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Geosciences, Volume 14, Issue 5 (May 2024) – 28 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The yellow-green luminescence of fossil gastropod shells in a siderite concretion in the Early Cretaceous McMurray Formation of northern Alberta Canada shows that the crossed-lamellar microstructure of the nacreous layer of these shells retains the original aragonite mineralogy.  The exceptional preservation of these fossil shells and associated authigenic carbonates allows for stable isotopic characterization of the ancient river system that deposited the sediments of this part of the McMurray Formation. The results indicate that the drainage basin of this river system extended over much of the North American continent during the Early Cretaceous. This conclusion is compatible with results from other studies on sediment routing during deposition of the McMurray Formation. View this paper
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15 pages, 8400 KiB  
Article
Correction Factors to Account for Seismic Directionality Effects: Case Study of the Costa Rican Strong Motion Database
by Luis A. Pinzón, Diego A. Hidalgo-Leiva and Luis G. Pujades
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 139; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050139 - 18 May 2024
Viewed by 500
Abstract
This article presents the findings of a study on the directionality effect observed in strong motion records. We set out to establish ratios between several seismic intensity measures that depend on sensor orientation (e.g., GMar, Larger) and others that are orientation-independent [...] Read more.
This article presents the findings of a study on the directionality effect observed in strong motion records. We set out to establish ratios between several seismic intensity measures that depend on sensor orientation (e.g., GMar, Larger) and others that are orientation-independent (e.g., RotDpp, GMRotDpp, and GMRotIpp), with the intention of proposing multiplicative correction factors. The analysis included an evaluation of the impact of site conditions, ground motion intensity, earthquake magnitude, and hypocentral distance on these ratios. Following a concise overview of the directionality effects and the associated intensity measures, the Costa Rican Strong Motion Database, comprising a total of 4199 horizontal accelerograms (two components), was employed to determine the correction factors. The analysis was carried out for 5% damped response spectra within the 0.01–5 s period range. The study focuses on orientation-independent intensity measures that are derived by combining the maximum values from the recorded motions. In the comprehensive analysis of the complete database, a trend was observed between these intensity measures and the magnitude of the earthquake along with the hypocentral distance. Specifically, records from earthquakes with greater magnitudes exhibited a lower maximum spectral response to the geometric mean of the response spectra of the as-recorded (ar) components ratio (RotD100/GMar), similar to records from earthquakes with larger hypocentral distances. Based on these findings, a proposal was put forth to estimate RotD100 values using GMar values. This ratio can prove useful in transforming data from previous seismic hazard studies, including those applied in many seismic codes, and in defining the maximum anticipated seismic intensity for design purposes in a more straightforward manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Earthquake Engineering and Seismotectonics)
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14 pages, 7833 KiB  
Article
Compositional Diversity of Early Mesozoic Granites in South Qinling: Derivation from Heterogenous Basement Rocks in the Orogenic Belt
by Risheng Ye, Weiyong Li, Dongyang Huo, Jingxin Zhao, Xiguang Huang, Jun He and Fukun Chen
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 138; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050138 - 18 May 2024
Viewed by 438
Abstract
Granitic rocks forming in the syn- to post-orogenic stages can trace the compositional and structural complexity of the crust beneath an orogenic belt. The Qinling orogenic belt undertook multiple stages of tectonics and magmatism, resulting in the multifaceted evolution and compositional diversity of [...] Read more.
Granitic rocks forming in the syn- to post-orogenic stages can trace the compositional and structural complexity of the crust beneath an orogenic belt. The Qinling orogenic belt undertook multiple stages of tectonics and magmatism, resulting in the multifaceted evolution and compositional diversity of the crust. In the present study, the Guangtoushan and Miba plutons in South Qinling were chosen to reveal the crustal heterogeneity in study area via isotopic geochemistry and zircon geochronology. The Guangtoushan pluton was emplaced between ~215 Ma and ~202 Ma and the Miba pluton formed at ~213 Ma, as constrained by zircon U-Pb isotopic dating. Granitic rocks of the Miba pluton are characterized by amphibole bearing and homogeneous composition, with relatively depleted Sr-Nd isotopic compositions (initial 87Sr/86Sr values of 0.7060 to 0.7084 and initial εNd values of −5.4 to −9.5) and high Pb isotopic values. The Guangtoushan pluton contains muscovite and complex inherited zircon grains and has variable Sr-Nd isotopic composition (initial 87Sr/86Sr values of 0.7050 to 0.7091 and initial εNd values of −4.5 to −12.9) and low Pb isotopic values. Felsic magmas of the Guangtoushan pluton should be derived mainly from meta-sedimentary rocks beneath South Qinling, while the Miba pluton originated primarily from partial melting of meta-igneous rocks. The compositional diversity recorded in the Early Mesozoic plutons was caused by the heterogeneous crust, and partial melting was induced by heating of the up-welling asthenosphere in a post-collision setting. Full article
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24 pages, 10037 KiB  
Article
The Estimation of Shear Wave Velocity for Shallow Underground Structures in the Central Himalaya Region of Nepal
by Umesh Jung Thapa, Satish Paudel, Umesh Chandra Bhusal, Hari Ghimire and Shyam Sundar Khadka
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 137; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050137 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 894
Abstract
A subsurface investigation was conducted to assess the suitability of a site for potential tunnel construction, focusing on the determination of shear wave velocities (Vs) in subsurface materials. This study employed three distinct methods to analyze Vs in weathered soft rock: drilling mechanism, [...] Read more.
A subsurface investigation was conducted to assess the suitability of a site for potential tunnel construction, focusing on the determination of shear wave velocities (Vs) in subsurface materials. This study employed three distinct methods to analyze Vs in weathered soft rock: drilling mechanism, multichannel analysis of surface waves (MASW), and microtremor array measurement (MAM). Through the utilization of MASW and MAM, empirical relationships were established, enabling the determination of Vs based solely on soil type and depth, offering a practical alternative to the limitations of SPT N-Value, particularly when exceeding 50 blows. The comparison of Vs values obtained from these methods revealed a close alignment between empirical techniques and MASW/MAM, which proved to be cost-effective and an efficient alternative to drilling for comprehensive underground structure assessments. The reliability of MASW was further underscored through its comparison with existing empirical methods. Moreover, the empirical approach demonstrated its efficacy in predicting velocities in weathered soft rock within the Central Himalayan region of Nepal, thus enhancing the feasibility study of underground structures. Lastly, this study proposed a Vs-Depth correlation specifically tailored for highly weathered meta-sandstone bedrock resulting in clay and sandy soils. Full article
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32 pages, 14303 KiB  
Article
Annual Coastal Boulder Mobility Detected in 2017–2021 Remote Sensing Imagery and Its Relation to Marine Storms (Gulf of Taranto, Mediterranean Sea)
by Marco Delle Rose
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 136; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050136 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 579
Abstract
Landward displacements of coastal boulders are geomorphological signatures of sea flooding and erosion processes. In this study, using open-access resources that do not require the integration of specialist software, the 2017 to 2021 annual mobility of medium, coarse, and very coarse boulders spread [...] Read more.
