Recent Submissions

  • Journal Article

    Landscape Transformations in Rapidly Developing Peri-urban Areas of Accra, Ghana: Results of 30 years 

    Ashiagbor, George; Amoako, Clifford; Asabere, Stephen B.; Quaye-Ballard, Jonathan A.
    Open Geosciences 2019; 11(1) p.172-182
    Beyond the loss of peri-urban agricultural and forested land as a result of built-up expansion, not much information exists on the changes in the structure of the peri-urban landscape in Ghana. The aim of this paper is to examine the extent to which urban expansion is driving changes in landscape structure of the peri-urban fringes of Accra. We submit that rapid peri-urbanisation will fragment the existing agricultural and forested landscape with consequent ecological, socio-economic and urban governance implications. Using Landsat satellite images for the years 1985, 1991, 2002 and 2015 the study area was classified into four land cover classes. The study adopted the use of Urban Intensity Index (UII) and the Annual Rate of Urbanization (R) as measures of urbanization. Edge density (ED), largest patch index (LPI) and Aggregation index (AI) were used as proxies to measure landscape structural transformations. The study reveals substantial reductions and fragmentation in agricultural lands, riverine and open forests, while there has been over 200 percent increase in built-up areas. Beyond these revelations in spatiotemporal changes in landscape structure, the paper points to the ecological implications of the changes, and three key socio-economic and urban governance implications.
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  • Journal Article

    Past aquatic environments in the Levant inferred from stable isotope compositions of carbonate and phosphate in fish teeth 

    Sisma-Ventura, Guy; Tütken, Thomas; Peters, Stefan T. M.; Bialik, Or M.; Zohar, Irit; Pack, Andreas
    PLOS ONE 2019; 14(7): Art. e0220390
    Here we explore the carbon and oxygen isotope compositions of the co-existing carbonate and phosphate fractions of fish tooth enameloid as a tool to reconstruct past aquatic fish environments and harvesting grounds. The enameloid oxygen isotope compositions of the phosphate fraction (δ18OPO4) vary by as much as ~4‰ for migratory marine fish such as gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata), predominantly reflecting the different saline habitats it occupies during its life cycle. The offset in enameloid Δ18OCO3-PO4 values of modern marine Sparidae and freshwater Cyprinidae from the Southeast Mediterranean region vary between 8.1 and 11.0‰, similar to values reported for modern sharks. The mean δ13C of modern adult S. aurata and Cyprinus carpio teeth of 0.1±0.4‰ and -6.1±0.7‰, respectively, mainly reflect the difference in δ13C of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) of the ambient water and dietary carbon sources. The enameloid Δ18OCO3-PO4 and δ13C values of ancient S. aurata (Holocene) and fossil Luciobarbus sp. (Cyprinidae; mid Pleistocene) teeth agree well with those of modern specimens, implying little diagenetic alteration of these tooth samples. Paired δ18OPO4-δ13C data from ancient S. aurata teeth indicate that hypersaline water bodies formed in the Levant region during the Late Holocene from typical Mediterranean coastal water with high evaporation rates and limited carbon input from terrestrial sources. Sparid tooth stable isotopes further suggest that coastal lagoons in the Eastern Mediterranean had already formed by the Early Holocene and were influenced by terrestrial carbon sources. Overall, combined enameloid oxygen and carbon isotope analysis of fish teeth is a powerful tool to infer the hydrologic evolution of aquatic environments and assess past fishing grounds of human populations in antiquity.
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  • Journal Article

    Triple oxygen isotope mass balance for the Earth's oceans with application to Archean cherts 

    Sengupta, Sukanya; Pack, Andreas
    Chemical Geology 2018; 495 p.18-26
    The oxygen isotope composition of the Earth's oceans is buffered by high- and low-T exchange with the lithosphere. We present a triple oxygen isotope mass balance model for the Earth's oceans. The model is based on triple oxygen isotope measurements of rocks from various reservoirs including high- and low-T alteration products. The modern ocean water composition can be well-matched if the ratio between continental weathering and high-T seafloor alteration is ~25% higher than previously assumed. The mass balance suggests that putative Precambrian low-δ18O ocean water would fall on a trend with slope λ = 0.51 passing through “modern” ice-free-world seawater. Exemplified application to a published Phanerozoic and Archean chert data suggest precipitation in cool oceans with modern-like δ18O followed by diagenetic alteration with involvement of meteoric water.
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  • Journal Article

