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Geosciences, Volume 14, Issue 4 (April 2024) – 24 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Understanding the fate of arctic and subarctic archaeological sites in the context of climate change is paramount. Despite their vulnerability, the degradation of northern archaeological sites remains inadequately documented. Our research on Oakes Bay 1, Dog Island, Labrador, employs an innovative approach in northern geoarchaeology, utilizing non-invasive geophysical methods to map permafrost distribution, offering crucial insights into its characteristics and spatial variability. Our findings highlight the susceptibility of the permafrost at Oakes Bay 1 to conduction and advection mechanisms, emphasizing the necessity for conservation efforts in similar sites. This research contributes to a deeper understanding of climate change's repercussions on northern regions’ archaeological heritage. View this paper
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18 pages, 13322 KiB  
Article
Chemistry in Retrieved Ryugu Asteroid Samples Revealed by Non-Invasive X-ray Microanalyses: Pink-Beam Fluorescence CT and Tender-Energy Absorption Spectroscopy
by Paul Northrup, Ryan Tappero, Timothy D. Glotch, George J. Flynn, Mehmet Yesiltas, Yoko Kebukawa, Leonard Flores, Marina E. Gemma and Gavin Piccione
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040111 - 21 Apr 2024
Viewed by 714
Abstract
The Hayabusa2 space mission recently retrieved 5.4 g of material from asteroid Ryugu, providing the first direct access to pristine material from a carbonaceous asteroid. This study employs a novel combination of non-invasive synchrotron X-ray techniques to examine microscale chemistry (elemental distributions and [...] Read more.
The Hayabusa2 space mission recently retrieved 5.4 g of material from asteroid Ryugu, providing the first direct access to pristine material from a carbonaceous asteroid. This study employs a novel combination of non-invasive synchrotron X-ray techniques to examine microscale chemistry (elemental distributions and element-specific chemical speciation and local structure) inside Ryugu grains without physically cutting the samples. Manganese primarily occurs in carbonate: Mn-bearing dolomite with minor earlier ankerite. Iron sulfides present as large single grains and as smaller particles in the finer-grained matrix are both predominantly pyrrhotite. At the 5 μm scale, Fe sulfides do not show the mineralogical heterogeneity seen in many carbonaceous meteorites but exhibit some heterogeneous localized oxidation. Iron is present often as intergrowths of oxide and sulfide, indicating incomplete replacement. Trace selenium substitutes for S in pyrrhotite. Copper is present as Fe-poor Cu sulfide. These results demonstrate multiple episodes of fluid alteration on the parent body, including partial oxidation, and help constrain the sequence or evolution of fluids and processes that resulted in the current grain-scale mineralogical composition of Ryugu materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Geochemistry)
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24 pages, 56855 KiB  
Article
New Tsunami Evacuation Training Methods: A Tsunami Evacuation Training Application
by Toshiya Arakawa, Fumiaki Obayashi, Kazunobu Kobayashi, Tomoki Itamiya, Shintaro Uno, Shigeyuki Yamabe and Takahiro Suzuki
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040110 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 599
Abstract
Despite evacuation on foot being recommended by authorities, evacuation in practice is assumed to include evacuation on foot and evacuation by car, as a certain amount of evacuation by car is to be expected. We developed a tsunami evacuation training application operating on [...] Read more.
Despite evacuation on foot being recommended by authorities, evacuation in practice is assumed to include evacuation on foot and evacuation by car, as a certain amount of evacuation by car is to be expected. We developed a tsunami evacuation training application operating on smartphones and tablets, and a tsunami evacuation training simulator to evaluate the effect of this application. We then conducted an experiment in Nishio City to evaluate the application. We found that the subjects were able to quickly grasp the attention targets that were present near them but had difficulty grasping attention targets that were far away. This suggests that participants need to be trained repeatedly on distant objects of attention to be able to locate them instantaneously. Full article
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22 pages, 14042 KiB  
Article
Mapping the Flood Vulnerability of Residential Structures: Cases from The Netherlands, Puerto Rico, and the United States
by Nicholas D. Diaz, Yoonjeong Lee, Baukje L. M. Kothuis, Ismael Pagán-Trinidad, Sebastiaan N. Jonkman and Samuel D. Brody
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040109 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 797
Abstract
Floods are consistently ranked as the most financially devastating natural disasters worldwide. Recent flood events in the Netherlands, Caribbean, and US have drawn attention to flood risks resulting from pluvial and fluvial sources. Despite shared experiences with flooding, these regions employ distinct approaches [...] Read more.
Floods are consistently ranked as the most financially devastating natural disasters worldwide. Recent flood events in the Netherlands, Caribbean, and US have drawn attention to flood risks resulting from pluvial and fluvial sources. Despite shared experiences with flooding, these regions employ distinct approaches and flood management strategies due to differences in governance and scale—offering a three-site case study comparison. A key, yet often lacking, factor for flood risk and damage assessments at the parcel level is building elevation compared to flood elevation. First-floor elevations (FFEs) are a critical element in the vulnerability of a building flooding. US-based flood insurance policies require FFEs; however, data availability limitations exist. Drone-based FFEs were measured in all locations to assess the flood vulnerabilities of structures. Flood vulnerability profiles revealed 64% of buildings were vulnerable to a form of inundation, with 40% belonging to “moderate” or “major” inundation, and inundation elevation means (IEMs) of −0.55 m, 0.19 m, and 0.71 m within the US, Netherlands, and Puerto Rico sites, respectively. Spatial statistics revealed FFEs were more responsible for flood vulnerabilities in the US site while topography was more responsible in the Netherlands and Puerto Rico sites. Additional findings in the Puerto Rico site reveal FFEs and next highest floor elevations (NHFEs) vulnerable to future sea level rise (SLR) flood elevations. The findings within the Netherlands provide support for developing novel multi-layered flood risk reduction strategies that include building elevation. We discuss future work recommendations and how the different sites could benefit significantly from strengthening FFE requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flood Risk Reduction)
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9 pages, 1625 KiB  
Article
IMD: A Dating Code to Facilitate the Study of Transient Phenomena on the Surface of Mars
by Adriano Nardi, Paolo Bagiacchi and Antonio Piersanti
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040108 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 489
Abstract
Today, we have satellite images of Mars with a resolution of up to 24 cm per pixel. The planet has a thin atmosphere compared to Earth’s, but its surface is revealing itself to be active and complex. The use of images is an [...] Read more.
