Topic Editors

Department of Physics and Earth Science, University of Ferrara, Via Saragat 1, 44122 Ferrara, Italy
Department of Earth Science, University of Florence, Via La Pira 4, 50121 Firenze, Italy
Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, University of Padova, 35122 Padova, PD, Italy
Department of Physics and Earth Sciences, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

Past, Current and Future Processes in the Earth Critical Zone

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closed (31 March 2024)
Manuscript submission deadline
31 May 2024
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Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Earth's Critical Zone (ECZ) integrates the surface and near‐surface environment where interactions between biosphere, pedosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and shallow lithosphere play a fundamental role in sustaining life. In this view, there is a need to describe and model the geochemical processes of the ECZ (e.g., rock weathering, sediment soil formation, element mobility solubility in natural water) at multiple spatial and temporal scales to track the past, current and future status of ecosystems, also in relations to environmental and climate changes. The characterization of these processes allows to face global social challenges such as environmental quality, ecosystems equilibria, human health, sustainable development, availability of resources, and water use and storage. We invite contributions to this multidisciplinary topic dealing with rock weathering, sediment and soil geochemistry, hydrogeology and hydro-geochemistry and more in general Critical Zone-relevant geological processes to steward the life-sustaining ECZ in the past, in the current day and into the future. Emphasis will be given to studies that address topics about:

- low temperature mineralogical and geochemical processes in natural environments;

- isotope fractionations and element partitioning between lithosphere, pedosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere;

- role of the Critical Zone in achieving sustainable development goals;

- impacts of human activities on the Critical Zone processes;

- past and future trends.

Contributes emphasizing innovative methods and approaches, as well as combination of multiple techniques are welcome, and researches by young scientists are encouraged.

Dr. Gianluca Bianchini
Dr. Claudio Natali
Dr. Chiara Marchina
Dr. Valentina Brombin
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • Earth Critical Zone
  • mineralogy
  • geochemistry
  • isotopes
  • interdisciplinary sciences
  • environments
  • past and future trends

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Environments
environments
3.7 5.9 2014 23.7 Days CHF 1800 Submit
Geosciences
geosciences
2.7 5.2 2011 23.6 Days CHF 1800 Submit
Minerals
minerals
2.5 3.9 2011 18.7 Days CHF 2400 Submit
Quaternary
quaternary
2.3 3.6 2018 29.2 Days CHF 1600 Submit
Water
water
3.4 5.5 2009 16.5 Days CHF 2600 Submit

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Published Papers (4 papers)

