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Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering
GEOL 106
John Hanes

January 9, 2014 th - A lot of space-related stuff in 2007  50 anniversary of Sputnik launch - Seeing Earth from space  realization of fragility of the closed system  increase in environmental laws since 1969 - President of USA commissioned study of Earth System  what do we need to know in order to live in concert with this fragile Earth? - Emergence of ‘Earth management’ in popular science, idea of Earth system instead of just Earth - Earth system = set of interacting subsystems - Goal of solid-earth sciences: • Understand processes • Sustaining sufficient supplies of natural resources • Mitigate geological hazards • Minimized and adjust to effects of global and environmental change • Improving standard of living - Earth-systems engineering (ESE) = managing earth systems  for the use and convenience of people • Managing Earth’s complex systems and their dynamics = new challenge of engineering • Allenby: humans have always been conducting ESE  To test his hypothesis: • Tree rings (natural climate) • Ice cores o annual ice layers trap dust (with winter winds) o lead contamination in Greenland glaciers since the Roman times • fire and agriculture generate GHG  global warming • Allenby: Earth is increasingly a product of human engineering/management  Measuring human movement of material vs. natural processes • World-wide total consumption of resources = 60 billion tonnes/year • Total mass of sediment transported = 16 billion tonnes/year • Humans = dominant earth mover January 10, 2014 - ESE in the past: more local, mostly unintended - Thomas Midgley invented leaded gasoline and first Chlorofluorocarbon Freon - Worldwide increase in CO2 level and product consumption since industrial revolution due to: • Population growth • Technology • Increased levels of affluence (on avg.) - ESE is not a technical question, but an ethical one  should we engineer the earth? • Sustainable developments • Ecological footprint  - Is sustainability enough? • Martini-glass world (wealth disparity) • Equity also important  Gini Coefficient January 14, 2014 - ESE is all about risk management • How to mitigate geological hazards  minimize damage and loss of life Risk Analysis and Risk Management - To minimize damage from hazards, disasters, and catastrophes • Hazard: something which might cause harm to people (death/injury/property damage)  ‘Natural’ (e.g. avalanche, landslide)  Anthropogenic (e.g. car accident)  Combined (e.g. car accident in blizzard) • Disaster: • Catastrophe: - Hazard vs. Resource • Resource: something useful to us • Water as resource  drinking, hydroelectrical power • Water as hazard  flooding, drought • Between damage threshold = resource; above or below damage threshold = hazard • How to determine damage threshold?  Empirical observation  Scientific studies  Societal ‘preferences’ (i.e. choices) • E.g. smoking, pollution  society decides what level is or isn’t hazard • Synergy: two elements each within their damage threshold, but when combined might produce a hazard  E.g. snow + wind = blizzard Earthquakes: a detailed case study Scenario: Gov’t of Ontario proposes to build a nuclear reactor on shore of Lake Ontario near Kingston Goal: Carry out risk analysis and risk management study, focused on seismic risk January 17, 2014 Risk: probability of hazard occurring x severity of consequences  Risk = P x h h - How much risk are we willing to incur? Determine values of P andhS from hdata’  personal/societal choice • Opportunity costs with taking precautions or taking too much risk - Increased perception of risk in some cases • Involuntary hazards • Dreaded hazards • More fatalities • Not well-understood hazards Risk Analysis 1. Understand the hazard (in general) 2. Determine risk from the hazard for the region of interest Risk Management 3. Determine ways to reduce P and/or S h h 4. Do a ‘cost-benefit’ analysis a. Determine what you can afford to do b. Not just economic costs, also environmental, social, personal choice 5. Implement mitigation techniques if warranted (and to the extent chosen) Case Study 1. What causes earthquake? • Faults = a break/crack in rocks along which there has been appreciable displacement • Elastic rebound theory  rigid part of Earth can store elastic energy  when it breaks elastic energy is released • Earthquakes happ
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