Today, we have satellite images of Mars with a resolution of up to 24 cm per pixel. The planet has a thin atmosphere compared to Earth’s, but its surface is revealing itself to be active and complex. The use of images is an increasingly precise means of investigation for the study of transient phenomena that occur on the surface of the planet. We have developed a dating code that could be useful in the study of such phenomena. Thanks to this dating code, it is possible to immediately understand what season is in progress in the observed area starting from the terrestrial reference date of the photos taken by the orbiters. Some intermediate parameters of this calculation, such as the Martian year and the day of the year, can be equally useful for similar investigations. Satellite study of transient phenomena observable on the surface of Mars can range from geology (wind erosion and sedimentation) to meteorology (wind and phase transitions) to indigenous or non-indigenous biology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Climate)
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26 pages, 12810 KiB  
Article
An Inversion Method for Surrounding Rock Parameters of Tunnels Based on a Probabilistic Baseline Model under a Constructional Environment
by Chenpeng Shi, Xiaokun Yan, Jianxing Yang and Yang Liu
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040107 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 544
Abstract
The uncertainty of surrounding rock parameters varies due to changes in the boundary conditions of the tunnel model, and no suitable method to ensure that the updated parameters of the finite element model (FEM) are applicable throughout the constructional environment. To address this [...] Read more.
The uncertainty of surrounding rock parameters varies due to changes in the boundary conditions of the tunnel model, and no suitable method to ensure that the updated parameters of the finite element model (FEM) are applicable throughout the constructional environment. To address this issue, a probabilistic baseline model method was introduced to invert the rock parameters and obtain values suitable for the complete constructional environment. First, the probabilistic statistical theory was applied to statistically analyze the measurement data from tunnels under different constructional environments, which provides insight into the variation in rock parameters. Then, an objective optimization function based on a genetic algorithm (GA) was constructed to optimize the accuracy by minimizing the error between the measurement data and the simulation data. Next, a Kriging model was built that utilized Young’s modulus and cohesion as updated parameters. This approach contributes to overcoming the inefficiency of multi-objective optimization computations. By using the Kriging model, optimal values for the rock parameters were obtained. Finally, the effectiveness and applicability of the proposed method were validated by comparing the measured data with the updated model data under different constructional environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Geomechanics)
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17 pages, 6530 KiB  
Article
A Meteorological Drought Migration Model for Assessing the Spatiotemporal Paths of Drought in the Choushui River Alluvial Fan, Taiwan
by Hsin-Fu Yeh, Xin-Yu Lin, Chia-Chi Huang and Hsin-Yu Chen
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040106 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 603
Abstract
Understanding drought evolution and its driving factors is crucial for effective water resource management and forecasting. This study enhances the analysis of drought probability by constructing bivariate distributions, providing a more realistic perspective than single-characteristic approaches. Additionally, a meteorological drought migration model is [...] Read more.
Understanding drought evolution and its driving factors is crucial for effective water resource management and forecasting. This study enhances the analysis of drought probability by constructing bivariate distributions, providing a more realistic perspective than single-characteristic approaches. Additionally, a meteorological drought migration model is established to explore spatiotemporal paths and related characteristics of major drought events in the Choushui River alluvial fan. The results reveal a significant increase in the probability of southward-moving drought events after 1981. Before 1981, drought paths were diverse, while after 1981, these paths became remarkably similar, following a trajectory from north to south. This is primarily attributed to the higher rainfall in the northern region of the Choushui River alluvial fan from February to April, leading to a consistent southward movement of drought centroids. This study proposes that climate change is a primary factor influencing changes in the spatiotemporal paths of drought. It implies that changes in rainfall patterns and climate conditions can be discerned through the meteorological drought migration model. As a result, it provides the potential for simplifying drought-monitoring methods. These research findings provide further insight into the dynamic process of drought in the Choushui River alluvial fan and serve as valuable references for future water resource management. Full article
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11 pages, 12586 KiB  
Comment
Comment on Nasir et al. The Mahout Structure in the Central Desert of Oman: A Possible Simple Impact Crater. Geosciences 2023, 13, 363
by Wolf Uwe Reimold
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040105 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 461
Abstract
A possible impact crater at Mahout in Oman was recently proposed by Nasir et al. (2023 [1]). They alleged that “crater” morphology, shatter cones, shock metamorphic evidence in quartz, plagioclase, and calcite, as well as initial geochemical information and geophysical data [...] Read more.
