moreover, in the past, the Lavagnina Lakes area has been exploited due to the presence of gold mineralization, and several mining records are still visible. We performed detailed geological mapping at a 1:10,000 scale, and collected data that were later integrated into a digital GIS map. The database associated with the map contains information that may be interesting from different points of view: (i) scientific research; (ii) outreach and dissemination activities; and (iii) geotourism (i.e., trail networks and panoramic viewpoints). The area represents a section of the Jurassic Piedmont Ligurian oceanic lithosphere, showing several geologic processes on different scales, such as the serpentinization process and intense and widespread carbonation of ultramafic rocks; the area is, moreover, characterized by fault systems showing paleoseismic structures. Beyond scientific research activities (i.e., geology, geoarchaeology, and mining archaeology), the area can also be promoted for geotourism, outreach and dissemination activities, field trips for schools, and gold panning activities. Hence, our new digital map and our 3D model could be a useful tool to illustrate the main characteristics of the area, leading a non-expert public to explore different geological features in a relatively “small” area. In this way, our map could help to improve geotourism, be used as a tool for educational activities, and, finally, could also help the Capanne di Marcarolo Regional Natural Park to be recognized as a geopark. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educating for Geoscience)
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Open AccessArticle
Site Effect Assessment in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia through Inversion Analysis of Microtremor H/V Spectral Ratios
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050228
Received: 11 April 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
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Abstract
Due to the population growth and urban sprawl in Ulaanbaatar city (UB), Mongolia, hazard and risk analysis for future earthquakes have become an important issue for disaster mitigation planning. Evaluation of a site effect is one of the essential parts of the earthquake [...] Read more.
Due to the population growth and urban sprawl in Ulaanbaatar city (UB), Mongolia, hazard and risk analysis for future earthquakes have become an important issue for disaster mitigation planning. Evaluation of a site effect is one of the essential parts of the earthquake hazard estimation in this area. The site effect can be evaluated by site amplifications calculated from shear-wave velocity (VS) models including from bedrock to surface layers. However, it is difficult to assess the pattern of the site effects in UB because shallow mostly up to 15 m and a small number of investigated VS models are available in previous studies. In this study, the VS models are estimated using microtremor data at 50 sites and inversion analysis is applied to the observed data in order to evaluate site amplifications in UB. In particular, the joint inversion technique based on a diffuse field approach is applied to estimate the VS structures at three sites using the observed horizontal-to-vertical (H/V) spectral ratios and surface wave phase velocities obtained by Odonbaatar (2011). The rest of the sites are estimated by the single inversion technique using the observed microtremor H/V spectral ratios considering the results of the joint inversions. The seismic microzoning in UB is performed based on the site amplifications computed from the inverted VS models to characterize the pattern of seismic hazard. The result shows the largest site amplification zone is computed along the Tuul river in the southeastern part of UB. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
High Pressure Hydrocarbons Revisited: From van der Waals Compounds to Diamond
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050227
Received: 18 March 2019 / Revised: 26 April 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
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Abstract
Methane and other hydrocarbons are major components of the mantle regions of icy planets. Several recent computational studies have investigated the high-pressure behaviour of specific hydrocarbons. To develop a global picture of hydrocarbon stability, to identify relevant decomposition reactions, and probe eventual formation [...] Read more.