Landward displacements of coastal boulders are geomorphological signatures of sea flooding and erosion processes. In this study, using open-access resources that do not require the integration of specialist software, the 2017 to 2021 annual mobility of medium, coarse, and very coarse boulders spread over about 100 km of the eastern coast of the Gulf of Taranto (Italy, Mediterranean Sea) was explored. The boulder displacement data obtained from remote sensing imagery were verified and refined by means of geomorphological field investigation. The main results are the following: (1) A large interannual variability in the boulder mobility was found; (2) storm Detlef, which crossed over the Mediterranean during 11–13 November 2019, was recognized as the cause of a massive displacement phenomenon; and (3) the marine weather conditions driving the investigated morphodynamic process were inferred. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Earth Observation by GNSS and GIS Techniques)
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18 pages, 8711 KiB  
Article
Geochemical Characteristics and U–Pb Dating of Granites in the Western Granitoid Belt of Thailand
by Etsuo Uchida, Takumi Yokokura, Sota Niki and Takafumi Hirata
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 135; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050135 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 879
Abstract
This paper presents the integration of magnetic susceptibility measurements and whole-rock geochemical compositional and Nd–Sr isotopic ratio analyses for granite samples collected from the Ranong, Lam Pi, Ban Lam Ru, and Phuket granite bodies in the Western Granitoid Belt of Thailand. In addition, [...] Read more.
This paper presents the integration of magnetic susceptibility measurements and whole-rock geochemical compositional and Nd–Sr isotopic ratio analyses for granite samples collected from the Ranong, Lam Pi, Ban Lam Ru, and Phuket granite bodies in the Western Granitoid Belt of Thailand. In addition, U–Pb dating was performed on zircons extracted from the samples. All samples are proper granites based on their mineralogical and geochemical characteristics. Two samples collected from the Lam Pi granite body were classified as magnetite-series and I-type. The remaining granite samples were classified as ilmenite-series and S- or A-type. Furthermore, all granites were classified as syn-collision granites. Excluding the magnetite-series samples from the Lam Pi granite body, the other samples exhibit enrichment in incompatible elements, such as Nb, Sn, Ta, Pb, Bi, Th, U, Ce, Rb, and Cs. Zircon U–Pb dating yielded ages of ca. 60 Ma for the magnetite-series granites from the Lam Pi granite body, whereas ages of 88–84 Ma were obtained for the other granite bodies. Initial Nd–Sr isotopic ratios indicate a higher contribution of mantle material in the Lam Pi magnetite-series granites and a higher contribution of continental crust material in the other granites. Based on these compositional and zircon U–Pb age data, it is inferred that the 88–84 Ma granites formed as a result of the thickening of the continental crust owing to the collision between the Sibumasu and the West Burma blocks. In contrast, the ca. 60 Ma Lam Pi magnetite-series granites are thought to have been generated via partial melting of the mantle wedge associated with the subduction of the Neo-Tethyan oceanic crust beneath the West Burma Block. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Geochemistry)
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15 pages, 7522 KiB  
Article
Geoheritage Value of Three Localities from Kislovodsk in the Southern Central Ciscaucasus: A Resource of Large Resort Area
by Natalia N. Yashalova and Dmitry A. Ruban
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 134; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050134 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 505
Abstract
Many geographical domains possess notable geological and geomorphological features, which are yet to be characterized comprehensively in terms of geoheritage. The present study focuses on the Kislovodsk area, which is situated in the southern part of the Central Ciscaucasus (post-Paleozoic platform), where the [...] Read more.
Many geographical domains possess notable geological and geomorphological features, which are yet to be characterized comprehensively in terms of geoheritage. The present study focuses on the Kislovodsk area, which is situated in the southern part of the Central Ciscaucasus (post-Paleozoic platform), where the latter joins to the Greater Caucasus (late Cenozoic orogen). Three geosites are reported from there, and their qualitative description and semi-quantitative, score-based assessment are offered. The Honey Waterfalls represent an example of river erosion affecting Carboniferous granitoids with uppermost Jurassic weathering horizon and overlain by Lower Cretaceous carbonates. The Ring Mountain is a natural arch formed as result of wind erosion. The Little Saddle is a viewpoint offering a spectacular, panoramic view toward the Elbrus Mountain that is the highest peak of Russia and Europe and an impressive dormant stratovolcano. The Honey Waterfalls and the Ring Mountain are ranked nationally (the latter receives the highest total scores), and the Little Saddle is ranked regionally. These geosites are diverse in several aspects, and, particularly, different geoheritage types and forms are established. The Kislovodsk area bearing the reported geoheritage objects is a part of the Mineralnye Vody resort area, which is large and important for the national tourism and recreation industry. The related opportunities and challenges for geoheritage resource management have to be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Geoheritage, Geoparks and Geotourism)
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19 pages, 19638 KiB  
Article
Kinematics and Controlling Factors of Slow-Moving Landslides in Central Texas: A Multisource Data Fusion Approach
by Esayas Gebremichael, Rosbeidy Hernandez, Helge Alsleben, Mohamed Ahmed, Richard Denne and Omar Harvey
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 133; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050133 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 467
Abstract
The Austin metropolitan area has experienced unprecedented economic and population growth over the past two decades. This rapid growth is leading communities to settle in areas susceptible to landslides, necessitating a comprehensive analysis of landslide risks and the development of early warning systems. [...] Read more.
