2022 Vol. 13, No. 6
The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has the potential to cause natural ventilation systems in hospital environments to be rendered inadequate, not only for workers but also for people who transit through these environments even for a limited duration. Studies in of the fields of geosciences and engineering, when combined with appropriate technologies, allow for the possibility of reducing the impacts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the environment, including those of hospitals which are critical centers for healthcare. In this work, we build parametric 3D models to assess the possible circulation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the natural ventilation system of a hospital built to care infected patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Building Information Modeling (BIM) was performed, generating 3D models of hospital environments utilizing Revit software for Autodesk CFD 2021. The evaluation considered dimensional analyses of 0°, 45°, 90° and 180°. The analysis of natural ventilation patterns on both internal and external surfaces and the distribution of windows in relation to the displacement dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 virus through the air were considered. The results showed that in the external area of the hospital, the wind speed reached velocities up to 2.1 m/s when entering the building through open windows. In contact with the furniture, this value decreased to 0.78 m/s. In some internal isolation wards that house patients with COVID-19, areas that should be equipped with negative room pressure, air velocity was null. Our study provides insights into the possibility of SARS-CoV-2 contamination in internal hospital environments as well as external areas surrounding hospitals, both of which encounter high pedestrian traffic in cities worldwide.
Ongoing uncertainty over the relative importance of aerosol transmission of COVID-19 is in part rooted in the history of medical science and our understanding of how epidemic diseases can spread through human populations. Ancient Greek medical theory held that such illnesses are transmitted by airborne pathogenic emanations containing particulate matter (“miasmata”). Notable Roman and medieval scholars such as Varro, Ibn al-Khatib and Fracastoro developed these ideas, combining them with early germ theory and the concept of contagion. A widely held but vaguely defined belief in toxic miasmatic mists as a dominant causative agent in disease propagation was overtaken by the science of 19th century microbiology and epidemiology, especially in the study of cholera, which was proven to be mainly transmitted by contaminated water. Airborne disease transmission came to be viewed as burdened by a dubious historical reputation and difficult to demonstrate convincingly. A breakthrough came with the classic mid-20th century work of Wells, Riley and Mills who proved how expiratory aerosols (their “droplet nuclei”) could transport still-infectious tuberculosis bacteria through ventilation systems. The topic of aerosol transmission of pathogenic respiratory diseases assumed a new dimension with the mid-late 20th century “Great Acceleration” of an increasingly hypermobile human population repeatedly infected by different strains of zoonotic viruses, and has taken centre stage this century in response to outbreaks of new respiratory infections that include coronaviruses. From a geoscience perspective, the consequences of pandemic-status diseases such as COVID-19, produced by viral pathogens utilising aerosols to infect a human population currently approaching 8 billion, are far-reaching and unprecedented. The obvious and sudden impacts on for example waste plastic production, water and air quality and atmospheric chemistry are accelerating human awareness of current environmental challenges. As such, the “anthropause” lockdown enforced by COVID-19 may come to be seen as a harbinger of change great enough to be preserved in the Anthropocene stratal record.
The influence of reduction in emissions on the inherent temporal characteristics of PM2.5 and NO2 concentration time series in six urban cities of India is assessed by computing the Hurst exponent using Detrended Fluctuation Analysis (DFA) during the lockdown period (March 24–April 20, 2020) and the corresponding period during the previous two years (i.e., 2018 and 2019). The analysis suggests the anticipated impact of confinement on the PM2.5 and NO2 concentration in urban cities, causing low concentrations. It is observed that the original PM2.5 and NO2 concentration time series is persistent but filtering the time series by fitting the autoregressive process of order 1 on the actual time series and subtracting it changes the persistence property significantly. It indicates the presence of linear correlations in the PM2.5 and NO2 concentrations. Hurst exponent of the PM2.5 and NO2 concentration during the lockdown period and previous two years shows that the inherent temporal characteristics of the short-term air pollutant concentrations (APCs) time series do not change even after withholding the emissions. The meteorological variations also do not change over the three time periods. The finding helps in developing the prediction models for future policy decisions to improve urban air quality across cities.
The infectious emission rate is a fundamental input parameter for airborne transmission risk assessment, but data are limited due to reliance on estimates from chance superspreading events. This study assesses the strength of a predictive estimation approach developed by the authors for SARS-CoV-2 and uses novel estimates to compare the contagiousness of respiratory pathogens. We applied the approach to SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, MERS, measles virus, adenovirus, rhinovirus, coxsackievirus, seasonal influenza virus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) and compared quanta emission rate (ERq) estimates to literature values. We calculated infection risk in a prototypical classroom and barracks to assess the relative ability of ventilation to mitigate airborne transmission. Our median standing and speaking ERq estimate for SARS-CoV-2 (2.7 quanta h-1) is similar to active, untreated TB (3.1 quanta h-1), higher than seasonal influenza (0.17 quanta h-1), and lower than measles virus (15 quanta h-1). We calculated event reproduction numbers above 1 for SARS-CoV-2, measles virus, and untreated TB in both the classroom and barracks for an activity level of standing and speaking at low, medium and high ventilation rates of 2.3, 6.6 and 14 L per second per person (L s–1 p–1), respectively. Our predictive ERq estimates are consistent with the range of values reported over decades of research. In congregate settings, current ventilation standards are unlikely to control the spread of viruses with upper quartile ERq values above 10 quanta h-1, such as SARS-CoV-2, indicating the need for additional control measures.