A possible impact crater at Mahout in Oman was recently proposed by Nasir et al. (2023 [1]). They alleged that “crater” morphology, shatter cones, shock metamorphic evidence in quartz, plagioclase, and calcite, as well as initial geochemical information and geophysical data supported this proposal. Their conclusion was that “All current analyses suggest the impact origin of the Mahout structure” (p. 20 of the article). In this Comment, their evidence is critically discussed and largely refuted. It is demonstrated that the basis to consider the Mahout structure a possible impact structure is very limited and that further detailed, state-of-the-art analyses of the mesoscopic and microscopic de-formation features are required to obtain credible evidence. Beyond the discussion of the article by Nasir et al., this Comment emphasizes the general need for careful and comprehensive analysis of the geological structures that might, a priori, suggest a possible impact origin if, ultimately, a new impact structure can be successfully confirmed. Full article
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19 pages, 11500 KiB  
Article
Geotechnical and Geophysical Assessment of the 2021 Tamban Chimbo Landslide, Northern Andes of Ecuador
by Isela Salinas, Abelardo Paucar, María Quiñónez-Macías, Francisco Grau, Marysabel Barragán-Taco, Theofilos Toulkeridis and Kervin Chunga
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040104 - 16 Apr 2024
Viewed by 2451
Abstract
The recent landslide at the Tamban site, on 21 December 2021 (23:30 local time), provides relevant information on the trigger mechanisms and their relationship with geological factors. Therefore, the predominant aims of the current study were to identify the lithological units in the [...] Read more.
The recent landslide at the Tamban site, on 21 December 2021 (23:30 local time), provides relevant information on the trigger mechanisms and their relationship with geological factors. Therefore, the predominant aims of the current study were to identify the lithological units in the rocky substrate and subsoil from geophysical surveys, delineating the thickness of the tuff- and lapilli-supported fall layers. Additionally, we evaluated the deformation dynamics from probabilistic and deterministic analysis, where a plane with well-differentiated discontinuities of normal-type geological fault was evidenced. This deformation feature was associated with a planar-type landslide that reached a debris flow up to 330 m distance, with varied thicknesses. Furthermore, we conducted a probabilistic analysis, which started from the characteristics of the post-slide material analyzed through triaxial trials that were conducted to a retro-analysis in order to obtain the parameters of the moment the event occurred. With the base parameters to perform the landslide analysis and determine its safety factors in compliance with current regulations, a reinforced earth configuration was applied using the Maccaferri’s Terramesh method. Hence, it was possible to provide an analysis methodology for further geological scenarios of landslides that occurred in the province of Bolívar, the northern Andes of Ecuador. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landslide Monitoring and Mapping II)
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34 pages, 19182 KiB  
Article
Shear Banding and Cracking in Unsaturated Porous Media through a Nonlocal THM Meshfree Paradigm
by Hossein Pashazad and Xiaoyu Song
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040103 - 9 Apr 2024
Viewed by 718
Abstract
The mechanical behavior of unsaturated porous media under non-isothermal conditions plays a vital role in geo-hazards and geo-energy engineering (e.g., landslides triggered by fire and geothermal energy harvest and foundations). Temperature increase can trigger localized failure and cracking in unsaturated porous media. This [...] Read more.
The mechanical behavior of unsaturated porous media under non-isothermal conditions plays a vital role in geo-hazards and geo-energy engineering (e.g., landslides triggered by fire and geothermal energy harvest and foundations). Temperature increase can trigger localized failure and cracking in unsaturated porous media. This article investigates the shear banding and cracking in unsaturated porous media under non-isothermal conditions through a thermo–hydro–mechanical (THM) periporomechanics (PPM) paradigm. PPM is a nonlocal formulation of classical poromechanics using integral equations, which is robust in simulating continuous and discontinuous deformation in porous media. As a new contribution, we formulate a nonlocal THM constitutive model for unsaturated porous media in the PPM paradigm in this study. The THM meshfree paradigm is implemented through an explicit Lagrangian meshfree algorithm. The return mapping algorithm is used to implement the nonlocal THM constitutive model numerically. Numerical examples are presented to assess the capability of the proposed THM mesh-free paradigm for modeling shear banding and cracking in unsaturated porous media under non-isothermal conditions. The numerical results are examined to study the effect of temperature variations on the formation of shear banding and cracking in unsaturated porous media. Full article
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16 pages, 4182 KiB  
Article
Radon Emanation and Dynamic Processes in Highly Dispersive Media
by Vladislav B. Zaalishvili, Dmitry A. Melkov, Nikita V. Martyushev, Roman V. Klyuev, Vladislav V. Kukartsev, Vladimir Yu. Konyukhov, Roman V. Kononenko, Angelika L. Gendon and Tatiana A. Oparina
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040102 - 9 Apr 2024
Viewed by 670
Abstract
The paper considers a dispersive geological medium (seismically turbid medium, as defined by A.V. Nikolaev), which is in a stress–strain state. Results of studies on the joint monitoring of seismic effects and radon emanation in various geological environments are presented. It is concluded [...] Read more.