The Austin metropolitan area has experienced unprecedented economic and population growth over the past two decades. This rapid growth is leading communities to settle in areas susceptible to landslides, necessitating a comprehensive analysis of landslide risks and the development of early warning systems. This could be accomplished with better confidence for slow-moving landslides, whose occurrences could be forecasted by monitoring precursory ground displacement. This study employed a combination of ground- and satellite-based observations and techniques to assess the kinematics of slow-moving landslides and identify the controlling and triggering factors that contribute to their occurrence. By closely examining landslide events in the Shoal Creek area, potential failure modes across the study area were inferred. The findings revealed that landslide-prone areas are undergoing creep deformation at an extremely slow rate (up to −4.29 mm/yr). These areas lie on moderate to steep slopes (>22°) and are predominantly composed of clay-rich units belonging to the Del Rio and Eagle Ford formations. Based on the incidents at Shoal Creek, episodes of intense rainfall acting on the landslide-prone areas are determined to be the main trigger for landslide processes in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Hazards)
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17 pages, 3737 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Impacts of Landuse-Landcover (LULC) Dynamics on Groundwater Depletion in Kabul, Afghanistan’s Capital (2000–2022): A Geospatial Technology-Driven Investigation
by Hemayatullah Ahmadi, Anayatullah Popalzai, Alma Bekbotayeva, Gulnara Omarova, Saltanat Assubayeva, Yalkunzhan Arshamov and Emrah Pekkan
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 132; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050132 - 12 May 2024
Viewed by 1357
Abstract
Land use/land cover (LULC) changes significantly impact spatiotemporal groundwater levels, posing a challenge for sustainable water resource management. This study investigates the long-term (2000–2022) influence of LULC dynamics, particularly urbanization, on groundwater depletion in Kabul, Afghanistan, using geospatial techniques. A time series of [...] Read more.
Land use/land cover (LULC) changes significantly impact spatiotemporal groundwater levels, posing a challenge for sustainable water resource management. This study investigates the long-term (2000–2022) influence of LULC dynamics, particularly urbanization, on groundwater depletion in Kabul, Afghanistan, using geospatial techniques. A time series of Landsat imagery (Landsat 5, 7 ETM+, and 8 OLI/TIRS) was employed to generate LULC maps for five key years (2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2022) using a supervised classification algorithm based on Support Vector Machines (SVMs). Our analysis revealed a significant expansion of urban areas (70%) across Kabul City between 2000 and 2022, particularly concentrated in Districts 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, and 22. Urbanization likely contributes to groundwater depletion through increased population growth, reduced infiltration of precipitation, and potential overexploitation of groundwater resources. The CA-Markov model further predicts continued expansion in built-up areas over the next two decades (2030s and 2040s), potentially leading to water scarcity, land subsidence, and environmental degradation in Kabul City. The periodic assessment of urbanization dynamics and prediction of future trends are considered the novelty of this study. The accuracy of the generated LULC maps was assessed for each year (2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2022), achieving overall accuracy values of 95%, 93.8%, 85%, 95.6%, and 93%, respectively. These findings provide a valuable foundation for the development of sustainable management strategies for Kabul’s surface water and groundwater resources, while also guiding future research efforts. Full article
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19 pages, 8002 KiB  
Article
Geostatistical Analysis of Lineament Domains: The Study Case of the Apennine Seismic Province of Italy
by Paola Cianfarra, Danilo Morelli and Francesco Salvini
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 131; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050131 - 11 May 2024
Viewed by 653
Abstract
Regional-scale swarms of subparallel linear topographic features, known as lineament domains, are a common feature of planetary surfaces. Lineament domains are superficial manifestations of the crustal stress field trajectory. Notably, one of the effects of active tectonics is seismicity. Italy is one of [...] Read more.
Regional-scale swarms of subparallel linear topographic features, known as lineament domains, are a common feature of planetary surfaces. Lineament domains are superficial manifestations of the crustal stress field trajectory. Notably, one of the effects of active tectonics is seismicity. Italy is one of the most seismically active regions in the Mediterranean, with many destructive earthquakes that have occurred in past centuries. Here, we assess the seismic meaning of the main lineament domain in the tectonically active region of Central Italy. We describe the use of an automated analysis of satellite imagery coupled with spatial grid analysis to identify three lineament domains of the Central Apennines. Spatial and azimuthal comparisons of the main lineament domain (i.e., the Apennine Domain), with the known locations of earthquakes (moment magnitude of Mw > 5.5) that occurred during the past century, revealed the most seismically active tectonic areas and their spatial distributions. Further, we present a conceptual seismo-geodynamic model for the Central Apennines, which is characterized by regional arching and explains the presence of an extensional tectonic regime in the upper crustal layer of the active Apennines fold-and-thrust belt. Full article
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24 pages, 7830 KiB  
Article
Novel Learning of Bathymetry from Landsat 9 Imagery Using Machine Learning, Feature Extraction and Meta-Heuristic Optimization in a Shallow Turbid Lagoon
by Hang Thi Thuy Tran, Quang Hao Nguyen, Ty Huu Pham, Giang Thi Huong Ngo, Nho Tran Dinh Pham, Tung Gia Pham, Chau Thi Minh Tran and Thang Nam Ha
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 130; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050130 - 11 May 2024
Viewed by 706
Abstract
Bathymetry data is indispensable for a variety of aquatic field studies and benthic resource inventories. Determining water depth can be accomplished through an echo sounding system or remote estimation utilizing space-borne and air-borne data across diverse environments, such as lakes, rivers, seas, or [...] Read more.
Bathymetry data is indispensable for a variety of aquatic field studies and benthic resource inventories. Determining water depth can be accomplished through an echo sounding system or remote estimation utilizing space-borne and air-borne data across diverse environments, such as lakes, rivers, seas, or lagoons. Despite being a common option for bathymetry mapping, the use of satellite imagery faces challenges due to the complex inherent optical properties of water bodies (e.g., turbid water), satellite spatial resolution limitations, and constraints in the performance of retrieval models. This study focuses on advancing the remote sensing based method by harnessing the non-linear learning capabilities of the machine learning (ML) model, employing advanced feature selection through a meta-heuristic algorithm, and using image extraction techniques (i.e., band ratio, gray scale morphological operation, and morphological multi-scale decomposition). Herein, we validate the predictive capabilities of six ML models: Random Forest (RF), Support Vector Machine (SVM), CatBoost (CB), Extreme Gradient Boost (XGB), Light Gradient Boosting Machine (LGBM), and KTBoost (KTB) models, both with and without the application of meta-heuristic optimization (i.e., Dragon Fly, Particle Swarm Optimization, and Grey Wolf Optimization), to accurately ascertain water depth. This is achieved using a diverse input dataset derived from multi-spectral Landsat 9 imagery captured on a cloud-free day (19 September 2023) in a shallow, turbid lagoon. Our findings indicate the superior performance of LGBM coupled with Particle Swamp Optimization (R2 = 0.908, RMSE = 0.31 m), affirming the consistency and reliability of the feature extraction and selection-based framework, while offering novel insights into the expansion of bathymetric mapping in complex aquatic environments. Full article
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18 pages, 7756 KiB  
Article
Integrating Dendrogeomorphology into Stress–Strain Numerical Models: An Opportunity to Monitor Slope Dynamic
by Silvia Curioni, Paola Gattinoni and Giovanni Leonelli
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 129; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050129 - 9 May 2024
Viewed by 514
Abstract
Monitoring systems are recognized worldwide as fundamental tools for landslide risk management. However, monitoring can be difficult when dealing with large slopes in forested areas. In these situations, dendrogeomorphology can offer a low-cost and low-impact alternative for providing distributed information with an annual [...] Read more.
