IGCP Projects approved in 2001
Project No. 447 – Proterozoic Molar-tooth Carbonates (2001-2005)
Full title: Microsparites of the world during the Precambrian: the global significance of Molar-tooth structures in Proterozoic carbonates, including origin, and Palaeoenvironmental, depositional, bio-geochemical, tectonic and stratigraphic significance
Proposers: Professor Meng Xianghua (Leader, China); Professor Darrel G. F. Long, (Co-leader, Canada); Professor Robert Bourrouilh (Co-leader, France)
The project (a successor to IGCP 319) aims to investigate the origin and structures of Mid-Late Precambrian microsparites and to assess global correlation of Molar-tooth carbonates stressing depositional, Palaeoenvironmental, biogeochemical, tectonic and stratigraphic significance (e.g. used as depth and slope indicators). Molar-tooth carbonates are specialised and peculiarly named early diagenetic sedimentary features. Their name originates from their tapered, ptygmatically folded texture comparable to an elephant's tooth. Molar-tooth structures (MTS) have a specified time range of 1900 to 550 Ma (Mesoproterozoic to Neoproterozoic), - even if some similar structure is reported occasionally from the Mesozoic. To try and solve the origin of these enigmatic structures and their possible use in correlation is a significant object of research. Consensus does not yet exist on the actual origin because there are no modern analogues.
Much of the significance of the MTS lies in their marking key Precambrian biological and geochemical events, especially their demise in the Neoproterozoic when there was a marked increase in carbon levels. They might be a link to the revolutionary changes in the biosphere, which heralded the appearance of the complex multi-cellular animals of the Late Precambrian.
This project will undertake a thorough survey of the carbonates in North China (Liaoning and Jilin Province), Arctic Europe (Spitsbergen), Russia (South Siberia) and North America (Mackenzie Mountains/Victoria Island). Ultimately the project may help to understand the early history of Earth and perhaps the role of bacteria in shaping the just Precambrian explosion of life. The societal benefits of the project include, among others, improving understanding of seismic, storm, tsunami and biological processes on carbonate mud-dominated environments.
Project No.455 – Basement Volcanoes Interplay and Human Activities (2001-2005)
Full title: Effects of basement, structural and stratigraphic heritage on volcano behaviour and implications for human activities
Proposers: Alessandro Tibaldi (Leader, Italy); Mariano Garcнa, (Co-leader, Spain); Alfredo M. Lagmay (Co-leader, Philippines); Vera Ponomareva (Co-leader, Russia)
The project is based on new concepts of the role of basement lithologies for the gravitational stability of large volcanic structures. An important aspect is the studying of volcanism and associated geohazards, especially the mitigation of volcanic collapses, eruptions, landslides and earthquakes. Techniques and skills to mitigate the effects of volcanic eruptions will be developed and disseminated. The results of the project will include: a database with a view to performing the statistical analysis of selected geotechnical, petro-geochemical, and geochronological techniques, which are usually scattered among different local groups of research; investigation of recent and active volcanic areas, as well as older, deeply eroded volcanic remnants in the circum-Pacific plate converging zones, East Africa rift, oceanic and continental intra-plate volcanic regions of the Atlantic and Asia, Antarctica, and plate boundary complex sectors in the Mediterranean region; and hazard maps in densely populated target areas. The project will develop a catalogue of standardised observations related to the evaluation of basement-volcano stability, which could be used as a reference for less well studied volcanoes. Societal aspects of the project embrace also applications useful to geothermal energy, and mineral and water resource exploration.
Project No. 457 – Seismic Hazard and Risk Assessment in North Africa (SHRANA) (2001-2005)
Full title: Probabilistic and deterministic seismic hazard for North African countries (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt) and risk assessment in selected cities
Proposers: Dr Djillali Benouar (Leader, Algeria); Dr Giuliano F. Panza (Co-leader, Italy); Dr Abdelkader Attia El-Sayed (Co-leader, Egypt); Dr Tadilli Benaissa (Co-leader, Morocco); Dr M’Hamed (Co-leader, Tunisia); Dr Suleiman Abdennur (Co-leader, Libya)
Address: Dr Djillali Benouar, Directeur, USTHB/Civil Engineering Institute, Buildings into the Environment Laboratory, BP. 32 El-Alia, Bab Ezzouar, Algiers, Algeria. E-mail: email@example.com
Based on the previous results of projects IGCP 382 and 414 ('Seismotectonics and Seismic Hazard Assessment in the Mediterranean Basin' and 'Realistic Modelling of Seismic Input for Megacities and Large Urban Areas'), and using regional structural models, past seismicity, and the seismotectonic regime of the region, the project will generate a set of synthetic seismograms covering the whole of North Africa. Seismic hazard maps are useful tools for serving civil engineering, as well as land management and urban planning purposes. At the same time, seismic hazard assessment may help to mitigate the impact of earthquakes on human lives and property. The realization of the project may improve the method of assessing seismic hazard and risk and human living conditions. Objectives comprise providing earthquake hazard maps for North Africa, which may help to mitigate the threat of earthquakes on human lives and property. Besides assessing the seismic hazard itself, the study of regional active faulting and tectonic stress fields may enhance our knowledge of the seismic source. The results, coupled with vulnerability analysis, will help respective governments, earthquake engineering and disaster mitigation planning communities to take specific practical preventive measures to reduce earthquake risk.
