Geology for Global Development

Geology for Global Development

#EGU15 – Some Sessions of Interest (2) – Natural Hazards and Society

Eruption of Santiaguito (Joel Gill)

Eruption of Santiaguito (Joel Gill)

We’re expecting a strong GfGD presence again at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in 2015 and look forward to meeting some of you there. Last week we noted some great sessions on natural hazards education, communications and geoethics (all with exemption from abstract processing charges).

Here we note some sessions from the ‘Natural Hazards and Society’ session within the natural hazards division. Each of these may give people some novel ways to think about hazards and disaster risk reduction. Do consider submitting abstracts – the deadline is 7th January 2015.

NH9.7
**Resilience and vulnerability assessments in natural hazards and risk analysis**
The assessment of vulnerability and resilience is an essential part within natural risk analysis. Commonly, these assessments relate purely to the stability of buildings or to chances that people will be affected. These investigations relate in particular to natural and engineering science approaches, but other types of vulnerability are also inherent, yet are often not covered but need also to be assessed. Similarly, resilience is a new approaching concept in risk assessments and needs to be explored. These relate among other things to coping capacities and strategies of affected people and communities, to intangible and indirect economic losses, and to communication and education networks. In addition to partially addressed aspects of vulnerability there is neither a uniform and well-excepted technique or method or standard available to assess vulnerability within its multifaceted nature. Different approaches and disciplines often remain in their corner and interdisciplinary approaches are rare. This session aims to summarize assessments of different types of vulnerabilities (e.g. social, personal, structural, economic, political, environmental) and resilience and to present applications for different natural phenomena. The main focus herein is to present different strategies based on developments from different disciplines and to discuss these according to similarities, but also differences. The role of vulnerability assessment within risk analysis is of particular importance. Researchers as well as practitioners are encouraged to present case studies and applications, conceptual ideas and new methods on the analysis of vulnerability to natural hazards. In order to allow a fruitful discussion and exchange between the different disciplines we encourage a particular focus on the demonstration of the employed methodology and the data bases available for respective research or application.

NH9.9
**Cascading and Concurrent Hazards: case studies and models**
This session will examine case studies and models for cascading and concurrent hazards, both natural and anthropic. Multi-hazard risk assessments for a given region have commonly been restricted to qualitative and semi-quantitative approaches, in which risks across individual hazards are summed together to give the resultant multi-hazard risk. However, relationships between hazards may not sum linearly and may have cumulative and non-linear effects. Here we solicit case studies and models for cascading hazards (one hazard triggers a chain of hazards, e.g. earthquake → landslide → flood) and concurrent natural hazards (two single hazards occurring at the same time as each other, and the resultant risk not summing linearly). One hazard can also increase the probability of another hazard occurring. We foresee both a lively oral and poster session, along with an opportunity for brief oral overviews of the poster sessions paired with discussion, and thus encourage both types of submissions.

Road maintenance in the landslide prone region of Ladakh (Joel Gill)

Road maintenance in the landslide prone region of Ladakh (Joel Gill)

NH9.11
**Geohazards and Critical Infrastructures: Exposure, Vulnerability, and Damage Costs**
Critical infrastructures such as transportation systems, telecommunications networks, pipelines, and reservoirs are at risk of geohazards (e.g., landslides, earthquakes, floods) in many urban and rural areas worldwide. A key to safe and affordable operations of these types of infrastructure is an in-depth knowledge of their exposure and vulnerability to geologic hazards and the impact of damage experienced either locally or across the network. Fundamental understanding of hazard and risk involves (i) systematic identification and mapping of potential infrastructure exposure, (ii) integrated assessment of impact as result of damage, repair and/or mitigation, (iii) indirect losses from infrastructure disruption, (iv) consideration of interactions between hazards and/or cascades of hazards. This session welcomes contributions with a focus on geohazards risk assessment for critical infrastructures, and compilation of databases to record impact and elements at risk. We also encourage abstracts addressing the development and application of tools for cost modeling. The session is dedicated to contributions with national, regional, and local perspective and intends to bring together experts from science and practice as well as young scientists. We encourage poster submissions, and foresee a lively poster session couple with oral talks, and will, if appropriate, have an associated splinter discussion session.

