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GeoHazards, Volume 2, Issue 3 (September 2021) – 7 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This paper uses the Analog Ensemble technique to downscale existing temperature forecast from a low resolution to a much higher resolution using private weather stations. A new downscaling approach, based on the reuse of the Analog Ensemble (AnEn) indices, resulted by the combination of days and Forecast Lead Time (FLT)s, is proposed. Specifically, temperature forecasts from the NAM-NMM Numerical Weather Prediction model at 12 km are downscaled using 83 Private Weather Stations data over Manhattan, New York City, New York. Forecasts for 84 h are generated, hourly for the first 36 h, and every three hours thereafter. The results are dense forecasts that capture the spatial variability of ambient conditions. The uncertainty associated with using non-vetted data is addressed. View this paper
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Article
Reduction of Bias and Uncertainty in Regional Seismic Site Amplification Factors for Seismic Hazard and Risk Analysis
GeoHazards 2021, 2(3), 277-301; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geohazards2030015 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 272
Abstract
Site amplification factors in National Building Codes are typically specified as a function of the average shear wave velocity over the first 30 m (Vs30) or site class (A, B, C, D and E) for defined ranges of Vs30 and/or [...] Read more.
Site amplification factors in National Building Codes are typically specified as a function of the average shear wave velocity over the first 30 m (Vs30) or site class (A, B, C, D and E) for defined ranges of Vs30 and/or ranges of depth to bedrock. However, a single set of amplification factors may not be representative of site conditions across the country, introducing a bias in seismic hazard and seismic risk analyses. This is exemplified by significant differences in geological settings between East and West coast locations in North America. Western sites are typically characterized by lower impedance contrasts between recent surface deposits and bedrock in comparison to Eastern sites. In North America, site amplification factors have been derived from a combination of field data on ground motions recorded during West Coast earthquakes and numerical models of site responses that are meant to be representative of a wide variety of soil profiles and ground motions. The bias on amplifications and their impact on seismic hazards is investigated for the Montreal area, which ranks second for seismic risks in Canada in terms of population and hazard (PGA of 0.25 g for a 2475 years return period). Representative soil profiles at several locations in Montreal are analyzed with 1-D site response models for natural and synthetic ground motions scaled between 0.1 to 0.5 g. Since bedrock depths are typically shallow (<30 m) across the island, bedrock shear wave velocities have a significant influence on the impedance contrast and amplifications. Bedrock shear wave velocity is usually very variable due to the differences in rock formations, level of weathering and fracturing. The level of this uncertainty is shown to be greatly decreased when rock quality designation (RQD) data, common information when bore hole data are logged, is available since it is highly correlated with both shear and compression wave velocities. The results are used to derive region-specific site amplification factors as a function of both Vs30 and site fundamental frequency and compared to those of the National Building Code of Canada (2015). The results of the study indicate that there are large uncertainties associated with these parameters due to variability in soil profiles, soil properties and input seismic ground motions. Average and confidence intervals for the mean and for predictions of amplification factors are calculated for each site class to quantify this uncertainty. Amplifications normalized relative to class C are obtained by accounting for the correlation between site class amplifications for given ground motions. Non-linearity in the analysis of equivalent linear 1-D site response is taken into account by introducing the non-linear G/Gmax and damping ratios curves. In this method, it is assumed that the shear strain compatible shear modulus and damping ratio values remains constant throughout the duration of the seismic excitation. This assumption is not fully applicable to a case when loose saturated soil profile undergo heavy shaking (PGA > 0.3 g). In this study, all simulations with input motion PGA >0.3 g have been performed by using the EL method instead of the NL method considering that cohesive soils (clay and silt) at Montreal sites are stiff and cohesionless soils (sand and gravel) are considerably dense. In addition, the field and laboratory data required to perform NL analyses are not currently available and may be investigated in future works. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Applications of Seismic Hazard Assessment)
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Article
NAM-NMM Temperature Downscaling Using Personal Weather Stations to Study Urban Heat Hazards
GeoHazards 2021, 2(3), 257-276; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geohazards2030014 - 13 Aug 2021
Viewed by 484
Abstract
Rising temperatures worldwide pose an existential threat to people, properties, and the environment. Urban areas are particularly vulnerable to temperature increases due to the heat island effect, which amplifies local heating. Throughout the world, several megacities experience summer temperatures that stress human survival. [...] Read more.
