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Geosciences, Volume 14, Issue 2 (February 2024) – 28 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Palaeolandscape reconstructions, particularly reconstructions of former waterbodies, play a crucial role in identifying suitable locations for human settlements and areas with favourable preservation conditions. In our effort to enhance our understanding of Lieth Moor's Late Pleistocene environment and its attractiveness to hunter–gatherer groups, we conducted a comprehensive archaeogeophysical study focusing on a possible ford of a previously postulated palaeolake. Employing ground-penetrating radars and electromagnetic induction, complemented by legacy drill-probing data, we mapped limnic gyttja sediments. Our findings indicate a cluster of small ponds intersected by a stream, rather than a continuous lake. This revision challenges previous assumptions on settlement preferences and places the reported archaeological finds within a new palaeoenvironmental context. View this paper
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10 pages, 4316 KiB  
Technical Note
An Analysis of the Impact of Mining Excavation Velocity on the Development of Gaseous and Gaseous Geodynamic Hazards in Copper Ore Mines
by Maciej Gniewosz, Agnieszka Stopkowicz and Marek Cała
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020054 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 836
Abstract
The hazards of gaseous geodynamic phenomena and rockbursts are among the most challenging to assess and classify. This perception arises from both a review of the literature and an examination of available instructions and regulations in underground mining facilities. The hazard of gaseous [...] Read more.
The hazards of gaseous geodynamic phenomena and rockbursts are among the most challenging to assess and classify. This perception arises from both a review of the literature and an examination of available instructions and regulations in underground mining facilities. The hazard of gaseous geodynamic phenomena in Polish copper ore mines only appeared in 2009, whereas these phenomena occur and are commonly described in other mining countries. In Polish copper ore mines, due to the room and pillar system in fields with lengths of about 460 m, very often parallel to neighboring fields, which together give a length of about 900 m, it is difficult to identify the location of gas traps due to the large size of the area. This paper presents an analysis of the influence of the velocity of the excavation on the possibility of escalating or reducing the described mining hazards. An analysis of the impact of excavation velocity on the state of gaseous geodynamic and roof fall hazards was conducted for two mining fields. For the considered mining fields, the hypothesis was formulated that an excavation velocity greater than or equal to 17 m/month positively influences a reduction in both gaseous geodynamic and roof fall hazards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Complex Rock Mechanics Problems and Solutions)
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23 pages, 8910 KiB  
Article
Rainfall Infiltration through Stratified Colluvial Deposits: Analytical Approach vs. Numerical Modelling
by Paolo Paronuzzi, Dario Fedrigo and Alberto Bolla
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020053 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 942
Abstract
This work investigates the rainfall infiltration process within homogeneous and stratified colluvial deposits caused by short (1–3 h) and intense (40–90 mm/h) rainfall, using both analytical and numerical infiltration modelling. The findings of the investigation demonstrate that the classic Green–Ampt model can be [...] Read more.
This work investigates the rainfall infiltration process within homogeneous and stratified colluvial deposits caused by short (1–3 h) and intense (40–90 mm/h) rainfall, using both analytical and numerical infiltration modelling. The findings of the investigation demonstrate that the classic Green–Ampt model can be employed effectively to study homogeneous colluvial covers with permeability equal to or lower than kw = 10−5 m/s and that are subject to a 1 h rainfall with intensity I ≥ 45–50 mm/h. In these circumstances, a top-down saturation front forms within the colluvial deposit, leading to the saturation of a 70–100 cm-thick layer. This critical condition occurs every 5–10 years in the mountain area of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region (NE Italy), which corresponds to a lower return period of critical hydrologic events when compared with other mountain basins in the Alps due to the higher initial degree of saturation characterising colluvial covers in this area (70–95%). When analysing stratified colluvial covers, the Dagan–Bresler approximate model, as well as the numerical modelling, emphasised the strong influence that abrupt variations in the permeability of the various soil layers have on the infiltration process at depth. In particular, the presence of a top organic soil horizon that is rich in macro-pores and is characterised by a higher permeability (k = 10−4 m/s) actually reduces the possibility of surficial ponding, which is the basic condition of the “piston” models. The highly permeable top soil allows for a rapid downward infiltration up to contact with the underlying colluvial material, which is less permeable (k = 10−5 m/s). Therefore, a perched water table forms starting from the organic soil–colluvium interface, originating pore–water overpressures within the colluvial deposit, with maximum values in the order of 5–10 kPa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrogeology)
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18 pages, 4074 KiB  
Technical Note
Laboratory Hydraulic Tensile Strength Correlation with Strength-Based Brittleness Indices for Carbonate Reservoirs
by Mohammad Ezazi, Ebrahim Ghorbani, Ali Shafiei, Ebrahim Sharifi Teshnizi and Brendan C. O’Kelly
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020052 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 937
Abstract
Hydraulic fracturing (HF) is the primary choice for stimulating petroleum reservoirs. Rock tensile strength and brittleness are crucial parameters required for screening candidate reservoirs and in designing successful HF operations. However, in situ and laboratory determinations of the hydraulic tensile strength (HTS) of [...] Read more.
Hydraulic fracturing (HF) is the primary choice for stimulating petroleum reservoirs. Rock tensile strength and brittleness are crucial parameters required for screening candidate reservoirs and in designing successful HF operations. However, in situ and laboratory determinations of the hydraulic tensile strength (HTS) of rock can prove problematic. Alternatively, the HTS could be estimated from the rock brittleness once a reliable relationship has been established between them. Accordingly, this paper investigates the correlations between the HTS, as measured using laboratory hydraulic fracture tests, and ten strength-based brittleness indices (BIs) selected from the research literature. The primary inputs for computing these BIs are uniaxial compressive strength (UCS) and the Brazilian tensile strength (BTS), which are typically measured for most projects using standard laboratory rock mechanics tests or obtained from log data. For the purposes of this experimental investigation, intact rock core samples were obtained from a carbonate–dolomite formation in Iran, comprising eight distinct geomechanical units, with measured values of UCS, BTS, and HTS ranging 29.7–162.2, 1.93–12.23, and 7.20–20.63 MPa, respectively. The measured HTS was found to directly correlate with the UCS, BTS, and Young’s modulus, and inversely correlated with the rock porosity. Seven of the ten investigated BIs correlated with the measured HTS over 69% (R2 ≥ 0.69). In particular, the BI expressions developed by Yagiz and Gokceoglu, Ghadernejad et al., and Khandelwal et al. exhibited relatively strong correlations with the measured HTS (producing R2 values of 0.94, 0.87, and 0.86, respectively), suggesting that these three HTS–BI correlations could be used to provide preliminary HTS estimates for the investigated carbonate–dolomite formation in Iran. This work adds to a database that can be expanded to include other geographical regions for providing useful information about the selection of a suitable site or reserve for conducting HF operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fracture Geomechanics—Obstacles and New Perspectives)
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17 pages, 14859 KiB  
Article
Remotely Sensed and Field Data for Geomorphological Analysis of Water Springs: A Case Study of Ain Maarrouf
by Anselme Muzirafuti
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020051 - 10 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1061
Abstract
Tabular Middle Atlas of Morocco holds the main water reservoir that serves many cities across Morocco. Dolomite and limestone are the most dominant geologic formations in this region in which water resources are contained. The recent studies conducted to evaluate the quality of [...] Read more.