NH9.13
**Global and continental scale risk assessment for natural hazards: methods and practice**
In this session we will address recent research in natural hazard risk assessment at the continental to global scales, and discuss future research needs required to advance this rapidly developing field. The session also focuses on the inclusion of spatial and temporal aspects in large-scale risk assessments. The demand from stakeholders for information on natural hazard risks at the continental to global scale has grown explosively in recent years, and large-scale risk assessments have played a prominent role in several major reports (e.g. Global Assessment Reports (GAR) on Disaster Risk Reduction and IPCC SREX report). Moreover, 2015 will be a landmark year for international development with the renewal of major international policies – the Millennium Development Goals, Sustainable Development Goals, COP15 and the Hyogo (disaster) Framework for Action – and access to evidence on disaster and climate risks is fundamental to these discussions. This has led to increased scientific research to develop new, and improve existing, methodologies for the collection and development of fundamental hazard, exposure and vulnerability datasets. Specific research needs include the robust assessment of risks that address both spatial and temporal changes in underlying risk drivers, i.e. hazard, exposure, and vulnerability. Moreover, research is required on how society can best reduce, or manage, this risk. Such information is of key value to stakeholders such as (re-)insurers, governments, development agencies, and disaster planning and preparedness institutes. We invite contributions related to the full range of natural hazards, and to chains of hazards leading to worst-case scenarios. We encourage contributions focusing on the influence of risk of human systems and economic and urban development; short-term variability in natural hazards; and short to long term changes in natural hazards. We also encourage contributions examining the use of scientific methods in practice, and the appropriate use of continental to global risk assessment data in efforts to reduce risks.

Don’t forget – the abstract submission deadline is 7th January 2015.

Images of Guatemala (8) – Volcanic Observatories

Images of Guatemala (8) – Volcanic Observatories

The volcanic observatories, run by the National Institute for Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH), are based close to Guatemala’s active volcanoes, including Fuego and Santiaguito. Observers, located at each observatory, make observations and work with those in the local community to share information about the volcano. Our fundraising project will be working to strengthen their capacity and ability to serve these communities.

Each Friday we are publishing an image from Guatemala to promote our ‘100 x 100′ fundraising campaign. We are working with students, recent graduates and others in the UK to raise money to support efforts to reduce the impact of volcanic hazards in Guatemala.

Find out more: www.gfgd.org/guatemala

Register your interest: Submit your information here

Guest Blog: Christopher and Logan cycle Britain’s Water for Burkina Faso’s Water

Guest Blog: Christopher and Logan cycle Britain’s Water for Burkina Faso’s Water

Yesterday we shared a blog written by Christopher Barry (University of Birmingham), outlining previous work in Burkina Faso with the charity ‘Friends in Action’. Christopher and Logan Mills (University of Warwick) are cycling 270 km from Bristol to Birmingham on the 12th and 13th December, in aid of ‘Friends in Action’, and here write about their latest contribution to this important work to provide clean water.

Friends in Action

A wet well in Burkina Faso

A wet well in Burkina Faso

We are excited to be supporting Friends in Action, who expertly combine good engineering with compassionate work alongside the communities they seek to serve. Their technical expertise can be observed in the drilling success rate of 75% producing water, compared to a national average in Burkina Faso of 55%. Their careful consideration and involvement of the communities is also vital. Of the approximately 200 wells they have constructed, only one has fallen into disrepair, so they have been well maintained by the villages.

Friends in Action typically work with a drilling rig and teams of volunteers during the drilling season (October to April). The team camps in the villages where they are working and shares meals with the residents. A Burkinabé pastor accompanies each team who acts as translator and, importantly, shares the motivation of Christian compassion behind the work. It is important not only to communicate well with the eventual users of the well, to ensure that their needs are considered, but also to affirm that the new well is intended for their benefit, not as an imposition.

Christopher, a hydrogeology PhD student at the University of Birmingham, is planning to join one of these teams of volunteers in March, awaiting confirmation that the trip is feasible given the current political unrest in Burkina Faso.

