Excellence in Research and Innovation for Humanity

International Science Index

Commenced in January 1999 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 14

Environmental, Chemical, Ecological, Geological and Geophysical Engineering

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  • 14
    10006635
    Impact of Coal Mining on River Sediment Quality in the Sydney Basin, Australia
    Abstract:
    The environmental impacts arising from mining activities affect the air, water, and soil quality. Impacts may result in unexpected and adverse environmental outcomes. This study reports on the impact of coal production on sediment in Sydney region of Australia. The sediment samples upstream and downstream from the discharge points from three mines were taken, and 80 parameters were tested. The results were assessed against sediment quality based on presence of metals. The study revealed the increment of metal content in the sediment downstream of the reference locations. In many cases, the sediment was above the Australia and New Zealand Environment Conservation Council and international sediment quality guidelines value (SQGV). The major outliers to the guidelines were nickel (Ni) and zinc (Zn).
    13
    10006734
    A Simple and Empirical Refraction Correction Method for UAV-Based Shallow-Water Photogrammetry
    Abstract:
    The aerial photogrammetry of shallow water bottoms has the potential to be an efficient high-resolution survey technique for shallow water topography, thanks to the advent of convenient UAV and automatic image processing techniques Structure-from-Motion (SfM) and Multi-View Stereo (MVS)). However, it suffers from the systematic overestimation of the bottom elevation, due to the light refraction at the air-water interface. In this study, we present an empirical method to correct for the effect of refraction after the usual SfM-MVS processing, using common software. The presented method utilizes the empirical relation between the measured true depth and the estimated apparent depth to generate an empirical correction factor. Furthermore, this correction factor was utilized to convert the apparent water depth into a refraction-corrected (real-scale) water depth. To examine its effectiveness, we applied the method to two river sites, and compared the RMS errors in the corrected bottom elevations with those obtained by three existing methods. The result shows that the presented method is more effective than the two existing methods: The method without applying correction factor and the method utilizes the refractive index of water (1.34) as correction factor. In comparison with the remaining existing method, which used the additive terms (offset) after calculating correction factor, the presented method performs well in Site 2 and worse in Site 1. However, we found this linear regression method to be unstable when the training data used for calibration are limited. It also suffers from a large negative bias in the correction factor when the apparent water depth estimated is affected by noise, according to our numerical experiment. Overall, the good accuracy of refraction correction method depends on various factors such as the locations, image acquisition, and GPS measurement conditions. The most effective method can be selected by using statistical selection (e.g. leave-one-out cross validation).
    12
    10006810
    Understanding Integrated Removal of Heavy Metals, Organic Matter and Nitrogen in a Constructed Wetland System Receiving Simulated Landfill Leachate
    Abstract:

    This study investigated the integrated removal of heavy metals, organic matter and nitrogen from landfill leachate using a novel laboratory scale constructed wetland system. The main objectives of this study were: (i) to assess the overall effectiveness of the constructed wetland system for treating landfill leachate; (ii) to examine the interactions and impact of key leachate constituents (heavy metals, organic matter and nitrogen) on the overall removal dynamics and efficiency. The constructed wetland system consisted of four stages operated in tidal flow and anoxic conditions. Results obtained from 215 days of operation have demonstrated extraordinary heavy metals removal up to 100%. Analysis of the physico- chemical data reveal that the controlling factors for metals removal were the anoxic condition and the use of the novel media (dewatered ferric sludge which is a by-product of drinking water treatment process) as the main substrate in the constructed wetland system. Results show that the use of the ferric sludge enhanced heavy metals removal and brought more flexibility to simultaneous nitrification and denitrification which occurs within the microbial flocs. Furthermore, COD and NH4-N were effectively removed in the system and this coincided with enhanced aeration in the 2nd and 3rd stages of the constructed wetland system. Overall, the results demonstrated that the ferric dewatered sludge constructed wetland system would be an effective solution for integrated removal of pollutants from landfill leachates.