Urban cemeteries are increasingly surrounded by areas of high residential density as urbanization continues world-wide. With increasing rates of mortality caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, urban vertical cemeteries are experiencing interments at an unprecedented rate. Corpses interred in the 3rd to 5th layer of vertical urban cemeteries have the potential to contaminate large adjacent regions. The general objective of this manuscript is to analyze the reflectance of altimetry, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and land surface temperature (LST) in the urban cemeteries and neighbouring areas of the City of Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. It is assumed that the population residing in the vicinity of these cemeteries may be exposed to SARS-CoV-2 contamination through the displacement of microparticles carried by the wind as a corpse is placed in the burial niche or during the first several days of subsequent fluid and gas release through the process of decomposition. The reflectance analyses were performed utilizing Landsat 8 satellite images applied to altimetry, NDVI and LST, for hypothetical examination of possible displacement, transport and subsequent deposition of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The results showed that two cemeteries within the city, cemeteries A and B could potentially transport SARS-CoV-2 of nanometric structure to neighboring residential areas through wind action. These two cemeteries are located at high relative altitudes in more densely populated regions of the city. The NDVI, which has been shown to control the proliferation of contaminants, proved to be insufficient in these areas, contributing to high LST values. Based on the results of this study, the formation and implementation of public policies that monitor urban cemeteries is suggested in areas that utilize vertical urban cemeteries in order to reduce the further spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Intensive measurements were conducted in Xi’an, China before and during a COVID-19 lockdown period to investigate how changes in anthropogenic emissions affected the optical properties and radiative effects of brown carbon (BrC) aerosol. The contribution of BrC to total aerosol light absorption during the lockdown (13%–49%) was higher compared with the normal period (4%–29%). Mass absorption cross-sections (MACs) of specific organic aerosol (OA) factors were calculated from a ridge regression model. Of the primary OA (POA), coal combustion OA (CCOA) had the largest MACs at all tested wavelengths during both periods due to high molecular-weight BrC chromophores; that was followed by biomass burning OA (BBOA) and hydrocarbon-like OA (HOA). For secondary OA (SOA), the MACs of the less-oxidized oxygenated OA (OOA) species (LO-OOA) at λ = 370–590 nm were higher than those of more-oxidized OOA (MO-OOA) during both periods, presumably due to chromophore bleaching. The largest contributor to BrC absorption at the short wavelengths was CCOA during both periods, but BrC absorption by LO-OOA and MO-OOA became dominant at longer wavelengths during the lockdown. The estimated radiation forcing efficiency of BrC over 370–600 nm increased from 37.5 W·g-1 during the normal period to 50.2 W·g-1 during the lockdown, and that enhancement was mainly caused by higher MACs for both LO-OOA and MO-OOA. This study provides insights into the optical properties and radiative effects of source-specific BrC aerosol when pollution emissions are reduced.
The global outbreak of coronavirus infectious disease-2019 (COVID-19) draws attentions in the transport and spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in aerosols, wastewater, surface water and solid wastes. As pathogens eventually enter the subsurface system, e.g., soils in the vadose zone and groundwater in the aquifers, they might survive for a prolonged period of time owing to the uniqueness of subsurface environment. In addition, pathogens can transport in groundwater and contaminate surrounding drinking water sources, possessing long-term and concealed risks to human society. This work critically reviews the influential factors of pathogen migration, unravelling the impacts of pathogenic characteristics, vadose zone physiochemical properties and hydrological variables on the migration of typical pathogens in subsurface system. An assessment algorithm and two rating/weighting schemes are proposed to evaluate the migration abilities and risks of pathogens in subsurface environment. As there is still no evidence about the presence and distribution of SARS-CoV-2 in the vadose zones and aquifers, this study also discusses the migration potential and behavior of SARS-CoV-2 viruses in subsurface environment, offering prospective clues and suggestions for its potential risks in drinking water and effective prevention and control from hydrogeological points of view.