The paper considers a dispersive geological medium (seismically turbid medium, as defined by A.V. Nikolaev), which is in a stress–strain state. Results of studies on the joint monitoring of seismic effects and radon emanation in various geological environments are presented. It is concluded that the turbidity of the medium, as a statistical characteristic, can be generalized in terms of other media parameters, such as permeability. A stable connection between radon emanation and dynamic processes occurring in a geological environment and caused by external influences has been established. The concentration of radon can also reflect the degree of enrichment of the environment by underground fractures. Consequently, saturation of the environment with radon provides information about the presence of disturbances in a geological environment in the form of cracks and a stress–strain state of the medium before and after seismic loadings. Radon observations make it possible to assess a continuity of the environment and the possibility of leaching in natural conditions. Therefore, it could be efficiently used for underground leaching efficiency assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Precursory Phenomena Prior to Earthquakes 2023)
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12 pages, 3019 KiB  
Article
Temperature Dependence of the Dielectric Constant on the Lunar Surface Based on Mini-RF and Diviner Observations
by Chenhao Sun, Hideaki Miyamoto and Makito Kobayashi
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040101 - 9 Apr 2024
Viewed by 641
Abstract
Radar observation is an effective way to understand subsurface structures in terms of the dielectric constant, whose controlling factors include chemical composition, packing density, and water/ice content. Recently, laboratory measurements have shown that the dielectric constant of lunar regolith simulants also depends on [...] Read more.
Radar observation is an effective way to understand subsurface structures in terms of the dielectric constant, whose controlling factors include chemical composition, packing density, and water/ice content. Recently, laboratory measurements have shown that the dielectric constant of lunar regolith simulants also depends on the temperature, which has never been evaluated from remote sensing data. In this study, we estimated the dielectric constant from the Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF) data on a lunar crater floor in the north polar region at two different local times (i.e., different surface temperatures). We calculated the dielectric constant using the inversion method and obtained the bolometric surface temperature from the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment (Diviner) data. The histograms of the estimated dielectric constant values are different between the two local times. This could be interpreted as a result of the temperature dependence of the dielectric constant, while further evaluation of the influence of topography on the incidence angle and small surface roughness is needed. Nevertheless, our result suggests that the temperature dependence of the dielectric constant should be considered when interpreting S-band radar observations of the Moon and other celestial bodies with large surface temperature differences. Full article
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26 pages, 11420 KiB  
Article
Nonlinear 3D Finite Element Analysis of a Coupled Soil–Structure System by a Deterministic Approach
by Francesco Castelli, Salvatore Grasso, Valentina Lentini and Maria Stella Vanessa Sammito
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040100 - 5 Apr 2024
Viewed by 700
Abstract
Fully coupled soil–structure analyses were performed for a building of strategic importance located in the city of Messina (Sicily, Italy). The structure was built after the destructive 1908 earthquake, also known as the ‘Messina and Reggio Calabria earthquake’, which caused severe ground shaking. [...] Read more.
Fully coupled soil–structure analyses were performed for a building of strategic importance located in the city of Messina (Sicily, Italy). The structure was built after the destructive 1908 earthquake, also known as the ‘Messina and Reggio Calabria earthquake’, which caused severe ground shaking. A parametric study considering three seismograms of this earthquake was performed. Deep in situ and laboratory investigations allowed the definition of the geometric and geotechnical model of the subsoil. Numerical analyses were performed with PLAXIS3D finite element software (Version 21.01.00.479). The Hardening Soil model with small-strain stiffness was accurately calibrated using laboratory and field data. The dynamic response was investigated in terms of accelerations, response spectra, amplification functions, displacements and stress–strain hysteretic loops. The findings show that many aspects must be investigated for the retrofitting of buildings with shallow foundation in areas characterized by a medium to high level of seismic risk: (i) a key role is played by an accurate investigation of the soil; taking into account the specific conditions of the soil, it was possible to investigate its filtering effects; (ii) the dynamic response of the fully-coupled soil–structure system deviates from the free field-site response analysis; (iii) the results reveal the importance of considering the soil nonlinearity in seismic soil–structure interaction problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Geomechanics)
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15 pages, 3756 KiB  
Article
Absolute Dating of Fault-Gouge Material Using Isothermal Thermoluminescence: An Example from the Nojima Fault Zone, SW Japan
by Evangelos Tsakalos, Eleni Filippaki, Aiming Lin, Maria Kazantzaki, Takafumi Nishiwaki and Yannis Bassiakos
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040099 - 4 Apr 2024
Viewed by 868
Abstract
Establishing the absolute age of palaeoearthquakes is of great significance for the assessment of the seismicity and seismic hazards of a region. As such, several different geochronological techniques to date earthquake-related material have been developed to provide answers on the time of past [...] Read more.
Establishing the absolute age of palaeoearthquakes is of great significance for the assessment of the seismicity and seismic hazards of a region. As such, several different geochronological techniques to date earthquake-related material have been developed to provide answers on the time of past earthquakes. The present study is part of a wider palaeoseismic research project conducted in the Nojima Fault Zone (NFZ), where the 1995 Mw 6.9 Kobe (Japan) earthquake was triggered, to assess the suitability of the isothermal thermoluminescence (ITL) dating technique on fine-grained quartz and medium-grained feldspar and to provide a sequence of ages for fault-rock samples separated from a drilled core that was retrieved from a depth of ~506 m. Our analysis reveals that ITL can produce consistent dating results and can be considered a reliable luminescence technique for the absolute dating of fault-gouge material. The produced ITL ages signified the existence of repeated seismic events within the NFZ that took place through the late Pleistocene period, with gouge ages spanning from 78.6 ± 4.2 to 13.4 ± 1.4 ka; however, overestimation of the produced ITL dating results may be apparent. Nonetheless, even though some degree of overestimation is considered, ITL dating results denote the oldest possible age boundary of formation (or luminescence signal resetting) of the collected fault-gouge layers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geochronology and Chemostratigraphy of Quaternary Environment)
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28 pages, 16957 KiB  
Article
Defense and Protection of the Marine Coastal Areas and Human Health: A Case Study of Asbestos Cement Contamination (Italy)
by Roberta Somma, Salvatore Giacobbe, Francesco Paolo La Monica, Maria Letizia Molino, Marina Morabito, Sebastiano Ettore Spoto, Salvatore Zaccaro and Giuseppe Zaffino
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040098 - 1 Apr 2024
Viewed by 944
Abstract
Pivotal environmental geology research was carried out in the protected area of Cape Peloro (Messina, NE Sicily, Italy). The main aims were the ascertainment of the presence of Asbestos Cement Materials (ACMs), their mapping, and, consequently, an estimation of the potential risk for [...] Read more.
