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Donnelly L.,IUGS | Harrison M.,Australian Federal Police | Harrison M.,University of Canberra
Geological Society Special Publication | Year: 2013

The objective of this paper is to draw attention to the use of air photographs, diggability surveys and the RAG (Red-Amber-Green) prioritization system during police ground searches for burials. The acquisition, analysis and interpretation of aerial imagery by a geologist may provide a useful reconnaissance technique to help delineate and prioritize search areas. A diggability survey may provide information on the ease and efficiency with which the ground may be dug and reinstated by an offender. This is influenced by the depth of the soils, the geology, groundwater, obstructions, the digging implements used, the ability of the offender, the nature of item being buried and the time frames involved. The results of a diggability survey may conveniently be presented as a RAG, map which can help in prioritizing the search. The RAG system appears to have been used independently by geologists, police/law enforcement and the military, and has evolved differently and independently since the early part of the 1900s. These methods have been applied to law enforcement searches for graves and other buried objects as demonstrated by operational case examples. © The Geological Society of London 2013.


Lambert I.,IUGS | Lambert I.,Geoscience Australia | Oberhaensli R.,IUGS | Oberhaensli R.,University of Potsdam
Episodes | Year: 2014

The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) is evaluating whether there are additional geoscientific activities that would be beneficial in helping mitigate the impacts of tsunami. Public concerns about poor decisions and inaction, and advances in computing power and data mining call for new scientific approaches. Three fundamental requirements for mitigating impacts of natural hazards are defined. These are: (1) improvement of process-oriented understanding, (2) adequate monitoring and optimal use of data, and (3) generation of advice based on scientific, technical and socio-economic expertise. International leadership/coordination is also important. To increase the capacity to predict and mitigate the impacts of tsunami and other natural hazards a broad consensus is needed. The main needs include the integration of systematic geological inputs - identifying and studying paleo-tsunami deposits for all subduction zones; optimising coverage and coordination of geodetic and seismic monitoring networks; underpinning decision making at national and international scales by developing appropriate mechanisms for gathering, managing and communicating authoritative scientific and technical advice information; international leadership for coordination and authoritative statements of best approaches. All these suggestions are reflected in the Sendai Agreement, the collective views of the experts at the International Workshop on Natural Hazards, presented later in this volume.