    A limited role for metasomatized subarc mantle in the generation of boron isotope signatures of arc volcanic rocks 

    Tomanikova, Lubomira; Savov, Ivan P.; Harvey, Jason; de Hoog, Jan C. M.; Churikova, Tatiana G.; Gordeychik, Boris; Yogodzinski, Gene M.
    Geology 2019; 47(6) p.517-521
    Metasomatized subarc mantle is often regarded as one of the mantle reservoirs enriched in fluid-mobile elements (FMEs; e.g., B, Li, Cs, As, Sb, Ba, Rb, Pb), which, when subject to wet melting, will contribute to the characteristic FME-rich signature of arc volcanic rocks. Evidence of wet melts in the subarc mantle wedge is recorded in metasomatic amphibole-, phlogopite-, and pyroxene-bearing veins in ultramafic xenoliths recovered from arc volcanoes. Our new B and δ11B study of such veins in mantle xenoliths from Avachinsky and Shiveluch volcanoes, Kamchatka arc, indicates that slab-derived FMEs, including B and its characteristically high δ11B, are delivered directly to a melt that experiences limited interaction with the surrounding mantle before eruption. The exceptionally low B contents (from 0.2 to 3.1 μg g–1) and low δ11B (from –16.6‰ to +0.9‰) of mantle xenolith vein minerals are, instead, products of fluids and melts released from the isotopically light subducted and dehydrated altered oceanic crust and, to a lesser extent, from isotopically heavy serpentinite. Therefore, melting of amphibole- and phlogopite-bearing veins in a metasomatized mantle wedge cannot alone produce the characteristic FME geochemistry of arc volcanic rocks, which require a comparatively large, isotopically heavy and B-rich serpentinite-derived fluid component in their source.
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  • Journal Article

    Crustose lichens with lichenicolous fungi from Paleogene amber 

    Kaasalainen, Ulla; Kukwa, Martin; Rikkinen, Jouko; Schmidt, Alexander R.
    Scientific Reports 2019; 9(1): Art. 10360
    Lichens, symbiotic consortia of lichen-forming fungi and their photosynthetic partners have long had an extremely poor fossil record. However, recently over 150 new lichens were identified from European Paleogene amber and here we analyse crustose lichens from the new material. Three fossil lichens belong to the extant genus Ochrolechia (Ochrolechiaceae, Lecanoromycetes) and one fossil has conidiomata similar to those produced by modern fungi of the order Arthoniales (Arthoniomycetes). Intriguingly, two fossil Ochrolechia specimens host lichenicolous fungi of the genus Lichenostigma (Lichenostigmatales, Arthoniomycetes). This confirms that both Ochrolechia and Lichenostigma already diversified in the Paleogene and demonstrates that also the specific association between the fungi had evolved by then. The new fossils provide a minimum age constraint for both genera at 34 million years (uppermost Eocene).
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  • Journal Article

    The Ulakhan fault surface rupture and the seismicity of the Okhotsk–North America plate boundary 

    Hindle, David; Sedov, Boris; Lindauer, Susanne; Mackey, Kevin
    Solid Earth 2019; 10(2) p.561-580
    New field work, combined with analysis of high-resolution aerial photographs, digital elevation models, and satellite imagery, has identified an active fault that is traceable for ∼90 km across the Seymchan Basin and is part of the Ulakhan fault system, which is believed to form the Okhotsk–North America plate boundary. Age dating of alluvial fan sediments in a channel system that is disturbed by fault activity suggests the current scarp is a result of a series of large earthquakes (≥Mw 7.5) that have occurred since 11.6±2.7 ka. A possible channel feature offset by 62±4 m associated with these sediments yields a slip rate of 5.3±1.3 mm yr−1, in broad agreement with rates suggested from global plate tectonics. Our results clearly identify the Ulakhan fault as the Okhotsk–North America plate boundary and show that tectonic strain release is strongly concentrated on the boundaries of Okhotsk. In light of our results, the likelihood of recurrence of Mw 7.5 earthquakes is high, suggesting a previously underestimated seismic hazard across the region.
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  • Journal Article