Monitoring systems are recognized worldwide as fundamental tools for landslide risk management. However, monitoring can be difficult when dealing with large slopes in forested areas. In these situations, dendrogeomorphology can offer a low-cost and low-impact alternative for providing distributed information with an annual temporal resolution. The present study is a first attempt to integrate dendrometric and dendrogeomorphic data into a numerical finite difference model, in order to simulate the stress–strain behavior of the tree-slope system. By using a parametrical approach, the capability of the numerical model to effectively reproduce the tree stem anomalies (i.e., tilting angle, J-shaped feature, and internal stresses causing tree-ring growth anomalies such as eccentric growth and reaction wood) was verified, and the target parameters for the model calibration were identified based on a sensitivity analysis, which emphasized the relevance of the wood deformability; moreover, the interpretation of results allowed to point out different peculiarities (in terms of type of deformation, falling direction, and distribution of internal stresses) for different slope conditions (kinematics and depth of the failure surface) and different zones of the landslide (head scarp, main body, and toe). Afterwards, the modeling approach was applied to the Val Roncaglia landslide (Northen Italy), which involves a complex roto-translational kinematics, characterized by multiple sliding surfaces. The simulated stem anomalies showed good agreement with the ones arising from onsite dendrometric surveys, and they confirmed the conceptual model of the landslide, enabling the planning of further specific investigations. Moreover, the capability of the model in reproducing the tilting angle of trees, if correlated to their eccentricity, could provide a quite long time series (over more than 50–60 years) of the landslide reactivation and allow the use of dendrochronological data for the model calibration, thereby enhancing slope dynamic monitoring and landslide risk management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landslide Monitoring and Mapping II)
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14 pages, 2139 KiB  
Article
Scientific Utility of Selected Latin American Global Geoparks: A Literature-Based Case Study
by Dmitry A. Ruban and Natalia N. Yashalova
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 128; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050128 - 8 May 2024
Viewed by 572
Abstract
Global geoparks, i.e., the members of the UNESCO Global Geopark (UGGp) network, possess highly valuable geoheritage resources, which can be used for the purposes of not only education and tourism, but also science. Five examples from four Latin American countries (Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, [...] Read more.
Global geoparks, i.e., the members of the UNESCO Global Geopark (UGGp) network, possess highly valuable geoheritage resources, which can be used for the purposes of not only education and tourism, but also science. Five examples from four Latin American countries (Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru) were employed to realize the importance of these global geoparks as facilitators of international research. Journal articles devoted to these geoparks were selected with the major bibliographical databases, and the information from them was analyzed quantitatively. Particularly, the numbers of articles published before and after the UGGp membership, paying significant and marginal attention to geoparks, and published by international teams were calculated; the general themes of the articles were outlined. It was established that the total number of publications grew after the UGGp membership of these geoparks, but not steadily. The established dynamics of publishing are unstable and differ between the geoparks. Geoparks of Mexico (Mixteca Alta) and Peru (Colca y Volcanes de Andagua) are notable examples because they started to facilitate international research before the UGGp membership. Many articles consider geoparks only marginally (nonetheless, there are also articles paying significant attention to geoparks, especially in the cases of two Mexican geoparks). The author teams are often not restricted to Latin America. The research themes are rather diverse (geoheritage, geology, ecology, innovations, society, technology), although the majority of the publications are geoheritage-focused. Of special interest is the Colca y Volcanes de Andagua global geopark, which has been considered in the innovation-focused article. Generally, our results indicate a moderate importance of the considered global geoparks to international research activity and the incomplete exploitation of their scientific potential. Two Mexican geoparks (Comarca Minera and Mixteca Alta) seem to be the most successful in the facilitation of international research. Indeed, the scientific utility of global geoparks should be strengthened. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Geoheritage, Geoparks and Geotourism)
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21 pages, 12687 KiB  
Article
Towards Enhanced Understanding and Experience of Landforms, Geohazards, and Geoheritage through Virtual Reality Technologies in Education: Lessons from the GeoVT Project
by Vittoria Vandelli, Piotr Migoń, Ylva Palmgren, Evangelos Spyrou, Giannis Saitis, Maria Eleni Andrikopoulou, Paola Coratza, Mohand Medjkane, Carmen Prieto, Konstantinos Kalovrektis, Candide Lissak, Alexandros Papadopoulos, Nikos Papastamatiou, Niki Evelpidou, Olivier Maquaire, Sarantos Psycharis, Arjen P. Stroeven and Mauro Soldati
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 127; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050127 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 996
Abstract
Virtual reality is a technological development that, among others, has revolutionized Earth sciences. Its advantages include an opportunity to examine places otherwise difficult or impossible to access and it may also become an important component of education, fostering a better understanding of processes [...] Read more.
Virtual reality is a technological development that, among others, has revolutionized Earth sciences. Its advantages include an opportunity to examine places otherwise difficult or impossible to access and it may also become an important component of education, fostering a better understanding of processes and landforms, geohazard awareness, and an appreciation of geoheritage. This paper reports on the GeoVT project, which aims to create a platform to build and disseminate Virtual Field Trips (VFTs) focused on geomorphology, natural hazards associated with geomorphological processes, and geoheritage sites. To put the GeoVT project in context, an overview of applications of VR in geosciences is provided. This paper subsequently proceeds with a presentation of the project and the GeoVT Authoring application, which is an innovative platform designed to help teachers and students, followed by brief presentations of a number of VFTs developed within the project. They address themes such as fluvial landforms and valley development, coastal landforms, evidence of past glaciation, coastal erosion, wildfire effects, mud volcanoes, and landslides. Full article
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12 pages, 8799 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Relation of Cave Passage Formation to Stress-Field: Spatio-Temporal Correlation of Speleogenesis with Active Tectonics in Asprorema Cave (Mt. Pinovo, Greece)
by Georgios Lazaridis, Emmanouil Katrivanos, Despoina Dora, Lambrini Papadopoulou, Ilias Lazos and Alexandros Chatzipetros
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 126; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050126 - 3 May 2024
Viewed by 1170
Abstract
Caves serve as time capsules, preserving significant markers of tectonic activity and offering insights into geological history. Fault geometries and past activations found in caves can be correlated with known deformational events in the broader area, temporally delimiting the speleogenesis. More specifically, cave [...] Read more.