Project No. 458 – Triassic/Jurassic Boundary Events (2001-2005)
Full title: Triassic/Jurassic boundary events: mass extinction, global environmental change, and their driving forces
Proposers: Dr Jуzsef Pбlfy (Leader, Hungary); Dr Stephen P. Hesselbo (Co-leader, United Kingdom); Dr Christopher McRoberts (Co-leader, United States of America)
The project consists of an integrated approach (palaeontology, stratigraphy, sedimentology, geochemistry, geochronology, palaeomagnetism, and mineralogy) to the study of the Triassic/Jurassic boundary at a global scale. The Triassic/Jurassic boundary period corresponds to a major mass extinction event, which coincided with an unusual volcanic episode, sudden change in sea level, and extreme climate warming. However, this event is poorly understood and is certainly the least well known among the five major Phanerozoic biological crises.
This project concerns a critical period of the Earth history that needs a pluridisciplinary and global approach as is proposed. Its societal relevance lies in the possible comparison of modern, man-induced climate and other environmental change and concomitant loss of biodiversity with similar events that occurred in the distant geological past. Parallels between volcanic greenhouse emissions, climate change, and extinction at the Triassic/Jurassic boundary and the present-day greenhouse gas release via fossil fuel burning and global warming will be emphasised. Field research will concern Europe, North, Central and South America, Asia and New Zealand.
Project No. 459 –Terrestrial Carbon Cycle (2001-2005)
Full title: Carbon Cycle and Hydrology in the Palaeo-Terrestrial Environments
Proposers: Dr Jean-Luc Probst (Leader, France); Dr Louis Franзois (Co-leader, Belgium); Pr Pedro Depetris (Co-leader, Argentina); Pr Jefferson Mortatti (Co-leader, Brazil).
This is a proposed continuation of IGCP Project No. 404 'Terrestrial Carbon in the Past 125 Ka', which was completed in 2000. Compared to the former IGCP 404, it will focus more on the terrestrial hydro-systems and ecosystems, with a special emphasis on the soil reservoir. The time scale will be expanded from 105 to >106 years. The main objective will be to couple the water cycle and carbon cycle to study the different terrestrial carbon reservoirs and the mass transfers between these reservoirs, but also between terrestrial reservoirs and atmospheric and oceanic reservoirs. Key questions include: Where is carbon stored in ancient environments? What are the impacts of human activity and of hydro-climate change? What is the impact of formation and destruction of terrestrial carbon on atmospheric carbon dioxide content? Societal benefits are a better preservation and management of natural resources. New databases on palaeohydro-climatology and vegetation distribution will be further extended from previous databases.
Project No. 464 – Continental Shelves during the Last Glacial Cycle: Knowledge and Applications (2001-2005)
Full title: Palaeoenvironmental evolution of Continental Shelves during the Last Glacial Cycle with particular reference to the Last Glacial Maximum
Proposers: Professor Francesco L. Chiocci (Leader, Italy); Professor Allan R. Chivas (Co-leader, Australia)
The project will focus on continental shelves during the last glacial cycle and will carry out comparisons around the world and establish workshops to train people in modern shelf surveying techniques such as fibre-optic cable route surveys. A compilation of various styles of shelves will be established, and a common terminology defined. Accumulated expertise from IGCP Project 396 'Continental Shelves in the Quaternary' is available, which has just completed its fifth and last year. The project will also address understanding of the geometry and palaeogeography of shelves, of palaeoclimate and sea surface palaeotemperatures, in particular in tropical areas; investigation of the imprint of higher frequency climatic events on continental shelves; application of seismic methods to identify the palaeomorphology of shelf deposits and the testing of sequence stratigraphic methods/models from ancient materials to younger sediments.
The project will seek access to non-confidential industrial data (e.g. cable or geotechnical surveys) especially in developing countries. Data acquisition by surveying and mapping will result in a ‘world map’ of the extent and character of continental shelf sediments (particularly at 20 ka BP), and a compilation of the geotechnical properties of shelf sediments. A synthesis of the results will be published during all the project, which will provide: (1) an understanding of the various styles of relict and modern continental shelf deposition and change, especially in relation to the nature and frequency of climate change, (2) an estimate of the carbon budgets and storage of carbon at the Last Glacial Maximum that will be compared to modern shelves, and (3) an aid in economic and resource development, coastal engineering and management, understanding of the history of human activity on continental shelves, and in legal issues under the Law of the Sea Convention. There are a number of other facets of this proposed research that will likely provide new insight into related scientific questions, and a substantial database will be provided for future research. Among the societal benefits are: training of participants from less developed countries; studies of the resource assessment and genesis of shallow marine placer deposits and sand; and definition of the cultural heritage of climatic/eustatic events.
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