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15 pages, 3429 KiB  
Article
Soil Organic Carbon Estimation in Ferrara (Northern Italy) Combining In Situ Geochemical Analyses and Hyperspectral Remote Sensing
by Gian Marco Salani, Michele Lissoni, Gianluca Bianchini, Valentina Brombin, Stefano Natali and Claudio Natali
Environments 2023, 10(10), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10100173 - 4 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1701
Abstract
This study investigated whether surface soil organic carbon (SOC) content could be estimated using hyperspectral data provided by the Italian Space Agency PRISMA satellite. We collected 100 representative topsoil samples in an area of 30 × 30 Km2 in the province of [...] Read more.
This study investigated whether surface soil organic carbon (SOC) content could be estimated using hyperspectral data provided by the Italian Space Agency PRISMA satellite. We collected 100 representative topsoil samples in an area of 30 × 30 Km2 in the province of Ferrara (Northern Italy), estimated their SOC content and other soil properties through thermo-gravimetric analysis, and matched these to the spectra of the sampled areas that were measured by PRISMA on 7 April 2020. A tentative model was created for SOC estimation using ordinary least-squares (OLS) regression and an artificial neural network (ANN). Repeated k-fold cross-validation of the OLS and ANN models yielded R2 values of 0.64 and 0.49, respectively. The performance of the models was inferior to that obtained from the literature using similar modeling techniques in relatively small areas (up to 3 × 3 Km2) and characterized by restricted SOC variability (0.2–2.1 wt%). However, our data were collected over a wider area with high SOC content variability (0.7–9.3 wt%); consequently, significant variations were observed over a spatial scale of just a few meters. Therefore, this work shows the importance of testing remote sensing techniques for SOC measurements in more complex areas than those reported in the existing literature. Furthermore, our study sheds light on the geolocation errors and missing data of PRISMA. Full article
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17 pages, 5918 KiB  
Article
Soil Organic Carbon Depletion in Managed Temperate Forests: Two Case Studies from the Apennine Chain in the Emilia-Romagna Region (Northern Italy)
by Valentina Brombin, Gian Marco Salani, Mauro De Feudis, Enrico Mistri, Nicola Precisvalle and Gianluca Bianchini
Environments 2023, 10(9), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10090156 - 9 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1297
Abstract
Forest soils contain a large amount of organic carbon (OC); therefore, small changes in these ecosystems have effects on climate. In this study, variation in the quantity of C pools that occurred in one year in the soil of temperate forests managed by [...] Read more.
Forest soils contain a large amount of organic carbon (OC); therefore, small changes in these ecosystems have effects on climate. In this study, variation in the quantity of C pools that occurred in one year in the soil of temperate forests managed by two farms in the Apennine chain (Emilia-Romagna Region) was investigated using elemental and isotopic C analyses of soil samples collected in 2020 and 2021. In one year, soil from the Branchicciolo (BRA) farm lost organic matter as shown by the decrease in C contents and the less negative C isotopic signatures (13C/12C), whereas the C contents and C isotopic signatures remained almost stable during time in the soil from the Beghelli (BEG) farm. This cannot be related to thinning interventions, as much more forest material was removed from the BEG forest than from the BRA forest (60% and 25%, respectively). Therefore, other causes should be considered. The BRA forest was at a lower altitude than the BEG forest; thus, it was more affected by C depletion due to the warmer temperature. Moreover, the sandy soil in the BRA forest was less prone to sequestering organic matter than the soil in the BEG forest, which was characterized by phyllosilicates (including vermiculite) and zeolites (clinoptinolite) having high C sequestration capacity. This work showed the different impacts of the pedo-climatic conditions in two nearby farms, which should be considered in planning appropriate silvicultural management for OC sequestration. Full article
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26 pages, 22988 KiB  
Article
Coherence of Bangui Magnetic Anomaly with Topographic and Gravity Contrasts across Central African Republic
by Polina Lemenkova and Olivier Debeir
Minerals 2023, 13(5), 604; https://doi.org/10.3390/min13050604 - 27 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1998
Abstract
The interactions between the geophysical processes and geodynamics of the lithosphere play a crucial role in the geologic structure of the Earth’s crust. The Bangui magnetic anomaly is a notable feature in the lithospheric structure of the Central African Republic (CAR) resulting from [...] Read more.
The interactions between the geophysical processes and geodynamics of the lithosphere play a crucial role in the geologic structure of the Earth’s crust. The Bangui magnetic anomaly is a notable feature in the lithospheric structure of the Central African Republic (CAR) resulting from a complex tectonic evolution. This study reports on the coherence in the geophysical data and magnetic anomaly field analysed from a series of maps. The data used here include raster grids on free-air altimetric gravity, magnetic EMAG2 maps, geoid EGM2008 model and topographic SRTM/ETOPO1 relief. The data were processed to analyse the correspondence between the geophysical and geologic setting in the CAR region. Histogram equalization of the topographic grids was implemented by partition of the raster grids into equal-area patches of data ranged by the segments with relative highs and lows of the relief. The original data were compared with the equalized, normalized and quadratic models. The scripts used for cartographic data processing are presented and commented. The consistency and equalization of topography, gravity and geoid data were based using GMT modules ‘grdfft’ and ‘grdhisteq’ modules. Using GMT scripts for mapping the geophysical and gravity data over CAR shows an advanced approach to multi-source data visualization to reveal the relationships in the geophysical and topographic processes in central Africa. The results highlighted the correlation between the distribution of rocks with high magnetism in the central part of the Bangui anomaly, and distribution of granites, greenstone belts, and metamorphosed basalts as rock exposure. The correspondence between the negative Bouguer anomaly (<−80 mGal), low geoid values (<−12 m) and the extent of the magnetic anomaly with extreme negative values ranging from −1000 to −200 nT is identified. The integration of the multi-source data provides new insights into the analysis of crustal thicknesses and the average density of the Earth in CAR, as well as the magnitude of the magnetic fields with notable deviations caused by the magnetic flux density in the Bangui area related to the distribution of mineral resources in CAR. Full article
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17 pages, 4435 KiB  
Article
Fulvic Acid from Chestnut Forest as an Added Qualities to Spring Water: Isolation and Characterization from Fiuggi Waters
by Enrica Allevato, Vittorio Vinciguerra, Silvia Rita Stazi, Francesco Carbone, Cristiano Zuccaccia, Giuseppe Nano and Rosita Marabottini
Minerals 2022, 12(8), 1019; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12081019 - 13 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1424
Abstract
The aquifer of “mineral” water, historically known for its curative properties, is an identifying characteristic of the Anticolana valley. This area hosted a coppice chestnut forest for a long time. Under the forest, there is an important aquifer, historically renowned and widely recognized [...] Read more.
The aquifer of “mineral” water, historically known for its curative properties, is an identifying characteristic of the Anticolana valley. This area hosted a coppice chestnut forest for a long time. Under the forest, there is an important aquifer, historically renowned and widely recognized for preventing renal stone formation and or facilitating their expulsion. This mineral water pre- vents the formation of calcium oxalate and phosphate crystals in the kidney and promotes their dissolutions through soluble calcium complexes. The forest environment soil is particularly rich in humification products owing to the interaction of the rainwater–litter–soil system. The fulvic fraction is soluble in water under all pH conditions and enriches the water basin. We aimed to test these hypotheses and assess how the coppice chestnut forest is involved in fulvic acid production. Fulvic fractions isolated and purified from soil samples and mineral water (550 μg L−1) were analyzed by GC-MS, FTIR, and NMR. Data from different sources were compared, showing sufficient similarities to state that the fulvic acids isolated from the water come from the processes that take place between the stems and the chestnut litter. The chestnut forest provides enrichment to water quality, which is a distinctive piece of information in defining water enhancement strategies, establishing soil management and designating sustainable forest management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Past, Current and Future Processes in the Earth Critical Zone)
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Mineralogy and Biogeochemistry)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1. Tittle: Geochemical investigations of 100 superficial soils observed by Sentinel 2 and PRISMA
    Author: Valentina Brombin and co-authors