Tabular Middle Atlas of Morocco holds the main water reservoir that serves many cities across Morocco. Dolomite and limestone are the most dominant geologic formations in this region in which water resources are contained. The recent studies conducted to evaluate the quality of this water suggest that it is very vulnerable to pollutants resulting from both anthropogenic and natural phenomenon. High and very high-resolution satellite imagery have been used in an attempt to gain a better understanding of this karstic system and suggest a strategy for its protection in order to reduce the impact of these phenomenon. Based on the surface reflectance of land cover benchmarks, the karstic system has been horizontally delineated, as well as regions with intense human activities. Using band combination in the portion of the infrared, shortwave infrared, and visible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, we identified bare lands which have been interpreted as carbonate rocks, clay minerals, uncultivated fields, basalts rocks, and built-up areas. Other classes such as water and vegetation have been identified. Carbonate rocks have been identified as areas with a high rate of water infiltration through their fracture system. Using a Sobel operator filter, these fractures have been mapped and their results have revealed new and existing faults in two major fracture directions, NE-SW and NW-SE, where NE-SW is the preferable pathway for surface water infiltration towards the groundwater reservoir, while the NW-SE direction drains groundwater from the Cause to the basin of Saiss. Over time, the infiltration of surface water through fractures has contributed to a gradual erosion of the carbonate rocks, which in turn developed karst landforms. This karst system is vulnerable due to the flow of pollutants in areas with shallow sinkholes. Using GDEM imagery, we extracted karst depressions, and their analysis shows that they are distributed along the fracture system and many of them were located on curvilinear or linear axes along the NE-SW fracture direction. We found also dolines scattered in areas with a high intensity of fractures. This distribution has been validated by both on-the-ground measurements and very high-resolution satellite images, and depressions of different forms and shapes dominated by dolines, poljes, lapiez, and avens have been identified. We also found many water springs with a highly important water output, such as the Ain Maarrouf water spring. The aim of this study is to enhance the understanding of the hydrogeological system of TMA, to improve the existence of the fracture database in the Cause of Agourai, and to establish a new morpho-structural picture of the Ain Maarrouf water spring. Full article
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10 pages, 2594 KiB  
Article
Global Rayleigh Wave Attenuation and Group Velocity from International Seismological Centre Data
by Thomas Martin Hearn
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020050 - 10 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1011
Abstract
This paper presents a study of global Rayleigh wave attenuation and group velocity at a period of around 20 s using data from the International Seismological Centre (ISC) bulletin. Rayleigh waves at this period are sensitive to the crustal structure beneath continents and [...] Read more.
This paper presents a study of global Rayleigh wave attenuation and group velocity at a period of around 20 s using data from the International Seismological Centre (ISC) bulletin. Rayleigh waves at this period are sensitive to the crustal structure beneath continents and the uppermost mantle beneath oceans. Tomographic imaging reveals strong continental-ocean contrasts due to this. Oceanic group velocities are high but vary with seafloor depth, while oceanic attenuation shows mid-ocean ridges. Subduction zone regions display high attenuation but little velocity reduction, indicating scattering attenuation. Low attenuation regions are associated with the Earth’s major cratonic regions, but there are no associated velocity changes. This implies that intrinsic attenuation is low and scattering dominates. Cratonic crustal scatterers have been annealed. A new surface wave magnitude scale is constructed that is valid from near-source to near-antipode distances. Full article
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11 pages, 931 KiB  
Brief Report
What Is the Effect of Seismic Swarms on Short-Term Seismic Hazard and Gutenberg-Richter b-Value Temporal Variation? Examples from Central Italy, October–November 2023
by Ilaria Spassiani and Matteo Taroni
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020049 - 08 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1026
Abstract
A seismic hazard can be quantified by using probabilities. Modern seismic forecasting models (e.g., Operational Earthquake Forecasting systems) allow us to quantify the short-term variations in such probabilities. Indeed these probabilities change with time and space, in particular after strong seismic events. However, [...] Read more.
A seismic hazard can be quantified by using probabilities. Modern seismic forecasting models (e.g., Operational Earthquake Forecasting systems) allow us to quantify the short-term variations in such probabilities. Indeed these probabilities change with time and space, in particular after strong seismic events. However, the short-term seismic hazard could also change during seismic swarms, i.e., a sequence with several small-/medium-sized events. The goal of this work is to quantify these changes, using the Italian Operational Earthquake Forecasting system, and also estimate the variations in the Gutenberg–Richter b-value. We focus our attention on three seismic swarms that occurred in Central Italy in October–November 2023. Our results indicate that short-term variations in seismic hazard are limited, less than an order of magnitude, and also that b-value variations are not significant. Placing our findings in a more general context, we can state that according to currently available models and catalogs, the occurrence of seismic swarms does not significantly affect the short-term seismic hazard. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Advances in Statistical Seismology)
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36 pages, 36304 KiB  
Article
The Knowledge and Application of Sedimentary Conditions of Shallow Marine and Tidal Waters of Ionian Islands, Greece: Implications for Therapeutic Use
by Chrysanthos Botziolis, Nicolina Bourli, Elena Zoumpouli, Penelope Papadopoulou, Nikolaos Dimopoulos, Andriana Kovani, Panagiotis Zelilidis, Diamantina Christina Aspioti, George Iliopoulos and Avraam Zelilidis
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020048 - 08 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1161
Abstract
This study delves into the sedimentation mechanisms governing mud deposits in shallow marine and tidal environments, with a particular focus on elucidating the versatile therapeutic applications of these muds. This research provides valuable insights for optimizing the selection of mud as a cosmetic [...] Read more.