Pivotal environmental geology research was carried out in the protected area of Cape Peloro (Messina, NE Sicily, Italy). The main aims were the ascertainment of the presence of Asbestos Cement Materials (ACMs), their mapping, and, consequently, an estimation of the potential risk for human health and marine coastal environments. The beaches surveyed covered 4500 m of coastline. Through high-resolution photographic surveys, over 520 fiber cement fragments were documented on the beaches as well as in beach deposits. The materials, after microscope, SEM-EDS, and FTIR analyses, were found to be composed of Portland cement with chrysotile and crocidolite fibers. Fragments of ACMs showed typical corrugated forms with centimeter-to-decimeter sizes and prevailing well-rounded, platy, and sub-elongate shapes. In a few localities, some fragments were found to be angular or friable. Furthermore, some fragments found on the beach were covered by conspicuous encrustations of marine organisms, testifying to their long staying in shallow-water marine environments. Illicit landfills and abandoned materials were identified in natural sections on the coastal plain. Most of the rounded ACMs were characterized by their surface texture, with mm-size asbestos fibers exposed on the surface due to significant weathering and abrasion. Notably, new fragments appeared after storms. Significant criticisms have been made related to the ACMs, analogously to what was reported for other Italian marine beaches. Possible intervention and reclamation activities cannot limit themselves to removing the fragments on the beach, as fragments are immersed in the coastal sediments at different depths and are also found in the marine deposits. Here, it is underlined that any asbestos removal and reclamation activities, if not designed and based on a multidisciplinary approach and knowledge of local coastal dynamics and the meteo-marine climate, will be very expensive and ineffective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sedimentology, Stratigraphy and Palaeontology)
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22 pages, 1999 KiB  
Review
Sulfur Impurities: The Overlooked Process in Volcanic Hazard Assessment
by Teresa Scolamacchia
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040097 - 1 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1003
Abstract
One of the most intriguing questions of modern volcanology is the inception of an eruption. Despite efforts to detect premonitory signals, numerous unpredicted eruptions have occurred recently. It has been suggested that these unpredicted eruptions might be explained by viscosity variations in elemental [...] Read more.
One of the most intriguing questions of modern volcanology is the inception of an eruption. Despite efforts to detect premonitory signals, numerous unpredicted eruptions have occurred recently. It has been suggested that these unpredicted eruptions might be explained by viscosity variations in elemental sulfur accumulated within the hydrothermal systems present in several volcanic settings under the influence of organics, hydrocarbons, hydrogen sulfide, halogens, and ammonia. Changes in impure sulfur viscosity are more complex than those in pure S, invoked decades ago to trigger eruptions by system sealing in volcanoes hosting a crater lake. Growing evidence suggests that sulfur accumulation is a common process, not restricted to crater lakes. Moreover, both types and amounts of gas species released at the surface, critical for volcano monitoring, would be altered, following chemical reactions involving impure S, invalidating signals used to issue alerts. Impure sulfur behavior may explain puzzling degassing and contrasting signals reported at volcanoes and restless calderas worldwide, with implications for hazard assessment and volcanic-risk-mitigation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Hazards)
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29 pages, 13747 KiB  
Article
Observation of the Preparation Phase Associated with Mw = 7.2 Haiti Earthquake on 14 August 2021 from a Geophysical Data Point of View
by Dedalo Marchetti
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040096 - 30 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1145
Abstract
On 14 August 2021, an earthquake of moment magnitude Mw = 7.2 hit Haiti Island. Unfortunately, it caused several victims and economic damage to the island. While predicting earthquakes is still challenging and has not yet been achieved, studying the preparation phase of [...] Read more.
On 14 August 2021, an earthquake of moment magnitude Mw = 7.2 hit Haiti Island. Unfortunately, it caused several victims and economic damage to the island. While predicting earthquakes is still challenging and has not yet been achieved, studying the preparation phase of such catastrophic events may improve our knowledge and pose the basis for future predictions of earthquakes. In this paper, the six months that preceded the Haiti earthquake are analysed, investigating the lithosphere (by seismic catalogue), atmosphere (by climatological archive) and ionosphere by China Seismo-Electromagnetic Satellite (CSES-01) and Swarm satellites, as well as Total Electron Content (TEC) data. Several anomalies have been extracted from the analysed parameters using different techniques. A comparison, especially between the different layers, could increase or decrease the probability that a specific group of anomalies may be (or not) related to the preparation phase of the Haiti 2021 earthquake. In particular, two possible coupling processes have been revealed as part of the earthquake preparation phase. The first one was only between the lithosphere and the atmosphere about 130 days before the mainshock. The second one was about two months before the seismic event. It is exciting to underline that all the geo-layers show anomalies at that time: seismic accumulation of stress showed an increase of its slope, several atmospheric quantities underline abnormal atmospheric conditions, and CSES-01 Ne depicted two consecutive days of ionospheric electron density. This suggested a possible coupling of lithosphere–atmosphere and ionosphere as a sign of the increased stress, i.e., the impending earthquake. Full article
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21 pages, 18375 KiB  
Article
Conceptual Model of Permafrost Degradation in an Inuit Archaeological Context (Dog Island, Labrador): A Geophysical Approach
by Rachel Labrie, Najat Bhiry, Dominique Todisco, Cécile Finco and Armelle Couillet
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040095 - 27 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1207
Abstract
Characterizing permafrost is crucial for understanding the fate of arctic and subarctic archaeological archives under climate change. The loss of bio-physical integrity of archaeological sites in northern regions is still poorly documented, even though discontinuous permafrost is particularly vulnerable to global warming. In [...] Read more.