    11
    10006821
    Numerical Modelling of Shear Zone and Its Implications on Slope Instability at Letšeng Diamond Open Pit Mine, Lesotho
    Abstract:

    Rock mass damage due to shear tectonic activity has been investigated largely in geoscience where fluid transport is of major interest. However, little has been studied on the effect of shear zones on rock mass behavior and its impact on stability of rock slopes. At Letšeng Diamonds open pit mine in Lesotho, the shear zone composed of sheared kimberlite material, calcite and altered basalt is forming part of the haul ramp into the main pit cut 3. The alarming rate at which the shear zone is deteriorating has triggered concerns about both local and global stability of pit the walls. This study presents the numerical modelling of the open pit slope affected by shear zone at Letšeng Diamond Mine (LDM). Analysis of the slope involved development of the slope model by using a two-dimensional finite element code RS2. Interfaces between shear zone and host rock were represented by special joint elements incorporated in the finite element code. The analysis of structural geological mapping data provided a good platform to understand the joint network. Major joints including shear zone were incorporated into the model for simulation. This approach proved successful by demonstrating that continuum modelling can be used to evaluate evolution of stresses, strain, plastic yielding and failure mechanisms that are consistent with field observations. Structural control due to geological shear zone structure proved to be important in its location, size and orientation. Furthermore, the model analyzed slope deformation and sliding possibility along shear zone interfaces. This type of approach can predict shear zone deformation and failure mechanism, hence mitigation strategies can be deployed for safety of human lives and property within mine pits.

    10
    10006828
    Potential Climate Change Impacts on the Hydrological System of the Harvey River Catchment
    Abstract:

    Climate change is likely to impact the Australian continent by changing the trends of rainfall, increasing temperature, and affecting the accessibility of water quantity and quality. This study investigates the possible impacts of future climate change on the hydrological system of the Harvey River catchment in Western Australia by using the conceptual modelling approach (HBV mode). Daily observations of rainfall and temperature and the long-term monthly mean potential evapotranspiration, from six weather stations, were available for the period (1961-2015). The observed streamflow data at Clifton Park gauging station for 33 years (1983-2015) in line with the observed climate variables were used to run, calibrate and validate the HBV-model prior to the simulation process. The calibrated model was then forced with the downscaled future climate signals from a multi-model ensemble of fifteen GCMs of the CMIP3 model under three emission scenarios (A2, A1B and B1) to simulate the future runoff at the catchment outlet. Two periods were selected to represent the future climate conditions including the mid (2046-2065) and late (2080-2099) of the 21st century. A control run, with the reference climate period (1981-2000), was used to represent the current climate status. The modelling outcomes show an evident reduction in the mean annual streamflow during the mid of this century particularly for the A1B scenario relative to the control run. Toward the end of the century, all scenarios show a relatively high reduction trends in the mean annual streamflow, especially the A1B scenario, compared to the control run. The decline in the mean annual streamflow ranged between 4-15% during the mid of the current century and 9-42% by the end of the century.

    9
    10006887
    Ground Response Analyses in Budapest Based on Site Investigations and Laboratory Measurements
    Abstract:

    Near-surface loose sediments and local ground conditions in general have a major influence on seismic response of structures. It is a difficult task to model ground behavior in seismic soil-structure-foundation interaction problems, fully account for them in seismic design of structures, or even properly consider them in seismic hazard assessment. In this study, we focused on applying seismic soil investigation methods, used for determining soil stiffness and damping properties, to response analysis used in seismic design. A site in Budapest, Hungary was investigated using Multichannel Analysis of Surface Waves, Seismic Cone Penetration Tests, Bender Elements, Resonant Column and Torsional Shear tests. Our aim was to compare the results of the different test methods and use the resulting soil properties for 1D ground response analysis. Often in practice, there are little-to no data available on dynamic soil properties and estimated parameters are used for design. Therefore, a comparison is made between results based on estimated parameters and those based on detailed investigations. Ground response results are also compared to Eurocode 8 design spectra.

    8
    10006894
    Effect of Horizontal Joint Reinforcement on Shear Behaviour of RC Knee Connections
    Abstract:

    To investigate seismic performance of beam-column knee joints, four full-scale reinforced concrete beam-column knee joints, which were fabricated to simulate those in as-built RC frame buildings designed to ACI 318-14 and ACI-ASCE 352R-02, were tested under reversed cyclic loading. In the experimental programme, particular emphasis was given to the effect of horizontal reinforcement (in format of inverted U-shape bars) on the shear strength and ductility capacity of knee joints. Test results are compared with those predicted by four seismic design codes, including ACI 318-14, EC8, NZS3101 and GB50010. It is seen that the current design codes of practice cannot accurately predict the shear strength of seismically designed knee joints.