Caves serve as time capsules, preserving significant markers of tectonic activity and offering insights into geological history. Fault geometries and past activations found in caves can be correlated with known deformational events in the broader area, temporally delimiting the speleogenesis. More specifically, cave passage formation is suggested to be affected by the regional stress-field. The Asprorema Cave in Northern Greece is a typical example of a fracture guided cave, with passage geometry influenced by relative sidewall movements, revealing these discontinuities as faults. This study constructs the timeframe and conceptual model of speleogenesis in relation to tectonic events, geomorphological evolution and hydrological zones, and verifies its relation to the stress-field. Active tectonics, mineralogy and cave geomorphology are investigated. Results suggest syntectonic speleogenesis under phreatic and epiphreatic conditions. The absence of corrosion on fault slip surfaces implies recent activations post cave’s shift to the vadose zone. Structural analysis identifies three main neotectonic phases: NNW-SSE striking faults (oldest group of structures), NE-SW striking faults with dextral strike-slip movement (post-middle Miocene), and NE-SW striking normal faults indicating extensional stress-regime (Quartenary). The last two phases affect cave passage shape causing wall displacement, highlighting passage formation along discontinuities perpendicular to the horizontal minimum stress axis. Full article
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25 pages, 3660 KiB  
Article
Biogeochemical Response of the Water Column of Concepción Bay, Chile, to a New Regime of Atmospheric and Oceanographic Variability
by Luis Bustos-Espinoza, Patricio Torres-Ramírez, Sergio Figueroa, Pablo S. González, Marcelo A. Pavez, Rodolfo Jerez, Gonzalo S. Saldías, Claudio Espinoza and Alexander Galán
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 125; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050125 - 3 May 2024
Viewed by 946
Abstract
Concepción Bay is a socio-economic and ecologically important embayment whose hydrographic variability has been historically regulated by wind-modulated seasonal upwelling events during spring–summer and by freshwater from precipitation and river discharges during fall–winter. This system is subject to several anthropogenic and environmental strains [...] Read more.
Concepción Bay is a socio-economic and ecologically important embayment whose hydrographic variability has been historically regulated by wind-modulated seasonal upwelling events during spring–summer and by freshwater from precipitation and river discharges during fall–winter. This system is subject to several anthropogenic and environmental strains due to the intense port activity and the increasing occurrence of extreme natural events. This study determines a new hydrographic regime and characterizes and analyzes the biogeochemical response of the water column to changes in rainfall and upwelling patterns. Despite the intrusion of nitrate-rich upwelled waters that enhance biological productivity remains more intense during spring–summer, the system remains fertilized year-long due to the occurrence of persistent upwelling pulses during fall–winter. The hydrographic structure presented a two-layer water column that was stratified thermally in spring–summer and primarily by freshwater inputs in fall–winter. Nevertheless, the regular pattern of the rainfall has changed (a decrease in precipitation and an increased frequency of extreme rainfall events), together with recurrent upwelling-favorable wind pulses during the non-upwelling season. This new regime has altered the seasonality of the physicochemical conditions and the structure of the microplanktonic communities, with productive and sanitary implications affecting the biogeochemical status of CB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Geochemistry)
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20 pages, 9990 KiB  
Technical Note
Mud Spectral Characteristics from the Lusi Eruption, East Java, Indonesia Using Satellite Hyperspectral Data
by Stefania Amici, Maria Fabrizia Buongiorno, Alessandra Sciarra and Adriano Mazzini
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 124; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050124 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 675
Abstract
Imaging spectroscopy allows us to identify surface materials by analyzing the spectra resulting from the light–material interaction. In this preliminary study, we analyze a pair of hyperspectral cubes acquired by PRISMA (on 20 April 2021) and EO1- Hyperion (on 4 July 2015) over [...] Read more.
Imaging spectroscopy allows us to identify surface materials by analyzing the spectra resulting from the light–material interaction. In this preliminary study, we analyze a pair of hyperspectral cubes acquired by PRISMA (on 20 April 2021) and EO1- Hyperion (on 4 July 2015) over the Indonesian Lusi mud eruption. We show the potential suitability of using the two sensors for characterizing the mineralogical features in demanding “wet and muddy” environments such as Lusi. We use spectral library reflectance spectra like Illite Chlorite from the USGS spectral library, which are known to be associated with Lusi volcanic products, to identify minerals. In addition, we have measured the reflectance spectra and composition of Lusi sampled mud collected in November 2014. Finally, we compare them with reflectance spectra from EO1-Hyperion and PRISMA. The use of hyperspectral sensors at improved SNR, such as PRISMA, has shown the potential to determine the mineral composition of Lusi PRISMA data, which allowed the distinction of areas with different turbidities as well. Artifacts in the VNIR spectral region of the L2 PRISMA reflectance product were found, suggesting that future work needs to take into account an independent atmospheric correction rather than using the L2D PRISMA product. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Monitoring of Geomorphological Hazards)
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12 pages, 4068 KiB  
Article
Impact of Vetiver Plantation on Unsaturated Soil Behavior and Stability of Highway Slope
by Fariha Rahman, Avipriyo Chakraborty, Sadik Khan and Rakesh Salunke
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 123; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050123 - 1 May 2024
Viewed by 848
Abstract
Due to cyclic wetting and drying, the hydro-mechanical behavior of unsaturated soil is impacted significantly. In order to assess the soil strength parameters, knowing the unsaturated behavior is important. Soil moisture content is an important parameter that can define the shear strength of [...] Read more.
Due to cyclic wetting and drying, the hydro-mechanical behavior of unsaturated soil is impacted significantly. In order to assess the soil strength parameters, knowing the unsaturated behavior is important. Soil moisture content is an important parameter that can define the shear strength of the soil. Most of the highway slopes of Mississippi are built on highly expansive clay. During summer, the evaporation of moisture in the soil leads to shrinkage and the formation of desiccation cracks, while during rainfall, the soil swells due to the infiltration of water. In addition to this, the rainwater gets trapped in these cracks and creates perched conditions, leading to the increased moisture content and reduced shear strength of slope soil. The increased precipitation due to climate change is causing failure conditions on many highway slopes of Mississippi. Vetiver, a perennial grass, can be a transformative solution to reduce the highway slope failure challenges of highly plastic clay. The grass has deep and fibrous roots, which provide additional shear strength to the soil. The root can uptake a significant amount of water from the soil, keeping the moisture balance of the slope. The objective of the current study is to assess the changes in moisture contents of a highway slope in Mississippi after the Vetiver plantation. Monitoring equipment, such as rain gauges and moisture sensors, were installed to monitor the rainfall of the area and the moisture content of the soil. The data showed that the moisture content conditions were improved with the aging of the grass. The light detection and ranging (LiDAR) analysis was performed to validate the field data obtained from different sensors, and it was found that there was no significant slope movement after the Vetiver plantation. The study proves the performance of the Vetiver grass in improving the unsaturated soil behavior and stability of highway slopes built on highly expansive clay. Full article
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17 pages, 4831 KiB  
Article
Piping Stabilization of Clay Soil Using Lime
by Rawan Aqel, Mousa Attom, Magdi El-Emam and Mohammad Yamin
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 122; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050122 - 30 Apr 2024
Viewed by 628
Abstract
Construction of earth fill dams offers a cost-effective solution for various purposes. However, their susceptibility to internal soil erosion, known as piping, poses a significant risk of structural failure and resultant loss of life and property. Soil stabilization emerges as a practical technique [...] Read more.