    Investigation of Gravity-Driven Infiltration Instabilities in Smooth and Rough Fractures Using a Pairwise-Force Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics Model 

    Shigorina, Elena; Tartakovsky, Alexandre M.; Kordilla, Jannes
    Vadose Zone Journal 2019; 18(1)
    This work investigates small-scale infiltration dynamics in smooth and rough single fractures using a three-dimensional multiphase pairwise-force smoothed particle hydrodynamics (PF-SPH) model. Gravity-driven infiltration instabilities in fractures under unsaturated conditions can significantly influence the arrival time of tracers or contaminants, and the rapid and localized recharge dynamics in fractured–porous aquifer systems. Here, we study the influence of roughness and injection rate on fluid flow modes and flow velocity. Three types of fractures are considered with different degrees of roughness, including a smooth fracture. Both the rough and smooth fractures exhibit flow instabilities, fingering, and intermittent flow regimes for low infiltration rates. In agreement with theoretical predictions, a flat fluid front is achieved when the flux q supplied to a fracture is larger than the gravitationally driven saturated flux [q > kρg/μcos(φ), where k is the intrinsic permeability of the fracture, ρ is a density, μ is the viscosity, and φ is the fracture inclination angle measured from the vertical direction]. To characterize the flow instability, we calculate standard deviations of velocity along the fracture width. For the considered infiltration rates, we find that an increase in roughness decreases the flow velocity and increases the standard deviation of velocity. This is caused by a higher likelihood of flow discontinuities in the form of fingering and/or snapping rivulets. To validate our unsaturated flow simulations in fractures, we estimate the scaling of specific discharge with normalized finger velocity, compute the relationship between fingertip length and scaled finger velocity, and find good agreement with experimental results.
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  • Journal Article

    Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis for the Land Evaluation of Potential Agricultural Land Use Types in a Hilly Area of Central Vietnam 

    Herzberg, Ronja; Pham, Tung Gia; Kappas, Martin; Wyss, Daniel; Tran, Chau Thi Minh
    Land 2019; 8(6): Art. 90
    Land evaluation is a process that is aimed at the sustainable development of agricultural production in rural areas, especially in developing countries. Therefore, land evaluation involves many aspects of natural conditions, economic, and social issues. This research was conducted in a hilly region of Central Vietnam to assess the land suitability of potential agricultural land use types that are based on scientific and local knowledge. In the frame of this research, Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA); Analytical Hierarchy Analysis (AHP); Geographic Information System (GIS); and, scoring based scientific literature and local knowledge were applied for Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) for land use evaluation. The results of the PRA survey reveal that five plants o er great agricultural potential in the research area, namely rice, cassava, acacia, banana, and rubber. The land suitability of each plant type varies, depending on physical conditions as well as economic and social aspects. Acacia and cassava represent the most suitable plant types in the research area. Recommendations regarding agricultural land use planning in the A Luoi district are brought forward based on the land evaluation results. The combination of scientific and local knowledge in land assessment based on GIS technology, AHP, and PRA methods is a promising approach for land evaluation.
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  • Journal Article

    Evaluating the Influence of Topography on Species Diversity, Distribution and Composition of Forests in Central Vietnam 

