Video Competition finalists – time to get voting!

15 Apr

This year we’re running the first ever EGU Communicate Your Science Video Competition – the aim being for young scientists to communicate their research in a short, sweet and public-friendly video. Our judges have now selected 4 fantastic finalists from the excellent entries we received this year and it’s time to find the best geoscience communication clip!

The shortlisted videos will be open to a public vote from now until midnight on 1 May – just ‘like’ the video on YouTube to give it your seal of approval. The video with the most likes when voting closes will be awarded a free registration to the EGU General Assembly 2015.

The finalists are shown below, but you can also catch them in this finalist playlist and even take a seat in GeoCinema – the home of geoscience films at the General Assembly – to see the shortlist and select your favourite.

Please note that only positive votes will be taken into account.

The finalists:

Into the Iron Zone by Carolina Reyes. Like this video to vote for it!

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Understanding Ice-Sheet Stability Using Rocks by Richard Jones. Like this video to vote for it!

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Hydrological Drought Predictions for Reservoir Management: What’s the Use? by Louise Crochemore. Like this video to vote for it!

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SLOMOVE by Giulia Chinellato. Like this video to vote for it!

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The winning entry will be announced during the lunch break on the last day of the General Assembly (Friday 2 May).

Imaggeo on Mondays: Villarrica Volcano

14 Apr

This week’s Imaggeo on Mondays highlights the vulnerability of Villarrica’s slopes and zooms in on the volcano’s spectacular crater…

Villarrica, one of the largest stratovolcanoes in Chile, is also one of the country’s most active. The volcano is iced by glaciers that make the mountain a stunning scene, but also a dangerous one. The glaciers cover some 30 square-kilometres of the volcano and, during an eruption, the snow and ice melts to form lahars (rapid mud flows that move at 30-40 kilometres per hour). These flows present a formidable hazard to the towns that flank the volcano.

Villarrica from above – if you look closely, you can see the traces of lahars on the volcano’s northwest flanks. (Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Jesse Allen/Robert Simmon)

Villarrica from above – if you look closely, you can see the traces of lahars on the volcano’s northwest flanks. (Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Jesse Allen/Robert Simmon)

Villarica’s crater spans some 250 metres and takes the form of steeply sloping basalt. The cherry on the volcanic cake (and just out of shot here) is the lava lake at its summit. Villarrica is constantly degassing through this lava lake – a process that releases pressure below the surface. Without it, eruptions would be much more violent.

Peering into the crater of Villarrica Volcano, Chile. (Credit: Dávid Karátson via imaggeo.egu.eu)

Peering into the crater of Villarrica Volcano, Chile. (Credit: Dávid Karátson via imaggeo.egu.eu)

Imaggeo is the EGU’s open access geosciences image repository. Photos uploaded to Imaggeo can be used by scientists, the press and the public provided the original author is credited. Photographers also retain full rights of use, as Imaggeo images are licensed and distributed by the EGU under a Creative Commons licence. You can submit your photos here.

Exhibits at EGU 2014 – The Face of the Earth

11 Apr

This year, the conference will have a theme: The Face of the Earth. Much like a human face, our planet exhibits a huge diversity of shapes and forms, and the 2014 theme celebrates this diversity in geoscience processes – from the Earth’s core to interplanetary space.

In line with this year’s theme, you’ll find exhibits on each of the Earth’s faces – Rocks of the Earth, Waters of the Earth, Life of the Earth, Atmosphere of the Earth, and Space and the Earth – throughout the General Assembly venue. Here’s a hint of what’s in store…

Rocks smallRocks of the Earth

Bring your own rock. In the Entrance Hall we will be collecting rocks from around the world, where they will be placed on display in our very own stone showcase. Their origin will be mapped for all participants to see in an exhibit made by EGU participants, for EGU participants. Don’t forget to bring yours! Check the rock requirements on the General Assembly website.

Space small

Space and the Earth

What we find on Earth is mirrored in other planets – volcanoes on Venus generate a landscape that looks a lot like ours, despite the planet’s wildly different atmosphere and tumultuous tectonic system. Mars’ dusty surface looks a lot like the Earth’s arid landscapes. Search for the similarities between Earth and its neighbours in the Space and the Earth exhibit (Foyer C, Red Level).

Waters small

Waters of the Earth

Water affects virtually all physical, chemical and biological processes, and has shaped a significant part of human history and culture, as well as our lives today. The Waters of the Earth Exhibit will be, quite aptly, on the Blue Level of the conference centre. We don’t want to give all the exhibitions away though! Come down to the basement to see what it’s all about!

Life smallLife of the Earth

Life on Earth began about 4 billion years ago expanding and adapting to almost every environment imaginable: from the poles to the Equator, and from scalding vents on the sea floor to the tops of icy mountains. On the first floor you’ll find the Life of the Earth Exhibition Spot – a truly global view of life on this planet.

Atmosphere small

Atmosphere of the Earth

The Earth’s atmosphere is an incredible thing. It shields us from solar radiation, supplies us with water and shifts weather systems around the world. The atmosphere of the Earth inspires research at all scales, from the tiniest of aerosols to awe-inspiring phenomena that can be seen from space. This exhibit lets you experience the awesomeness of the atmosphere first-hand. Head to Foyer B on the Red Level.

