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Riaza A.,Geological Survey of Spain | Muller A.,German Aerospace Center
Environmental Earth Sciences

Monitoring of mine waste on sulphide deposits through hyperspectral remote sensing data contributes to predicting surface water quality, quantitatively estimating acid drainage and metal contamination on a yearly basis. The mineralogy of surface crusts loaded with highly soluble salts is a record of available humidity and temperature along the year. A temporal monitoring of salt efflorescence on mine wastes at a mine site in the Iberian Pyrite Belt (Spain) has been mapped in this work using hyperspectral airborne Hymap data. Climate change estimations are made based on oxidation stages derived from well-known sequences of minerals tracing sulphides oxidation intensity, using archive spectral libraries. Therefore, mine-waste weathering products of sulphide mapped from airborne hyperspectral remote sensing data can be used as a short-term record of climate change, providing a useful tool for assessing environmental geoindicators in semi-arid areas. © 2009 Springer-Verlag. Source

Carolina G.-A.,Geological Survey of Spain | Jackson C.R.,British Geological Survey

Climate change impacts on natural recharge and groundwater-wetland dynamics were investigated for the Almonte-Marismas aquifer, Spain, which supports the internationally important Doñana wetland. Simulations were carried out using outputs from 13 global climate models to assess the impacts of climate change. Reductions in flow from the aquifer to streams and springs flooding the wetland, induced by changes in recharge according to different climate projections, were modelled. The results project that the change in climate by the 2080s, under a medium-high greenhouse gas emissions scenario, leads to a reduction in groundwater resources. The reduction in mean recharge ranges from 14%-57%. The simulations show that there is an impact on hydraulic head in terms of the overall water table configuration with decreases in groundwater level ranging from 0-17 m. Most simulations produce lower discharge rates from the aquifer to stream basins, with significant reductions in the larger La Rocina (between -55% and -25%) and Marismas (between -68% and -43%) catchments. Water flows from these two basins are critical to maintain aquatic life in the wetland and riparian ecosystems. Modelled climate-induced reductions in total groundwater discharge to the surface are generally larger than current groundwater© Society of Wetland Scientists 2011. Source

Bejar-Pizarro M.,University Paris Diderot | Bejar-Pizarro M.,Geological Survey of Spain | Socquet A.,CNRS Institute of Earth Sciences | Armijo R.,University Paris Diderot | And 3 more authors.
Nature Geoscience

Segmentation can influence the extent of earthquake rupture and event magnitude: large megathrust earthquakes result from total rupture of relatively continuous segments of the subduction interface. Segmentation is attributed to variations in the frictional properties of the seismogenic zone or to topographic features on the down-going plate. Structures in the overriding plate may also influence segmentation, but their importance has been dismissed. Here, we investigate the links between interface segmentation at the North Chile seismic gap and a crustal-scale fault structure in the overriding plate that forms a coastal scarp of about 1 km in height. We use satellite interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) and Global Positioning System (GPS) data to measure interseismic surface deformation between 2003 and 2009 and compare the deformation with rupture extent during well-documented earthquakes. From these data we infer the degree of coupling and segmentation at depth. We find that along a 500-km-long segment, the base of the strongly coupled seismogenic zone correlates with the line of the surface coastal scarp and follows the outline of the Mejillones Peninsula. This correlation implies that large-scale structures in the overriding plate can influence the frictional properties of the seismogenic zone at depth. We therefore suggest that the occurrence of megathrust earthquakes in northern Chile is controlled by the surface structures that build Andean topography. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Source

Stoffel M.,University of Bern | Stoffel M.,University of Geneva | Corona C.,University of Bern | Ballesteros-Canovas J.A.,Geological Survey of Spain | Bodoque J.M.,University of Castilla - La Mancha
Earth-Science Reviews

Soil erosion is a key driver of land degradation and heavily affects sustainable land management in various environments worldwide. An appropriate quantification of rates of soil erosion and a localization of hotspots are therefore critical, as sediment loss has been demonstrated to have drastic consequences on soil productivity and fertility. A consistent body of evidence also exists for a causal linkage between global changes and the temporal frequency and magnitude of erosion, and thus calls for an improved understanding of dynamics and rates of soil erosion for an appropriate management of landscapes and for the planning of preventive or countermeasures.Conventional measurement techniques to infer erosion rates are limited in their temporal resolution or extent. Long-term erosion rates in larger basins have been analyzed with cosmogenic nuclides, but with lower spatial and limited temporal resolutions, thus limiting the possibility to infer micro-geomorphic and climatic controls on the timing, amount and localization of erosion. If based on exposed tree roots, rates of erosion can be inferred with up to seasonal resolution, over decades to centuries of the past and for larger surfaces with homogenous hydrological response units. Root-based erosion rates, thus, constitute a valuable alternative to empirical or physically-based approaches, especially in ungauged basins, but will be controlled by individual or a few extreme events, so that average annual rates of erosion might be highly skewed. In this contribution, we review the contribution made by this biomarker to the understanding of erosion processes and related landform evolution. We report on recent progress in root-based erosion research, illustrate possibilities, caveats and limitations of reconstructed rates, and conclude with a call for further research on various aspects of root-erosion research and for work in new geographic regions. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

Galindo I.,Geological Survey of Spain | Gudmundsson A.,Royal Holloway, University of London
Natural Hazards and Earth System Science

Most volcanic hazards depend on an injected dyke reaching the surface to form a feeder. Assessing the volcanic hazard in an area is thus related to understanding the condition for the formation of a feeder dyke in that area. For this latter, we need good field data on feeder dykes, their geometries, internal structures, and other characteristics that distinguish them from non-feeders. Unfortunately, feeder dykes are rarely observed, partly because they are commonly covered by their own products. For this reason, outcrops are scarce and usually restricted to cliffs, ravines, and man-made outcrops. Here we report the results of a study of feeder dykes in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain) and Iceland, focusing on their field characteristics and how their propagation is affected by existing structures. Although Holocene fissure eruptions have been common in both islands, only eleven basaltic feeder dykes have been identified: eight in Tenerife and three in Iceland. They are all well preserved and the relation with the eruptive fissure and/or the deposits is well exposed. While the eruptive fissures are generally longer in Iceland than in Tenerife, their feeders show many similarities, the main ones being that the feeder dykes (1) are generally sheet-shaped; (2) are segmented (as are the associated volcanic fissures); (3) normally contain elongated (prolate ellipsoidal) cavities in their central, topmost parts, that is, 2-3 m below the surface (with solidified magma drops on the cavity walls); (4) contain vesicles which increase in size and number close to the surface; (5) sometimes inject oblique dyke fingers into the planes of existing faults that cross the dyke paths; and (6) may reactivate, that is, trigger slip on existing faults. We analyse theoretically the feeder dyke of the 1991 Hekla eruption in Iceland. Our results indicate that during the initial peak in the effusion rate the opening (aperture) of the feeder dyke was as wide as 0.77 m, but quickly decreased to about 0.56 m. During the subsequent decline in the effusion rate to a minimum, the aperture decreased to about 0.19 m. At a later abrupt increase in the effusion rate, the feeder-dyke opening may have increased to about 0.34 m, and then decreased again as the effusion rate gradually declined during the end stages of the eruption. These thickness estimates fit well with those of many feeders in Iceland and Tenerife, and with the general dyke thickness within fossil central volcanoes in Iceland. © 2012 Author(s). CC Attribution 3.0 License. Source

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