This study delves into the sedimentation mechanisms governing mud deposits in shallow marine and tidal environments, with a particular focus on elucidating the versatile therapeutic applications of these muds. This research provides valuable insights for optimizing the selection of mud as a cosmetic resource that can positively influence human health and well-being by utilizing a comprehensive analysis involving CaCO3, TOC, grain size, and statistical parameters across six outcrops situated on the Kefalonia and Corfu islands. The research reveals that the CaCO3 content of mud deposits on both islands is comparable. Despite the average value (26.71%) significantly exceeding the recommended value (10%) for optimal plasticity, no discernible impact on the mechanical behavior and plasticity of the clay was observed, rendering it a neutral quality criterion. Notably, the TOC content is higher on Corfu Island, suggesting its potential superiority for mud therapy. However, all samples exhibit a TOC content (<0.77%) considerably below the threshold required (2–5%) for material maturation in mud therapy. Consequently, an enrichment of samples with organic matter is imperative. The application of statistical parameters, analyzed through graphical methods, facilitated the creation of various bivariate diagrams, offering insights into the prevailing environmental conditions during deposition. Linear and multigroup discriminant analyses categorize two sediment types: a unimodal type, characterized by mud grain-size dominance, deposited in a shallow water environment, and a bi-modal type, featuring mud and sand content, deposited in a tidal-affected environment. This classification underscores the potential of shallow marine muds (Kefalonia Island) for therapeutic use, given their optimal grain size. In contrast, the tidal mud (Corfu Island), while also suitable for mud therapy, necessitates processing as a cosmetic product to minimize sand content, as coarser fractions may induce skin irritations or injuries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sedimentology, Stratigraphy and Palaeontology)
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25 pages, 6823 KiB  
Article
The Role of the Mineralogical Composition on Wettability via Flotation Test and Surface Complexation Modeling (SCM)
by Samuel Erzuah, Ingebret Fjelde and Aruoture Voke Omekeh
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020047 - 06 Feb 2024
Viewed by 939
Abstract
Minerals are the chief constituents of rocks and have varied properties, such as the surface area, surface charge, site density, etc. Hence, numerous interactions are bound to occur in a reservoir during rock–fluid (i.e., rock, crude oil and brine) interactions. This study seeks [...] Read more.
Minerals are the chief constituents of rocks and have varied properties, such as the surface area, surface charge, site density, etc. Hence, numerous interactions are bound to occur in a reservoir during rock–fluid (i.e., rock, crude oil and brine) interactions. This study seeks to assess the role of the mineralogical composition in the wettability of sandstone rocks (SRs) and mineral mixture (MM) using both surface complexation modeling (SCM) and a flotation test. From the considered sandstone rocks, both the experimental results and the simulated counterparts revealed that the SRs were preferentially hydrophilic. For the MM, when the mass fraction of the hydrophobic mineral was increased, the affinity of the MM became slightly hydrophobic, and vice versa. For the dominant sandstone reservoir rock minerals with predominantly negatively charged surfaces, negligible oil adsorption took place due to the interfacial repulsive forces at the oil–brine and mineral–brine interfaces. For the MM with low calcite content, the wetting preference was influenced by the mineral with a prominent surface area. Our developed model portrayed that the main mechanism of oil adhesion onto sandstone minerals was divalent cation bridging. Nonetheless, adhesion of carboxylate (>COO) onto the illite, montmorillonite and calcite sites also took place, with the latter being more pronounced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Geochemistry)
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18 pages, 3683 KiB  
Article
More Help Was Offered—But Was It Effective? First Responders and Volunteers in the 2021 Flood Disaster in Germany
by Alexander Fekete and Beate Rhein
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020046 - 05 Feb 2024
Viewed by 970
Abstract
The floods in 2021 in Germany laid bare the need to better integrate volunteers into official disaster management. An online survey with 1767 valid interviews after the floods in July 2021 reveals the shared experiences of professional and non-professional groups. Communication and coordination [...] Read more.
The floods in 2021 in Germany laid bare the need to better integrate volunteers into official disaster management. An online survey with 1767 valid interviews after the floods in July 2021 reveals the shared experiences of professional and non-professional groups. Communication and coordination problems are the main results of the survey analysis. Overall satisfaction was a bit lower for the volunteers than for the professionals. The behavior of the superiors could have been more satisfactory. The preparation and opportunity for reflection could have been better after the operation. The information provision before and during the flood operation could have been more satisfactory. Worries were higher about elderly persons, and misinformation was a perceived danger. Problems experienced in the flood operations ranged from psychological stress to hygiene, self-endangerment, assignment of tasks, and misinformation, both from the media and official sources. Infrastructure-related problems included electricity, water, communication lines, roads, and rail. The suggestions for improvements ranged from communication and information about warnings and behavior to persons that transfer knowledge between organizations, digital exchange platforms, and exchange between countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flood Risk Reduction)
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18 pages, 3663 KiB  
Article
Sediment Transport Modeling in the Pasig River, Philippines Post Taal Volcano Eruption
by Joan Cecilia Casila, Howard Lee Andres, Soufiane Haddout and Katsuhide Yokoyama
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020045 - 05 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1361
Abstract
Following the eruption of the Taal Volcano in January 2020 and its continuous signs of unrest in the preceding years, this study delves into the investigation of sediment transport in the Pasig River, Philippines. The historical data of total suspended solids (TSS) and [...] Read more.
Following the eruption of the Taal Volcano in January 2020 and its continuous signs of unrest in the preceding years, this study delves into the investigation of sediment transport in the Pasig River, Philippines. The historical data of total suspended solids (TSS) and arsenic indicated a notable increase starting from the year 2020. The field measurements were conducted in February and March of 2022, two years after the eruption. Due to the observed homogeneity in the river’s mixing, a refined 1D sediment transport model was developed. In this study, HEC-RAS modeling software was employed. The calibration process using the Laursen transport function yielded an impressive R2 value of 0.9989 for the post-eruption model. This predictive accuracy underscores the robustness of the developed model. The study’s scope was further expanded by creating a model for February 2020, incorporating water quality data gathered by the Pasig River Coordinating and Management Office. The model simulation results showed peak TSS values of 120.63 mg/L and 225.15 mg/L in February 2022 and February 2020, respectively. The results of the study highlight the probable impact of geological events on sediment dynamics within the Pasig River, which could help manage and sustain ongoing river improvements. Full article
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23 pages, 22700 KiB  
Article
Influence of Sampling Methods on the Accuracy of Machine Learning Predictions Used for Strain-Dependent Slope Stability
by Sudan Shakya, Christoph Schmüdderich, Jan Machaček, Luis Felipe Prada-Sarmiento and Torsten Wichtmann
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020044 - 05 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1197
Abstract
Supervised machine learning (ML) techniques have been widely used in various geotechnical applications. While much attention is given to the ML techniques and the specific geotechnical problem being addressed, the influence of sampling methods on ML performance has received relatively less scrutiny. This [...] Read more.