    7
    10007026
    A Content Analysis of Sustainability Reporting to Frame the Heterogeneity in Corporate Environment Sustainability Practices
    Abstract:
    While extant research has examined many aspects of differential corporate environmental outcomes and behavior, a holistic and integrated view of heterogeneity in corporate environment sustainability (CES) practices remains a puzzle to be fully unraveled – its extent and nature, its relationship to macro or micro level influences, or strategic orientations. Such a perspective would be meaningful for the field given notable strides in CES practices and the corporate social responsibility agenda over the last two decades, in the backdrop of altered global socio-political sensitivities and technological advances. To partly address this gap, this exploratory research adopted a content analysis approach to code patterns in the sustainability disclosures of the 160 largest global firms spread over 8 years. The sample of firms spanned seven industries, nine countries and three continents thereby presenting data rich and diverse enough in several dimensions to be representative of global heterogeneity in CES practices. Through a factor analysis of the coded data, four strategic CES orientations were extracted through the analysis, that effectively straddles most of the variation observed in current CES practices – one that seeks to reduce environmental damage on account of the firm’s operations, another that prioritizes minimalism, a third that focuses on broader ecological status quo, and a final one that champions the ‘business of green’, extending the CES agenda beyond the firm’s boundaries. These environment sustainability strategy orientations are further examined to elicit prominent patterns and explore plausible antecedents.
    6
    10007065
    Influence of Pile Radius on Inertial Response of Pile Group in Fundamental Frequency of Homogeneous Soil Medium
    Abstract:
    An efficient method is developed for the response of a group of vertical, cylindrical fixed-head, finite length piles embedded in a homogeneous elastic stratum, subjected to harmonic force atop the pile group cap. Pile to pile interaction is represented through simplified beam-on-dynamic-Winkler-foundation (BDWF) with realistic frequency-dependent springs and dashpots. Pile group effect is considered through interaction factors. New closed-form expressions for interaction factors and curvature ratios atop the pile are extended by considering different boundary conditions at the tip of the piles (fixed, hinged). In order to investigate the fundamental characteristics of inertial bending strains in pile groups, inertial bending strains at the head of each pile are expressed in terms of slenderness ratio. The results of parametric study give valuable insight in understanding the behavior of fixed head pile groups in fundamental natural frequency of soil stratum.
    5
    10007102
    Comparison and Improvement of the Existing Cone Penetration Test Results: Shear Wave Velocity Correlations for Hungarian Soils
    Abstract:

    Due to the introduction of Eurocode 8, the structural design for seismic and dynamic effects has become more significant in Hungary. This has emphasized the need for more effort to describe the behavior of structures under these conditions. Soil conditions have a significant effect on the response of structures by modifying the stiffness and damping of the soil-structural system and by modifying the seismic action as it reaches the ground surface. Shear modulus (G) and shear wave velocity (vs), which are often measured in the field, are the fundamental dynamic soil properties for foundation vibration problems, liquefaction potential and earthquake site response analysis. There are several laboratory and in-situ measurement techniques to evaluate dynamic soil properties, but unfortunately, they are often too expensive for general design practice. However, a significant number of correlations have been proposed to determine shear wave velocity or shear modulus from Cone Penetration Tests (CPT), which are used more and more in geotechnical design practice in Hungary. This allows the designer to analyze and compare CPT and seismic test result in order to select the best correlation equations for Hungarian soils and to improve the recommendations for the Hungarian geologic conditions. Based on a literature review, as well as research experience in Hungary, the influence of various parameters on the accuracy of results will be shown. This study can serve as a basis for selecting and modifying correlation equations for Hungarian soils. Test data are taken from seven locations in Hungary with similar geologic conditions. The shear wave velocity values were measured by seismic CPT. Several factors are analyzed including soil type, behavior index, measurement depth, geologic age etc. for their effect on the accuracy of predictions. The final results show an improved prediction method for Hungarian soils

    4
    10007359
    Understanding the Notion between Resiliency and Recovery through a Spatial-Temporal Analysis of Section 404 Wetland Alteration Permits before and after Hurricane Ike
    Abstract:

    Historically, wetlands in the United States have been lost due to agriculture, anthropogenic activities, and rapid urbanization along the coast. Such losses of wetlands have resulted in high flooding risk for coastal communities over the period of time. In addition, alteration of wetlands via the Section 404 Clean Water Act permits can increase the flooding risk to future hurricane events, as the cumulative impact of this program is poorly understood and under-accounted. Further, recovery after hurricane events is acting as an encouragement for new development and reconstruction activities by converting wetlands under the wetland alteration permitting program. This study investigates the degree to which hurricane recovery activities in coastal communities are undermining the ability of these places to absorb the impacts of future storm events. Specifically, this work explores how and to what extent wetlands are being affected by the federal permitting program post-Hurricane Ike in 2008. Wetland alteration patterns are examined across three counties (Harris, Galveston, and Chambers County) along the Texas Gulf Coast over a 10-year time period, from 2004-2013 (five years before and after Hurricane Ike) by conducting descriptive spatial analyses. Results indicate that after Hurricane Ike, the number of permits substantially increased in Harris and Chambers County. The vast majority of individual and nationwide type permits were issued within the 100-year floodplain, storm surge zones, and areas damaged by Ike flooding, suggesting that recovery after the hurricane is compromising the ecological resiliency on which coastal communities depend. The authors expect that the findings of this study can increase awareness to policy makers and hazard mitigation planners regarding how to manage wetlands during a long-term recovery process to maintain their natural functions for future flood mitigation.