The cycle route (Map adapted from BGS Bedrock Geology Map)

The cycle route (Map adapted from BGS Bedrock Geology Map)

The cycle route

We (Logan and Christopher) plan to cycle from Bristol to Birmingham over two days (12-13th December). To make the connection to water resources, we are going to cycle a route that traverses five of Britain’s six major aquifer rock units (according to Allen et al., 1997). Around one third of our water in Britain derives from groundwater resources and we are privileged that as consumers we seldom have to give thought to the source of our tap water.

The route will start from the station in Bristol, heading south to the aptly-named town Wells in the Mendip Hills, made of Carboniferous Limestone. From there we will head east, through the Lower Greensand and then into Chalk at Marlborough. From there we head north through Swindon and the Cotswolds, crossing Jurassic Oolithic Limestone sequences. We arrive in Stratford-upon-Avon following the canal north to the University of Birmingham, which lies on Permo-Triassic Sandstone. All going well, the journey will take an evening and two full days, covering about 270 km. For those of you who are interested, we have more on the aquifer units below.

Please sponsor us!

We would be greatly encouraged by your support for us and ultimately, Friends in Action.  Of the donations that we receive:

  • Half will go direct to the work of Friends in Action (FiA).
  • Half will support Christopher towards joining a volunteer team in March (agreed with FiA); if the trip has to be cancelled, then the money will go to support the work of FiA.

Please note that the cycle trip expenses will be kept to a minimum and covered out of our own pockets.

Please visit https://www.justgiving.com/ChristopherJBarry/ to support and www.fiaintl.org to find out more about the charity.

The Groundwater Resources of Britain

The Carboniferous Limestone forms some of the most striking landscapes in the UK, including the Peak District and the Mendips.  Water flows in conduits and caves which have been formed by dissolution in a complex network.  Mineral Waters such as Buxton™ are derived from these aquifers.

The Permo-Triassic Sandstone is the second most important aquifer type in the UK, giving part of the water supply to Manchester, Nottingham and the West Midlands.  These sandstones were formed in the basins between mountains uplifted in the Variscan Mountain-Building event.  Water flows in both the pore spaces between grains and faults.

The Jurassic Limestone stretches from Dorset to Yorkshire.  These rocks were formed in shallow shelf tropical sea environments – the type that make good holiday destinations today.  Flow is mostly through solution enlarged fractures, as with the Carboniferous Limestone.

The Lower Greensand is found discontinuously at the base of the chalk, particularly north of London, Bedfordshire, the Weald and the Isle of Wight.  The lithology is highly variable and often neither green nor sandy.  We will cross a small section in the South-West, although its importance to groundwater resources is mostly north of London.

The Chalk is the most important aquifer unit in the UK, accounting for more than half of all groundwater use in the country.  Flow is through fractures, as with other limestones.  The chalk is seen famously in the White Cliffs of Dover, and outcrops in the South, South-East and East Anglia and is found under London overlain by a thick layer of clay.  Representing a major submersion event in the Cretaceous, the chalk is formed almost entirely of shell fragments of tiny micro-organisms called coccolithophores.

Apologies to the Permian Magnesian Limestone/ Dolostone, between Nottingham and Sunderland, which we have had to omit on our cycle.  This aquifer is an important water source in Northumbria and Yorkshire.  Geologically it represents cyclically rising and falling sea-levels during the Permian Period.

Christopher Barry is a PhD student at the University of Birmingham studying contaminant hydrogeology. Logan Mills is studying for a postgraduate medicine degree at the University of Warwick, following an undergraduate degree at the University of Cambridge in geology

Reference

Information about aquifers summarised from:

Allen, D. J., Brewerton, L. J., Coleby, L. M., Gibbs, B. R., Lewis, M. A., MacDonald, A. M., Wagstaff, S. J., Williams, A. T. (1997) The physical properties of major aquifers in England and Wales. British Geological Survey Technical Report WD/97/34. 312pp. Environment Agency R&D Publication 8.