Characterizing permafrost is crucial for understanding the fate of arctic and subarctic archaeological archives under climate change. The loss of bio-physical integrity of archaeological sites in northern regions is still poorly documented, even though discontinuous permafrost is particularly vulnerable to global warming. In this study, we documented the spatial distribution of the permafrost-supported Inuit archaeological site Oakes Bay 1 on Dog Island (Labrador, Canada) while employing a novel approach in northern geoarchaeology based on non-invasive geophysical methods. ERT and GPR were successfully used to estimate active layer thickness and image permafrost spatial variability and characteristics. The results made it possible to reconstruct a conceptual model of the current geocryological context of the subsurface in relation to the site topography, hydrology, and geomorphology. The peripherical walls of Inuit semi-subterranean sod houses were found to contain ice-rich permafrost, whereas their central depressions were identified as sources of vertical permafrost degradation. The geophysical investigations were used to classify the permafrost at Oakes Bay 1 as climate-driven, ecosystem-protected permafrost that cannot regenerate under current climate conditions. This work highlights how the permafrost at Oakes Bay 1 is currently affected by multi-point thermal degradation by both conduction and advection, which makes it highly sensitive to climate warming. Full article
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16 pages, 24532 KiB  
Article
Investigation and Monitoring for Ever-Updating Engineering Geological Models: The Example of the Passo della Morte Landslide System
by Angelo Ballaera, Pietro Festi, Lisa Borgatti, Giulia Bossi and Gianluca Marcato
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040094 - 26 Mar 2024
Viewed by 778
Abstract
In mountainous regions, where large valleys are essential corridors for settlements and infrastructures, landslide hazard management is a pressing challenge. Large, slow-moving landslides are sometimes difficult to detect. On the one hand, the identification of geomorphological evidence supported by a detailed analysis of [...] Read more.
In mountainous regions, where large valleys are essential corridors for settlements and infrastructures, landslide hazard management is a pressing challenge. Large, slow-moving landslides are sometimes difficult to detect. On the one hand, the identification of geomorphological evidence supported by a detailed analysis of possible geological predisposing factor is crucial. On the other hand, to confirm the state of activity of the landslide, displacements should also be detected through monitoring. However, monitoring is challenging when large areas and volumes are involved and when cost effectiveness is an issue. This study presents a comprehensive analysis of the Passo della Morte landslide system, located in the Carnian Alps, which has historically posed a significant threat to critical road infrastructures, including a 2200 m long tunnel. The area is exploited as an example of how an iterative 3M approach (Monitoring, Modeling, and Mitigation), can inform and update engineering geological models of unstable slopes by enabling a detailed comprehension of landslide dynamics, facilitating in turn the development of more effective strategies for risk management and mitigation. Through detailed investigation and continuous monitoring over nearly two decades, the engineering geological model has been refined, integrated with new field data, and has progressively improved understanding of slope instability processes. This work underscores the importance of a dynamic and adaptive approach to geological hazard management, providing a valuable framework for similar challenges in other regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landslide Monitoring and Mapping II)
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12 pages, 4884 KiB  
Article
Effect of Freeze–Thaw and Wetting–Drying Cycles on the Hydraulic Conductivity of Modified Tailings
by Longlong Meng, Liangxiong Xia, Min Xia, Shaokai Nie, Jiakai Chen, Wenyuan Wang, Aifang Du, Haowen Guo and Bate Bate
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040093 - 25 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1114
Abstract
Mine tailings have shown viability as the fine–grained layer in a capillary barrier structure for controlling acid mine drainage in a circular economy. Their saturated hydraulic conductivities (ksat) under wetting–drying cycles and freeze–thaw cycles remain unexplored. In this study, modified [...] Read more.