    3
    10007641
    GIS-Based Spatial Distribution and Evaluation of Selected Heavy Metals Contamination in Topsoil around Ecton Mining Area, Derbyshire, UK
    Abstract:

    The study area (Ecton mining area) is located in the southern part of the Peak District in Derbyshire, England. It is bounded by the River Manifold from the west. This area has been mined for a long period. As a result, huge amounts of potentially toxic metals were released into the surrounding area and are most likely to be a significant source of heavy metal contamination to the local soil, water and vegetation. In order to appraise the potential heavy metal pollution in this area, 37 topsoil samples (5-20 cm depth) were collected and analysed for their total content of Cu, Pb, Zn, Mn, Cr, Ni and V using ICP (Inductively Coupled Plasma) optical emission spectroscopy. Multivariate Geospatial analyses using the GIS technique were utilised to draw geochemical maps of the metals of interest over the study area. A few hotspot points, areas of elevated concentrations of metals, were specified, which are presumed to be the results of anthropogenic activities. In addition, the soil’s environmental quality was evaluated by calculating the Mullers’ Geoaccumulation index (I geo), which suggests that the degree of contamination of the investigated heavy metals has the following trend: Pb > Zn > Cu > Mn > Ni = Cr = V. Furthermore, the potential ecological risk, using the enrichment factor (EF), was also specified. On the basis of the calculated amount or the EF, the levels of pollution for the studied metals in the study area have the following order: Pb>Zn>Cu>Cr>V>Ni>Mn.

    2
    10007781
    Exploration of Hydrocarbon Unconventional Accumulations in the Argillaceous Formation of the Autochthonous Miocene Succession in the Carpathian Foredeep
    Abstract:

    The article shows results of the project which aims at evaluating possibilities of effective development and exploitation of natural gas from argillaceous series of the Autochthonous Miocene in the Carpathian Foredeep. To achieve the objective, the research team develop a world-trend based but unique methodology of processing and interpretation, adjusted to data, local variations and petroleum characteristics of the area. In order to determine the zones in which maximum volumes of hydrocarbons might have been generated and preserved as shale gas reservoirs, as well as to identify the most preferable well sites where largest gas accumulations are anticipated a number of task were accomplished. Evaluation of petrophysical properties and hydrocarbon saturation of the Miocene complex is based on laboratory measurements as well as interpretation of well-logs and archival data. The studies apply mercury porosimetry (MICP), micro CT and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (using the Rock Core Analyzer). For prospective location (e.g. central part of Carpathian Foredeep – Brzesko-Wojnicz area) reprocessing and reinterpretation of detailed seismic survey data with the use of integrated geophysical investigations has been made. Construction of quantitative, structural and parametric models for selected areas of the Carpathian Foredeep is performed on the basis of integrated, detailed 3D computer models. Modeling are carried on with the Schlumberger’s Petrel software. Finally, prospective zones are spatially contoured in a form of regional 3D grid, which will be framework for generation modelling and comprehensive parametric mapping, allowing for spatial identification of the most prospective zones of unconventional gas accumulation in the Carpathian Foredeep. Preliminary results of research works indicate a potentially prospective area for occurrence of unconventional gas accumulations in the Polish part of Carpathian Foredeep.

    1
    10007907
    A Review on Hydraulic and Morphological Characteristics in River Channels Due to Spurs
    Abstract:
    An optimal design of a spur is the first requirement to make it sustainable and function properly. In view of that, a thorough understanding to the hydro- and morpho-dynamics due to spurs is essential. This paper presents a literature review on the effect of spurs to obtain the most recent design criteria. Perpendicular and upstream aligned impermeable spurs have large disturbances to flow and less stability because of strong vortices and associated scour. Downstream aligned spurs minimize scour holes, but there is a chance of strong return current which could be controlled allowing flow through them. A series arrangement of spurs is important to have the desired results with a special care for the first one. Several equations have been presented in the paper for predicting the scour depth. But, they have to be used carefully. Different flow environments developed by spurs are favorable for various aquatic species. However, it is important to maintain almost a stable flow condition providing stable spurs.