Methane and other hydrocarbons are major components of the mantle regions of icy planets. Several recent computational studies have investigated the high-pressure behaviour of specific hydrocarbons. To develop a global picture of hydrocarbon stability, to identify relevant decomposition reactions, and probe eventual formation of diamond, a complete study of all hydrocarbons is needed. Using density functional theory calculations we survey here all known C-H crystal structures augmented by targeted crystal structure searches to build hydrocarbon phase diagrams in the ground state and at elevated temperatures. We find that an updated pressure-temperature phase diagram for methane is dominated at intermediate pressures by CH 4 :H 2 van der Waals inclusion compounds. We discuss the P-T phase diagram for CH and CH 2 (i.e., polystyrene and polyethylene) to illustrate that diamond formation conditions are strongly composition dependent. Finally, crystal structure searches uncover a new CH 4 (H 2 ) 2 van der Waals compound, the most hydrogen-rich hydrocarbon, stable between 170 and 220 GPa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interiors of Icy Ocean Worlds)
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Open AccessArticle
Generation of Sub-Hourly Rainfall Events through a Point Stochastic Rainfall Model
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050226
Received: 8 February 2019 / Revised: 7 May 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
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Abstract
The aim of this paper is to present a stochastic model to generate sub-hourly rainfall events at a given point. Historical events used as the input have been extracted by the sub-hourly rainfall series available for a defined rain gauge station based on [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to present a stochastic model to generate sub-hourly rainfall events at a given point. Historical events used as the input have been extracted by the sub-hourly rainfall series available for a defined rain gauge station based on a fixed inter-event time and selected if their average intensity was larger than a critical fixed one. The sub-hourly events generated by applying the proposed methodology are completely stochastic and their main characteristics, i.e., shape, duration and average intensity, have been derived as a function of the statistics of the historical events analyzed. In order to characterize the shape, dimensionless hyetographs have been derived. They have been statistically modelled by using the Beta cumulative distribution. Average intensity and duration of the historical events were first modelled separately by fitting several probability distributions and selecting the best one using the more common statistical criteria. Then, their correlation was modelled using the Frank’s copula. In order to test the methodology, two sites in Sicily, Italy, where 10 min’ recorded rainfall data were available, were analyzed. Finally, comparison between the statistics of the simulated events and those of the measured data demonstrates the good performance of the model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrology of Urban Catchments)
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Open AccessReview
Magnetic Properties and Redox State of Impact Glasses: A Review and New Case Studies from Siberia
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050225
Received: 26 February 2019 / Revised: 5 May 2019 / Accepted: 11 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
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Abstract
High velocity impacts produce melts that solidify as ejected or in-situ glasses. We provide a review of their peculiar magnetic properties, as well as a new detailed study of four glasses from Siberia: El’gygytgyn, Popigai, urengoites, and South-Ural glass (on a total of [...] Read more.
High velocity impacts produce melts that solidify as ejected or in-situ glasses. We provide a review of their peculiar magnetic properties, as well as a new detailed study of four glasses from Siberia: El’gygytgyn, Popigai, urengoites, and South-Ural glass (on a total of 24 different craters or strewn-fields). Two types of behavior appear: 1) purely paramagnetic with ferromagnetic impurities at most of the order of 10 ppm; this corresponds to the five tektite strewn-fields (including the new one from Belize), urengoites, and Darwin glass. Oxidation state, based in particular on X-ray spectroscopy, is mostly restricted to Fe2+; 2) variable and up to strong ferromagnetic component, up to the 1 wt % range, mostly due to substituted magnetite often in superparamagnetic state. Accordingly, bulk oxidation state is intermediate between Fe2+ and Fe3+, although metallic iron, hematite, and pyrrhotite are sometimes encountered. Various applications of these magnetic properties are reviewed in the field of paleomagnetism, magnetic anomalies, recognition of glass origin, and formation processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Magnetic Analysis of Geological Processes)
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Open AccessArticle
U–Pb Geochronology of Hydrothermal Monazite from Uraniferous Greisen Veins Associated with the High Heat Production Mount Douglas Granite, New Brunswick, Canada
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050224
Received: 9 January 2019 / Revised: 1 May 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
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Abstract
A combination of in situ laser ablation inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA ICP–MS) analyses guided by Scanning Electron Microscope–Back-Scattered Electron imaging (SEM–BSE) was applied to hydrothermal monazite from greisen veins of the Late Devonian, highly evolved, uraniferous Mount Douglas Granite, New Brunswick, Canada. [...] Read more.