News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Using a case study on response to flooding in the American Midwest, anthropologist David Casagrande & colleagues explore whether the naming of an epoch to reflect humanity's planet-scale impact has the power to shift perceptions & influence actions "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." This phrase--from William Shakespeare's tragic play Romeo & Juliet--is among the most famous acknowledgements in Western culture of the power of naming to shape human perception. According to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), the professional organization that defines Earth's time scale, the current time belongs to an epoch named the Holocene--which began 11,500 years ago after the last ice age. However, in recent years, many scientists have advocated to name a new epoch to more accurately reflect the idea that humans have become the dominant planet-shaping force. The name they have proposed places humankind's actions--and their consequences--squarely at the center: the Anthropocene--anthropo, for "man," and cene, for "geological epoch." The need to name a new epoch is gaining wide acceptance as most experts agree that this time period has been marked by geologically significant changes brought about by human activities, such as an accelerated rate of species extinction and changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere, oceans and soils. The Working Group on the Anthropocene (WGA)--an international group of planetary scientists--voted to formally designate the epoch Anthropocene and presented the recommendation at IUGS' International Geological Congress in August of last year. Does a name in itself have sufficient symbolic power to cause a paradigm shift in how humans perceive our role in the changing geological patterns of the planet? That is among the questions with which David Casagrande, associate professor of anthropology at Lehigh University and his colleagues grapple in their latest article in Anthropology Today: "Ecomyopia in the Anthropocene." The authors cite a previously stated belief that "...a major impediment to action on climate change is the deeply entrenched belief that humans are not capable of planetary-scale impacts." The researchers identify two possible consequences to the naming of the Anthropocene epoch. One is that it draws attention to humankind's impact on the planet and thus encourages action on climate change. Another is that it contributes to society's faith in technology and the "manifest destiny" of the human domination of nature--an idea the authors label "technological hubris." "The definition for ecomyopia is the tendency for societies to ignore, not recognize, or fail to act on new ecological information that contradicts political arrangements, social norms, or world views," says Casagrande. "The failure to meaningfully address climate change is a spectacular example of ecomyopia." The authors employ a social science approach known as longue duree to explore the topic. Pioneered by French scholars in the early 20th century--and carried on by French historian Fernand Braudel--longue duree refers to a method of studying history focused on cycles and slowly-evolving social structures, as opposed to viewing historical events as the consequence of immediate causes. They apply this approach to Casagrande's research on agriculture and the flooding of homes, farms and businesses in the floodplain along the Mississippi River in the American Midwest. From the article: "We apply confirmed generalizations to a specific case that links agricultural production in the American Midwest to hydrological change in the Mississippi River Basin. We use this case study as a template for speculating on the impact of the Anthropocene more broadly. Our case study suggests that the concentration of financial capital via agricultural consolidation under pressure of international commodities trade promotes technological hubris. As capital and power concentrate around the world, technological hubris is also likely to become more widely entrenched." Casagrande, a cultural anthropologist, studies the cognitive dissonance behind climate change denial. Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term to describe the discomfort that is experienced when a person or group of persons hold a set of conflicting beliefs. "My research focuses on how in conversation we use techniques to avoid these logical contradictions rather than create change," says Casagrande. "One such technique is to shift the conversation to more abstract concepts or themes that cannot be logically evaluated." In their analysis, the researchers look at some possible causes of "ecomyopia" and reference the idea that technological development produces hierarchical complexity that leads to the consolidation of power and wealth. The researchers write: "Key decision-makers are often spatially or politically removed from the ecologies they create. Complexity also encourages decisions to be made in short time frames - like quarterly profits, annual harvests, or election cycles - the cumulative effect of which is an inability to react to long-term trends like climate change or the increasing frequency of disastrous flooding in the American Midwest." In the case of the floodplain along the Mississippi River in the American Midwest, the authors cites research demonstrating its transformation by dams, levees and drainage and its conversion to agriculture and note that the frequent flooding of private and public lands in the area illustrates that attempts to control the river have failed. To examine community members' responses to this reality, Casagrande combined qualitative data from 121 interviews and five focus groups with farmers, homeowners, business owners, elected officials and government personnel in the area with a quantitative survey of 5,000 households and found three common themes: The authors note that the agricultural community vehemently rejects any option that would take land out of production. "A fundamental source of political power, from tribal leaders through contemporary political leaders, is the ability to steer the political discourse away from logical contradictions," explains Casagrande. "One negative consequence is that societies on this path tend to invest more in symbolism than actually addressing their real problems." The authors state: "The agricultural lobby along the Mississippi River has successfully framed public discussion around which largescale infrastructures are most useful for flood control and how they should to be financed." They add later in the article: "The Midwestern agricultural lobby's successful framing of the flood discourse is possible mainly because of the American cultural faith in technology and capitalism." Though Casagrande found that people in the community prefer solutions in line with nature, he also found that they are willing to accept the large infrastructural solutions offered by the agricultural industry and policymakers. The authors state: "The research on flooding in the American Midwest reveals an underlying conflict between the desire for natural solutions to flooding and faith in technological solutions...When asked to think about the potential conflict between natural and technical solutions, people may invoke phrases like 'I don't know - it's just part of God's plan', or 'if they can put a man on the moon, they can solve the flooding problem.'" Casagrande analyzed community narratives to identify abstract, deeply-held beliefs that community members who were interviewed employed to deal with cognitive dissonance. "These analyses reveal that, in times of psychological stress, Americans rely heavily on their faith in the technological fix for consolation," the researchers conclude in the paper. Rampant technological hubris and the power of capital to organize social relationships preclude the ability of the Anthropocene to encourage a sustainable world view in which humans are equal to nature." Using the American Midwest case study as an example, the authors conclude that global capitalism is too strong a force to enable humanity to overcome technological hubris--despite the new Anthropocene label. They acknowledge that optimism on this issue depends entirely on one's faith in the human potential to use technology wisely. Casagrande and his colleagues compare the possible public response to the Anthropocene label to the reaction to the first photographs of Earth from outer space in 1972. They say that though the photographs altered people's perception of the planet, it has "...failed to temper the power of technological hubris or the unrelenting human transformation of the planet." From the paper's conclusion: "...the ability for the Anthropocene concept to shift paradigms is not particularly relevant from the longue durée perspective. Under this scenario, the cycle of social collapse is merely scaled up to the planet. One's optimism here depends on how critical one is of the current global techno-capitalist enterprise."