Supervised machine learning (ML) techniques have been widely used in various geotechnical applications. While much attention is given to the ML techniques and the specific geotechnical problem being addressed, the influence of sampling methods on ML performance has received relatively less scrutiny. This study applies supervised ML to the strain-dependent slope stability (SDSS) method for the prediction of the factor of safety (FoS) using hypoplasticity. It delves into different sampling strategies for training the ML model, emphasizing predictions of soil behavior in lower stress ranges. A novel sampling method is introduced to ensure a more representative distribution of samples in these ranges, which is challenging to achieve through traditional sampling approaches. The ML models were trained using traditional and modified sampling methods. Subsequently, slope stability analyses using SDSS were conducted with ML models trained from six different sampling methods. The results illustrate the impact of sampling methods on the FoS. Besides a noticeable improvement in predictions of shear stresses within the lower stress ranges, a decisive effect on the overall FoS was observed as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Benchmarks of AI in Geotechnics and Tunnelling)
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15 pages, 3558 KiB  
Article
Applying Statistical Analysis and Economics Models to Unscramble the Depositional Signals from Chemical Proxies in Black Shales
by Karin Goldberg and Lucas Goldberg Da Rosa
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020043 - 03 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1075
Abstract
The complex controls on the accumulation of organic-rich rocks remain elusive, despite their economic importance as source rocks and unconventional reservoirs, partially due to the multitude of factors that may impact production and preservation of organic matter in sediments. The complexity of Earth [...] Read more.
The complex controls on the accumulation of organic-rich rocks remain elusive, despite their economic importance as source rocks and unconventional reservoirs, partially due to the multitude of factors that may impact production and preservation of organic matter in sediments. The complexity of Earth systems is comparable to the intricacies of Economics, and application of statistical and econometrics methods and models to analyze geological data may assist interpretation of the processes controlling organic burial. Chemical indices calculated for mudrock datasets from modern sediments and the Woodford Formation were used as proxies for detrital input, primary productivity, redox conditions, and upwelling, and a series of statistical analyses were run to test whether these methods were useful to discriminate different depositional conditions and establish the controls on total organic carbon (TOC) in the sediments. Model results showed that chemical proxies reliably predict not only TOC but also indicate correlations between indices. Our results suggest that detrital input, primary productivity and bottom-water anoxia are relevant drivers of organic content in the sediments, but the first two appear to have a more significant role in organic burial, illustrating the usefulness of these methods to assess depositional parameters in organic-rich rocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Petroleum Geology and Geochemistry of Sedimentary Basins)
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16 pages, 4005 KiB  
Article
A Multidisciplinary Approach for the Characterization of Artificial Cavities of Historical and Cultural Interest: The Case Study of the Cloister of Sant’Agostino—Caserta, Italy
by Emilia Damiano, Maria Assunta Fabozzi, Paolo Maria Guarino, Erika Molitierno, Lucio Olivares, Roberto Pratelli, Marco Vigliotti and Daniela Ruberti
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020042 - 03 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1233
Abstract
In northern Campania (Southern Italy), the historic center of many towns is characterized by the widespread presence of cavities in the subsoil, excavated over the centuries for quarrying tuff blocks for buildings, along with cathedrals, churches and chapels. A singular feature of these [...] Read more.
In northern Campania (Southern Italy), the historic center of many towns is characterized by the widespread presence of cavities in the subsoil, excavated over the centuries for quarrying tuff blocks for buildings, along with cathedrals, churches and chapels. A singular feature of these places of worship is, in fact, the presence of a wide and frequently connected network of underground cavities and tunnels, which were used for hydraulic, religious or connecting purposes. The cavity network is often unknown, abandoned or even buried, thus representing a risk for their susceptibility to sinkholes. Such elements are important as cultural heritage of inestimable value and as attractors for tourism; for this reason, the multidisciplinary study conducted on a place of worship in the Caserta area is illustrated herein: the Cloister of Sant’Agostino, in Caserta (XVI century CE). A geological and geotechnical characterization of the subsoil was performed at first. A laser scanner survey of the accessible cavities and the external churchyard was carried out. The resulting 3D model of the underground sector allowed for a clear understanding of the room size, their location, the levels and the path of the corridors. To understand the extension and layout of the crypts, Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) surveys were undertaken in the surrounding areas. The analysis of the ERT measurements revealed some anomalies that could be ascribed to unknown structures (crypts). Finally, numerical methods were applied to estimate the stress state of the soft rocks and the potential areas of crisis, with preliminary assessments of the influence of the presence of cavities on the stability of the subsoil. The results allowed us to improve the knowledge of the study site and provide useful data for the planning of future targeted investigations, underlining how integrated research between applied disciplines can provide indispensable support both in the management and mitigation of geological risks in urban areas and in the sustainable reuse of hypogea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Geoheritage, Geoparks and Geotourism)
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17 pages, 9209 KiB  
Article
Provenance of Detrital Rutiles from the Triassic–Jurassic Sandstones in Franz Josef Land (Barents Sea Region, Russian High Arctic): U-Pb Ages and Trace Element Geochemistry
by Victoria Ershova, Andrei Prokopiev and Daniel Stockli
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020041 - 03 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1182
Abstract
Provenance study plays an important role in paleogeographic and tectonic reconstructions. Detrital zircons are commonly used to identify sediment provenance; however, a wide range of detrital zircon ages in clastic rock often represent a fingerprint of reworked older terrigenous successions rather than ages [...] Read more.
Provenance study plays an important role in paleogeographic and tectonic reconstructions. Detrital zircons are commonly used to identify sediment provenance; however, a wide range of detrital zircon ages in clastic rock often represent a fingerprint of reworked older terrigenous successions rather than ages of magmatism and metamorphism in the provenance area. This study focuses on the provenance of detrital rutile grains in the Triassic–Jurassic sandstones from Franz Josef Land and shows the importance of multiproxy approaches for provenance studies. Trace element data demonstrate that most rutile grains were sourced from metapelitic rocks, with a subordinate population having a metamafic origin. The Zr-in-rutile thermometer and U-Pb geochronology suggest that detrital rutile grains were predominantly derived from rocks that underwent amphibolite facies metamorphism during the Paleozoic era, with a predominance of the Carboniferous–Permian ages. Therefore, we suggest that the provenance area for the studied sandstones on Franz Josef Land has a similar geological history to the Taimyr region and Severnaya Zemlya archipelago. We propose that this crustal domain extends across the Kara Sea and forms the basement to the north and east of FJL, representing a proximal provenance for the studied Mesozoic terrigenous rocks. This domain experienced both Middle–Late Ordovician and Carboniferous–Permian metamorphism. The comparison of U-Pb dating and the geochemistry of rutile, U-Th/He, and U-Pb dating of zircons showed that detrital rutiles are the powerful toll in provenance restoration and can give additional constrains when a provenance area locates within collisional-convergent settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Geochemistry)
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15 pages, 3570 KiB  
Article
Impact of Land Use and Land Cover Change on Hydrological Processes in Urban Watersheds: Analysis and Forecasting for Flood Risk Management
by Mandip Banjara, Amrit Bhusal, Amrit Babu Ghimire and Ajay Kalra
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020040 - 02 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1715
Abstract
Land use and land cover (LULC) change is one of the primary contributors to hydrological change in urban watersheds and can potentially influence stream flow and flood volume. Understanding the impacts of LULC change on urban hydrological processes is critical to effective urban [...] Read more.
