Special Issue "Geoscience of the Built Environment 2016 Edition"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2016).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Carlos Alves
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Guest Editor
LandS/Lab2PT - Landscape, Heritage and Territory Laboratory (FCT UID/AUR/04509/2013; FEDER COMPETE POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007528) and Earth Sciences Department, School of Sciences, University of Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
Fax: +351253678206
Interests: environmental geochemistry and mineralogy; natural stone durability; petrographic features and stone decay; salt weathering; porous media; weathering processes in the built environment; effects of pollutants on stone decay; stone decay as markers of pollution effects; conservation strategies for stone architectural heritage
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Following the success of the 2013 edition (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/geosciences/special_issues/built_environ), it is my pleasure to invite all interested researchers to contribute to a new Special Issue on the “Geoscience of the Built Environment”. We still consider it a hot topic that can show that geosciences are a vibrant branch of research concerned not only with the great questions of the Earth and the Universe, but also with our immediate domestic surroundings (our tabletops, walls, leisure spaces). The geosciences are therefore of great interest to urban dwellers. This Special Issue concerns the relevance of geoscience for the human modified environment, including (but not limited to) the following subjects:

• Spatial analysis
Spatial analysis concerns the study of data with spatial information, which can be used in assessing distribution patterns of materials degradation, pollution related to anthropogenic and geogenic sources, and the susceptibility of the built environment to hazardous geophenomena, such as earthquakes and flooding. Spatial analysis is also used in the planning of new structures in relation to the geological characteristics of the terrain.
• Selection of Building Materials
The selection of materials (masonry and carved stone; aggregates for mortars, concrete, and bituminous pavements; raw materials for the manufacture of other building materials, such as cement, bricks, tiles, and glass) encompasses the consideration of aesthetic features and the characteristics that influence the performance of the materials in the built environment, with respect to durability, energy efficiency, and pollution effects. The selection of materials also occurs from the perspective of sustainability.
• Weathering Processes
The same weathering processes that act on rock outcrops affect built environment surfaces. There are specificities related to the kind and contents of pollutants related to anthropogenic activities and with the geometrical configurations of the built elements (namely in relation to the circulation of polluting solutions and in the exposition to the climatic conditions), which result in weathering products involving the neoformation of substances or the cracking and erosion of the existing surface. The study of these processes requires observational studies (including the mapping of weathering products) and in situ and field characterizations of the weathering products (namely via non-destructive techniques).
• Study Methods
This topic encompasses theoretical models applied to explain (and foresee) the evolution of the materials and the relation between the influencing factors. The topic concerns numerical simulations and procedures for simulations performed in either the laboratory or in the field, in relation to the simulation conditions and the morphology and size of the specimen and the confrontation of the results of these experimental studies and the features observed in the field.
• Environmental Impact
This topic encompasses the pollution impact (including particles, gamma radiation, and radon) from materials applied in the built environment and as waste, and their impact on organisms and other materials, as well as the impact of the built surfaces on the energy budget of the surrounding environment.
• Pollution Monitoring
This topic includes geologic materials used as passive monitors of organic and inorganic pollutants and in the retrospective dosimetry of radiation.
• Historical Research
This topic includes historical uses of geological materials and their relation with economic and technological development, and also concerns the dating of built elements.
• Conservation
This topic concerns the relevance of understanding the interactions between weathering processes and geologic materials, so as to further the conservation of cultural heritage.

Dr. Carlos Alves
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Geosciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Related Special Issues

Keywords

• Engineering Geology
• Site investigation
• Spatial information systems
• Building materials
• Sustainability
• Natural radiation
• Characterization of weathering products
• Theoretical models
• Observational studies
• Experimental simulations
• Environmental impact
• Pollution monitoring
• Historical research
• Durability
• Conservation historical heritage