Mine tailings have shown viability as the fine–grained layer in a capillary barrier structure for controlling acid mine drainage in a circular economy. Their saturated hydraulic conductivities (ksat) under wetting–drying cycles and freeze–thaw cycles remain unexplored. In this study, modified tailings with a weight ratio of 95:5 (tailings/hydrodesulfurization (HDS) clay from waste–water treatment) and an initial water content of 12% were used. The ksat of specimens was measured after up to 15 wetting–drying cycles, each lasting 24 h, with a drying temperature of 105 °C. The ksat for wetting–drying cycles decreased from 3.9 × 10−6 m/s to 9.5 × 10−7 m/s in the first three cycles and then stabilized in the subsequent wetting–drying cycles (i.e., 5.7 × 10−7 m/s–6.3 × 10−7 m/s). Increased fine particles due to particle breakage are the primary mechanism for the ksat trend. In addition, the migration of fines and their preferential deposition near the pore throat area may also promote this decreasing trend through the shrinking and potentially clogging–up of pore throats. This could be explained by the movement of the meniscus, increased salinity, and, subsequently, the shrinkage of the electrical diffuse layer during the drying cycle. Similar specimens were tested to measure ksat under up to 15 freeze–thaw cycles with temperatures circling between −20 °C and 20 °C at 12 h intervals. Compared to the untreated specimen (i.e., 3.8 × 10−6 m/s), the ksat after three freeze–thaw cycles decreased by 77.6% (i.e., 8.5 × 10−7 m/s) and then remained almost unchanged (i.e., 5.6 × 10−7 m/s–8.9 × 10−7 m/s) in subsequent freeze–thaw cycles. The increased fine grain content (i.e., 3.1%) can be used to explain the decreased ksat trend. Moreover, the migration of fines toward the pore throat area, driven by the advancing and receding of ice lens fronts and subsequent deposition at the pore throat, may also contribute to this trend. Full article
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13 pages, 3336 KiB  
Article
Correlation of Geotechnical and Mineralogical Properties of Lithomargic Clays in Uttara Kannada Region of South India
by Deepak Nayak, Purushotham G. Sarvade, H. N. Udayashankar, Balakrishna S. Maddodi and M. Prasanna Kumar
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040092 - 23 Mar 2024
Viewed by 828
Abstract
The present study explores the intricate relationship between the geotechnical and mineralogical properties of lithomargic clays in the Uttara Kannada region of south India. Lithomargic clays, characterized by their unique composition of clay minerals and calcareous content, play a crucial role in the [...] Read more.
The present study explores the intricate relationship between the geotechnical and mineralogical properties of lithomargic clays in the Uttara Kannada region of south India. Lithomargic clays, characterized by their unique composition of clay minerals and calcareous content, play a crucial role in the geotechnical behavior of soils. The study aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between the mineralogical composition and engineering characteristics of lithomargic clays, shedding light on their suitability for various construction and infrastructure projects. The research methodology involves a systematic analysis of lithomargic clay samples collected from different locations in the Uttara Kannada region. Geotechnical investigations, including particle size distribution, Atterberg limits, unconfined compressive strength (UCS), California bearing ratio (CBR) and triaxial tests, are conducted to assess the engineering properties of the clays. Concurrently, mineralogical analyses, such as X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), are employed to identify and quantify the clay mineral constituents within the samples. The findings of this study reveal correlations between specific mineralogical features and geotechnical behaviors of lithomargic clays. Understanding these relationships is crucial for predicting the response of these clays to different engineering applications, including slope stability, foundation design and embankment construction. The research contributes valuable insights to the scientific and engineering communities, aiding in the informed utilization of lithomargic clays in geotechnical projects in the Uttara Kannada region and beyond. The outcomes of this investigation, such as the correlation of geotechnical properties with the variation in minerals in various sample locations, enhance our understanding of the complex nature of lithomargic clays, providing a foundation for more sustainable and effective engineering practices in the geologically diverse landscapes of south India. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil-Structure Interactions in Underground Construction)
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28 pages, 11867 KiB  
Article
Structural Control at Monte Somma and Vesuvio during the Last 5600 Years through Time and Space Distribution of Volcanic Vents
by Claudia Principe, Daniele Giordano, Annarita Paolillo, Simone Arrighi, Debora Brocchini and Sonia La Felice
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040091 - 22 Mar 2024
Viewed by 857
Abstract
Vesuvio is likely the most if not one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. It is an active volcano, quiescent since 1944. The activity of the Monte Somma and Vesuvio volcanic complex is commonly referred to as two central volcanic edifices, [...] Read more.
Vesuvio is likely the most if not one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. It is an active volcano, quiescent since 1944. The activity of the Monte Somma and Vesuvio volcanic complex is commonly referred to as two central volcanic edifices, namely Monte Somma and Vesuvio. Nevertheless, the opening of numerous eruptive fissures and related vents have characterized Monte Somma and Vesuvio throughout their lives. Spatter cones, spatter ramparts, and related eruptive fissures are disseminated downslope of Vesuvio’s main cone and on the southern slopes of the volcano. Similarly, cinder cones, spatter cones, and welded spatters are distributed in the sequence cropping out on the Monte Somma cliff and on the northern slopes of Monte Somma. In this work, a total of 168 eruptive vents have been identified and characterized in a GIS environment in which field data have been merged with relevant information from historical maps and documents. These vents have been arranged into units bounded by unconformities (Unconformity Bounded Stratigraphic Units) defining the eruptive history of the volcano. Alignments of vents and eruptive fissures within each unit have been compared with regional tectonic elements and the volcano-tectonic features affecting Monte Somma and Vesuvio during the last 5600 years, thus inferring that different structural trends were active in the different stratigraphic units. In particular, we show that the N300°–320° regional, Apennine, left-lateral, strike-slip fault system, the N040°–055° Torre del Greco direct fault system, the N70° and the EW fault system, and the generally NS oriented group of local brittle elements, all analyzed here, were differently active during the investigated time span. These tectonic trends might control the position of the eruptive fissures and vents in case of future unrest of the volcano. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Hazards)
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22 pages, 6190 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Retaining Wall Solution as a Mitigation Strategy on Steep Slopes in Soft Rock Mass
by Primož Jelušič, Goran Vlastelica and Bojan Žlender
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040090 - 22 Mar 2024
Viewed by 959
Abstract
Steep slopes in soft rock are characterized by their susceptibility to instability (rockfall, rockslide) due to weathering and erosion of the slope surface. This article deals with the problem of adapting to the increasing height of the scree slope. The construction of a [...] Read more.