Construction of earth fill dams offers a cost-effective solution for various purposes. However, their susceptibility to internal soil erosion, known as piping, poses a significant risk of structural failure and resultant loss of life and property. Soil stabilization emerges as a practical technique to fortify these dams against such threats. This study investigated the impact of lime on the internal erosion properties of clay soils, focusing on CH and ML soil types. Specimens of different lime content were prepared and remolded at 95% relative compaction and optimum moisture content. Hole Erosion tests at varying lime concentrations and curing durations were adapted to conduct the investigation. This investigation aims to optimize lime content and curing time for cohesive soil stabilization against internal erosion. Findings revealed that 2% and 5% of quicklime, by dry weight of the soil, effectively stabilized CH and ML soils, respectively, against internal erosion, with a two-day curing period proving optimal. Furthermore, the addition of lime significantly enhanced erosion rate index and critical shear strength in clay soil, underscoring its efficacy in soil stabilization efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Environmental Geology and Engineering)
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11 pages, 1832 KiB  
Article
Feasibility of Principal Component Analysis for Multi-Class Earthquake Prediction Machine Learning Model Utilizing Geomagnetic Field Data
by Kasyful Qaedi, Mardina Abdullah, Khairul Adib Yusof and Masashi Hayakawa
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 121; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050121 - 29 Apr 2024
Viewed by 779
Abstract
Geomagnetic field data have been found to contain earthquake (EQ) precursory signals; however, analyzing this high-resolution, imbalanced data presents challenges when implementing machine learning (ML). This study explored feasibility of principal component analyses (PCA) for reducing the dimensionality of global geomagnetic field data [...] Read more.
Geomagnetic field data have been found to contain earthquake (EQ) precursory signals; however, analyzing this high-resolution, imbalanced data presents challenges when implementing machine learning (ML). This study explored feasibility of principal component analyses (PCA) for reducing the dimensionality of global geomagnetic field data to improve the accuracy of EQ predictive models. Multi-class ML models capable of predicting EQ intensity in terms of the Mercalli Intensity Scale were developed. Ensemble and Support Vector Machine (SVM) models, known for their robustness and capabilities in handling complex relationships, were trained, while a Synthetic Minority Oversampling Technique (SMOTE) was employed to address the imbalanced EQ data. Both models were trained on PCA-extracted features from the balanced dataset, resulting in reasonable model performance. The ensemble model outperformed the SVM model in various aspects, including accuracy (77.50% vs. 75.88%), specificity (96.79% vs. 96.55%), F1-score (77.05% vs. 76.16%), and Matthew Correlation Coefficient (73.88% vs. 73.11%). These findings suggest the potential of a PCA-based ML model for more reliable EQ prediction. Full article
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20 pages, 3764 KiB  
Article
Carbonate Stable Isotope Data Suggest Freshwater Environment for the McMurray Formation (Aptian), Alberta, Canada
by Franek Hasiuk, Abdullah Wahbi, Luis González, Mike Blum and Greg Ludvigson
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 120; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050120 - 28 Apr 2024
Viewed by 928
Abstract
Stable isotope, trace element, and cathodoluminescence analyses were performed on gastropods and matrix from rock cores of the Middle to Upper McMurray Formation (Lower Cretaceous/Aptian, Northwestern Alberta, Canada) to characterize the extent to which pristine material remained from which depositional environmental conditions could [...] Read more.
Stable isotope, trace element, and cathodoluminescence analyses were performed on gastropods and matrix from rock cores of the Middle to Upper McMurray Formation (Lower Cretaceous/Aptian, Northwestern Alberta, Canada) to characterize the extent to which pristine material remained from which depositional environmental conditions could be estimated. Aragonitic gastropod shells retain their original depositional chemistry, and along with other closely associated authigenic carbonate components, indicate that the Middle to Upper McMurray Formation was deposited in a freshwater environment that was part of a continent-scale river system. Full article
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25 pages, 9492 KiB  
Article
Geochemistry and Petrology of Reservoir and Cap Rocks in Zar-3 Pilot CO2 Storage Complex, SE Czechia
by Juraj Francu, Daniela Ocásková, Petr Pařízek, Jakub Vácha, Miroslav Pereszlényi, Petr Jirman, Vladimír Opletal and Monika Ličbinská
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 119; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050119 - 28 Apr 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 623
Abstract
The planned pilot CO2 storage Zar-3 is an oil field with a gas cap in the final production stage in the SE Czech Republic. It is composed of a dolomite Jurassic reservoir sealed by three different formations that differ significantly in lithology. [...] Read more.
The planned pilot CO2 storage Zar-3 is an oil field with a gas cap in the final production stage in the SE Czech Republic. It is composed of a dolomite Jurassic reservoir sealed by three different formations that differ significantly in lithology. Previous studies left open questions on the nature of pore space and connectivity and the quality of the seal in the future CO2 storage complex. Microscopic petrography of the reservoir suggests dolomitisation in shallow water followed by karstification and brecciation with fracture-correct-dominated porosity. The seal horizons have porosity limited to the micro- and nanoscales. The oil consists of significantly biodegraded black oil of Jurassic origin mixed with less biodegraded gasoline-range hydrocarbons. Biomarkers in the caprock bitumens trapped in nanopores show a genetic relationship to the reservoir oil. Gas in the not yet fully depleted gas cap of the field is of thermogenic origin with no contribution of microbial methane. The formation water has total dissolved solids typical of isolated brines not diluted by infiltrated fresh water. The geochemical characteristics of the storage system together with the fact that the initial oil column is about 105 m tall with another 150 m of gas cap suggest that the seals are efficient and the Zar-3 future storage complex is tight and safe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Petroleum Geology and Geochemistry of Sedimentary Basins)
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18 pages, 3544 KiB  
Review
Detecting DC Electrical Resistivity Changes in Seismic Active Areas: State-of-the-Art and Future Directions
by Vincenzo Lapenna
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 118; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050118 - 27 Apr 2024
Viewed by 777
Abstract
In this paper, a critical review of the geoelectrical monitoring activities carried out in seismically active areas is presented and discussed. The electrical resistivity of rocks is one of the geophysical parameters of greatest interest in the study of possible seismic precursors, and [...] Read more.