    Trong, Hung Nguyen; Gia, Tung Pham; Kappas, Martin
    Indian Journal of Science and Technology 2019; 12(19) p.1-7
    Objectives: This study focused on evaluating the influence of topography conditions on species richness, diversity, distribution and species composition as dependent variables at different micro topographic attributes in Central Vietnam. Methods/Statistical Analysis: Trees with diameter at breast height ≥6.0 cm of 90 quadratic plots (1000 m2) were inventoried to assess species richness, diversity, and distribution. Scatterplot Matrices: Pairs-sample Test was applied to evaluate the multiple correlations between ranked elevations and slopes with dependent variables. The composition of most abundant, dominant species including Importance Value Index at the midpoint of each topographic attribute was compared with those of the entire topographic attribute. Findings: A total of 4297 tree individuals were recorded representing 122 species from 47 families. We found a significant difference of species richness, diversity, stem density and basal area in different topographic attributes (p < 0.05). The lower elevation and shallower slope had more species richness and diversity than those in the higher elevation and steeper slope. Elevation had more influence on the distribution of species, stand density, species diversity, basal area and family than those of the slope. The species composition between slopes was not remarkably distinguishable which helps to confirm that slopes do not contribute to species distribution, composition. Fagaceae, Myrtaceae, Lauraceae, Cannabaceae, Meliaceae, Sapindaceae, Dipterocarpaceae, Leguminosae, Burseraceae and Malvaceae were the most dominant. The composition of the most abundant and dominant species at the midpoint plots objected to those of the entire topographic attribute. Difference of species composition between elevations may have subjected due to disturbance or successional processes of different forest ecological habitats in the current study area. Application/Improvements: Mapping micro-site natural forest disturbances based topographic conditions of dominant, endemic species for conservation and management of different ecological habitats with support of highresolution satellite images.
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  • Journal Article

    Governing the yarshagumba ‘gold rush’: A comparative study of governance systems in the Kailash Landscape in India and Nepal 

    Wallrapp, Corinna; Keck, Markus; Faust, Heiko
    International Journal of the Commons 2019; 13(1) p.455-478
    Under present conditions of economic globalization, social-ecological systems undergo rapid changes. In this context, internal and external forces put heavy pressure on the governance systems of commons to adapt effectively. While institutional learning has been identified as a key element for the adaptive governance of social-ecological systems, there is still limited knowledge of what roles communities and governmental actors play in these processes. In this study, we take the case of yarshagumba (English: caterpillar fungus), a formerly non-valued product in the Himalayas, which has recently been transformed into a highly valuable resource within a short time. We compare the governance systems in collection sites in the Kailash Landscape in India and Nepalby using an analytical framework developed by Pahl-Wostl. Our findings show that in these remote mountain areas, communities and community-led organizations are highly flexible in responding to immediate resource value changes by establishing communal management arrangements. At the same time, however, communities have difficulties to enforce their newly developed informal and formal arrangements. During the process of learning the link between the amendment of arrangements on community-level and the revision of formal policies and frames at the state or national level is only partly established. Against this background, we argue that in the context of rapid change, adaptive governance requires the concerted interaction of actors at the local and the national levels in order to enable the sustainable use of common pool natural resources.
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  • Journal Article

    Genesis and mechanisms controlling tornillo seismo-volcanic events in volcanic areas 

    Fazio, Marco; Alparone, Salvatore; Benson, Philip M.; Cannata, Andrea; Vinciguerra, Sergio
    Scientific Reports 2019; 9(1): Art. 7338
    Volcanic activity is often preceded or accompanied by different types of seismo-volcanic signals. Among these signals, the so-called tornillo (Spanish for "screw") events are considered to belong to a unique class of volcano-seismicity characterised by a long-duration coda, amplitude modulation and high-quality factor. These data constitute important evidence for the gas fraction inside magmatic fluids. However, the mechanism behind this unique signal remains not fully understood. Here we report new laboratory evidence showing that two different processes have either scale-invariant or scale-dependent effects in generating tornillo-like events. These processes are respectively the gas pressure gradient, which triggers the event and regulates the slow decaying coda, and the fluid resonance into small scale structures which, in turn, control the frequency content of the signal. Considering that the gas pressure gradient is proportional to the fluid flow, these new findings, as applied to volcanoes, provide new information to better quantify both gas rate and volume, and the dimension of the resonator.
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  • Journal Article