Land use and land cover (LULC) change is one of the primary contributors to hydrological change in urban watersheds and can potentially influence stream flow and flood volume. Understanding the impacts of LULC change on urban hydrological processes is critical to effective urban water management and minimizing flood risks. In this context, this study aims to determine the impacts of LULC change on hydrological response in a fast transitioning watershed for the predicted years of 2050 and 2080. This research employs the hybrid land use classification technique, Cellular Automata–Markov (CA–Markov) model to predict land use changes, utilizing land use data from 2001, 2013, and 2021. Additionally, it incorporates a calibrated, event-specific hydrologic model known as the Personal Computer Storm Water Management Model (PCSWMM) to assess alterations in hydrological responses for storm events of various magnitudes. The findings indicate a transition of the watershed into an urbanized landscape, replacing the previous dominance of agriculture and forested areas. The initial urban area, constituting 11.6% of the total area in 2021, expands to cover 34.1% and 44.2% of the total area by 2050 and 2080, respectively. Due to the LULC changes, there are increases in peak discharge of 5% and 6.8% and in runoff volume of 8% and 13.3% for the years 2050 and 2080 for a 100-year return period storm event. Yet, the extent of these changes intensifies notably during storm events with lower return periods. This heightened impact is directly attributed to the swift urbanization of the watershed. These results underscore the pressing necessity to regulate LULC change to preserve the hydrological equilibrium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Hydrological Models Applications and Fidelity)
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19 pages, 24660 KiB  
Article
Engineering Geological and Geophysical Investigations to Characterise the Unstable Rock Slope of the Sopu Promontory (Gozo, Malta)
by Davide Pistillo, Emanuele Colica, Sebastiano D’Amico, Daniela Farrugia, Federico Feliziani, Luciano Galone, Roberto Iannucci and Salvatore Martino
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020039 - 01 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1166
Abstract
Different engineering geological and geophysical investigations were performed at the Sopu promontory in the island of Gozo (Malta), involved in an impressive lateral spreading process due to the superimposition of a stiff limestone (ULC) on a ductile clay (BC). The applied techniques include: [...] Read more.
Different engineering geological and geophysical investigations were performed at the Sopu promontory in the island of Gozo (Malta), involved in an impressive lateral spreading process due to the superimposition of a stiff limestone (ULC) on a ductile clay (BC). The applied techniques include: traditional geological and engineering geological surveys, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) survey, electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) survey, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) investigations, single-station seismic ambient noise measurements, and array seismic ambient noise measurements. The integration of the obtained results allowed us to reconstruct a subsoil model of the promontory that includes features related to the local geology of the slope and to the landslide process, as well as to define a conceptual model that describes the main evolution phases of the expansion process. The presence of back-tilted rock blocks with no features of polarization of Rayleigh waves evidenced the different failure mechanism of the rigid UCL plateau at the Sopu promontory with respect to the Selmun promontory, located in the close island of Malta, where the lateral spreading due to the same geological setting tends to produce unstable rock blocks with a toppling mechanism. This result encourages further future observations and analyses of this topic. Full article
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20 pages, 4993 KiB  
Article
Models for Considering the Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical-Chemo Effects on Soil–Water Characteristic Curves
by Yao Li, Roberto Alves, Sai Vanapalli and Gilson Gitirana, Jr.
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020038 - 31 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1002
Abstract
The soil–water characteristic curve (SWCC) is widely used as a tool in geotechnical, geo-environmental, hydrology, and soil science fields for predicting and interpreting hydro-mechanical behaviors of unsaturated soils. Several previous studies focused on investigating the influence of initial water content, stress history, temperature, [...] Read more.
The soil–water characteristic curve (SWCC) is widely used as a tool in geotechnical, geo-environmental, hydrology, and soil science fields for predicting and interpreting hydro-mechanical behaviors of unsaturated soils. Several previous studies focused on investigating the influence of initial water content, stress history, temperature, and salt content on the SWCC behavior. However, there is still limited understanding to be gained from the literature on how we can systematically incorporate the influence of complex thermo-hydro-mechanical-chemo (THMC) effects into interpreting and predicting the behavior of unsaturated soils. To address that knowledge gap, in this study, the coupled influence of temperature, initial stress state, initial density, soil structure, and chemical solution effects was modeled using established SWCC equations from the literature. The methodology for incorporating the coupled effects of these influential factors is presented herein. Furthermore, we evaluated the SWCC models proposed in this study, enabling us to provide a comprehensive discussion of their strengths and limitations, using the published SWCC data from the literature. The developments outlined in this paper contribute toward facilitating a rigorous approach for analyzing the THMC behaviors of unsaturated soils. Full article
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16 pages, 3895 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Influence of Climate Change on Earthen Embankments with Expansive Soil
by Debayan Ghosh, Aritra Banerjee, Anand J. Puppala and Prince Kumar
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020037 - 30 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1416
Abstract
Climate change is known to cause alterations in weather patterns and disturb the natural equilibrium. Changes in climatic conditions lead to increased environmental stress on embankments, which can result in slope failures. Due to wetting–drying cycles, expansive clayey soil often swells and shrinks, [...] Read more.
Climate change is known to cause alterations in weather patterns and disturb the natural equilibrium. Changes in climatic conditions lead to increased environmental stress on embankments, which can result in slope failures. Due to wetting–drying cycles, expansive clayey soil often swells and shrinks, and matric suction is a major factor that controls the behavior. Increased temperature accelerates soil evaporation and drying, which can cause desiccation cracks, while precipitation can rapidly reduce soil shear strength. Desiccated slopes on embankments built with such soils can cause surficial slope failures after intense precipitation. This study used slope stability analysis to quantify how climate-change-induced extreme weather affects embankments. Historic extreme climatic events were used as a baseline to estimate future extremes. CMIP6 provided historical and future climatic data for the study area. An embankment was numerically modeled to evaluate the effect on slope stability due to the precipitation change induced by climate change. Coupled hydro-mechanical finite element analyses used a two-dimensional transient unsaturated seepage model and a limit equilibrium slope stability model. The study found that extreme climatic interactions like precipitation and temperature due to climate change may reduce embankment slope safety. The reduction in the stability of the embankment due to increased precipitation resulting from different greenhouse gas emission scenarios was investigated. The use of unsaturated soil strength and variation of permeability with suction, along with the phase transition of these earthen embankments from near-dry to near-saturated, shows how unsaturated soil mechanics and the hydro-mechanical model can identify climate change issues on critical geotechnical infrastructure. Full article
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24 pages, 12619 KiB  
Article
New Dinosaur Ichnological, Sedimentological, and Geochemical Data from a Cretaceous High-Latitude Terrestrial Greenhouse Ecosystem, Nanushuk Formation, North Slope, Alaska
by Anthony R. Fiorillo, Paul J. McCarthy, Grant Shimer, Marina B. Suarez, Ryuji Takasaki, Tsogtbaatar Chinzorig, Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, Paul O’Sullivan and Eric Orphys
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020036 - 30 Jan 2024
Viewed by 8620
Abstract
The Nanushuk Formation (Albian–Cenomanian) crops out over much of the central and western North Slope of Alaska, varying from ≈1500 to ≈250 m thick from west to northeast. The Nanushuk Formation records an inter-tonguing succession of marine and nonmarine conglomerate, sandstone, mudstone, and [...] Read more.