A combination of in situ laser ablation inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA ICP–MS) analyses guided by Scanning Electron Microscope–Back-Scattered Electron imaging (SEM–BSE) was applied to hydrothermal monazite from greisen veins of the Late Devonian, highly evolved, uraniferous Mount Douglas Granite, New Brunswick, Canada. Understanding the uraniferous nature of the suite and characterizing the hydrothermal system that produced the associated mineralized greisen veins were the main goals of this study. The uraniferous nature of the Mount Douglas Granite is evident from previous airborne radiometric surveys, whole-rock geochemical data indicating high U and Th (2–22 ppm U; 19–71 ppm Th), the presence of monazite, zircon, xenotime, thorite, bastnaesite, and uraninite within the pluton and the associated hydrothermal greisen veins, as well as anomalous levels of U and Th in wolframite, hematite, and martite within greisen veins. New U–Pb geochronology of hydrothermal monazite coexisting with sulfide and oxide minerals yielded mineralization ages ranging from 344 to 368 Ma, with most of them (90%) younger than the crystallization age of the pluton (368 ± 3 Ma). The younger mineralization age indicates post-magmatic hydrothermal activities within the Mount Douglas system that was responsible for the mineralization. The production of uraniferous greisen veins by this process is probably associated with the High Heat Production (HHP) nature of this pluton, resulting from the radioactive decay of U, Th, and K. This heat prolongs post-crystallization hydrothermal fluid circulation and promotes the generation of hydrothermal ore deposits that are younger than the pluton. Assuming a density of 2.61 g/cm3, the average weighted mean radiogenic heat production of the Mount Douglas granites is 5.9 µW/m3 (14.1 HGU; Heat Generation Unit), in which it ranges from 2.2 µW/m3 in the least evolved unit, Dmd1, up to 10.1 µW/m3 in the most fractionated unit, Dmd3. They are all significantly higher than the average upper continental crust (1.65 µW/m3). The high radiogenic heat production of the Mount Douglas Granite, accompanied by a high estimated heat flow of 70 mW/m2, supports the assignment of the granite to a ‘hot crust’ (>7 HGU) HHP granite and highlights its potential for geothermal energy exploration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Groundwater Level Change Management on Control of Land Subsidence Supported by Borehole Extensometer Compaction Measurements in the Houston-Galveston Region, Texas
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050223
Received: 30 December 2018 / Revised: 5 May 2019 / Accepted: 11 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
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Abstract
As much as 3.05 m of land subsidence was observed in 1979 in the Houston-Galveston region as a result primarily of inelastic compaction of aquitards in the Chicot and Evangeline aquifers between 1937 and 1979. The preconsolidation pressure heads for aquitards within these [...] Read more.
As much as 3.05 m of land subsidence was observed in 1979 in the Houston-Galveston region as a result primarily of inelastic compaction of aquitards in the Chicot and Evangeline aquifers between 1937 and 1979. The preconsolidation pressure heads for aquitards within these two aquifers were continuously updated in response to lowering groundwater levels, which in turn was caused by continuously increasing groundwater withdrawal rates from 0.57 to 4.28 million m3/day. This land subsidence occurred without any management of changes in groundwater levels. However, the management of recovering groundwater levels from 1979 to 2000 successfully decreased inelastic compaction from about 40 mm/yr in the early 1980s to zero around 2000 through decreasing groundwater withdrawal rates from 4.3 to 3.0 million m3/day. The inelastic consolidation that had existed for about 63 years roughly from 1937 to 2000 caused a land subsidence hazard in this region. Some rebounding of the land surface was achieved from groundwater level recovering management. It is found in this paper that subsidence of 0.08 to 8.49 mm/yr owing to a pseudo-constant secondary consolidation rate emerged or tended to emerge at 13 borehole extensometer station locations while the groundwater levels in the two aquifers were being managed. It is considered to remain stable in trend since 2000. The subsidence due to the secondary consolidation is beyond the control of any groundwater level change management schemes because it is caused by geo-historical overburden pressure on the two aquifers. The compaction measurements collected from the 13 extensometers since 1971 not only successfully corroborate the need for groundwater level change management in controlling land subsidence but also yield the first empirical findings of the occurrence of secondary consolidation subsidence in the Quaternary and Tertiary aquifer systems in the Houston-Galveston region. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Some Investigations on a Possible Relationship between Ground Deformation and Seismic Activity at Campi Flegrei and Ischia Volcanic Areas (Southern Italy)
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050222
Received: 19 March 2019 / Revised: 19 April 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
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Abstract
In the present paper, we analyse ground tilt and seismicity at Campi Flegrei caldera and Ischia Island, two volcanic areas located in the south of Italy. These areas have been well studied for many years from a petrological, volcanological and geophysical view point. [...] Read more.