    Traces of Carnian volcanic activity in the Transdanubian Range, Hungary 

    Dunkl, István; Farics, Éva; Józsa, Sándor; Lukács, Réka; Haas, János; Budai, Tamás
    International Journal of Earth Sciences p.1-16
    The South Alpine–Dinaridic realm was affected by igneous activity in the Middle Triassic; the marine carbonate platforms and the adjacent basins contain highly variable intrusive-volcanic assemblages. We studied the petrography and determined the zircon U–Pb ages of the Triassic volcanic products in the Transdanubian Range. The geochemical features and thus the geodynamic context of the magmatism are badly known, as the rocks experienced variable chemical alteration. The exact duration of the igneous activity is also poorly constrained, as the geochronological data of the former studies were obtained mostly by the weathering-sensitive K–Ar and Rb–Sr methods and thus some data even being younger than the age of the stratigraphic cover. The presence of andesite dikes and of pebbles and cobbles (< 20 cm) of basalt, andesite, rhyolite and of rhyolitic tuff in the Triassic carbonate platform deposits indicates that within the Transdanubian Range formed a volcanic complex in Triassic. The major mineralogical and geochemical features of the Transdanubian igneous suite are similar to the Triassic formations in the Southern Alps. However, dissimilar zircon composition excludes the immediate relationship of the zircon-bearing silicic formations in the two tectonic units. New U–Pb ages show that the beginning of the volcanic activity is probably coeval with the eruption of the widespread “pietra verde” trachytic tuffs in the Upper Anisian–Ladinian successions, but the majority of the ages are younger than those ash layers. The new age constraints give a bench-mark for the termination of the volcanic activity in Carnian time in the Transdanubian Range.
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  • Journal Article

    Optical and SAR Remote Sensing Synergism for Mapping Vegetation Types in the Endangered Cerrado/Amazon Ecotone of Nova Mutum—Mato Grosso 

    de Souza Mendes, Flávia; Baron, Daniel; Gerold, Gerhard; Liesenberg, Veraldo; Erasmi, Stefan
    Remote Sensing 2019; 11(10): Art. 1161
    Mapping vegetation types through remote sensing images has proved to be e ective, especially in large biomes, such as the Brazilian Cerrado, which plays an important role in the context of management and conservation at the agricultural frontier of the Amazon. We tested several combinations of optical and radar images to identify the four dominant vegetation types that are prevalent in the Cerrado area (i.e., cerrado denso, cerradão, gallery forest, and secondary forest). We extracted features from both sources of data such as intensity, grey level co-occurrence matrix, coherence, and polarimetric decompositions using Sentinel 2A, Sentinel 1A, ALOS-PALSAR 2 dual/full polarimetric, and TanDEM-X images during the dry and rainy season of 2017. In order to normalize the analysis of these features, we used principal component analysis and subsequently applied the Random Forest algorithm to evaluate the classification of vegetation types. During the dry season, the overall accuracy ranged from 48 to 83%, and during the dry and rainy seasons it ranged from 41 up to 82%. The classification using Sentinel 2A images during the dry season resulted in the highest overall accuracy and kappa values, followed by the classification that used images from all sensors during the dry and rainy season. Optical images during the dry season were su cient to map the di erent types of vegetation in our study area.
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  • Journal Article

    A Numerical Study on Travel Time Based Hydraulic Tomography Using the SIRT Algorithm with Cimmino Iteration 

