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Inproceedings Reference audio/x-realaudio Reconstructing the Palaeo-Environment of the Ancient City of Charax Spasinou
From its foundation to its heydays as trading hub and to its final abandonment, the history of Charax Spasinou was intimately connected with the evolution of the river systems of the southernmost part of the Mesopotamian plain and the shoreline of the Persian Gulf. This ongoing research, which is part of the Charax Spasinou Project of the Universities of Konstanz and Manchester supported by the German Research Foundation and the Culture Protection Fund of the British Council, aims to reconstruct the evolution of the landscape and palaeoenvironment around the capital of Mesene, by combining evidence from remote sensing data and geological coring. Here, results from the analysis of satellite imagery and a preliminary field campaign carried out in 2018 will be presented. It will be demonstrated that a combined geological and archaeological survey in the wider hinterland of Charax allows an accurate reconstruction of the ancient watercourses and the landscape of Mesene, in which the capital was the nodal point for nearly a millennium.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Inproceedings Reference Optimal geodata centralization and disclosure as support for subsurface exploration
It is widely known that the subsurface will play a crucial role in the transition towards a carbon-neutral society, with the aid of technologies like geothermal energy, CO2-storage, .... Nevertheless, still a lot of aspects concerning the subsurface, its structure and characteristics remain to be investigated to facilitate the use of underground space in an efficient and safe way. In-depth investigation of the subsurface with conventional techniques such as seismic campaigns or drillings requires high investments, and it is not always straightforward to determine the success-rate upfront. This leads to geodata collections typically displaying a large variety and scatter, both concerning data (type) availability and in spatial distribution. Additionally, incorporating subsurface knowledge from neighboring countries often is challenging, but at the same time indispensable to increase understanding of the own subsurface, not least because some projects may display cross-border influences. It is clear that subsurface exploration benefits from a cross-border and cross-thematic data collection and interpretation approach. One way to organize such data centralization was explored in the framework of the European Horizon2020-project GeoConnect³d, by means of constructing a Structural Framework (SF) and a database of Geomanifestations (GM) for several pilot study areas. The Structural Framework defines geological units by its limits (e.g., faults, terrane boundaries, ...). All known limits and associated parameters are structured in a uniform and inter-connected way. Furthermore, the SF is designed on multiple zoom-levels, hence it can serve as a real backbone to integrate multiple other subsurface models of various scale and resolution together. Geomanifestations are anomalous observations covering a wide range of geo-disciplines, including —but not limited to— temperature, geochemistry, mineralogy and even geophysics data. Such irregularities are too often excluded or ignored in view of the larger cloud of ‘normal’ datapoints. Nevertheless, precisely these anomalies can be of great value for identifying subsurface processes and serve as an excellent pathway for communication to non-experts, and also as guideline for further research. In addition to GIS- and attribute-information, Factsheets summarize the relations between individual geomanifestations, and, if applicable, their connection to the Structural Framework. Especially the latter, the combination of the (independent) elements SF and GM, gives a powerful tool that allows exploring the subsurface in an original and cost-efficient way. The newly gained insights can be directly linked and are extremely relevant to the use of the subsurface, either as storage space or as renewable/green energy-source. But it goes further than that. The overall usability of the SF and GM database is far more fundamental, as it gives innovative clues about characteristics and processes at play in the subsurface, such as fault permeability and connectivity, the presence of advection cells in the upper crust, or gas origin and migration pathways. To quote just one example; in the area of Spa, Belgium, elevated 3He/4He-ratios were analyzed (Griesshaber et al., 1992), a parameter that can highlight mantle gas contribution in gas seeps (White, 2013). This observation was unexpected given the far distance from any volcanic activity, but suggests the presence of deep-seated, transcrustal faults and/or a large-distance connectivity till the Eifel area where mantle-derived magma was involved in recent volcanism. When indirect indications like this are not considered further, such valuable subsurface knowledge is easily overlooked and not at all taken into account for investigating in more detail in the future. Even when limited resources or funding is available, the above-illustrated SF+GM approach can shed new light on properties and processes of the subsurface, given its novel and multidisciplinary approach. An inherent drawback, however, is that such a database is never complete and includes information from a variety of sources. Not only does this demands careful consideration on which data is included (or not), it also has to be taken into account for future database expansion as well as for data interpretation. Simple visualizations on a map without further (geological) background, e.g., combining both surface and at depth data as is the case for Wiesbaden, Germany (Mittelbach & Siebert, 2014), may lead to false conclusions. However, the provided Factsheets and metadata can help in this. Furthermore, at this moment, a large proportion of the entries depends on the availability of literature data, which implies some data source bias is unavoidable. For example, CO2-data typically is measured for springs and streams, while dry CO2-seeps easier remain unnoticed and therefore are reported less consistently. New data collection campaigns, possibly including bio-indicators like plants or ants (e.g., Berberich & Schreiber, 2013), can provide a good starting point for this. The uniform and well-designed structure of the database allows very easy expansion, be it for newly discovered faults, additional geomanifestation types, or parameter updates of either part. In addition, as demonstrated in the GeoConnect³d project, the SF+GM approach is fully transferable to other study areas. This clears the way for a cost-efficient cross-border exploration of the subsurface with wins for both the academic world and common public (geoheritage, education, ...), and significantly contributes to a more data-supported outline for subsurface management. This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 731166. References Berberich, G., & Schreiber, U., 2013. GeoBioScience: Red Wood Ants as Bioindicators for Active Tectonic Fault Systems in the West Eifel (Germany). Animals, 3, 475-498. Griesshaber, E., O'Nions, R.K. & Oxburg, E.R., 1992. Helium and carbon isotope systematics in crustal fluids from the Eifel, the Rhine Graben and Black Forest, F.R.G. Chemical Geology, 99, 213-235. Mittelbach, G. & Siebert, S., 2014. Gutachten zur Festsetzung eines Heilquellenschutzgebietes für die Heilquellen (Große und Kleine Adlerquelle, Schützenhofquelle, Kochbrunnen, Salmquelle und Faulbrunnen) von Wiesbaden, Stadt Wiesbaden (WSG-ID 414-005), Wiesbaden, pp. 1-52. White, W.M., 2013. Chapter 12: Noble Gas Isotope Geochemistry, Isotope Geochemistry course notes. Cornell University.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021 OA
Inproceedings Reference Enhanced rock weathering: the overlooked hydrodynamic trap
Enhanced rock weathering (ERW) is a technique proposed to remove large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere (i.e. a negative emission technology) in which finely fragmented silicate rocks such as basalts (ground basalt) are distributed over agricultural or other land plots. The weathering process involves trapping CO2 but will also typically ameliorate soil properties (pH, soil moisture retention, cation exchange capacity, availability of Si), and can therefore be expected to positively affect plant and microbiological activity. This technique has been proposed in different modified forms over the past decades. In its current format, mainly its potential for near global application (e.g. Beerling et al. 2020) is stressed, and its acceptance is helped by the positive reception by e.g. nature organisations that already apply it as a technique for ecological restoration. Two main and largely separated processes result in trapping of CO2. The first is precipitation of carbonates, often as nodules, in the soil. The second is increased CO2 solubility in groundwater and eventually ocean water due to an increase of the pH value, referred to as the pH-trap. Most of the pH-trapping schemes are built on the assumption that CO2 is dissolved in infiltrating and shallow ground water, then discharged into surface water and consecutively transported to the seas and oceans. In that reservoir CO2 is expected to remain dissolved for centuries and possibly up to ten thousands of years, depending on surfacing times of deep oceanic currents. Another pathway that is systematically overlooked is that of groundwater fluxes that recharge deeper groundwater bodies. Depending on the regional geology, a significant fraction of infiltrating water will engage in deeper and long-term migration. For Belgium, the contribution of hydrodynamic trapping, depending on the hydrogeological setting, could be any part of the 15 to 25% of precipitation that infiltrates. Once infiltrating water enters these cycles, it will not come into contact with the atmosphere for possibly fifty thousand years. In this model, the long-term impact of ERW as a climate mitigation measure rests on a good understanding of the larger hydrogeological context, which encompasses infiltration and the deeper aquifers. Deep aquifers, as well as the migration paths towards them, are strictly isolated and residence times are much longer than for oceans. Recharge areas for deeper aquifer systems may therefore become preferential sites for ERW application, becoming an additional evaluation factor for siting ERW locations that is currently based on surface factors alone.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Inproceedings Reference Structural framework as the new fundament for international geoscientific cooperation and policy support