The Nanushuk Formation (Albian–Cenomanian) crops out over much of the central and western North Slope of Alaska, varying from ≈1500 to ≈250 m thick from west to northeast. The Nanushuk Formation records an inter-tonguing succession of marine and nonmarine conglomerate, sandstone, mudstone, and coal. These rock units comprise the Kukpowruk and Corwin formations of the former Nanushuk Group, respectively. Work presented here is centered in the foothills of the DeLong Mountains along the Kukpowruk River, from an area west of Igloo Mountain in the Coke Basin to the Barabara Syncline, approximately 80 km to the north. A radiometric date recovered from a tuff in our study area suggests a Cenomanian age for at least some of these rocks. Outcrops along the Kukpowruk River contain a well-preserved fossil flora previously recovered from marine, marginal marine, and terrestrial sediments. Our own work focuses on detailed measured sections of terrestrial rocks, interpretation of sedimentary facies and facies associations, and documentation of fossil vertebrates. Eight facies associations are identified in the study area that together are interpreted to represent meandering fluvial and upper delta plain environments. Plant fossils are common and include standing tree trunks up to 58 cm in diameter at some locations. Approximately 75 newly discovered tracksites, and a heretofore unknown, rich fossil vertebrate ichnofauna, are present. The ichnofaunal assemblage includes evidence of small and large theropod dinosaurs (including birds) and bipedal and quadrupedal ornithischian dinosaurs. Approximately 15% of the dinosaur ichnofauna record is represented by fossil bird tracks. Wood fragments from the Nanushuk Formation were analyzed for their carbon isotopic composition to relate δ13C to mean annual precipitation. Samples averaged −26.4‰ VPDB, suggesting an average MAP of 1412 mm/year. This record of increased precipitation in the Nanushuk Fm. during the mid-Cretaceous provides new data that supports global precipitation patterns associated with the Cretaceous Thermal Maximum. This work provides an important framework for much-needed further paleoecological and paleoclimatic analyses into greenhouse conditions in the terrestrial Cretaceous Arctic during this important window in time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sedimentology, Stratigraphy and Palaeontology)
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15 pages, 22364 KiB  
Article
Exploring Imaging Methods for In Situ Measurements of the Visual Appearance of Snow
by Mathieu Nguyen, Jean-Baptiste Thomas and Ivar Farup
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020035 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1280
Abstract
We explored imaging methods to perform in situ field measurements of physical correlates of the visual appearance of snow. Measurements were performed at three locations in Norway between February and March 2023. We used a method to estimate the absorption and scattering coefficients [...] Read more.
We explored imaging methods to perform in situ field measurements of physical correlates of the visual appearance of snow. Measurements were performed at three locations in Norway between February and March 2023. We used a method to estimate the absorption and scattering coefficients of snow using only one measurement of reflectance captured by the Dia-Stron© TLS850 translucency meter. We also measured the sparkle indicators (contrast and density of sparkle spots) from digital images of snow. The contrast of sparkle spots can be defined as the median value of all the pixels identified as sparkle spots by an algorithm, and the density of sparkle spots is the number of sparkle spots in a selected area of the image. In the case of the sparkle of the snow surface, we found that there is a potential to use the sparkle indicators for classifying the grain types, but it requires a larger data set coupled with expert labelling to define the type of snow. For the absorption and scattering properties, the measurements confirm the fact that snow is a weakly absorptive and highly scattering material when modelling light interactions in the snow. No correlation between the optical properties and sparkle could be found in our data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cryosphere)
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16 pages, 5727 KiB  
Article
A Multiphysics Simulation of the Effects of Wicking Geotextile on Mitigating Frost Heave under Cold Region Pavement
by Yusheng Jiang, Zaid Alajlan, Claudia Zapata and Xiong Yu
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020034 - 28 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1129
Abstract
Geotextile offers numerous benefits in improving pavement performance, including drainage, barrier functionality, filtration, and reinforcement. Wicking geotextile, a novel variant in this category, possesses the intrinsic ability to drain water autonomously from soils. This paper details the development and application of a comprehensive [...] Read more.
Geotextile offers numerous benefits in improving pavement performance, including drainage, barrier functionality, filtration, and reinforcement. Wicking geotextile, a novel variant in this category, possesses the intrinsic ability to drain water autonomously from soils. This paper details the development and application of a comprehensive multiphysics model that simulates the performance of wicking geotextile within a pavement system under freezing climates. The model considers the inputs of various environmental dynamics, including the impact of meteorological factors, groundwater levels, ground heat, and drainage on the pavement system. The model was firstly validated using field data from a long-term pavement performance (LTPP) road section in the cold region. It was subsequently applied to assess the impacts of wicking geotextile if it was installed on the road section. The model simulated the coupled temporal and spatial variations in soil moisture content and temperature. The simulation results demonstrated that wicking geotextile would create a suction zone around its installation location to draw water from surrounding soils, therefore reducing the overall unfrozen water content in the pavement. The results also showed that the installation of wicking geotextile would delay the initiation of frost heave and reduce its magnitude in cold region pavement. Full article
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16 pages, 14268 KiB  
Article
Topside Ionospheric Structures Determined via Automatically Detected DEMETER Ion Perturbations during a Geomagnetically Quiet Period
by Mei Li, Hongzhu Yan and Yongxian Zhang
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020033 - 28 Jan 2024
Viewed by 945
Abstract
In this study, 117,718 ionospheric perturbations, with a space size (t) of 20–300 s but no amplitude (A) limit, were automatically globally searched via software utilizing ion density data measured by the DEMETER satellite for over 6 years. The [...] Read more.