    Qiu, Pengxiang; Hu, Rui; Hu, Linwei; Liu, Quan; Xing, Yixuan; Yang, Huichen; Qi, Junjie; Ptak, Thomas
    Water 2019; 11(5): Art. 909
    Travel time based hydraulic tomography is a technique for reconstructing the spatial distribution of aquifer hydraulic properties (e.g., hydraulic di usivity). Simultaneous Iterative Reconstruction Technique (SIRT) is a widely used algorithm for travel time related inversions. Due to the drawbacks of SIRT implementation in practice, a modified SIRT with Cimmino iteration (SIRT-Cimmino) is proposed in this study. The incremental correction is adjusted, and an iteration-dependent relaxation parameter is introduced. These two modifications enable an appropriate speed of convergence, and the stability of the inversion process. Furthermore, a new result selection rule is suggested to determine the optimal iteration step and its corresponding result. SIRT-Cimmino and SIRT are implemented and verified by using two numerical aquifer models with di erent predefined (“true”) di usivity distributions, where high di usivity zones are embedded in a homogenous low di usivity field. Visual comparison of the reconstructions shows that the reconstruction based on SIRT-Cimmino demonstrates the aquifer’s hydraulic features better than the conventional SIRT algorithm. Root mean square errors and correlation coe cients are also used to quantitatively evaluate the performance of the inversion. The reconstructions based on SIRT-Cimmino are found to preserve the connectivity of the high di usivity zones and to provide a higher structural similarity to the “true” distribution.
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  • Journal Article

    Palaeoenvironmental setting of lacustrine stromatolites in the Miocene Wudaoliang Group, northern Tibetan Plateau 

    Zeng, Ling-Qi; Yi, Hai-Sheng; Xia, Guo-Qing; Simon, Klaus; Heim, Christine; Arp, Gernot
    Journal of Palaeogeography. 2019 May 02;8(1):18
    Lacustrine stromatolites were widespread in the Miocene Wudaoliang Group (stromatolites of the Wudaoliang Group), northern Tibetan Plateau; but only at one location nearby the Wudaoliang Town, they occurred intensively in thick, laterally traceable beds (Wudaoliang stromatolites). Although deposited in lacustrine environment, the lack of fossils in these rocks hampers determining whether the stromatolites formed in freshwater or saline conditions. To address this problem, and in an attempt to identify criteria to distinguish differences of freshwater and saline conditions, we studied the laminae microfabrics, stable carbon and oxygen isotope ratios, rare earth element patterns and biomarkers of the stromatolites. These stromatolites can be divided into fenestral stromatolites and agglutinated stromatolites. The fabric of fenestral stromatolites is formed by microcrystalline carbonate enclosing spar-cemented, angular crystal traces. Essentially, this fabric is interpreted as pseudomorph after former formed evaporite crystals. Faecal pellets identical to that of the present-day brine shrimp Artemia, lack of other eukaryotic fossils, and stable isotopic signals point to a shallow, evaporation-dominated hypersaline lake setting. Covariation of carbon and oxygen isotopes indicates hydrologically closed conditions of the Miocene lake on northern Tibetan Plateau. However, if compared to other lacustrine carbonates of the Wudaoliang Group, the high δ13C values of the investigated Wudaoliang stromatolites reveal an additional photosynthetic effect during the deposition of the stromatolites. Furthermore, although no direct evidence is available from field observations and microfabrics, a positive europium anomaly of Wudaoliang stromatolites indicates that a palaeo-hydrothermal inflow system had existed in the outcrop area. These new results favour a hypersaline lake setting subject to hot spring inflow for the Wudaoliang stromatolites, in contrast to earlier interpretations suggesting a freshwater lake setting (e.g. Yi et al., Journal of Mineralogy and Petrology 28: 106–113, 2008; Zeng et al., Journal of Mineralogy and Petrology 31: 111–119, 2011). This approach may be appropriate for other lacustrine, unfossiliferous microbialites in settings where the environmental conditions are difficult to determine.
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  • Journal Article

    Analogue Fracture Experiments and Analytical Modeling of Unsaturated Percolation Dynamics in Fracture Cascades 

