• Geosciences, Vol. 9, Pages 410: Tsunami Vulnerability Criteria for Fishery Port Facilities in Japan

      Business continuity plans (BCPs) can be effective and proactive countermeasures to respond flexibly to crises caused by unexpected natural disasters such as large tsunamis. BCP guidelines for fisheries are being issued by the Fisheries Agency (Japan) and the utilization of such BCPs has been spreading in Japan. Despite the need to promote the social implementation of BCPs in the fisheries industry, there is a lack of quantitative criteria for the tsunami damage threshold of various fishing ports and facilities. In this research, we surveyed the damage to the fishing facilities from the tsunami generated by the 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake. Data were collected on the tsunami damage for various fishery facilities and used to establish criteria for tsunami damage thresholds. In addition, tsunami damage inferred from 1506 scenarios of tsunami computations was predicted probabilistically for a model region as the Nachi Katsu’ura Fishery Port in Wakayama Prefecture. The method we developed in this research makes it possible to assess the probabilistic tsunami damage by combining a tsunami hazard assessment method with criteria for damage occurrence for fishery port facilities and equipment.

    • Geosciences, Vol. 9, Pages 409: Bathymetry and Geomorphology of Shelikof Strait and the Western Gulf of Alaska

      We defined the bathymetry of Shelikof Strait and the western Gulf of Alaska (WGOA) from the edges of the land masses down to about 7000 m deep in the Aleutian Trench. This map was produced by combining soundings from historical National Ocean Service (NOS) smooth sheets (2.7 million soundings); shallow multibeam and LIDAR (light detection and ranging) data sets from the NOS and others (subsampled to 2.6 million soundings); and deep multibeam (subsampled to 3.3 million soundings), single-beam, and underway files from fisheries research cruises (9.1 million soundings). These legacy smooth sheet data, some over a century old, were the best descriptor of much of the shallower and inshore areas, but they are superseded by the newer multibeam and LIDAR, where available. Much of the offshore area is only mapped by non-hydrographic single-beam and underway files. We combined these disparate data sets by proofing them against their source files, where possible, in an attempt to preserve seafloor features for research purposes. We also attempted to minimize bathymetric data errors so that they would not create artificial seafloor features that might impact such analyses. The main result of the bathymetry compilation is that we observe abundant features related to glaciation of the shelf of Alaska during the Last Glacial Maximum including abundant end moraines, some medial moraines, glacial lineations, eskers, iceberg ploughmarks, and two types of pockmarks. We developed an integrated onshore–offshore geomorphic map of the region that includes glacial flow directions, moraines, and iceberg ploughmarks to better define the form and flow of former ice masses.

    • Geosciences, Vol. 9, Pages 408: Surface-Rupturing Historical Earthquakes in Australia and Their Environmental Effects: New Insights from Re-Analyses of Observational Data

      We digitize surface rupture maps and compile observational data from 67 publications on ten of eleven historical, surface-rupturing earthquakes in Australia in order to analyze the prevailing characteristics of surface ruptures and other environmental effects in this crystalline basement-dominated intraplate environment. The studied earthquakes occurred between 1968 and 2018, and range in moment magnitude (Mw) from 4.7 to 6.6. All earthquakes involved co-seismic reverse faulting (with varying amounts of strike-slip) on single or multiple (1–6) discrete faults of ≥ 1 km length that are distinguished by orientation and kinematic criteria. Nine of ten earthquakes have surface-rupturing fault orientations that align with prevailing linear anomalies in geophysical (gravity and magnetic) data and bedrock structure (foliations and/or quartz veins and/or intrusive boundaries and/or pre-existing faults), indicating strong control of inherited crustal structure on contemporary faulting. Rupture kinematics are consistent with horizontal shortening driven by regional trajectories of horizontal compressive stress. The lack of precision in seismological data prohibits the assessment of whether surface ruptures project to hypocentral locations via contiguous, planar principal slip zones or whether rupture segmentation occurs between seismogenic depths and the surface. Rupture centroids of 1–4 km in depth indicate predominantly shallow seismic moment release. No studied earthquakes have unambiguous geological evidence for preceding surface-rupturing earthquakes on the same faults and five earthquakes contain evidence of absence of preceding ruptures since the late Pleistocene, collectively highlighting the challenge of using mapped active faults to predict future seismic hazards. Estimated maximum fault slip rates are 0.2–9.1 m Myr-1 with at least one order of uncertainty. New estimates for rupture length, fault dip, and coseismic net slip can be used to improve future iterations of earthquake magnitude—source size—displacement scaling equations. Observed environmental effects include primary surface rupture, secondary fracture/cracks, fissures, rock falls, ground-water anomalies, vegetation damage, sand-blows / liquefaction, displaced rock fragments, and holes from collapsible soil failure, at maximum estimated epicentral distances ranging from 0 to ~250 km. ESI-07 intensity-scale estimates range by ± 3 classes in each earthquake, depending on the effect considered. Comparing Mw-ESI relationships across geologically diverse environments is a fruitful avenue for future research.

    • Geosciences, Vol. 9, Pages 407: Role of Warming in Destabilization of Intrapermafrost Gas Hydrates in the Arctic Shelf: Experimental Modeling

      Destabilization of intrapermafrost gas hydrates is one of the possible mechanisms responsible for methane emission in the Arctic shelf. Intrapermafrost gas hydrates may be coeval to permafrost: they originated during regression and subsequent cooling and freezing of sediments, which created favorable conditions for hydrate stability. Local pressure increase in freezing gas-saturated sediments maintained gas hydrate stability from depths of 200–250 m or shallower. The gas hydrates that formed within shallow permafrost have survived till present in the metastable (relict) state. The metastable gas hydrates located above the present stability zone may dissociate in the case of permafrost degradation as it becomes warmer and more saline. The effect of temperature increase on frozen sand and silt containing metastable pore methane hydrate is studied experimentally to reconstruct the conditions for intrapermafrost gas hydrate dissociation. The experiments show that the dissociation process in hydrate-bearing frozen sediments exposed to warming begins and ends before the onset of pore ice melting. The critical temperature sufficient for gas hydrate dissociation varies from −3.0 °C to −0.3 °C and depends on lithology (particle size) and salinity of the host frozen sediments. Taking into account an almost gradientless temperature distribution during degradation of subsea permafrost, even minor temperature increases can be expected to trigger large-scale dissociation of intrapermafrost hydrates. The ensuing active methane emission from the Arctic shelf sediments poses risks of geohazard and negative environmental impacts.

    • Geosciences, Vol. 9, Pages 406: The Concept of Geodetic Analyses of the Measurement Results Obtained by Hydrostatic Leveling

      The article discusses the issue of hydrostatic leveling. Its application is presented in structural health monitoring systems in order to determine vertical displacements of controlled points. Moreover, the article includes a complete computation scheme that utilizes the estimation from observation differences, allowing the elimination of the influence of individual sensors’ systematic errors. The authors suggest two concepts of processing the measurement results depending on the sensors’ connection method. Additionally, the second concept is extended by the elements allowing the prediction of the displacements by means of Kalman filtering.