In this paper, a critical review of the geoelectrical monitoring activities carried out in seismically active areas is presented and discussed. The electrical resistivity of rocks is one of the geophysical parameters of greatest interest in the study of possible seismic precursors, and it is strongly influenced by the presence of highly fractured zones with high permeability and fluid levels. The analysis in the present study was carried out on results obtained over the last 50 years in seismic zones in China, Japan, the USA and Russia. These past works made it possible to classify the different monitoring strategies, analyze the theoretical models for interpreting possible correlations between anomalies in resistivity signals and local seismicity, and identify the main scientific and technological gaps in the literature. In addition, great attention has been paid to some recent works on the study of the correlations between focal mechanisms and the shapes of anomalous patterns in resistivity time series. Finally, some future scenarios for the development of new activities in this field have been identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Precursory Phenomena Prior to Earthquakes 2023)
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32 pages, 32436 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Site Effects and Numerical Modeling of Seismic Ground Motion to Support Seismic Microzonation of Dushanbe City, Tajikistan
by Farkhod Hakimov, Hans-Balder Havenith, Anatoly Ischuk and Klaus Reicherter
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 117; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050117 - 26 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1049
Abstract
In the territory of Dushanbe city, the capital of Tajikistan, detailed geological and geophysical data were collected during geophysical surveys in 2019–2020. The data comprise 5 microtremor array measurements, 9 seismic refraction tomography profiles, seismological data from 5 temporary seismic stations for standard [...] Read more.
In the territory of Dushanbe city, the capital of Tajikistan, detailed geological and geophysical data were collected during geophysical surveys in 2019–2020. The data comprise 5 microtremor array measurements, 9 seismic refraction tomography profiles, seismological data from 5 temporary seismic stations for standard spectral ratio calculations, 60 borehole datasets, and 175 ambient noise measurements. The complete dataset for Dushanbe was used to build a consistent 3D geologic model of the city with a size of 12 × 12 km2. The results of the seismological and geophysical surveys were compared and calibrated with borehole data to define the boundaries of each layer in the study area. The Leapfrog Works software was utilized to create a 3D geomodel. From the 3D geomodel, we extracted six 12 km long 2D geological cross-sections. These 2D geological cross-sections were used for 2D dynamic numerical modeling with the Universal Distinct Element Code software to calculate the local seismic response. Finally, the dynamic numerical modeling results were compared with the amplification functions obtained from the seismological and ambient noise data analysis. The 2D dynamic numerical modeling results allowed a better assessment of the site effects in the study area to support seismic microzonation and the determination of local peak ground acceleration changes in combination with regional seismic hazard maps. In addition, our results confirm the strong seismic amplification effects noted in some previous studies, which are attributed to the influence of local topographic and subsurface characteristics on seismic ground motions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Earthquake Engineering and Seismotectonics)
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16 pages, 3471 KiB  
Article
Possible Interrelations of Space Weather and Seismic Activity: An Implication for Earthquake Forecast
by Valery Sorokin and Victor Novikov
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 116; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050116 - 25 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1525
Abstract
The statistical analysis of the impact of the top 50 X-class solar flares (1997–2024) on global seismic activity as well as on the earthquake preparation zones located in the illuminated part of the globe and in an area of 5000 km around the [...] Read more.
The statistical analysis of the impact of the top 50 X-class solar flares (1997–2024) on global seismic activity as well as on the earthquake preparation zones located in the illuminated part of the globe and in an area of 5000 km around the subsolar point was carried out. It is shown by a method of epoch superposition that for all cases, an increase in seismicity is observed, especially in the region around the subsolar point (up to 33%) during the 10 days after the solar flare in comparison with the preceding 10 days. The case study of the aftershock sequence of a strong Mw = 9.1 earthquake (Sumatra–Andaman Islands, 26 December 2004) after the solar flare of X10.16 class (20 January 2005) demonstrated that the number of aftershocks with a magnitude of Mw ≥ 2.5 increases more than 17 times after the solar flare with a delay of 7–8 days. For the case of the Darfield earthquake (Mw = 7.1, 3 September 2010, New Zealand), it was shown that X-class solar flares and M probably triggered two strong aftershocks (Mw = 6.1 and Mw = 5.9) with the same delay of 6 days on the Port Hills fault, which is the most sensitive to external electromagnetic impact from the point of view of the fault electrical conductivity and orientation. Based on the obtained results, the possible application of natural electromagnetic triggering of earthquakes is discussed for the earthquake forecast using confidently recorded strong external electromagnetic triggering impacts on the specific earthquake preparation zones, as well as ionospheric perturbations due to aerosol emission from the earthquake sources recorded by satellites. Full article
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26 pages, 14585 KiB  
Article
Geotechnical Characterisation of Flysch-Derived Colluvial Soils from a Pre-Alpine Slope Affected by Recurrent Landslides
by Marco Del Fabbro, Paolo Paronuzzi and Alberto Bolla
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 115; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050115 - 24 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1104
Abstract
Heterogeneous rock masses that include rhythmic alternations of marl, shale, marly limestone, sandstone, siltstone, and argillite, such as Flysch, are particularly prone to generating colluvial deposits on gentle slopes, which are often subject to failures triggered by heavy rainfall. Flysch-derived colluvial soils are [...] Read more.