With the prevalence of COVID-19, the phenomenon of viruses spreading through aerosols has become a focus of attention. Diners in university dining halls have a high risk of exposure to respiratory droplets from others without the protection of face masks, which greatly increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Therefore, the transmission mechanism of respiratory droplets in extremely crowded dining environments should be investigated. In this study, a numerical simulation of coughing at dining tables under two conditions was performed, namely the presence and absence of protective partitions, and the evaporation and condensation of aerosol droplets in the air were examined. By using the numerical method, we analyzed and verified the isolation effect of dining table partitions in the propagation of aerosol droplets. The effect of changes in room temperature on the diffusion of coughed aerosols when partitions were present was analyzed. We demonstrated how respiratory droplets spread through coughing and how these droplets affect others. Finally, we proposed a design for a dining table partition that minimizes the transmission of COVID-19.
COVID-19 pandemic has forced to lockdown entire India starting from 24th March 2020 to 14th April 2020 (first phase), extended up to 3rd May 2020 (second phase), and further extended up to 17th May 2020 (third phase) with limited relaxation in non-hotspot areas. This strict lockdown has severely curtailed human activity across India. Here, aerosol concentrations of particular matters (PM) i.e., PM10, PM2.5, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), ammonia (NH3) and ozone (O3), and associated temperature fluctuation in four megacities (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai) from different regions of India were investigated. In this pandemic period, air temperature of Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai has decreased about 3 ℃, 2.5 ℃, 2 ℃ and 2 ℃ respectively. Compared to previous years and pre-lockdown period, air pollutants level and aerosol concentration (-41.91%, -37.13%, -54.94% and -46.79% respectively for Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai) in these four megacities has improved drastically during this lockdown period. Emission of PM2.5 has experienced the highest decrease in these megacities, which directly shows the positive impact of restricted vehicular movement. Restricted emissions produce encouraging results in terms of urban air quality and temperature, which may encourage policymakers to consider it in terms of environmental sustainability.
The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which has caused millions of death globally is recognized to be unstable and recalcitrant in the environment, especially in the way it has been evolving to form new and highly transmissible variants. Of particular concerns are human-environment interactions and the handling and reusing the environmental materials, such as effluents, sludge, or biosolids laden with the SARS-CoV-2 without adequate treatments, thereby suggesting potential transmission and health risks. This study assesses the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in effluents, sludge, and biosolids. Further, we evaluate the environmental, ecological, and health risks of reusing these environmental materials by wastewater/sludge workers and farmers. A systematic review of literature from the Scopus database resulted in a total of 21 articles (11 for effluents, 8 for sludge, and 2 for biosolids) that met the criteria for meta-analysis, which are then subdivided into 30 meta-analyzed studies. The prevalence of SAR-CoV-2 RNA in effluent and sludge based on random-effect models are 27.51 and 1012.25, respectively, with a 95% CI between 6.14 and 48.89 for the effluent, and 104.78 and 1019.71 for the sludge. However, the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the biosolids based on the fixed-effect model is 30.59, with a 95% CI between 10.10 and 51.08. The prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in environmental materials indicates the inefficiency in some of the treatment systems currently deployed to inactivate and remove the novel virus, which could be a potential health risk concern to vulnerable wastewater workers in particular, and the environmental and ecological issues for the population at large. This timely review portends the associated risks in handling and reusing environmental materials without proper and adequate treatments.
Underground subway platforms are among the world’s busiest public transportation systems, but the airborne transmission mechanism of respiratory infections on these platforms has been rarely studied. Here, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling is used to investigate the airflow patterns and infection risks in an island platform under two common ventilation modes: Mode 1- both sides have air inlets and outlets; Mode 2- air inlets are present at the two sides and outlets are present in the middle. Under the investigated scenario, airflow structure is characterized by the ventilation jet and human thermal plumes. Their interaction with the infector’s breathing jet imposes the front passenger under the highest exposure risk by short-range airborne route, with intake fractions up to 2.57% (oral breathing) or 0.63% (nasal breathing) under Mode 1; oral breathing of the infector may impose higher risks for the front passenger compared with nasal breathing. Pathogen are efficiently diluted as they travel further, in particular to adjacent crowds. The maximum and median value of intake fractions of passengers in adjacent crowds are respectively 0.093% and 0.016% (oral breathing), and 0.073% and 0.014% (nasal breathing) under Mode 1. Compared with Mode 1, the 2nd mode minimizes the interaction of ventilation jet and breathing jet, where the maximum intake fraction is only 0.34%, and the median value in the same crowd and other crowds are reduced by 23–63%. Combining published quanta generation rate data of COVID-19 and influenza infectors, the predicted maximum and median infection risks for passengers in the same crowds are respectively 1.46%–40.23% and 0.038%–1.67% during the 3–10 min waiting period, which are more sensitive to ventilation rate and exposure time compared with return air. This study can provide practical guidance for the prevention of respiratory infections in subway platforms.
