Dr. Alessandro Ielpi's recently published article in Nature Communications examines fluvial dynamics in Precambrian landscapes
This Week in Research: Dr. Alessandro Ielpi's recently published article in Nature Communications examines fluvial dynamics in Precambrian landscapes
Dr. Alessandro Ielpi, Assistant Professor of Sedimentology at the Harquail School of Earth Sciences, recently published a paper in Nature Communications. Nature Communications is part of the prestigious Nature Publishing Group, which aims to distribute impactful and open-access research in biology, physics, chemistry, and earth sciences. What follows is a description and summary of the research Dr. Ielpi is conducting with regards to the geomorphology and sedimentary geology of river. He studies modern rivers through remote sensing, ground-penetrating radar, and of course field observations. He also studies sedimentary rocks originally deposited by ancient rivers, with the aim to reconstruct ancient fluvial dynamics from outcrop. Dr. Ielpi specializes in Precambrian rivers, those that predated the evolution and expansion of land plants.
Vegetation-devoid rivers of Precambrian vintage are currently receiving a wealth of renewed interest because of their potential parallels to barren extra-planetary fluvial landscapes such as those observed on Mars or Saturn’s moon Titan. To explore these potential parallels is at the core of Dr. Ielpi’s research motivation. State of art has been for more than 40 years that pre-vegetation rivers could not developed well-incised channels because of the lack of plant rooting along their banks. The objective of this paper is to test this assumption by collecting geometric data from ancient – yet entirely preserved – channel forms of Precambrian age. The research relies heavily on remote sensing, which proved critical for detecting channel forms too big to be resolved from ground observations only (several km wide, which are, incidentally, sizes comparable to the largest modern channels on Earth). Remotely sensed data was ground-checked at several field sites in Arctic Canada (Nunavut and NWT), and the highlands of Scotland. This research, stemmed from a collaboration with the Geological Survey of Canada and the Universities of Padua and Utrecht, was supported by the following agencies:
- The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
- The Geological Survey of Canada
- The Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office (Nunavut's de facto geological survey)
- The Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
The study of fluvial networks observed on barren extraterrestrial bodies such as Mars and Saturn’s moon Titan recently boosted a great deal of interest regarding the dynamics of ancient fluvial channels active on early Earth, when vegetation had not yet evolved. This research discusses the shape and dynamics of rivers during the early span of Earth’s history, and appeals to geologists, geomorphologists, biologists, and also planetary scientists. Barren landscapes dominated the early Earth prior to 450 million years ago, and their rivers had no proven interaction with any macroscopic organism, including in the specific vegetation. It is a widely held view that, in a world devoid of vegetation, fluvial channels lacking rooted banks featured barely entrenched and shallow channels that promptly widened over floodplains in response to floods. Surprisingly, this hypothesis has never been tested because of an enduring lack of data on the geometry of very ancient fluvial channels (specifically, their depth and lateral extent).
In this article, a novel integration of remote sensing and outcrop sedimentology is employed, with the scope of detailing ancient preserved fluvial channels that are visible from satellite imagery but could not be resolved from ground observations alone. It is demonstrated that large and deeply channelled rivers were developed in the early Earth despite the lack of vegetation. The dataset presented in the study comprises 156 fluvial-channel forms from selected rock units exposed in the Canadian Arctic and the Scottish Highlands. These channel forms are dated from 1.9 to 1.0 billion years ago, and were originally deposited a few tens to thousands of kilometres from their headwaters. Most forms represent large channels, likely the record of fluvial networks that transected entirely ancient continental landmasses. The dimensions of the observed channels call for parallels with the largest rivers currently found on Earth, including the Amazon, Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Nile.
The channel forms considered in the study consistently present width and depth ranges fully matching those of younger (post-vegetation) counterparts, and their sedimentology allows to infer patterns of discharge comparable to that of modern large rivers. This evidence suggests that the geometry of fluvial channels belonging to continental-scale networks might have remained within a narrow range over almost 2 billion years. These results allow us to conclude that closer parallels could and should be drawn between fluvial channels active in barren and vegetated landscapes.
A full copy of Dr. Ielpi's article can be found at: https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15250
Dr. Alessandro Ielpi's recently published article in Nature Communications examines fluvial dynamics in Precambrian landscapes
Dr. Alessandro Ielpi, Assistant Professor of Sedimentology at the Harquail School of Earth Sciences, recently published a paper in Nature Communications. Nature Communications is part of the prestigious Nature Publishing Group, which aims to distribute impactful and open-access research in biology, physics, chemistry, and earth sciences.
Laurentian University celebrates Ontario Biology Day
Ontario Biology Day is a conference specifically targeted at students approaching the end of their undergraduate careers, and who are working on independent Honours Thesis research. Each year students gather from across the province to present their work to their peers. Ontario Biology Day (OBD) provides a unique venue for collaboration, networking and developing communication skills in a way most undergraduates have never experience before.
Dr. Kobana Abukari wins CFA Society Toronto & Hillsdale Canadian Investment Research Award
Congratulations to Dr. Kobana Abukari and Dr. Isaac Otchere, the winners of the 2017 Annual CFA Society Toronto & Hillsdale Canadian Investment Research Award. They received this award for their paper “Dominance of Hybrid Contratum Strategies over Momentum and Contrarian Strategies: Half a Century of Evidence”.
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On Friday, March 3rd, Laurentian University, as part of Research Week 2017, handed out it’s first-ever awards for achievements in research and innovation.
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Laurentian Indigenous Research ‘Dream Team’ to Advance Research in Indigenous Cognitive Health.
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This Week in Research:Canada Research Chair Renewal, Gillian Crozier.
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This Week in Research: Appointment of Dr. Jennifer Walker, Tier II Canada Research Chair for Indigenous Health.
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This Week in Research: Cliff Fielding Research Innovation and Engineering Building Open House and Architectural Presentation .
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This Week in Research: NSERC Discovery Grant Fall Speaker Series.
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On September 6th Laurentian University announced the $49,269,000 Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) funding award for Metal Earth project led by a team of researcher in the Harquail School of Earth Sciences.
TWIR: SSHRC Connection Grant to facilitate interdisciplinary exchanges on Canadian Francophone communities
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This Week in Research –Dr.Lynne Gouliquer Researcher Profile.
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This Week in Research: Canadian and Ontario governments invest $27.4 million in infrastructure at Laurentian.
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This Week in Research: National funding agencies support Laurentian University research.
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This Week in Research: Metal Earth, Federal Government Invests $49M in $104M Mineral Exploration Research Program.
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This Week in Research: Welcome Steve Gravel!
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This Week in Research: Changing how our athletes are viewed in the media
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The 2016 Rio Olympic Games will be the most ‘social’ games ever
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Ontario Supporting Geoscience Research
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School of the Environment, Day Care Research
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Canadian History Week: Mark Kuhlberg
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The Cognitive Health Research Laboratory at Laurentian University
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Launch of Romeo, Award and Certification Portal!
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Top ten Researchers in Faculty of Health
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Welcome Associate Vice-President Craig Fowler!
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Sudbury Protocol conference : Taking Sudbury's success to the world!
From May 9th to the 11th 2016 , Vale Living with Lakes and Dynamic Earth hosted the Sudbury Protocol Conference.
CROSH moves forward in safety and health with $1.2M in new funding.
Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health at Laurentian to create Mobile Lab.