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Developing Lyell’s Legacy: Contributions to the Geosciences of the Anthropocene
Geosciences 2016, 6(4), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6040053 - 30 Nov 2016
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this new edition of the Geoscience of the Built Environment [1], we hope to continue our contribution to the development of Geosciences studies in the Anthropocene, considering classical issuesthatareatleastasoldasCharlesLyell’smajorworks[2,3],whichcanbeconsideredthefounding literary works of modern Geology.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment 2016 Edition)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Maya Lime Mortars—Relationship between Archaeomagnetic Dating, Manufacturing Technique, and Architectural Function—The Dzibanché Case
Geosciences 2016, 6(4), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6040049 - 04 Nov 2016
Cited by 3
Abstract
Researchers have related the manufacturing technique of plasters and stucco in the Maya area with their period of production but not with their architectural function. In this paper, we establish a relationship between those three features (manufacturing technique, age, and architectural function) in [...] Read more.
Researchers have related the manufacturing technique of plasters and stucco in the Maya area with their period of production but not with their architectural function. In this paper, we establish a relationship between those three features (manufacturing technique, age, and architectural function) in the plasters of the Maya site of Dzibanché in southern Quintana Roo. Dzibanché has abundant remains of stuccos and plasters found mainly in three buildings (Plaza Pom, Pequeña Acrópolis, and Structure 2). We used thin sections, SEM and XRD, and archaeomagnetic dating processes. The pictorial layer of Structure 2 was the earliest (AD 274–316 and the stuccoes and plasters of the other two buildings were dated to the Middle Classic (AD 422–531), but we obtained different archaeomagnetic dates for the red pigment layers found in the buildings of the Pequeña Acrópolis and thus we were able to determine their chronological order of construction. The raw materials and proportions were carefully chosen to fulfil the mechanical necessities of the architectonic function: different proportions were found in plasters of floors, in the external walls, and inside the buildings; differences between earlier and later plasters were also detected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment 2016 Edition)
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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
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 AccessArticle
Crushed and River-Origin Sands Used as Aggregates in Repair Mortars
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020023 - 13 Apr 2016
Cited by 2
Abstract
The systematic analysis of mortars from monuments or historic buildings and the simultaneous study of the construction environment show that it was common practice to use naturally occurring sand from local rivers or streams for the production of the mortars. There are cases [...] Read more.
The systematic analysis of mortars from monuments or historic buildings and the simultaneous study of the construction environment show that it was common practice to use naturally occurring sand from local rivers or streams for the production of the mortars. There are cases though, mainly on islands, where sands of natural origin were limited, and marine or crushed sands were used possibly after elaboration. In all cases the particle size analysis of old mortar confirms the presence of even distribution of the granules. As regards the design of the repair mortars, there are criteria that should be taken into consideration in order to produce materials with compatible properties. The main properties concerning sands are the grain distribution and maximum size, the color, the content of fines, and soluble salts. The objective of this research is the study of the physical characteristics of the sands such as the sand equivalent, the gradation, the apparent density, the morphology of the grains, their mineralogical composition and the influence of these properties on the behavior of lime mortars, notably the mechanical and physical properties acquired. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment 2016 Edition)
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Open AccessArticle
Seismic Hazard Analysis along Koyna Dam Area, Western Maharashtra, India: A Contribution of Remote Sensing and GIS
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020020 - 07 Apr 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
The Koyna-Warna area in Maharashtra, Western India, is one of the world’s best examples of reservoir-induced seismicity. The occurrence of earthquakes in the vicinity of Koyna Dam (Shivaji Sagar Lake) started since 1962, soon after the initiation of water impoundment. To understand the [...] Read more.
The Koyna-Warna area in Maharashtra, Western India, is one of the world’s best examples of reservoir-induced seismicity. The occurrence of earthquakes in the vicinity of Koyna Dam (Shivaji Sagar Lake) started since 1962, soon after the initiation of water impoundment. To understand the tectonics and seismicity of the region, recent Landsat 8 images and Sentinel radar data were evaluated in GIS, as well as SRTM and ASTER Digital Elevation Model data (DEM) and the DEM-derived morphometric maps. Geophysical and climate data were also included in the GIS database. The analysis of satellite data contributed towards understanding the tectonic framework of the Koyna reservoir area by visual lineament analysis. Thus, Landsat 8 and Sentinel radar data brought out the structural pattern and made visible larger fault zones. The detailed lineament analysis detected areas, presumed to have rocks of relatively higher permeability, supporting intrusion and infiltration of surface water. The resulting maps of weighted overlay procedures derived from causal morphometric factors that influence the susceptibility to ground motion revealed areas with higher, medium and lower susceptibility to soil amplification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment 2016 Edition)
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Open AccessArticle
Black Layers of Decay and Color Patterns on Heritage Limestone as Markers of Environmental Change
Geosciences 2016, 6(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6010004 - 07 Jan 2016
Cited by 5
Abstract
Air pollution induces the development of black crusts on the surface of built heritage materials. Black layers on the limestone used on an emblematic Madrilenian building dating from the early twentieth century, mainly built up in the 20 years lapsing between two façade [...] Read more.