In the present paper, we analyse ground tilt and seismicity at Campi Flegrei caldera and Ischia Island, two volcanic areas located in the south of Italy. These areas have been well studied for many years from a petrological, volcanological and geophysical view point. Moreover, due to the high seismic and volcanic risk for the populations living there, they are continuously monitored by networks of geophysical and geochemical sensors. We summarize the most important results that we obtained so far, concerning the observations of relationships between seismic activity and ground tilt anomalies, focusing on the time interval 2015–2018. First, we present a detailed description of the tiltmeter and seismic networks in both the investigated areas, as well as their development and improvement over time that has enabled high quality data collection. From the joint analysis of the seismic and borehole tiltmeter signals, we often notice concurrence between tilt pattern variations and the occurrence of seismicity. Moreover, the major tilt anomalies appear to be linked with the rate and energy of volcano-tectonic earthquakes, as well as with exogenous phenomena like solid Earth tides and hydrological cycles. The analysis that we present has potential applicability to other volcanic systems. Our findings show how the joint use tilt and seismic data can contribute to better understanding of the dynamics of volcanoes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volcano Monitoring – Placing the Finger on the Pulse)
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Open AccessArticle
Unsupervised Classification for Landslide Detection from Airborne Laser Scanning
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050221
Received: 22 March 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 11 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
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Abstract
Landslides are natural disasters that cause extensive environmental, infrastructure and socioeconomic damage worldwide. Since they are difficult to identify, it is imperative to evaluate innovative approaches to detect early-warning signs and assess their susceptibility, hazard and risk. The increasing availability of airborne laser-scanning [...] Read more.
Landslides are natural disasters that cause extensive environmental, infrastructure and socioeconomic damage worldwide. Since they are difficult to identify, it is imperative to evaluate innovative approaches to detect early-warning signs and assess their susceptibility, hazard and risk. The increasing availability of airborne laser-scanning data provides an opportunity for modern landslide mapping techniques to analyze topographic signature patterns of landslide, landslide-prone and landslide scarred areas over large swaths of terrain. In this study, a methodology based on several feature extractors and unsupervised classification, specifically k-means clustering and the Gaussian mixture model (GMM) were tested at the Carlyon Beach Peninsula in the state of Washington to map slide and non-slide terrain. When compared with the detailed, independently compiled landslide inventory map, the unsupervised methods correctly classify up to 87% of the terrain in the study area. These results suggest that (1) landslide scars associated with past deep-seated landslides may be identified using digital elevation models (DEMs) with unsupervised classification models; (2) feature extractors allow for individual analysis of specific topographic signatures; (3) unsupervised classification can be performed on each topographic signature using multiple number of clusters; (4) comparison of documented landslide prone regions to algorithm mapped regions show that algorithmic classification can accurately identify areas where deep-seated landslides have occurred. The conclusions of this study can be summarized by stating that unsupervised classification mapping methods and airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR)-derived DEMs can offer important surface information that can be used as effective tools for digital terrain analysis to support landslide detection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
New Sensitivity Indices of a 2D Flood Inundation Model Using Gauss Quadrature Sampling
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050220
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 26 April 2019 / Accepted: 11 May 2019 / Published: 14 May 2019
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Abstract
A new method for sensitivity analysis of water depths is presented based on a two-dimensional hydraulic model as a convenient and cost-effective alternative to Monte Carlo simulations. The method involves perturbation of the probability distribution of input variables. A relative sensitivity index is [...] Read more.
A new method for sensitivity analysis of water depths is presented based on a two-dimensional hydraulic model as a convenient and cost-effective alternative to Monte Carlo simulations. The method involves perturbation of the probability distribution of input variables. A relative sensitivity index is calculated for each variable, using the Gauss quadrature sampling, thus limiting the number of runs of the hydraulic model. The variable-related highest variation of the expected water depths is considered to be the most influential. The proposed method proved particularly efficient, requiring less information to describe model inputs and fewer model executions to calculate the sensitivity index. It was tested over a 45 km long reach of the Richelieu River, Canada. A 2D hydraulic model was used to solve the shallow water equations (SWE). Three input variables were considered: Flow rate, Manning’s coefficient, and topography of a shoal within the considered reach. Four flow scenarios were simulated with discharge rates of 759, 824, 936, and 1113 m 3 / s . The results show that the predicted water depths were most sensitive to the topography of the shoal, whereas the sensitivity indices of Manning’s coefficient and the flow rate were comparatively lower. These results are important for making better hydraulic models, taking into account the sensitivity analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Compound Hydrological Hazards or Extremes)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of the Coastal Vulnerability Index in an Area of Complex Geological Conditions on the Krk Island, Northeast Adriatic Sea
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050219
Received: 28 March 2019 / Revised: 29 April 2019 / Accepted: 11 May 2019 / Published: 14 May 2019
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Abstract
This study presents a vulnerability assessment methodology that was developed to analyze the Croatian Eastern Adriatic Coast (CEAC), which has extremely complex geomorphology. Local coastal retreat, slope instability phenomena, and the influence of marine erosion play a significant role in coastal geohazards in [...] Read more.