Public transport environments are thought to play a key role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 worldwide. Indeed, high crowding indexes (i.e. high numbers of people relative to the vehicle size), inadequate clean air supply, and frequent extended exposure durations make transport environments potential hotspots for transmission of respiratory infections. During the COVID-19 pandemic, generic mitigation measures (e.g. physical distancing) have been applied without also considering the airborne transmission route. This is due to the lack of quantified data about airborne contagion risk in transport environments.In this study, we apply a novel combination of close proximity and room-scale risk assessment approaches for people sharing public transport environments to predict their contagion risk due to SARS-CoV-2 respiratory infection. In particular, the individual infection risk of susceptible subjects and the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 (expressed through the reproduction number) are evaluated for two types of buses, differing in terms of exposure time and crowding index: urban and long-distance buses. Infection risk and reproduction number are calculated for different scenarios as a function of the ventilation rates (both measured and estimated according to standards), crowding indexes, and travel times. The results show that for urban buses, the close proximity contribution significantly affects the maximum occupancy to maintain a reproductive number of <1. In particular, full occupancy of the bus would be permitted only for an infected subject breathing, whereas for an infected subject speaking, masking would be required. For long-distance buses, full occupancy of the bus can be maintained only if specific mitigation solutions are simultaneously applied. For example, for an infected person speaking for 1 h, appropriate filtration of the recirculated air and simultaneous use of FFP2 masks would permit full occupancy of the bus for a period of almost 8 h. Otherwise, a high percentage of immunized persons (>80%) would be needed.
Over one hundred arthropod fossil species have been described from the famous Chengjiang Lagerstätte (South China, Cambrian Stage 3, ca. 518 Ma) including a diverse assemblage of radiodonts–a group containing Anomalocaris and its relatives. These iconic stem-group euarthropods include some of the largest animals of the time, and some are known from hundreds of specimens. A longstanding conundrum has been the rarity or absence of hurdiids from Cambrian Series 2 Lagerstätten like Chengjiang. This is because radiodonts are generally common in such deposits and the oldest radiodont ever discovered is a hurdiid. Furthermore, this family displays the widest geographic and temporal ranges of all radiodont families, and the highest diversity. Here we document the first hurdiid frontal appendages from Chengjiang, which display unique features within the family and may provide insights for understanding the character evolution of hurdiid appendages. The palaeoenvironmental distribution of hurdiids suggests that the rarity of hurdiids in Chengjiang may be due to a preference for deeper water environments, and the later success of this family from the Wuliuan onwards may relate to their ability to tolerate cooler water temperatures than other radiodont families. The palaeogeographical, palaeoenvironmental, and stratigraphical patterns observed in hurdiids maybe caused in part by the limited distributions of Konservat-Lagerstätten in the Cambrian as well.
Melt inclusions in kimberlitic minerals and diamonds indicate that chlorides are important constituents of mantle carbonatite melts. Besides, alkaline chlorides are important constituents of saline high-density fluids (HDFs) found in diamonds from kimberlites and placers around the world. Continuous compositional variations suggest that saline and carbonatitic HDFs could be genetically linked. However, the essence of this link remains unclear owing to the lack of data on phase relations in the chloride-carbonate systems under pressure. Here we studied subsolidus and melting phase relations in the system NaCl–CaCO3–MgCO3 at 6 GPa and 1000–1600 ℃ using a Kawai-type multianvil press. We found that at 1000 ℃, subsolidus assemblage consists of halite, magnesite, and aragonite. At higher temperatures, the stabilization of dolomite splits the subsolidus area into two partial ternary fields: halite + magnesite + dolomite and halite + dolomite + aragonite. The minimum on the liquidus surface corresponds to the halite-dolomite-aragonite ternary eutectic, situated at 1100 ℃. The eutectic melt has Ca# 89 and contains 30 wt.% NaCl (26 mol% 2NaCl). The system has two ternary peritectics: halite + dolomite = magnesite + liquid located near the ternary eutectic and magnesite + dolomite = Mg-dolomite + liquid situated between 1300 and 1400 ℃. Although under dry conditions incipient melting yields carbonate-dominated melt, the addition of water facilitates the fusion of NaCl and expands the liquid field to NaCl-rich compositions with up to 70 wt.% NaCl. The obtained results favor the idea that hydrous saline melts/fluids (brines) found as inclusions in diamonds could be a lower temperature derivative of mantle carbonatite melts and disagree with the hypothesis on chloride melt generation owing to the chloride-carbonate liquid immiscibility since no such immiscibility was established. We also studied the interaction of the NaCl–CaCO3–MgCO3 system with iron metal and found that carbonate reduction produces C-bearing species (Fe0, Fe-C melt, Fe3C, Fe7C3, C0) and wüstite containing Na2O, CaO, and MgO. Besides, a carbonate chloride compound, Ca2Cl2CO3, was established among the reaction products. The interaction between NaCl-bearing carbonate melt shifts its composition toward Mg-poor and NaCl-rich. Given the above, an alternative hypothesis can be proposed, according to which the interaction of alkaline chloride-bearing carbonate melts formed in the subduction zones with the reduced mantle should be accompanied by diamond crystallization and shift the composition of the melt from carbonatitic to alkali-rich saline.
