This book “Insights of Geosciences for hazards and education” was conceived at the end of the second year after the COVID-19 outbreak. The Coronavirus outbreak and decisions that were taken for limiting its spread lead to an unprecedented situation for everyone, and of course had an impact on the geoscientific community and its related activities. However, in the field of geosciences it was impossible to stop the activity, as the earth processes followed their natural course. The volcanoes continued to be active and some even erupted, earthquakes kept shaking the ground at various intensities, landslides continued to occur and so did other geohazards and climate hazards. Therefore, the first part of the book “Insights of Geosciences for hazards and education” is dedicated to hazards and it comprises a selection and authors’ perspective on hazards such as floods and earthquakes, as well as solar influence and induced variations.
The long-term restrictions diminished greatly the amount of work performed in laboratories, while the enforced physical distancing or restriction of having activities in large groups (as sometimes necessary in geophysical-geological fieldworks) had an impact on the research activity, on the dissemination of its results, and of course on the way of teaching geosciences, especially in Universities.
During the pandemic, the remotely functioning networks were put to the test, as travel bans affected the on-site data collection procedures as well as the remote sensors maintenance. But on the other hand, the COVID-19 outbreak can also be seen as a starting point for improvements in various aspects of geosciences, as it challenged us to make more efficient the data acquisition procedures. One way of achieving this consisted in the inclusion of UAVs equipped with various sensors in the survey activities. However, it still remains a challenge to develop acquisition procedures for a specific type of target, considering its position (above the ground level or buried), dimensions and properties contrast, and to correlate it with the UAVs flying speed and wind condition. Chapter 10 of the book “Insights of Geosciences for hazards and education” addresses partially the topic, being focused on the UAV image accuracy.
The following chapters of the book are dedicated to some of the particularities of the European built heritage, addressing underground built heritage and its vulnerability to hazards.
COVID-19 outbreak also allowed us to proceed with a few studies that were difficult to be performed otherwise (due to the anthropogenic noise effect on data). For example, in the geophysical noise of an active society, due to signals overlapping, it was difficult to analyze subtle seismic signals recorded by seismometers placed in densely-populated urban areas. During full-quarantine, the recorded anthropogenic high-frequency
(4 – 14 Hz) seismic noise diminished, allowing seismologists to better understand the recorded data (less affected by signals from non-geological sources) and to better understand the sources of anthropogenic seismic noise. The shutdown time intervals were also reflected in the Earth’s atmosphere composition, which was less influenced by the combustion of fossil fuels used for land and air transportation systems.
And last, but not least, the pandemic enhanced the efforts for building an Open Resources Repository on various topics and gave a different perspective on the teaching mode. Insights on these topics are presented in the final chapters of the book “Insights of Geosciences for hazards and education”
I take this opportunity to invite the readers into the diversity of geoscience topics selected for this book and I also express my appreciation for all the persons that collaborated on this book – authors & reviewers – and made it possible despite the COVID-19 impediments to their activity.
Florina Chitea, editorDISTRIBUIE !