The transition towards a clean and low carbon energy system in Europe will increasingly rely on the use of the subsurface. Communicating the potential and limitations of subsurface resources and applications remains challenging. This is partly because the subsurface is not part of the world people experience, leaving them without reference frame to understand impacts or consequences. A second element is that the geological context of a specific area is very abstract, three dimensional, and hence difficult to correctly and intuitively disclose using traditional geological maps or models. The GeoConnect³d project is finalising the development and testing of a new type of information system that can be used for various geo-applications, decision-making, and subsurface spatial planning. This is being accomplished through the innovative structural framework model, which reorganises, contextualises, and adds value to geological data. The model is primarily focused on geological limits, or broadly planar structures that separate a given geological unit from its neighbouring units. It also includes geomanifestations, highlighting any distinct local expression of ongoing or past geological processes. These manifestations, or anomalies, often point to specific geologic conditions and therefore can be important sources of information to improve geological understanding of an area and its subsurface (see Van Daele et al., this volume, Rombaut et al., this volume ). Geological information in this model is composed of spatial data at different scales, with a one-to-one link between geometries and their specific attributes (including uncertainties), and of semantic data, categorised conceptually and/or linked using generic SKOS hierarchical schemes. Concepts and geometries are linked by a one-to-many relationship. The combination of these elements subsequently results in a multi-scale, harmonised and robust model. In spite of its sound technical basis, consultation is highly intuitive. The underlying vocabulary is of high scientific standard and linked to INSPIRE and GeoSciML schemes, but can also automatically, both visually and semantically, be simplified to be understood by non-experts. The structural framework-geomanifestations methodology has now been applied to different areas in Europe. The focus on geological limits brings various advantages, such as displaying geological information in an explicit, and therefore more understandable way, and simplifying harmonisation efforts in large-scale geological structures crossing national borders originating from models of different scale and resolution. The link between spatial and semantic data is key in adding conceptual definitions and interpretations to geometries, and provides a very thorough consistency test for present-day regional understanding of geology. As a framework, other geological maps and models can be mapped to it by identifying common limits, such as faults, unconformities, etc, allowing to bring together non-harmonised maps in a meaningful way. The model demonstrates it is possible to gather existing geological data into a harmonised and robust knowledge system. We consider this as the way forward towards pan-European integration and harmonisation of geological information. Moreover, we identify the great potential of the structural framework model as a toolbox to communicate geosciences beyond our specialised community. Making geological information available to all stakeholders involved is an important step to support subsurface spatial planning to move forward towards a clean energy transition. . This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 731166.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Inproceedings Reference Sourcing natural stone used in the architecture of stone-poor landscapes demonstrated for northern Belgium
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Inproceedings Reference Integrated mine planning leading to sustainable post-mining transition. Mining Technology technical community within the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (Newcastle) 2021 conference: Legacies of mineral extraction and sustainability opportuniti
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Inproceedings Reference Obernkirchener zandsteen in Nederland en Vlaanderen
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Inproceedings Reference Land Subsidence Observed in the Merchtem Area (Flanders) – 30 Years of SAR Data Associated to Groundwater Withdrawal?
A land subsidence affecting several towns at the joining limits of the Belgian Provinces of East Flanders, Antwerp and Flemish Brabant is followed during the last three decades. ERS 1–2, ENVISAT, TerraSAR-X and Sentinel-1A satellites SAR scenes were processed from 1992 till October 2020 to map the land subsidence evolution. The subsidence corresponds to a surface area of 220 km 2 during the ERS 1/2 time interval distributed over three distinct subsidence bowls. During the ENVISAT and TerraSAR-X time interval, only one residual subsidence bowl was mapped affecting a surface area of about 70 km 2 . Several towns (Londerzeel and Steenhuffel) remained in the center of the subsidence bowl. The annual average negative velocity values range between −5.99 and −0.5 mm/year. During the Sentinel-1A period, the subsidence bowl has lost half of its surface reaching 36 km 2 . The LOS velocity values have also decreased during the period 2016–2020.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Inproceedings Reference Areas Prone to Land Subsidence and their Evolutions in Belgium During the Last 30 Years
PSInSAR analyses across Belgium using ERS 1-2, ENVISAT, TerraSAR-X and Sentinel 1 allowed to follow several ground movements areas during the last three decades. Several areas of regional importance are affected by land subsidence processes that have been observed during this period (i.e. the alluvial plain of the Schelde estuary in Antwerpen, a large area in the West Flanders province and one around Merchtem area). Other land subsidence areas associated to old coal mining both in Flanders (Campine basin) and Wallonia (Hainaut and Liège province) are affected by progressive uplifting conditions linked to the mining aquifer piezometric rebound. It is extremely important to follow the spatio-temporal behavior of these phenomena to forecast their influences and their effects on the urban developments.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Inproceedings Reference Geophysical well log correlations in the Quaternary deposits of the Campine area, northern Belgium
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021