This study presents a vulnerability assessment methodology that was developed to analyze the Croatian Eastern Adriatic Coast (CEAC), which has extremely complex geomorphology. Local coastal retreat, slope instability phenomena, and the influence of marine erosion play a significant role in coastal geohazards in the southeastern coastal area of the Krk Island (Kvarner area, northeastern channel part of the Adriatic Sea). Recent studies emphasize the need to develop an adequate methodology to monitor its evolution and define adequate risk management strategies. The vulnerability analysis was performed on the basis of the available data, taking into account local geological and oceanographic conditions. The coastal vulnerability analysis of the CEAC presents an adaptation of the existing methodology, emphasizing the significance of the geological factor, and providing novel elements of the parameter analysis (i.e., coastal slope, beach width, and significant wave height). This methodology was adapted and improved for the local rocky coast, but can be used on other complex rocky coasts worldwide. The calculated Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI) around the Stara Baška settlement should be considered to have priority over the vulnerable areas in further monitoring and investigations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Geohazards: New Insights and Perspectives)
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Open AccessArticle
Microbial Diversity in Sub-Seafloor Sediments from the Costa Rica Margin
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050218
Received: 31 March 2019 / Revised: 3 May 2019 / Accepted: 11 May 2019 / Published: 13 May 2019
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Abstract
The exploration of the deep biosphere continues to reveal a great diversity of microorganisms, many of which remain poorly understood. This study provides a first look at the microbial community composition of the Costa Rica Margin sub-seafloor from two sites on the upper [...] Read more.
The exploration of the deep biosphere continues to reveal a great diversity of microorganisms, many of which remain poorly understood. This study provides a first look at the microbial community composition of the Costa Rica Margin sub-seafloor from two sites on the upper plate of the subduction zone, between the Cocos and Caribbean plates. Despite being in close geographical proximity, with similar lithologies, both sites show distinctions in the relative abundance of the archaeal domain and major microbial phyla, assessed using a pair of universal primers and supported by the sequencing of six metagenomes. Elusimicrobia, Chloroflexi, Aerophobetes, Actinobacteria, Lokiarchaeota, and Atribacteria were dominant phyla at Site 1378, and Bathyarchaeota, Chloroflexi, Hadesarchaeota, Aerophobetes, Elusimicrobia, and Lokiarchaeota were dominant at Site 1379. Correlations of microbial taxa with geochemistry were examined and notable relationships were seen with ammonia, sulfate, and depth. With deep sediments, there is always a concern that drilling technologies impact analyses due to contamination of the sediments via drilling fluid. Here, we use analysis of the drilling fluid in conjunction with the sediment analysis, to assess the level of contamination and remove any problematic sequences. In the majority of samples, we find the level of drilling fluid contamination, negligible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tracking the Deep Biosphere through Time)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Climate on Stable Nitrogen Isotopic Values of Contemporary Greek Samples: Implications for Isotopic Studies of Human Remains from Neolithic to Late Bronze Age Greece
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050217
Received: 3 April 2019 / Revised: 9 May 2019 / Accepted: 11 May 2019 / Published: 13 May 2019
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Abstract
In this paper, we study δ15N enrichment as an indicator not only of marine protein diet, but also of climate change. The slope of the variation of δ15N with precipitation was calculated equal to 0.38/100 mm of precipitation for [...] Read more.
In this paper, we study δ15N enrichment as an indicator not only of marine protein diet, but also of climate change. The slope of the variation of δ15N with precipitation was calculated equal to 0.38/100 mm of precipitation for Greek plants, 0.38/100 mm of precipitation for herbivores, and 0.32/100 mm of precipitation for the Greek human population (hair samples). As a case study, the slope was used to re-evaluate the published mean δ15N human bone collagen values from the Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age for 22 archaeological sites. The results indicate that climate has a significant impact on the final δ15N values of plant and animal tissues. Furthermore, for the same sites, we investigated the intra-site diet patterns, while taking into account the environmental effect on the observed δ15N human bone collagen values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isotope Geochemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
Automated Stone Detection on Side-Scan Sonar Mosaics Using Haar-Like Features
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050216
Received: 28 March 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 11 May 2019
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Abstract
Stony grounds form important habitats in the marine environment, especially for sessile benthic organisms. For the purpose of habitat demarcation and monitoring, knowledge of the position and abundance of individual stones is necessary. This is especially the case in areas with a scattered [...] Read more.