The EGU General Assembly is taking place in Vienna, Austria (27 April-2 May). Find out more at www.egu2014.eu

 

Geotalk: Claudia Cherubini and the art of characterising aquifers

10 Apr

This week in Geotalk, we’re talking to Claudia Cherubini, a research professor from La Salle Beauvais Polytechnic Institute. Claudia shares her work in hydrogeological modelling and delves into how such models can be used in water management…

Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you’re currently working on?

I am an environmental engineer with a PhD in hydrogeology. After more than four years of post-doctoral activity, I finally got a position as associate professor at LaSalle Beauvais Polytechnic Institute, one of the most reputable schools for engineering geologists in France.

My field of research involves characterising flow and transport phenomena in heterogeneous aquifers. My research interests include also advanced geostatistical methods to model complex spatial patterns of contaminants and quantify risk assessment – something I concentrated on when working as a consultant for the Italian Ministry of Environment and the Apulia Region (southeastern Italy).

Meet Claudia! (Credit: Claudia Cherubini)

Meet Claudia! (Credit: Claudia Cherubini)

During EGU 2012, you received a Division Outstanding Young Scientists Award for your work on hydrogeological models and how they can be used in resource management. Could you tell us a bit more about your research in this area?

Before coming to France, most of my research dealt with the hydrogeology of the fractured limestone aquifer in Apulia and, in particular, with water management in coastal aquifers.

The key study concerning this prize is published in Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences. Together with my Italian colleague Nicola Pastore, I combined two models – one describing density-driven flow and another describing fault hydrogeology – to find out more about the aquifer system in southern Italy. The coupled models let us work out how this complex aquifer could be exploited as well as determine its vulnerability to seawater intrusion. Vulnerability assessments like these are needed for sustainable planning, both in terms of picking well locations and setting pumping rates.

Fractured aquifers are key water sources for many people around the world, how do your findings relate to sustainable water use in these areas? 

Most of my research deals with modeling groundwater flow and contaminant transport in fractured aquifers. Detailed geological reconstructions are used in hydrodynamic modelling to help interpret flow dynamics and the way contaminants are transported. Hydrogeological modelling is extremely important to optimise water extraction in fractured aquifers, to pin down pollution sources or predict the fate of a contaminant. All of these help decide how to manage areas that have been affected by a pollutant. Due to the complexity of fractured rock aquifers, they are often oversimplified. My research aims to apply discrete models to better describe flow and transport dynamics in these aquifers.

How does knowing more about groundwater help scientists understand the impacts of polluted sites on the surrounding environment?

In fractured-rock aquifers, the fracture’s orientation may cause the contaminant plume to be transported in a direction that diverges from the regional hydraulic gradient. Being able to characterise the dominant fractures in the system is extremely useful for aquifer cleanup.

How can hydrogeologists set up something close to what we might find in nature in the lab?

In fracture formations, multiple scales of heterogeneity may exist and there is the need to characterise them at the core, bench and field scale. There is some degree of skepticism about how representative physical models are of phenomena occurring in field conditions though. Laboratory experiments have the advantage of improving our understanding of physical mechanisms under relatively well-controlled conditions, which is not exactly the case in the field.

Key parts of the lab. (Credit: Claudia Cherubini)

Key parts of the lab. (Credit: Claudia Cherubini)

Do you prefer fieldwork or fixing up a laboratory experiment?

I would say probably the second. Dealing with lab experiments concerning fractured media is a matter of creativity and innovation, as there is still a lot to do in this research area.

However, here at LaSalle Beauvais we have set up a hydrogeological platform with an experimental site with 18 boreholes up to 110 m deep, each equipped with piezometers – instruments used to measure liquid pressure, so future directions are oriented towards fieldwork.

What do you enjoy about working in science?

I always felt at ease in science and I have always enjoyed doing research everywhere I go. I currently speak English, German, Spanish, French and obviously Italian (my native language). I spent some research periods abroad: during my PhD at The University of Göttingen Geosciences Centre, and during my post doc at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and at United States Geological Survey in California too.

Finally, what are your research plans for the future?

I work in Picardy (north of France), a region characterised by a fissured chalk aquifer, where the unsaturated zone has been poorly investigated. I am setting up a study with the notable scientist John Nimmo of the USGS, aiming to investigate preferential flow dynamics and their role in recharge within this chalk aquifer.

And I have an Italian PhD student to supervise! She will come here to do laboratory and field experiments on the platform. We also plan to integrate our network into the French H+ observatory, a database for data from a network of highly heterogeneous hydrogeological sites.

Find out more about Claudia’s work on fractured aquifers…

Cherubini, C. and Pastore, N.: Critical stress scenarios for a coastal aquifer in southeastern Italy, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 1381-1393, 2011.

Cherubini, C., Giasi, C. I., and Pastore, N.: On the reliability of analytical models to predict solute transport in a fracture network, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., 10, 2013. (currently under open review)

Cherubini, C.: A modeling approach for the study of contamination in a fractured aquifer. Geotechnical and Geological Engineering, 26, 519-533, 2008.

Cherubini, C., Giasi, C. I., Pastore, N.: Evidence of non-darcy flow and non-fickian transport in fractured media at laboratory scale. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 2599–2611, 2013.

Cherubini, C, Giasi, C. I., and Pastore, N.: Bench scale laboratory tests to analyze non-linear flow in fractured media. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 2511-2522, 2012.

If you’d like to suggest a scientist for an interview, please contact Sara Mynott.

 

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