Steep slopes in soft rock are characterized by their susceptibility to instability (rockfall, rockslide) due to weathering and erosion of the slope surface. This article deals with the problem of adapting to the increasing height of the scree slope. The construction of a retaining wall in a scree slope in front of a slope of soft rock with a steep face, where a very rapid weathering and erosion process of weathered material takes place, and the simultaneous deposition of material in front of the steep slope is a common solution. Changes in the geometry of the slope and the front scree are taken into account, and at the same time, sufficient safety against rockfall must be ensured. The analysis is shown on a specific example of a steep flysch slope near Split, Dalmatia. The retaining wall solutions are compared in terms of function, cost and sustainability. The construction of a single colossal, reinforced concrete retaining wall shows that this solution is not feasible due to the high construction costs and CO2 emissions of the retaining wall. A model was therefore developed to determine the height of the retaining walls for different construction time intervals and distances from the original rock face. The critical failure modes were investigated for various retaining wall solutions with regard to the highest degree of utilization of the resistance, which also allows the cost-optimized solutions to be determined. By building two or more successive retaining walls at suitable intervals and at an appropriate distance from the original rock face, construction costs and CO2 emissions can be significantly reduced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Geomechanics)
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18 pages, 17286 KiB  
Article
Depositional Setting, Diagenetic Processes, and Pressure Solution-Assisted Compaction of Mesozoic Platform Carbonates, Southern Apennines, Italy
by Simona Todaro, Canio Manniello, Alessia Pietragalla, Nereo Preto and Fabrizio Agosta
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040089 - 22 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1005
Abstract
Pressure solution processes taking place during diagenesis deeply modify the hydraulic properties of carbonates, affecting their mechanical layering and hence the dimension, distribution, and connectivity of high-angle fractures. The formation of stylolites is controlled by the texture of the host rock and therefore [...] Read more.
Pressure solution processes taking place during diagenesis deeply modify the hydraulic properties of carbonates, affecting their mechanical layering and hence the dimension, distribution, and connectivity of high-angle fractures. The formation of stylolites is controlled by the texture of the host rock and therefore by the depositional environment and the diagenetic processes that involve it. This study reports the results of a multidisciplinary study carried out on a Jurassic–Cretaceous carbonate platform in southern Italy. The goal is to unravel the control exerted by single carbonate textures and specific diagenetic processes on the formation of bed-parallel stylolites. Microfacies analyses of thin sections are aimed at obtaining information regarding the composition and texture of the carbonates. Petrographic observations coupled with CL analyses are key to deciphering their diagenetic history. Results are consistent with carbonates originally deposited in a shallow-water realm in which carbonate mud is occasionally abundant. In this environment, early cementation inhibits their chemical compaction. In grain-supported facies, pressure solution is only localized at the grain contacts. During shallow burial diagenesis, precipitation of blocky calcite predates the formation of bed-parallel stylolites in the grain-supported facies. Contrarily, mud-supported facies favor chemical compaction, which results in stylolites showing a good lateral extension and thick sediment infill. A classification of different types of stylolite morphology is attempted in relation to facies texture. In detail, rougher morphology (sharp-peak) characterizes the stylolites nucleated in grain-supported facies, while smoother morphology (rectangular to wave-like) is observed in stylolites on mud-supported facies. Application of this knowledge can be helpful in constraining the diagenetic history of carbonate rocks cored from depth, and therefore predict the fracture stratigraphy properties of carbonates buried at depth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Carbonate Diagenesis)
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23 pages, 29060 KiB  
Article
Geocryological Conditions of Small Mountain Catchment in the Upper Kolyma Highland (Northeastern Asia)
by Olga Makarieva, Anastasiia Zemlianskova, Dmitriy Abramov, Nataliia Nesterova and Andrey Ostashov
Geosciences 2024, 14(4), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences14040088 - 22 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1081
Abstract
This research presents a comprehensive environmental assessment of a small mountain permafrost catchment of the Anmangynda River in the Upper Kolyma Highland (Northeastern Asia) over the period of 2021–2023. The study reveals significant diversity in climatic, geocryological, and hydrogeological conditions within this confined [...] Read more.
This research presents a comprehensive environmental assessment of a small mountain permafrost catchment of the Anmangynda River in the Upper Kolyma Highland (Northeastern Asia) over the period of 2021–2023. The study reveals significant diversity in climatic, geocryological, and hydrogeological conditions within this confined area, emphasizing the need for extensive field data collection and monitoring in vast permafrost regions with limited data availability. Key findings include variations in ground temperature, maximum seasonal thaw depth, and depths of zero annual amplitudes of ground temperature at different elevations and landscape types. Groundwater and surface flow dynamics within spring aufeis basins exhibit complex geocryological regimes influenced by icing processes. The presence of aufeis and its impact on local hydrology highlight the ecological significance of this phenomenon. Future research should focus on long-term trends in permafrost dynamics and their relationship with climate change, as well as the ecological effects of aufeis formation on local ecosystems. The study underscores the importance of a multi-faceted approach to environmental assessment, incorporating various environmental parameters and processes, to gain a comprehensive understanding of the intricate interactions within the cryosphere and their responses to changing climate conditions. Such knowledge is essential for addressing broader questions related to climate change, ecosystem resilience, and sustainable resource management in Northeastern Siberia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mass Transfer and Phase Transformations in Permafrost)
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