Quantitative glacial chronologies of past glaciations are sparse in the Himalaya, and mostly absent in the Kashmir Himalaya. We used cosmogenic 10Be exposure dating, and geomorphological mapping to reconstruct glacial advances of the Thajwas Glacier (TG) in the Great Himalayan Range of the Kashmir Himalaya. From 10Be exposure dating of ten moraine boulders, four glacial stages with ages ~20.77 ±2.28 ka, ~11.46 ±1.69 ka, ~9.12 ±1.39 ka and ~4.19 ±0.78 ka, were identified. The reconstructed cosmogenic radionuclide ages confirmed the global Last Glacial Maximum (gLGM), Younger Dryas, Early Holocene, and Neoglaciation episodes. As per area and volume change analyses, the TG has lost 51.1 km2 of its area and a volume of 2.64 km3 during the last 20.77 ±2.28 ka. Overall, the results suggested that the TG has lost 64% of area and 73% of volume from the Last glacial maximum to Neoglaciation and about 85.74% and 87.67% of area and volume, respectively, from Neoglaciation to the present day. The equilibrium line altitude of the TG fluctuated from 4238 m a.s.l present to 3365 m a.s.l during the gLGM (20.77 ±2.28 ka). The significant cooling induced by a drop in mean ambient temperature resulted in a positive mass balance of the TG during the gLGM. Subsequently the melting accelerated due to the continuing rise of the global ambient temperature. Paleo-glacial history reconstruction of the Kashmir Himalaya, with its specific geomorphic and climatic setting, would help close the information gap about the chronology of past regional glacial episodes.
An increasing number of palaeo-climatic records have been reported to identify the Holocene climate history in the arid Xinjiang region of northwest China. However, few studies have fully considered the internal linkages within the regional climate system, which may limit our understanding of the forcing mechanisms of Holocene climate change in this region. Here, we systematically consider three major issues of the moisture/precipitation, temperature and near-surface wind relevant to the Holocene climate history of Xinjiang. First, despite there still has debated for the Holocene moisture evolution in this region, more climatic reconstructions from lake sediments, loess, sand-dunes and peats support a long-term regional wetting trend. Second, temperature records from ice cores, peats and stalagmites demonstrate a long-term winter warming trend during the Holocene in middle- to high-latitudes of Asia. Third, recent studies of aeolian sedimentary sequences reveal that the near-surface winds in winter gradually weakened during the Holocene, whereas the winter mid-latitude Westerlies strengthened in the Tienshan Mountains. Based on this evidence, in the arid Xinjiang region we propose an early to middle Holocene relatively cold and dry interval, with strong near-surface winds; and a warmer, wetter interval with weaker near-surface winds in the middle to late Holocene during winter. Additionally, we develop a conceptual model to explain the pattern of Holocene climate changes in this region. From the early to the late Holocene, the increasing atmospheric CO2 content and winter insolation, and the shrinking of high-latitude continental ice-sheets, resulted in increasing winter temperatures in middle to high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. Subsequently, the increased winter temperature strengthened the winter mid-latitude Westerlies and weakened the Siberian high-pressure system, which caused an increase in winter precipitation and a decrease in near-surface wind strength. This scenario is strongly supported by evidence from geological records, climate simulation results, and modern reanalysis data. Our hypothesis highlights the important contribution of winter temperature in driving the Holocene climatic evolution of the arid Xinjiang region, and it implies that the socio-economic development and water resources security of this region will face serious challenges presented by the increasing winter temperature in the future.
Magmatic Ni-Cu-(PGE) sulfide and Fe-Ti oxide deposits in plume-related large igneous provinces (LIPs) are commonly related to low-Ti and high-Ti series magmas, respectively, but the major factors that control such a relationship of metallogenic types and magma compositions are unclear. Magma fO2 controls sulfur status and relative timing of Fe-Ti oxide saturation in mafic magmas, which may help clarify this issue. Taking the Emeishan LIP as a case, we calculated the magma fO2 of the high-Ti and low-Ti picrites based on the olivine-spinel oxygen barometer, and the partitioning of V in olivine. The obtained fO2 of the high-Ti series magma (FMQ + 1.1 to FMQ + 2.6) is higher than that of the low-Ti series magma (FMQ - 0.5 to FMQ + 0.5). The magma fO2 of the high-Ti and low-Ti picrites containing Fo > 90 olivine reveals that the mantle source of the high-Ti series is likely more oxidized than that of the low-Ti series. The results using the ‘lambda REE’ approach show that the high-Ti series may have been derived from relatively oxidized mantle with garnet pyroxenite component. The S contents at sulfide saturation (SCSS) of the two series magmas were calculated based on liquid compositions obtained from the alphaMelts modeling, and the results show that the low-Ti series magma could easily attain the sulfide saturation as it has low fO2 with S being dominantly as S2-. In contrast, the oxidized high-Ti series magma is difficult to attain the sulfide saturation, but could crystallize Fe-Ti oxides at magma MgO content of ~7.0 wt.%. Thus, contrasting magma fO2 of low-Ti and high-Ti series in plume-related LIPs may play an important role in producing two different styles of metallogeny.