Stony grounds form important habitats in the marine environment, especially for sessile benthic organisms. For the purpose of habitat demarcation and monitoring, knowledge of the position and abundance of individual stones is necessary. This is especially the case in areas with a scattered occurrence of stones in an environment which is otherwise characterized by relatively mobile sandy sediments. Exposed stones can be detected using side-scan sonar (SSS) data. However, apart from laborious manual identification, there is as yet no automated or semi-automated method available for a fast and spatially resolved detection of stones. In this study, a Haar-like feature detector was trained to identify individual stones on an SSS mosaic (~12 km2) showing heterogeneous sediment distribution. The results of this method were compared with those of manually derived stones. Our study shows that the Haar-like feature detector was able to detect up to 62% of the overall occurrence of stones within the study area. Even though the sheer number of correctly identified stones was influenced by, e.g., the type of sediments and the number of grey values of the mosaic, Haar-like feature detectors provide a relatively easy and fast method to identify stones on SSS mosaics when compared to the manual investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geological Seafloor Mapping)
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Open AccessArticle
Uplift Evidences Related to the Recession of Groundwater Abstraction in a Pyroclastic-Alluvial Aquifer of Southern Italy
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050215
Received: 1 March 2019 / Revised: 29 April 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 11 May 2019
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Abstract
Aquifer mismanagement is a common anthropogenic cause of subsidence and uplift phenomena in alluvial plains, representing one of the main natural hazards in urban areas due to related damage to urban structures and infrastructures. In this work, the groundwater rebound phenomenon that occurred [...] Read more.
Aquifer mismanagement is a common anthropogenic cause of subsidence and uplift phenomena in alluvial plains, representing one of the main natural hazards in urban areas due to related damage to urban structures and infrastructures. In this work, the groundwater rebound phenomenon that occurred in the last decades of the 20th century in the Lufrano area (Metropolitan area of Naples, Southern Italy) has been studied by integrating geological data, hydrogeological continuous monitoring and spaceborne SAR information derived from ERS-1/2 and ENVISAT satellites. In the period of 1989–2006, the Lufrano area, which hosts an important well field made up of 180 wells extracting groundwater for drinking use, suffered an initial over-exploitation of the aquifer which was followed by a sudden and severe decrease of the volume abstraction, resulting this last in a rapid ground uplift. The coupled analysis of hydrogeological and DInSAR data have shown a correspondence between piezometric level rise (up to 15 m) and ground uplift (up to 50 mm) trends in the period 1989–2006. In order to examine the spatio-temporal evolution of the phenomena and the cause-effect relationships, showing the link between the two phenomena and their rates, longitudinal cross-sections were carried out and comparisons between piezometric level rise and time-series of displacements were reconstructed. The obtained results represent an initial contribution to the definition of ground deformation related to groundwater level rise phenomena, providing a basis for future studies focused on the modelling of the hydro-mechanical properties of the aquifer. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Automatic Detection of Trawl-Marks in Sidescan Sonar Images through Spatial Domain Filtering, Employing Haar-Like Features and Morphological Operations
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9050214
Received: 28 March 2019 / Revised: 30 April 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 11 May 2019
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Abstract
Bottom trawl footprints are a prominent environmental impact of deep-sea fishery that was revealed through the evolution of underwater remote sensing technologies. Image processing techniques have been widely applied in acoustic remote sensing, but accurate trawl-mark (TM) detection is underdeveloped. The paper presents [...] Read more.
Bottom trawl footprints are a prominent environmental impact of deep-sea fishery that was revealed through the evolution of underwater remote sensing technologies. Image processing techniques have been widely applied in acoustic remote sensing, but accurate trawl-mark (TM) detection is underdeveloped. The paper presents a new algorithm for the automatic detection and spatial quantification of TMs that is implemented on sidescan sonar (SSS) images of a fishing ground from the Gulf of Patras in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. This method inspects any structure of the local seafloor in an environmentally adaptive procedure, in order to overcome the predicament of analyzing noisy and complex SSS images of the seafloor. The initial preprocessing stage deals with radiometric inconsistencies. Then, multiplex filters in the spatial domain are performed with multiscale rotated Haar-like features through integral images that locate the TM-like forms and additionally discriminate the textural characteristics of the seafloor. The final TMs are selected according to their geometric and background environment features, and the algorithm successfully produces a set of trawling-ground quantification values that could be established as a baseline measure for the status assessment of a fishing ground. Full article
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