In this study, 117,718 ionospheric perturbations, with a space size (t) of 20–300 s but no amplitude (A) limit, were automatically globally searched via software utilizing ion density data measured by the DEMETER satellite for over 6 years. The influence of geomagnetic storms on the ionosphere was first examined. The results demonstrated that storms can globally enhance positive ionospheric irregularities but rarely induce plasma variations of more than 100%. The probability of PERs with a space size falling in 200–300 s (1400–2100 km if a satellite velocity of 7 km/s is considered) occurring in a geomagnetically perturbed period shows more significance than that in a quiet period. Second, statistical work was performed on ion PERs to check their dependence on local time, and it was shown that 24.8% of the perturbations appeared during the daytime (10:30 LT) and 75.2% appeared during the nighttime (22:30 LT). Ionospheric fluctuations with an absolute amplitude of A < 10% tend to be background variations, and the percentages of positive perturbations with a small A < 20% occur at an amount of 64% during the daytime and 26.8% during the nighttime, but this number is reversed for mid–large-amplitude PERs. Large positive PERs with A > 100% mostly occurred at night and negative ones with A < −100% occurred entirely at night. There was a demarcation point in the space size of t = 120 s, and the occurrence probabilities of day PERs were always higher than that of nighttime ones before this point, while this trend was contrary after this point. Finally, distributions of PERs according to different ranges of amplitude and space scale were characterized by typical seasonal variations either in the daytime or nighttime. EIA only exists in the dayside equinox and winter, occupying two low-latitude crests with a lower Np in both hemispheres. Large WSAs appear within all periods, except for dayside summer, and are full of PERs with an enhanced amplitude, especially on winter nights. The WN-like structure is obvious during all seasons, showing large-scale space. On the other hand, several magnetically anomalous zones of planetary-scale non-dipole fields, such as the SAMA, Northern Africa anomaly, and so on, were also successfully detected by extreme negative ion perturbations during this time. Full article
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25 pages, 10018 KiB  
Article
Optimization of Structural Design in Steel Buildings Based on the Site-Specific Design Spectra of the Mexico Seismic Regulations
by Juan Antonio Ramos-Sánchez, Sergio A. Díaz, René Sebastián Mora-Ortiz, Gabriel Polanco-Sotomayor and Francisco Magaña-Hernández
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020032 - 27 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1308
Abstract
Seismic risk management in urban areas requires accurate prediction of the expected seismic hazard. The seismic design standards in the world provide the seismic design spectra (DS). These are crucial for estimating seismic forces on a structure, are typically derived from theoretical models [...] Read more.
Seismic risk management in urban areas requires accurate prediction of the expected seismic hazard. The seismic design standards in the world provide the seismic design spectra (DS). These are crucial for estimating seismic forces on a structure, are typically derived from theoretical models in deterministic or probabilistic seismic hazard studies, especially for bedrock soils. Characterizing soil dynamic amplification frequencies or periods is necessary to establish site-specific design spectra (DSsite). Geotechnical and geophysical studies, along with environmental vibration records, determine soil stratigraphy characteristic features and their dominant frequency or period. These parameters improve our understanding of seismic wave behavior from bedrock to surface soil during earthquakes. This article details the utilization of geotechnical, geophysical studies, and environmental vibration records to estimate DSsite in accordance with Mexican seismic regulation and examines the cost–benefit aspects of using the Dssite in optimizing the structural design of a medium-rise steel building in southeastern Mexico, characterized by soft soil and a moderate seismic hazard. The case study demonstrates an 18% cost savings in the structural elements of the building by employing the DSsite with more rational spectral ordinates for study site. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Seismic Hazard Assessment)
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16 pages, 39381 KiB  
Article
How Did the Late Paleozoic to Early Mesozoic Tectonism Constrain the Carboniferous Stratigraphic Evolution in the Eastern Qaidam Basin, NW China?
by Chang Zhong, Xiaoyin Tang and Jiaqi Wang
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020031 - 26 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1143
Abstract
The eastern Qaidam Basin (EQB), along with its surrounding orogenic belts, witnessed complicated tectonic movements in the period from the late Paleozoic to the early Mesozoic. As strategic succeeding strata, the Carboniferous strata (CST) in the EQB have gradually become a research hotspot [...] Read more.
The eastern Qaidam Basin (EQB), along with its surrounding orogenic belts, witnessed complicated tectonic movements in the period from the late Paleozoic to the early Mesozoic. As strategic succeeding strata, the Carboniferous strata (CST) in the EQB have gradually become a research hotspot in recent years. However, the question of how tectonism controlled the tempo-spatial evolution of the CST has yet to be studied. To resolve these issues, we collated statistics related to unconformities, seismic interpretation, and basin modeling in this study. The results show that the structure of the CST was mostly controlled by NNE-striking faults, namely the Zongjia and Ainan Fault, in the period from the Carboniferous to the Triassic time. During the Carboniferous time, the sedimentation of the CST was controlled by medium-high angle potential normal faults. The CST experienced two stages of tectonic subsidence and subsequent burial: the highest average subsidence and burial rate of 45 m/Ma and 12 m/Ma occurred at 340~285 Ma, decreasing to 15 m/Ma and 7.5 m/Ma between 305 Ma and 250 Ma. However, the maximum burial (~5500 m) took place at ~250 Ma. From the end of the late Permian to the late Triassic (254~195 Ma), the overall exhumation rate of the CST has averaged 38.71 m/Ma, and 75 m/Ma in the southern margin of the Huobuxun Depression. The CST near the piedmont margins of the EQB suffered essential denudation at 254~195 Ma, resulting in small amounts of the residual CST. In these areas, the CST were deformed with a steepening dip during this time and were characterized by the combinations of syncline-anticlinal asymmetric folds with the high-angle interlimb. These findings indicated that the tempo-spatial evolution of the CST was possibly influenced by the sedimentary and tectonic transition, and was a combined response to Paleo-Tethys Ocean subduction, and arc-continental collisions since the late Paleozoic to early Mesozoic periods. Full article
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28 pages, 44765 KiB  
Article
We Came for the Lake—Late Pleistocene Landscape Reconstruction in Lieth Moor, District Pinneberg, Germany
by Stine Detjens, Sonja B. Grimm, Aslı Oflaz, Dennis Wilken, Tina Wunderlich, Wolfgang Rabbel and Berit V. Eriksen
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020030 - 26 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1581
Abstract
The Lieth Moor area, located in the district of Pinneberg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, is a hotspot of Late Palaeolithic settlement activity. The exceptional abundance of archaeological sites is commonly attributed to the presence of a large palaeolake. However, in the Weichselian Late glacial, there [...] Read more.