The past two decades have seen a rapid adoption of artificial intelligence methods applied to mineral exploration. More recently, the easier acquisition of some types of data has inspired a broad literature that has examined many machine learning and modelling techniques that combine exploration criteria, or ‘features’, to generate predictions for mineral prospectivity. Central to the design of prospectivity models is a ‘mineral system’, a conceptual model describing the key geological elements that control the timing and location of economic mineralisation. The mineral systems model defines what constitutes a training set, which features represent geological evidence of mineralisation, how features are engineered and what modelling methods are used. Mineral systems are knowledge-driven conceptual models, thus all parameter choices are subject to human biases and opinion so alternative models are possible. However, the effect of alternative mineral systems models on prospectivity is rarely compared despite the potential to heavily influence final predictions. In this study, we focus on the effect of conceptual uncertainty on Fe ore prospectivity models in the Hamersley region, Western Australia. Four important considerations are tested. (1) Five different supergene and hypogene conceptual mineral systems models guide the inputs for five forest-based classification prospectivity models model. (2) To represent conceptual uncertainty, the predictions are then combined for prospectivity model comparison. (3) Representation of three-dimensional objects as two-dimensional features are tested to address commonly ignored thickness of geological units. (4) The training dataset is composed of known economic mineralisation sites (deposits) as ‘positive’ examples, and exploration drilling data providing ‘negative’ sampling locations. Each of the spatial predictions are assessed using independent performance metrics common to AI-based classification methods and subjected to geological plausibility testing. We find that different conceptual mineral systems produce significantly different spatial predictions, thus conceptual uncertainty must be recognised. A benefit to recognising and modelling different conceptual models is that robust and geologically plausible predictions can be made that may guide mineral discovery.
Zircon is a widely-used heavy mineral in geochronological and geochemical research because it can extract important information to understand the history and genesis of rocks. Zircon has various types, and an accurate examination of zircon type is a prerequisite procedure before further analysis. Cathodoluminescence (CL) imaging is one of the most reliable ways to classify zircons. However, current CL image examination is conducted by manual work, which is time-consuming, bias-prone, and requires expertise. An automated and bias-free method for zircon classification is absent but necessary. To this end, deep convolutional neural networks (DCNNs) and transfer learning are applied in this study to classify the common types of zircons, i.e., igneous, metamorphic, and hydrothermal zircons. An atlas with over 4000 CL images of these three types of zircons is created, and three DCNNs are trained using these images. The results of this study indicate that the DCNNs can distinguish hydrothermal zircons from other zircons, as indicated by the highest accuracy of 100%. Although similar textures in igneous and metamorphic zircons pose great challenges for zircon classification, the DCNNs successfully classify 95% igneous and 92% metamorphic zircons. This study demonstrates the high accuracy of DCNNs in zircon classification and presents the great potentiality of deep learning techniques in numerous geoscientific disciplines.
This study presents new geochronological and geochemical data for Early Cretaceous volcanic rocks in the southern margin of the North China Craton (NCC), to discuss the crust–mantle interaction. The studied rocks include pyroxene andesites from Daying Formation, hornblende andesites and andesites from Jiudian Formation, and rhyolites from a hitherto unnamed Formation. These rocks formed in Early Cretaceous (138–120 Ma), with enrichment in light rare earth elements (REE), depletion in heavy REE and arc-like trace elements characteristics. Pyroxene andesites show low SiO2 contents and enriched Sr–Nd–Pb–Hf isotopic compositions, with orthopyroxene phenocryst and Paleoproterozoic (2320–1829 Ma) inherited zircons, suggesting that they originated from lithospheric mantle after metasomatism with NCC lower crustal materials. Hornblende andesites have low SiO2 contents and high Mg# (Mg# = 100 Mg/(Mg + Fe2+)) values, indicating a lithospheric-mantle origin. Considering the distinct whole-rock Sr isotopic compositions we divide them into two groups. Among them, the low (87Sr/86Sr)i andesites possess amount inherited Neoarchean to Neoproterozoic (2548–845 Ma) zircons, indicating the origin of lithospheric mantle with addition of Yangtze Craton (YC) and NCC materials. In comparison, the high (87Sr/86Sr)i andesites, with abundant Neoarchean–Paleozoic inherited zircons (3499–261 Ma), are formed by partial melting of lithospheric mantle with incorporation of NCC supracrustal rocks and YC materials. Rhyolites have extremely high SiO2 (77.63–82.52 wt.%) and low total Fe2O3, Cr, Ni contents and Mg# values, combined with ancient inherited zircon ages (2316 and 2251 Ma), suggesting an origin of NCC lower continental crust. Considering the presence of resorption texture of quartz phenocryst, we propose a petrogenetic model of ‘crystal mushes’ for rhyolites prior to their eruption. These constraints record the intense crust–mantle interaction in the southern margin of the NCC. Given the regional data and spatial distribution of Early Cretaceous rocks within NCC, we believe that the formation of these rocks is related to the contemporaneous far-field effect of the Paleo-Pacific Plate.
