Resource Management and Geography - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 168
"Cryptic" diagenesis and its implications for speleothem geochronologies
(PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2016-09-15)
Speleothems are usually considered as one of the most amenable palaeoclimate archives for U-series dating. A number of studies in recent years, however, report cases of diagenetic alteration which compromises the use of U-series systematics in speleothems, resulting in inaccurate U-Th ages. Here we present the results of a high-resolution U-Th dating study of a stalagmite (CC26) from Corchia Cave in Italy where we document a number of departures from an otherwise well-defined age-depth model, and explore potential causes for these outliers. Unlike examples illustrated in previous studies, CC26 contains no visible evidence of neomorphism, and appears, at least superficially, ideally suited to dating. Good reproducibility obtained between multi-aliquot U-Th analyses removes any possibility of analytical issues contributing to these outliers. Furthermore, replicate analyses of samples from the same stratigraphic layer yielded ages in stratigraphic sequence, implying very localized open-system behavior. Uranium loss is suggested as a causative mechanism on account of the fact that all the outliers are older than their assumed true age. A limited number of micro-voids were observed under micro-CT analyses, and it is proposed that these were pathways for U loss. Uranium-loss modelling allows us to constrain the possible timing of diagenetic alteration and indicates that the precursor for the outlier with the largest age discrepancy (309%) must have been aragonite. This study indicates that visibly unaltered speleothems may still contain small domains that have experienced post-depositional alteration. Such “cryptic” diagenesis, as recorded in this stalagmite, has implications for the constancy of accuracy of the U-series dating technique, and suggests a need for careful examination of speleothems prior to dating, particularly in low-resolution U-Th studies.
Socially just publishing: implications for geographers and their journals
(GEOGRAPHICAL SOC FINLAND, 2017-01-01)
There have been a range of protests against the high journal subscription costs, and author processing charges (APCs) levied for publishing in the more prestigious and commercially run journals that are favoured by geographers. But open protests across the sector like the ‘Academic Spring’ of 2012, and challenges to commercial copyright agreements, have been fragmented and less than successful. I renew the argument for ‘socially just’ publishing in geography. For geographers this is not limited to choosing alternative publication venues. It also involves a considerable effort by senior faculty members that are assessing hiring and promotion cases, to read and assess scholarship independently of its place of publication, and to reward the efforts of colleagues that offer their work as a public good. Criteria other than the citation index and prestige of a journal need to be foregrounded. Geographers can also be publishers, and I offer my experience editing the free online Journal of Political Ecology.
Australia: reclaiming the public university?
(Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective, 2017)
In a provocative article published in 'Minerva' in 2015, Halffman and Radder discuss the Kafkaesque worlds that academics in the Netherlands now find themselves in, as an underfunded university sector predates upon itself and its workforce (2015, p. 165-166). Their Academic Manifesto observes that Dutch tertiary institutions have become obsessively focused on ‘accountability’ and pursue neoliberal-style imperatives [forced upon them] of ‘efficiency and excellence’. They paint a portrait of academics under siege, untrusted, and constantly micro-managed. The pursuit of so-called efficiency has involved accountability systems that are themselves wasteful, driving seemingly endless institutional restructuring. Moreover, institutions have become obsessed with star-performers in research, driven by competitive targets that undergird global rankings. Metrics – publication outputs, journal quality, citations, impact and grant revenue – produce a culture of competition and sometimes, mercenary behaviours, on the part of academics and managers. While there may be beacons of light, they are heavily shielded in the article, which makes for depressing reading. Their provocation prompts two questions, to which we will try to respond through our own experiences and review of Australia's adoption of,and resistance to, higher education reform: 1.How does Australia compare? 2.What can Australian universities and their staff do?