Air pollution induces the development of black crusts on the surface of built heritage materials. Black layers on the limestone used on an emblematic Madrilenian building dating from the early twentieth century, mainly built up in the 20 years lapsing between two façade cleaning operations, was studied with POM and SEM-EDS. Particulate matter deposited on surfaces in the same period was analyzed with XRD and IC. Climate change in the environs was also studied and façade coloring patterns were compared. Since black crust and settled dust composition, as well as façade soling intensity, were found to be closely related to the surrounding environment, both are proposed as environment and climate change markers. These are considerations, moreover, that must be addressed when designing conservation strategies. Domestic heating systems and vehicle traffic were identified as the two main sources of pollution throughout the period studied in the target area, where the temperature steadily rose and relative humidity declined. The progressive replacement of coal with gas oil in domestic heating boilers and the proliferation of vehicles with diesel engines have mostly determined the evolution of the pollutants emitted. The color of façade soiling, in turn, has been primarily conditioned by the typology of the particles deposited on the limestone surface, declining humidity and the passage of time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment 2016 Edition)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Geoengineering in the Anthropocene through Regenerative Urbanism
Geosciences 2016, 6(4), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6040046 - 25 Oct 2016
Cited by 8
Abstract
Human consumption patterns exceed planetary boundaries and stress on the biosphere can be expected to worsen. The recent “Paris Agreement” (COP21) represents a major international attempt to address risk associated with climate change through rapid decarbonisation. The mechanisms for implementation are yet to [...] Read more.
Human consumption patterns exceed planetary boundaries and stress on the biosphere can be expected to worsen. The recent “Paris Agreement” (COP21) represents a major international attempt to address risk associated with climate change through rapid decarbonisation. The mechanisms for implementation are yet to be determined and, while various large-scale geoengineering projects have been proposed, we argue a better solution may lie in cities. Large-scale green urbanism in cities and their bioregions would offer benefits commensurate to alternative geoengineering proposals, but this integrated approach carries less risk and has additional, multiple, social and economic benefits in addition to a reduction of urban ecological footprint. However, the key to success will require policy writers and city makers to deliver at scale and to high urban sustainability performance benchmarks. To better define urban sustainability performance, we describe three horizons of green urbanism: green design, that seeks to improve upon conventional development; sustainable development, that is the first step toward a net zero impact; and the emerging concept of regenerative urbanism, that enables biosphere repair. Examples of green urbanism exist that utilize technology and design to optimize urban metabolism and deliver net positive sustainability performance. If mainstreamed, regenerative approaches can make urban development a major urban geoengineering force, while simultaneously introducing life-affirming co-benefits to burgeoning cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment 2016 Edition)
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Open AccessReview
An Overview of the Use of Absolute Dating Techniques in Ancient Construction Materials
Geosciences 2016, 6(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6020022 - 13 Apr 2016
Cited by 2
Abstract
The reconstruction of the chronology of historical buildings is a tricky issue, as usually there are not historical documents that allow the assessment of construction phases, and some materials are hardly reliable for the use of dating techniques (e.g., stone). However, in the [...] Read more.
The reconstruction of the chronology of historical buildings is a tricky issue, as usually there are not historical documents that allow the assessment of construction phases, and some materials are hardly reliable for the use of dating techniques (e.g., stone). However, in the last two decades, important advances on the use of absolute dating methods on building materials have increased the possibilities of reconstructing building chronologies, although some advances are still scarcely known among archaeologists and architects. Recent studies performed on several kinds of mortars, fired bricks, mud-bricks, and even stone surfaces have shown that it is possible to date them. Both radiocarbon and luminescence dating have been the most frequently used techniques but others such as archaeomagnetism can also be used in some cases. This paper intends to give an overview of the recent achievements on the use of absolute dating techniques for building materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment 2016 Edition)
Open AccessReview
The Value of Original Natural Stone in the Context of Architectural Heritage
Geosciences 2016, 6(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences6010013 - 24 Feb 2016
Cited by 12
Abstract
Natural stone is required for maintenance and repair of historically, archaeologically and culturally important structures to prevent deterioration due to weathering and use. Those that have national or World Heritage significance are historically and culturally important. Sometimes, severely damaged buildings may require extensive [...] Read more.
Natural stone is required for maintenance and repair of historically, archaeologically and culturally important structures to prevent deterioration due to weathering and use. Those that have national or World Heritage significance are historically and culturally important. Sometimes, severely damaged buildings may require extensive or complete restoration. The choice of stone should be appropriate in physical and aesthetic terms, ideally from the original source. Researchers, architects, those who specify contracts and other stakeholders need reliable information, but access to, and awareness of, important sources such as manuscripts, publications and collections of samples is often limited. Easier access to information is needed when planning and commissioning works that require the replacement of stone. Making important information more widely available and promoting awareness of the need to maintain adequate supplies of natural stone of suitable quality is a task for both national and international organizations including the Heritage Stone Task Group of IUGS and IAEG. This paper provides some illustrative examples and pointers towards some recent major publications, as well as describing current Heritage Stone Resource and European Union initiatives, all the while requesting further participation from colleagues in this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geoscience of the Built Environment 2016 Edition)
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