The Lieth Moor area, located in the district of Pinneberg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, is a hotspot of Late Palaeolithic settlement activity. The exceptional abundance of archaeological sites is commonly attributed to the presence of a large palaeolake. However, in the Weichselian Late glacial, there were numerous large lakes in Schleswig-Holstein. Thus, a well-founded explanation for the find concentration in Lieth Moor is still lacking, and forming a research desideratum until today. To improve our understanding of this Late Pleistocene landscape and its appeal to hunter–gatherer groups of that time, we conducted a large-scale archaeogeophysical study focusing on a possible ford of the potential palaeolake. We employed Ground-Penetrating Radar and Electromagnetic Induction measurements, supplemented by existing legacy drill-probing data, to identify and map limnic gyttja (organic lake mud) sediments and their spatial distribution within the area. The findings of our study indicate that during the Late Pleistocene to Early Holocene, the Lieth Moor area comprised a cluster of small ponds rather than a continuous lake. These ponds likely interconnected during periods of increased water levels. The presence of dry islands within the region corresponds with archaeological evidence, suggesting that Late Palaeolithic communities visited some of these islands. The absence of the previously postulated palaeolake places the known findings within a completely new palaeoenvironmental context: instead of the previously suspected ford, we assume that the proximity to the Elbe Palaeovalley played a decisive role in the repeated habitation of Lieth Moor. This area, rich in fresh water and fish, along with the dune chain situated to the west, serving as both a vantage point and windbreak, presented an ideal location for awaiting animals migrating along the river Elbe and/or as a resting place within the settlement system of mobile hunter–fisher–gatherer groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Geophysics)
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24 pages, 14067 KiB  
Article
Automatic Characterization of Block-In-Matrix Rock Outcrops through Segmentation Algorithms and Its Application to an Archaeo-Mining Case Study
by Andrés Cristóbal, Xurxo Rigueira, Ignacio Pérez-Rey, Xian Estévez-Ventosa, María Pazo, Maria Lia Napoli, Brais X. Currás and Leandro R. Alejano
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020029 - 26 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1793
Abstract
The mechanical behavior of block-in-matrix materials is heavily dependent on their block content. This parameter is in most cases obtained through visual analyses of the ground through digital imagery, which provides the areal block proportion (ABP) of the area analyzed. Nowadays, computer vision [...] Read more.
The mechanical behavior of block-in-matrix materials is heavily dependent on their block content. This parameter is in most cases obtained through visual analyses of the ground through digital imagery, which provides the areal block proportion (ABP) of the area analyzed. Nowadays, computer vision models have the capability to extract knowledge from the information stored in these images. In this research, we analyze and compare classical feature-detection algorithms with state-of-the-art models for the automatic calculation of the ABP parameter in images from surface and underground outcrops. The outcomes of this analysis result in the development of a framework for ABP calculation based on the Segment Anything Model (SAM), which is capable of performing this task at a human level when compared with the results of 32 experts in the field. Consequently, this model can help reduce human bias in the estimation of mechanical properties of block-in-matrix materials as well as contain underground technical problems due to mischaracterization of rock block quantities and dimensions. The methodology used to obtain the ABP at different outcrops is combined with estimates of the rock matrix properties and other characterization techniques to mechanically characterize the block-in-matrix materials. The combination of all these techniques has been applied to analyze, understand and try, for the first time, to model Roman gold-mining strategies in an archaeological site in NW Spain. This mining method is explained through a 2D finite-element method numerical model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Complex Rock Mechanics Problems and Solutions)
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26 pages, 13539 KiB  
Article
Integrating Seismic Methods for Characterizing and Monitoring Landslides: A Case Study of the Heinzenberg Deep-Seated Gravitational Slope Deformation (Switzerland)
by Franziska Glueer, Anne-Sophie Mreyen, Léna Cauchie, Hans-Balder Havenith, Paolo Bergamo, Miroslav Halló and Donat Fäh
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020028 - 24 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1489
Abstract
While geodetic measurements have long been used to assess landslides, seismic methods are increasingly recognized as valuable tools for providing additional insights into subsurface structures and mechanisms. This work aims to characterize the subsurface structures of the deep-seated gravitational slope deformation (DSGSD) at [...] Read more.
While geodetic measurements have long been used to assess landslides, seismic methods are increasingly recognized as valuable tools for providing additional insights into subsurface structures and mechanisms. This work aims to characterize the subsurface structures of the deep-seated gravitational slope deformation (DSGSD) at Heinzenberg through the integration of active and passive seismic measurements. Seismic techniques can hereby deliver additional information on the subsurface structure and mechanisms involved, e.g., the degree of rock mass degradation, the resonant frequencies of the potentially unstable compartments, and the local fracture network orientations that are influenced by wavefield polarization. By employing advanced methods such as H/V analysis, site-to-reference spectral ratios, polarization analysis, surface wave analysis, and the joint multizonal transdimensional Bayesian inversion of velocity structures, we establish a comprehensive baseline model of the landslide at five selected sites. This baseline model shall help identify potential changes after the refilling of Lake Lüsch, which started in 2021. Our results reveal the rupture surface of the DSGSD at various depths ranging from 30 m at the top to over 90 m in the middle of the slope. Additionally, we estimate key parameters including the shear wave velocities of the different rock masses. The 2D geophysical profiles and rock mass properties contribute to the understanding of the subsurface geometry, geomechanical properties, and potential water pathways. This study demonstrates the significance of integrating seismic methods with traditional geodetic measurements and geomorphologic analysis techniques for a comprehensive assessment of landslides, enhancing our ability to monitor and mitigate hazardous events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landslide Monitoring and Mapping II)
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26 pages, 26872 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Geological Multi-Hazards in an Urban District
by Cristina Di Salvo, Giancarlo Ciotoli, Marco Mancini, Stefania Nisio and Francesco Stigliano
Geosciences 2024, 14(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14020027 - 24 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1408
Abstract
This work aims to describe, classify, and analyze the occurrence of selected natural multi-hazards, specifically pluvial floods and sinkholes, affecting a district in the urban area of Rome, Italy. The procedure is based on a robust geological, geomorphological, and hydrogeological analysis performed using [...] Read more.
This work aims to describe, classify, and analyze the occurrence of selected natural multi-hazards, specifically pluvial floods and sinkholes, affecting a district in the urban area of Rome, Italy. The procedure is based on a robust geological, geomorphological, and hydrogeological analysis performed using data collected and archived for the scope. The susceptibility is calculated based on geo-hydrological and geomorphological factors, as well as the occurrence of flooding and sinkholes. The areas prone to each single hazard were combined and put into the context of multi-hazard assessment by overlaying the susceptibility with buildings and population data. The resulting map shows that 50% of buildings (6215 inhabitants) are in an area of multi-hazard susceptibility; among these, 25% are in the highest multi-hazard classes (4 and 5). These areas are named “multi-hazard hotspots” because they are affected by many hazards with associated higher impacts. This study demonstrates that a comprehensive approach that combines the examination of geology, hydrogeology, modifications to historical morphology, and the occurrence of geological disasters is effective for mapping geohazards in urban areas and identifying locations with multiple hazards. A multi-hazard hotspot map can be used as a tool for planning actions aimed at reducing the vulnerability and exposure level of the urban population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Hazards)
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