    Noffz, Torsten; Dentz, Marco; Kordilla, Jannes
    Vadose Zone Journal 2019; 18(1)
    Infiltration and recharge dynamics in fractured aquifer systems often strongly deviate from diffuse Darcy–Buckingham type flows due to the existence of a complex gravity-driven flow component along fractures, fracture networks, and fault zones. The formation of preferential flow paths in the unsaturated or vadose zone can trigger rapid mass fluxes, which are difficult to recover by volume-effective modeling approaches (e.g., the Richards equation) due to the nonlinear nature of free-surface flows and mass partitioning processes at unsaturated fracture intersections. In this study, well-controlled laboratory experiments enabled the isolation of single aspects of the mass redistribution process that ultimately affect travel time distributions across scales. We used custom-made acrylic cubes (20 by 20 by 20 cm) in analog percolation experiments to create simple wide-aperture fracture networks intersected by one or multiple horizontal fractures. A high-precision multichannel dispenser produced gravity-driven free-surface flow (droplets or rivulets) at flow rates ranging from 1 to 5 mL min−1. Total inflow rates were kept constant while the fluid was injected via 15 (droplet flow) or three inlets (rivulet flow) to reduce the impact of erratic flow dynamics. Normalized fracture inflow rates were calculated and compared for aperture widths of 1 and 2.5 mm. A higher efficiency in filling an unsaturated fracture by rivulet flow observed in former studies was confirmed. The onset of a capillary-driven Washburn-type flow was determined and recovered by an analytical solution. To upscale the dynamics and enable the prediction of mass partitioning for arbitrary-sized fracture cascades, a Gaussian transfer function was derived that reproduces the repetitive filling of fractures, where rivulet flow is the prevailing regime. Results show good agreement with experimental data for all tested aperture widths.
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  • Journal Article

    Bisnorgammacerane traces predatory pressure and the persistent rise of algal ecosystems after Snowball Earth 

    van Maldegem, Lennart M.; Sansjofre, Pierre; Weijers, Johan W. H.; Wolkenstein, Klaus; Strother, Paul K.; Wörmer, Lars; Hefter, Jens; Nettersheim, Benjamin J.; Hoshino, Yosuke; Schouten, Stefan; et al.
    Sinninghe Damsté, Jaap S.Nath, NilamoniGriesinger, ChristianKuznetsov, Nikolay B.Elie, MarcelElvert, MarcusTegelaar, ErikGleixner, GerdHallmann, Christian
    Nature Communications 2019; 10(1): Art. 476
    Eukaryotic algae rose to ecological relevance after the Neoproterozoic Snowball Earth glaciations, but the causes for this consequential evolutionary transition remain enigmatic. Cap carbonates were globally deposited directly after these glaciations, but they are usually organic barren or thermally overprinted. Here we show that uniquely-preserved cap dolostones of the Araras Group contain exceptional abundances of a newly identified biomarker: 25,28-bisnorgammacerane. Its secular occurrence, carbon isotope systematics and co-occurrence with other demethylated terpenoids suggest a mechanistic connection to extensive microbial degradation of ciliate-derived biomass in bacterially dominated ecosystems. Declining 25,28-bisnorgammacerane concentrations, and a parallel rise of steranes over hopanes, indicate the transition from a bacterial to eukaryotic dominated ecosystem after the Marinoan deglaciation. Nutrient levels already increased during the Cryogenian and were a prerequisite, but not the ultimate driver for the algal rise. Intense predatory pressure by bacterivorous protists may have irrevocably cleared self-sustaining cyanobacterial ecosystems, thereby creating the ecological opportunity that allowed for the persistent rise of eukaryotic algae to global importance.
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  • Journal Article

    Archaean phosphates: a case study of transformation processes in apatite from the Barberton greenstone belt 