Heterogeneous rock masses that include rhythmic alternations of marl, shale, marly limestone, sandstone, siltstone, and argillite, such as Flysch, are particularly prone to generating colluvial deposits on gentle slopes, which are often subject to failures triggered by heavy rainfall. Flysch-derived colluvial soils are made up of highly heterogeneous sediments ranging from clayey loam to rock fragments, and they have been studied more rarely than homogeneous soils. In this work, we present a geotechnical and hydraulic characterisation performed both in situ and in the laboratory on flysch-derived colluvial soils that were involved in a channelised landslide in the pre-alpine area of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region (NE Italy). The investigated soils were characterised by the average values of the grain size composition of about 25% gravel, 20% sand, 30% silt, and 25% clay. The loamy matrix presented low-to-medium values of the liquid and plastic limits, as well as of the plasticity index (LL = 40%, PL = 23%, and PI = 17%, respectively). The values of the peak friction angle for natural intact samples were 33° < ϕp < 38°, whereas the residual friction angle fell to 23–24° at great depths and high vertical stresses, for a prevailing silty–clayey matrix. Variable head permeability tests were performed both in situ and in the laboratory, showing that the values of the vertical and horizontal permeability were very close and in the range 1 × 10−4–1 × 10−6 m/s. The soil permeability measured in the field was generally higher than the hydraulic conductivity calculated on laboratory samples. The proposed geotechnical and hydrological characterisation of flysch-derived colluvial soils can be of fundamental importance before the use of more thorough analyses/models aimed at forecasting the possible occurrence of slope failures and evaluating the related landslide hazard. The reported geotechnical and hydraulic parameters of flysch-derived colluvial materials can represent a useful reference for rainfall infiltration modelling and slope stability analyses of colluvial covers that are subject to intense and/or prolonged precipitation. However, when facing engineering problems involving colluvial soils, particularly those coming from flysch rock masses, the intrinsic variability in their grain size composition, consistency, and plasticity characteristics is a key feature and attention should be paid to the proper assumption of the corresponding geotechnical and hydraulic parameters. Full article
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17 pages, 11702 KiB  
Article
Thousands of Induced Earthquakes per Month in West Texas Detected Using EQCCT
by Yangkang Chen, Alexandros Savvaidis, Omar M. Saad, Daniel Siervo, Guo-Chin Dino Huang, Yunfeng Chen, Iason Grigoratos, Sergey Fomel and Caroline Breton
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 114; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050114 - 24 Apr 2024
Viewed by 926
Abstract
West Texas has been a seismically active region in the past decade due to the injection of industrial wastewater and hydrocarbon exploitation. The newly founded Texas seismological network has provided a catalog that characterizes the intense seismicity down to a magnitude of 1.5 [...] Read more.
West Texas has been a seismically active region in the past decade due to the injection of industrial wastewater and hydrocarbon exploitation. The newly founded Texas seismological network has provided a catalog that characterizes the intense seismicity down to a magnitude of 1.5 Ml. However, there are numerous small-magnitude events (Ml < 1.0) occurring every day that are not analyzed and reported, due to the prohibitively high workload to manually verify the picks from automatic picking methods. We propose to apply an advanced deep learning method, the earthquake compact convolutional transformer (EQCCT), to unleash our power in analyzing hundreds of small earthquakes per day in West Texas. The EQCCT method is embedded in an integrated-detection-and-location framework to output a highly complete earthquake catalog, given a list of available seismic stations, in a seamless way. The EQCCT has enabled us to detect and locate 50-times more earthquakes (mostly smaller than magnitude 1) than we previously could. We applied the EQCCT-embedded detection and location workflow to the Culberson and Mentone earthquake zone (CMEZ) in West Texas and detected thousands of earthquakes per month for consecutively three months. Further relocation of the new catalog revealed an unprecedentedly high-resolution and precise depiction of shallow and deep basement-rooted faults. The highly complete catalog also offers significant insights into the seismo-tectonic status of the CMEZ. Association with nearby injection activities also revealed a strong correlation between the rate of injected fluid volume and the number of small earthquakes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Hazards)
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19 pages, 13818 KiB  
Article
The East Variscan Shear Zone (EVSZ) and Its Regional Mylonitic Complex: A New Geodynamic Interpretation of the Variscan Axial Zone in Sardinia (Italy)?
by Federico Mantovani and Franco Marco Elter
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 113; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050113 - 24 Apr 2024
Viewed by 741
Abstract
Sardinia (Italy) represents one of the most comprehensive cross-sections of the Variscan orogen. The metamorphic and structural complexity characterizing its axial zone still presents many unresolved issues in the current state of knowledge. The data presented from the structural study of the entire [...] Read more.
Sardinia (Italy) represents one of the most comprehensive cross-sections of the Variscan orogen. The metamorphic and structural complexity characterizing its axial zone still presents many unresolved issues in the current state of knowledge. The data presented from the structural study of the entire axial zone of this area have allowed the authors to propose a subdivision into two new structural complexes. In particular, a younger complex is identified as the New Gneiss Complex, containing remnants of an older and higher-grade metamorphic complex defined as the Old Gneiss Complex. The structural and geometric relationships between the two complexes suggest the redefinition of the axial zone of Sardinia as part of the intracontinental East Variscan Shear Zone/medium-temperature Regional Mylonitic Complex. Comparable relationships are also highlighted in many other areas of the Variscan chain (e.g., Morocco, Corsica, Maures Massif, and Argentera Massif). Extending this new structural interpretation to other axial zones of the South European Variscan orogen could provide new hints for reconstructing the collision boundaries between Gondwana and Laurussia in the late Carboniferous to the early Permian periods. Full article
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15 pages, 9232 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Wildfire Susceptibility by Weight of Evidence, Using Geomorphological and Environmental Factors in the Marche Region, Central Italy
by Matteo Gentilucci, Maurizio Barbieri, Hamed Younes, Hadji Rihab and Gilberto Pambianchi
Geosciences 2024, 14(5), 112; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences14050112 - 24 Apr 2024
Viewed by 628
Abstract
Fires are a growing problem even in temperate climate areas, such as those in Central Italy, due to climate change leading to longer and longer periods of drought. Thus, knowing the fire susceptibility of an area is crucial for good planning and taking [...] Read more.
Fires are a growing problem even in temperate climate areas, such as those in Central Italy, due to climate change leading to longer and longer periods of drought. Thus, knowing the fire susceptibility of an area is crucial for good planning and taking appropriate countermeasures. In this context, it was decided to use only causal factors of a geomorphological and environmental nature in order to obtain a fire susceptibility analysis that can also be applied to climatically under-sampled areas. Vector data of fires in Central Italy from 2005 to 2023 were collected, and the correct areal extent was calculated for each. At the same time, six factors were selected that could have an influence on fire development, such as ecological units, topographic wetness index (TWI), geology, slope, exposure, and altitude. The model was obtained by means of the weight of evidence statistical method, which takes into account past data by reinterpreting them in a future-oriented way on the basis of the identified factors and classes. The model was validated with a test sample and shows an area under the curve (AUC) value of 0.72 with a reliability that can be described as good considering the total absence of climatic factors that are known to play a major role in fire development. Furthermore, the identified causal factors were divided into classes, and these were carefully weighted in order to define their relative influence in the study area. Particularly Ecological Units with characteristic and well-defined contrast (C) values, which could lead to a more complete definition of forests that tend to increase fire susceptibility and those that tend to decrease it, allowing the latter to be exploited as a hazard mitigation agent. Full article
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