Rising temperatures worldwide pose an existential threat to people, properties, and the environment. Urban areas are particularly vulnerable to temperature increases due to the heat island effect, which amplifies local heating. Throughout the world, several megacities experience summer temperatures that stress human survival. Generating very high-resolution temperature forecasts is a fundamental problem to mitigate the effects of urban warming. This paper uses the Analog Ensemble technique to downscale existing temperature forecast from a low resolution to a much higher resolution using private weather stations. A new downscaling approach, based on the reuse of the Analog Ensemble (AnEn) indices, resulted by the combination of days and Forecast Lead Time (FLT)s, is proposed. Specifically, temperature forecasts from the NAM-NMM Numerical Weather Prediction model at 12 km are downscaled using 83 Private Weather Stations data over Manhattan, New York City, New York. Forecasts for 84 h are generated, hourly for the first 36 h, and every three hours thereafter. The results are dense forecasts that capture the spatial variability of ambient conditions. The uncertainty associated with using non-vetted data is addressed. Full article
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Article
Megatsunamis Induced by Volcanic Landslides in the Canary Islands: Age of the Tsunami Deposits and Source Landslides
GeoHazards 2021, 2(3), 228-256; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geohazards2030013 - 12 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1905
Abstract
Evidence for frequent, large landslides on the flanks of the volcanic edifices forming the Canary Islands include outstanding landslide scars and their correlative submarine and subaerial rock and debris avalanche deposits. These landslides involved volumes ranging from tens to hundreds of km3 [...] Read more.
Evidence for frequent, large landslides on the flanks of the volcanic edifices forming the Canary Islands include outstanding landslide scars and their correlative submarine and subaerial rock and debris avalanche deposits. These landslides involved volumes ranging from tens to hundreds of km3. The sudden entry of large volumes of rock masses in the sea may have triggered tsunamis capable of affecting the source and neighboring islands, with the resulting huge waves dragging coastal and seabed materials and fauna and redepositing them inland. Here, we present new geological evidence and geochronological data of at least five megatsunamis in Tenerife, Lanzarote, and Gran Canaria, triggered by island flank megalandslides, and occasionally explosive eruptions, during the last 1 million years. The exceptional preservation of the megatsunami deposits and the large area they cover, particularly in Tenerife, provide fundamental data on the number of tsunami events and run-ups, and allow proposals on the sources and age of the tsunamis. Tsunami run-up heights up to 290 m above coeval sea level, some of the highest known on Earth in recent geological times, were estimated based on sedimentological, geomorphological, paleontological, and geochronological data. The research results made it possible to estimate the recurrence of tsunamis in the archipelago during the last hundreds of thousands of years, and to establish relationships between tsunami deposits and the probable triggering island flank landslides. Full article
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Article
Landslide Inventory along a National Highway Corridor in the Hissar-Allay Mountains, Central Tajikistan
GeoHazards 2021, 2(3), 212-227; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geohazards2030012 - 09 Aug 2021
Viewed by 367
Abstract
An increasing amount of landslides leading to significant human and economic consequences is a primary concern for the government of Tajikistan and local authorities. Based on the Committee on Emergency Situations data, from 1996 to 2018, there were 3460 emergencies and more than [...] Read more.
An increasing amount of landslides leading to significant human and economic consequences is a primary concern for the government of Tajikistan and local authorities. Based on the Committee on Emergency Situations data, from 1996 to 2018, there were 3460 emergencies and more than 1000 fatalities because of earthquake-triggered and rainfall-induced landslides in the region. In addition, landslides caused severe damage to houses and infrastructure facilities due to the population’s lack of landslide hazard knowledge. Therefore, current research focuses on developing a regional-scale landslide inventory map in the Hissar–Allay region, central Tajikistan, where the population density is much higher than at other mountainous territories. In recent decades, the enhancements in geographic information systems, the open access to high-resolution remote sensing data, and an extensive field survey allowed us to identify 922 landslides possible along the highway corridor in the Hissar–Allay region. Based on Varnes’s system, these landslides are classified into four categories: debris flows, rockfalls, shallow landslides, and complex (deep-seated) landslides, considering landslides morphology, geology, deformation of slopes, degree and aspect of slopes, and weathered and disintegrated zones on slopes in the study area. The results show that 8.24% of the total study area is affected by landslides. Along the highway corridor in the Hissar–Allay region there are 96 bodies of deep-seated landslides and 216 rockfall catchments, 273 debris flow catchments, and 313 shallow landslides. Thus, shallow landslides are the most frequent type of movement. In addition, landslide frequency-area distribution analysis shows that shallow landslides are frequent with an area of 1.88E+04 m2; most frequent debris flow channels have a place of 5.58E+05 m2; rockfalls, for its part, are rife with an area of 1.50E+05 m2, and frequent complex landslides have an area of 4.70E+06 m2. Furthermore, it was found out that slopes consist of Silurian formation comprise shales, pebbles, sands, loams, and limestones, metamorphic clays are exposed to landslides more than other geological formations because of the layered structure and their broad spatial distribution in the study area. As the first applied research to compile a landslide inventory map in the Hissar–Allay region on the regional scale, our study provides a sound basis for future explorations of landslide susceptibility, hazard, and risk assessment for this region. Full article
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Article
Reconstructing the Snow Avalanche of Coll de Pal 2018 (SE Pyrenees)
GeoHazards 2021, 2(3), 196-211; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geohazards2030011 - 22 Jul 2021
Viewed by 490
Abstract
Developments in mountain areas prone to natural hazards produce undesired impacts and damages. Thus, disaster assessment is mandatory to understand the physics of dangerous events and to make decisions to prevent hazardous situations. This work focusses on the practical implementation of methods and [...] Read more.