Guest Blog: Water of Life Project – Safe Drinking Water in Burkina Faso

Guest Blog: Water of Life Project – Safe Drinking Water in Burkina Faso

Christopher Barry was the winner of our Blog Competition in 2012, with this article on safe drinking water in Burkina Faso. Christopher was privileged to be able to visit Burkina Faso prior to writing this, a very rural country where a great number of people are dependent on drilled wells with hand pumps for clean water. In Ouagadougou he met Mark Collier, where they talked at length about hydrogeology in the country. Now a PhD student at the University of Birmingham, Christopher Barry is undertaking research into contaminant hydrogeology. 

Today we’re republishing Christopher’s post about the work of Mark and his colleagues. Tomorrow we’re posting an update on this work, and the latest way that Christopher and his friend Logan are getting involved. 

Burkina Faso, located in sub-Saharan West Africa has a population of 16 million, of which 80% live in rural communities. 28% of its rural population live further than a kilometre from a source of clean water [1]. These people are often forced to use near-surface water which can be a long walk away and contaminated by human and animal excrement. The annual rainfall is plenty to provide for the population’s usage, but for much of the country safe drinking water can only be found in bedrock requiring drilling equipment.

Fig. 1: A wet well (Mark Collier is third from right).

Fig. 1: A wet well (Mark Collier is third from right).

Mark Collier, who has worked for Friends in Action (FIA) in Burkina Faso since 2005, takes several volunteer teams each year along with a drilling rig to these isolated villages. They work in the dry season to ensure a year-round water supply. In the far west, deep groundwater can be found reliably in the sandstone with little exploration work.  However, for most of the country, groundwater is in fault zones in granite. During the wet months, Mark uses resistivity surveys to locate water-bearing faults, which show up as a negative anomalies in resistivity [2]. Connected fault systems are important because isolated faults are often not sustainable water sources.

The teams use a mobile rig (Figs. 1,3) to drill down as much as 100 metres if necessary. Using casings and local materials, they protect the upper parts of the well from contamination whilst allowing deep ground water in (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: General cross section of a well drilled into granite in Burkina Faso

Fig. 2: General cross section of a well drilled into granite in Burkina Faso

Technical expertise in the construction is vital, but FIA also recognises the importance of the relational side of development work. There are several steps that Mark and his team take to address these issues.

Before drilling a well, they carefully consider its location, collaborating with the locals. The drilling site is marked out for some time before work begins. This ensures, for example, that the proposed well is not in sacred ground where it would be unused and possibly offensive. Careful planning is necessary to make sure the well is as easily accessible as previous, unclean water sources.Technical expertise in the construction is vital, but FIA also recognises the importance of the relational side of development work. There are several steps that Mark and his team take to address these issues.

It is essential for the locals to understand that the well is their property and responsibility after the construction. They are encouraged to help with the manual labour, including the making of the well cover (Fig. 2), a visible sign of their contribution. Mark encourages the locals to take ownership through the formation of a well management committee in the village to ensure good maintenance and sustainability.

During the work, the team camps in the village and share the locals’ food. A Burkinabé – from Burkina Faso – pastor accompanies the team who helps with communication, as mostly tribal languages are spoken in rural areas, and explains the compassionate motives for drilling the well. Through building personal relationship, the locals trust that the well is a good and necessary gift. The volunteers receive gifts from many villages, often local produce such as chickens.

FIA started drilling wells in Burkina Faso in 2005, and have drilled almost 200 holes. Their success rate has increased with better surveying. This last year they had twenty-five wet wells from thirty holes (83%) compared to the national average of 60%. Since 2005, only one of their wells has stopped functioning. In the village of Zitonosso, an existing well (not drilled by FIA) had silted up.  FIA offered to replace it if the village could cover the cost of the hand-pump, about $1500. Overnight, the village provided the funds, and the well was replaced in March (Fig. 3); a testimony to the sense of value and ownership of these wells among the Burkinabé people.

Fig. 3: Drilling in Zitonosso (photo courtesy of Mark Collier)

Fig. 3: Drilling in Zitonosso (photo courtesy of Mark Collier)

[1] http://www.indexmundi.com/facts/burkina-faso/
[2] Resistivity Methods, United States Environmental Protection Agencyhttp://www.epa.gov/epahome/index2.html

Check out the blog tomorrow for more information about this project.

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