The Canavese Intracontinental Suture Zone (CISZ) within the Inner Western Alps represents the remnant of a long-lived minor subduction zone involving a narrow, thinned continental crust/oceanic lithosphere seaway between two continental domains of the Adria microplate (i.e., the Sesia Zone and the Ivrea-Verbano Zone). As opposed to many suture zones, the CISZ mostly escaped pervasive tectonic deformation and metamorphism, thus preserving the original stratigraphy and allowing the relationships between tectonics and sedimentation to be defined. Through detailed geological mapping (1:5000 scale), structural analysis, stratigraphic and petrographic observations, we document evidences for the late Paleozoic to late Cenozoic tectonic evolution of the CISZ, showing that it played a significant role in the context of the tectonic evolution of the Inner Western Alps region from the early to late Permian Pangea segmentation, to the Jurassic Tethyan rifting, and up to the subduction and collisional stages, forming the Western Alps. The site of localization/formation of the CISZ was not accidental but associated with the re-use of structures inherited from regional-scale wrench tectonics related to the segmentation of Pangea, and from the subsequent extensional tectonics related to the Mesozoic rifting, as documented by crosscutting relationships between stratigraphic unconformities and tectonic features. Our findings document that evidences derived from stratigraphy, facies indicators, and relationships between tectonics and sedimentation in the shallow crustal portions of suture zones, such in the CISZ, are important to better constrain the tectonic history of those metamorphic orogenic belts around the world in which evolutionary details are commonly complicated by high-strain deformation and metamorphic transformations.
Multi-type unconventional gas-bearing reservoirs with different lithologies and gas accumulation potential occur in the deep part of the Songliao basin. However, the reservoirs are non-homogeneous, the gas components differ substantially, and not all types of gas-bearing reservoirs have been identified or evaluated. The International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) is used as an example to conduct qualitative and quantitative evaluations of deep multi-type unconventional gas-bearing reservoirs using conventional and specialized logging data. The core test data are used to determine the physical properties. The porosity and permeability are compared and analyzed using different methods and models. The results show that the reservoirs have low to ultra-low porosity and ultra-low permeability. Based on the comparison of the rock mechanical parameters and mineral composition, brittleness evaluation parameters are proposed for different types of deep reservoirs in the study region. The mineral brittleness index is highly consistent with the brittleness index based on rock mechanics. An identification method for deep multi-type gas-bearing reservoir and a classification approach for different gas properties are established based on the logging response and parameter interpretation. The methane gas reservoirs have low density (DEN) and low compensated neutron logging (CNL) values and high acoustic (AC) time difference and high resistivity (RT) values. The CO2 gas reservoirs have lower RT values and higher CNL values than the hydrocarbon gas reservoirs. The comprehensive analysis of deep gas source rock conditions and of the source-reservoir relationship provides insights for the evaluation of deep multi-type unconventional gas reservoirs. The discovery of high hydrogen content is of significant importance for developing new areas for deep natural gas exploration.
With its amplification simultaneously emerging in cryospheric regions, especially in the Tibetan Plateau, global warming is undoubtedly occurring. In this study, we utilized 28 global climate models to assess model performance regarding surface air temperature over the Tibetan Plateau from 1961 to 2014, reported spatiotemporal variability in surface air temperature in the future under four scenarios (SSP1-2.6, SSP2-4.5, SSP3-7.0, and SSP5-8.5), and further quantified the timing of warming levels (1.5, 2, and 3 ℃) in the region. The results show that the multimodel ensemble means depicted the spatiotemporal patterns of surface air temperature for the past decades well, although with differences across individual models. The projected surface air temperature, by 2099, would warm by 1.9, 3.2, 5.2, and 6.3 ℃ relative to the reference period (1981–2010), with increasing rates of 0.11, 0.31, 0.53, and 0.70 ℃/decade under the SSP1-2.6, SSP2-4.5, SSP3-7.0, and SSP5-8.5 scenarios for the period 2015–2099, respectively. Compared with the preindustrial periods (1850–1900), the mean annual surface air temperature over the Tibetan Plateau has hit the 1.5 ℃ threshold and will break 2 ℃ in the next decade, but there is still a chance to limit the temperature below 3 ℃ in this century. Our study provides a new understanding of climate warming in high mountain areas and implies the urgent need to achieve carbon neutrality.