2. Tittle:groundwater pollution with arsenic
    Authors:Alfredo Rodriguez and co-authors

3. Tittle:Coherence of Bangui magnetic anomaly with topographic and gravity contrasts across Central African   Republic
    Authors:Polina Lemenkova and Olivier Debeir
    Abstract:Interactions between geophysical processes and geodynamics of lithosphere play a crucial role in geologic structure of the Earth's crust. The Bangui magnetic anomaly is a notable feature in the lithospheric structure of Central African Republic (CAR) resulted from the complex tectonic evolution. We present a series of maps to obtain the coherence in the geophysical data and magnetic anomaly field from integration of free-air altimetric gravity, magnetic EMAG2 Earth data, geoid EGM2008 model and topographic SRTM/ETOPO1 relief to get insights in the geodynamics of CAR region. Histogram equalization of the topographic grids was performed for partition of raster grid files into equal-area patches of data ranged by segments with relative highs and lows of the relief, and to compare the original data with equalized, normalized and quadratic models. the scripts used for cartographic data processing are presented and commented. The consistency and equalization of topography, gravity and geoid data was based using GMT modules 'grdfft' and 'grdhisteq' modules. On the presented maps, we demonstrated the correlation between the distribution of rocks with high magnetism in the central part of the anomaly, geologic fields of granites, greenstone belts, and metamorphosed basalts as rock exposures, negative Bouguer anomaly (<-80 mGal), low geoid values (< -12 m) and the elongated shape of the magnetic anomaly with extreme negative values ranging within the amplitude of -1000 to -200 nT. The fusion of the multi-source datasets in the reported work provides a new insight into the analyses of crustal thicknesses and the average density of the Earth in CAR, as well as magnitude of the magnetic fields with notable deviations caused by magnetic flux density in Bangui area related to the distribution of mineral resources.
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