Developments in mountain areas prone to natural hazards produce undesired impacts and damages. Thus, disaster assessment is mandatory to understand the physics of dangerous events and to make decisions to prevent hazardous situations. This work focusses on the practical implementation of methods and tools to assess a snow avalanche that affected a road at the Coll de Pal in 2018 (SE Pyrenees). This is a quite common situation in mountain roads and the assessment has to focus specially in the avalanche–road interaction, on the return periods considered and on the dynamics of the phenomena. This assessment presents the field recognition, snow and weather characterization and numerical modelling of the avalanche. Field campaigns revealed evidences of the avalanche triggering, runout trajectory and general behavior. An unstable situation of the snowpack due to a relatively large snowfall fallen some days before over a previous snowpack with weak layers, caused the avalanche triggering when an additional load was added by a strong wind-drift episode. A medium size (<2500 m3) soft slab avalanche, corresponding to a return period of 15–20 years, occurred and crossed the road of the Coll de Pal pass. The event was reproduced numerically by means of the 2D-SWE based numerical tool Iber aiming to analyze the avalanche behavior. Results of the simulation corresponded with the observations (runout trajectory and snow deposit); thus, relevant information about the avalanche dynamics could be obtained. Identified differences probably come from the terrain elevation data, which represent “snow free” topography and do not consider the snowpack on the terrain. Full article
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Article
Fifteen Years of Continuous High-Resolution Borehole Strainmeter Measurements in Eastern Taiwan: An Overview and Perspectives
GeoHazards 2021, 2(3), 172-195; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geohazards2030010 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 402
Abstract
As one of the most sensitive instruments for deformation monitoring in geophysics, borehole strainmeter has the capability to record a large spectrum of tectonic and environmental signals. Sensors are usually deployed near active faults and volcanoes and provide high-resolution continuous recordings of seismic [...] Read more.
As one of the most sensitive instruments for deformation monitoring in geophysics, borehole strainmeter has the capability to record a large spectrum of tectonic and environmental signals. Sensors are usually deployed near active faults and volcanoes and provide high-resolution continuous recordings of seismic and aseismic signals, hydrological variations (rainfall, groundwater level) and natural hazards (tropical cyclones, landslides, tsunamis). On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the installation of the first Sacks–Evertson borehole strainmeter, in central Japan, we present an overview of the major scientific contributions and advances enabled by borehole strainmeter measurements in Taiwan since their installation in the mid 2000s. We also propose a set of future research directions that address recent challenges in seismology, hydrology and crustal strain modeling. Full article
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Article
Seismic Liquefaction Risk Assessment of Critical Facilities in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
GeoHazards 2021, 2(3), 153-171; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geohazards2030009 - 15 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1201
Abstract
Kathmandu Valley lies in an active tectonic zone, meaning that earthquakes are common in the region. The most recent was the Gorkha Nepal earthquake, measuring 7.8 Mw. Past earthquakes caused soil liquefaction in the valley with severe damages and destruction of [...] Read more.
Kathmandu Valley lies in an active tectonic zone, meaning that earthquakes are common in the region. The most recent was the Gorkha Nepal earthquake, measuring 7.8 Mw. Past earthquakes caused soil liquefaction in the valley with severe damages and destruction of existing critical infrastructures. As for such infrastructures, the road network, health facilities, schools and airports are considered. This paper presents a liquefaction susceptibility map. This map was obtained by computing the liquefaction potential index (LPI) for several boreholes with SPT measurements and clustering the areas with similar values of LPI. Moreover, the locations of existing critical infrastructures were reported on this risk map. Therefore, we noted that 42% of the road network and 16% of the airport area are in zones of very high liquefaction susceptibility, while 60%, 54%, and 64% of health facilities, schools and colleges are in very high liquefaction zones, respectively. This indicates that most of the critical facilities in the valley are at serious risk of liquefaction during a major earthquake and therefore should be retrofitted for their proper functioning during such disasters. Full article
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