Southeastern Eurasia is a global window to the Cretaceous paleoclimate and lithosphere coupling. China contains one of the most complete and complex sedimentary records of Mesozoic desert basins on planet Earth. In this study, we perform the spatio-temporal tracking of 96 Cretaceous palaeoclimate indicators during 79 Myr which reveal that the plateau paleoclimate archives from East Asia resulted from an Early to Mid-Cretaceous ocean–atmosphere coupling and a shift to a preponderant role of Late Cretaceous lithosphere dynamics and tectonic forcing on high-altitude depositional systems linked to the subduction margins of the Tethys and Paleo-Pacific realms beneath the Eurasian plate. The crustal response to tectonic processes linked with the spatio-temporal evolution of the Tethyan and Paleo-Pacific margins defined the configuration of major sedimentary basins on this region. The significant increase and decrease in the number of active sedimentary basins that occur during the Cretaceous, from 16 in the Early Cretaceous, to 28 in the Mid-Cretaceous, and a decreasing to 20 sedimentary basins in the Late Cretaceous, is a direct response of lithospheric dynamics associated with the two main subduction zones (Tethys and Pacific domains). A shift in subduction style from an Early Cretaceous Paleo-Pacific Plate slab roll back to a Late Cretaceous flat-slab mode might have triggered regional plateau uplift, blocked intraplate volcanism, thus enhancing the denudation and sediment availability, and created wind corridors that led to the construction and accumulation of extensive Late Cretaceous aeolian sandy deserts (ergs) that covered Mid-Cretaceous plateau salars. At the same time, plateau uplift associated with crustal thickening following terrane assembly in the Tethyan margin triggered altitudinal cryospheric processes in sandy desert systems. Evidence of an active Cretaceous cryosphere in China include Valanginian-Hauterivian glacial debris flows, Early Aptian geochemical signature of melt waters from extensive ice sheets, and Cenomanian–Turonian ice-rafted debris (IRD). These cryospheric indicators suggest an already uplifted plateau in southeastern Eurasia during the Cretaceous, and the marked correlation between cold plateau paleoclimate archives and marine records suggests a strong ocean-atmosphere coupling during Early and Mid-Cretaceous cold snaps. We thus conclude that lithospheric tectonics during Cretaceous played a fundamental role in triggering high-altitude basin desertification and spatio-temporal plateau paleohydrology variability in the Cretaceous of south-eastern Eurasia.
Although the diamond potential of cratons is linked mainly to thick and depleted Archean lithospheric keels, there are examples of craton-edge locations and circum-cratonic Proterozoic terranes underlain by diamondiferous mantle. Here, we use the results of comprehensive major and trace-element studies of detrital garnets from diamond-rich Late Triassic (Carnian) sedimentary rocks in the northeastern Siberia to constrain the thermal and chemical state of the pre-Triassic mantle and its ability to sustain the diamond storage. The studied detrital mantle-derived garnets are dominated by low- to medium-Cr lherzolitic (~45%) and low-Cr megacrystic (~39%) chemistries, with a significant proportion of eclogitic garnets (~11%), and only subordinate contribution from harzburgitic garnets (~5%) with variable Cr2O3 contents (1.2–8.4 wt.%). Low-Cr megacrysts display uniform, “normal” rare-earth element (REE) patterns with no Eu/Eu* anomalies, systematic Zr and Ti enrichment (mainly within 2.5–5), which are evidence of their crystallization from deep metasomatic melts. Lherzolitic (G9) garnets exhibit normal or humped to MREE-depleted sinusoidal REE patterns and elevated Nd/Y (up to 0.33–0.41) and Zr/Y ratios (up to 7.62). Rare low- to high-Cr harzburgitic (G10) garnets have primarily “depleted”, sinusoidal REE-patterns, low Ti, Y and HREE, but vary significantly in Zr-Hf, Ti and MREE-HREE contents, Nd/Y (within 0.1–2.4) and Zr/Y (1.53–19.9) ratios. The observed trends of chemical enrichment from the most depleted, harzburgitic garnets towards lherzolitic (including high-Ti high-Cr G11-type) garnets and megacrysts result from either voluminous high-temperature metasomatism by plume-derived silicate melts or recurrent mobilization of less voluminous kimberlitic or related carbonated mantle melts, rather than the initially primitive, fertile nature of the Proterozoic SCLM. Calculated Ni-in-garnet temperatures (primarily within ~1150–1250 ℃) indicate their derivation from at least ~220 km thick Cr-undersaturated lithosphere at the relevant Devonian to Triassic thermal flow of ~45 mW/m2 or cooler. We suggest the existence of rare harzburgitic domains in the primarily lherzolitic diamond-facies SCLM beneath the northeastern Siberian craton at least by Triassic, whereas the abundance of eclogitic garnets, predominance of E-type inclusions in placer diamonds and specific morphologies argue for diamondiferous eclogites occurring within a ~50–65 kbar diamond window of the Olenek province by the same time.