Pirrie D.,Helford Geoscience LLP | Donnelly L.,IUGS | Rollinson G.K.,University of Exeter | Butcher A.R.,FEI Natural Resources | And 2 more authors.
Geology Today | Year: 2013

In July 2013 the International School Science Fair (ISSF) was hosted by Camborne Science and International Academy, Cornwall, UK. This meeting brings young talented scientists together from around the world to participate in workshops and activities highlighting current scientific developments. As part of ISSF 2013, a workshop on forensic geology was delivered to some of the international participants. This included the preparation of a map to show the mineralogical composition of the soils of the participating schools. The soil mineralogy was determined using automated mineral analysis based on scanning electron microscopy. In addition there were workshops on the recovery of geological trace evidence in a forensic context and the theory and practice of carrying out a geophysical search for hidden items. Data generated as part of this workshop are available to download from the International Union of Geological Sciences, Initiative on Forensic Geology website (http://www.forensicgeologyinternational.com). © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd, The Geologists' Association & The Geological Society of London.


In 2009 a hoard of gold and silver objects was found in a ploughed field in Staffordshire, by a member of the public using a metal detector. The site was subjected to a detailed archaeologicalexcavation and approximately 3940 items in total were found. Archaeologists interpreted the find as belonging to the Anglo Saxon age (seventh century AD) and probably comprising themilitary hilts and fixings from swords, helmets, shield, clothing and possibly books, chests andwhat is now thought to be a cross from the cover of a bible. Archaeologists considered that allhoard-related material that was recoverable at that time had been retrieved from the excavation. To confirm this, a forensic geology and police search was commissioned. This search provideda high level of assurance and was able to confirm that the original archaeological dig was likely to have found all/most of the buried gold that was reasonably and practicably recoverable atthat time and buried in the top soil to a depth of 280 mm. In 2012, further items of interest werefound in this field. These may have been buried at deeper levels or beyond the original excavation and were possibly brought to the surface by ploughing. © The Geological Society of London 2013.


News Article | November 9, 2016
Site: globenewswire.com

In September, seeking to refinance the capital investments made in the transmission and storage system, Latvijas Gāze began a negotiation procedure on raising a loan of 35 million EUR. The second round of the procedure saw the Latvian branch of OP Corporate Bank plc selected as the winner among four contenders. The contract will be signed for 5 years with a repayment term of 10 years. The contract is expected to be signed within a month. Latvijas Gāze pursues a long-term strategy of capital investments in its infrastructure to ensure a safe and continuous operation of the gas supply system. In 2014 and 2015 Latvijas Gāze invested 48 million EUR in the gas transmission pipelines and the Inčukalns Underground Gas Storage (IUGS). The main current long-term projects are the reconstruction of the gas collection point No.2 at the IUGS, the capital repairs of the IUGS wells, as well as the diagnostics and technical maintenance of the gas transmission pipelines. The loan will enable Latvijas Gāze to improve the price of financial resources, thus also improving the return on capital. The world experience shows that an optimum management of a company’s funds includes a balanced use of equity and borrowings which yields both an efficient business activity and a better return to shareholders.


News Article | November 9, 2016
Site: globenewswire.com

In September, seeking to refinance the capital investments made in the transmission and storage system, Latvijas Gāze began a negotiation procedure on raising a loan of 35 million EUR. The second round of the procedure saw the Latvian branch of OP Corporate Bank plc selected as the winner among four contenders. The contract will be signed for 5 years with a repayment term of 10 years. The contract is expected to be signed within a month. Latvijas Gāze pursues a long-term strategy of capital investments in its infrastructure to ensure a safe and continuous operation of the gas supply system. In 2014 and 2015 Latvijas Gāze invested 48 million EUR in the gas transmission pipelines and the Inčukalns Underground Gas Storage (IUGS). The main current long-term projects are the reconstruction of the gas collection point No.2 at the IUGS, the capital repairs of the IUGS wells, as well as the diagnostics and technical maintenance of the gas transmission pipelines. The loan will enable Latvijas Gāze to improve the price of financial resources, thus also improving the return on capital. The world experience shows that an optimum management of a company’s funds includes a balanced use of equity and borrowings which yields both an efficient business activity and a better return to shareholders.

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