    Birski, Łukasz; Słaby, E.; Wirth, R.; Koch-Müller, M.; Simon, K.; Wudarska, A.; Götze, J.; Lepland, A.; Hofmann, A.; Kuras, A.
    Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 2019; 174(3): Art. 25
    Multiple tools have been used to determine the sensitivity of phosphates from the early Archaean Barberton greenstone belt to transformation. The assessment of the degree of transformation is crucial for verifying data about the parameters of the paleo-environment. From the obtained results, three generations of phosphates can be distinguished. Group A is observed in cherts and banded iron formation BIF early-generation fluor-hydroxyapatite that precipitated from seawater. It is characterized by flat rare earth element (REE) patterns with a positive Eu anomaly and high Y/Ho ratio in the range of 54–70. Apatites in this group lack any visible indicators of secondary alterations at the micro- and nanoscales. Fourier transform infrared spectra indicate that these apatites are relatively rich in water, and, due to cationic substitution, their OH-stretching regions exhibit complex ordering and numerous component bands. The characteristics observed in the cherts and silicified felsic volcaniclastics of group B imply advanced metasomatic alteration. They exhibit light and heavy REE depletion and an absence of water in the halogen site. Nanoscale investigations reveal cracks, pores, nanofluid inclusions and nanochannellike structures, as well as inclusions. Group C is represented by igneous-derived apatites that partially reflect their igneous origin. The phosphates are predominantly fluorapatite with typical magmatic apatite REE distribution patterns. Imaging at the micro- and nanoscales indicates that they partially preserve the signature of igneous origin. It seems that some of the analyzed apatite partially preserved their primordial features; therefore, they might be used for the reconstruction of Archaean abiotic systems.
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  • Journal Article

    Fe0/H2O Filtration Systems for Decentralized Safe Drinking Water: Where to from Here? 

    Nanseu-Njiki, Charles; Gwenzi, Willis; Pengou, Martin; Rahman, Mohammad; Noubactep, Chicgoua
    Water 2019; 11(3): Art. 429
    Inadequate access to safe drinking water is one of the most pervasive problems currently afflicting the developing world. Scientists and engineers are called to present affordable but efficient solutions, particularly applicable to small communities. Filtration systems based on metallic iron (Fe0) are discussed in the literature as one such viable solution, whether as a stand-alone system or as a complement to slow sand filters (SSFs). Fe0 filters can also be improved by incorporating biochar to form Fe0-biochar filtration systems with potentially higher contaminant removal efficiencies than those based on Fe0 or biochar alone. These three low-cost and chemical-free systems (Fe0, biochar, SSFs) have the potential to provide universal access to safe drinking water. However, a well-structured systematic research is needed to design robust and efficient water treatment systems based on these affordable filter materials. This communication highlights the technology being developed to use Fe0-based systems for decentralized safe drinking water provision. Future research directions for the design of the next generation Fe0-based systems are highlighted. It is shown that Fe0 enhances the efficiency of SSFs, while biochar has the potential to alleviate the loss of porosity and uncertainties arising from the non-linear kinetics of iron corrosion. Fe0-based systems are an affordable and applicable technology for small communities in low-income countries, which could contribute to attaining self-reliance in clean water supply and universal public health.
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  • Journal Article

    Application of Ordinary Kriging and Regression Kriging Method for Soil Properties Mapping in Hilly Region of Central Vietnam 

    Gia Pham, Tung; Kappas, Martin; Van Huynh, Chuong; Hoang Khanh Nguyen, Linh
    ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 2019; 8(3): Art. 147
    Soil property maps are essential resources for agricultural land use. However, soil properties mapping is costly and time-consuming, especially in the regions with complicated topographic conditions. This study was conducted in a hilly region of Central Vietnam with the following objectives: (i) to evaluate the best environmental variables to estimate soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN), and soil reaction (pH) with a regression kriging (RK) model, and (ii) to compare the accuracy of the ordinary kriging (OK) and RK methods. SOC, TN, and soil pH data were measured at 155 locations within the research area with a sampling grid of 2 km 2 km for a soil layer from 0 to 30 cm depth. From these samples, 117 were used for interpolation, and the 38 randomly remaining samples were used for evaluating accuracy. The chosen environmental variables are land use type (LUT), topographic wetness index (TWI), and transformed soil adjusted vegetation index (TSAVI). The results indicate that the LUT variable is more effective than TWI and TSAVI for determining TN and pH when using the RK method, with a variance of 7.00% and 18.40%, respectively. In contrast, a combination of the LUT and TWI variables is the best for SOC mapping with the RK method, with a variance of 14.98%. The OK method seemed more accurate than the RK method for SOC mapping by 3.33% and for TN mapping by 10% but the RK method was found more precise than the OK method for soil pH mapping by 1.81%. Further selection of auxiliary variables and higher sampling density should be considered to improve the accuracy of the RK method.
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