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 Degree Discipline: Applied Geography
Contribution of Hurricane Ike Storm Surge Sedimentation to Long-term Aggradation of Coastal Marshes in Southeastern Texas and Southwestern Louisiana

Contribution of Hurricane Ike Storm Surge Sedimentation to Long-term Aggradation of Coastal Marshes in Southeastern Texas and Southwestern Louisiana

Date: August 2013
Creator: Denlinger, Emily E.
Description: Coastal marshes and wetlands are vital natural resources that offer habitats for plants and animals, serve as ecological filtration for soil and water pollutants, and act as protection for coastlines. Fishing, both commercial and sport, has a large economic impact in the study area – the Gulf Coast between Galveston Bay, TX and Oak Grove, LA. The objective of this research was to determine the contribution of Hurricane Ike storm surge sedimentation to long-term marsh aggradation in Texas and Louisiana coastal marshes. The research hypothesized that Hurricane Ike’s storm surge deposit would be equal to decades and possibly even a century’s worth of the average annual non-storm sedimentation. A quantitative field study was performed. The storm surge deposit was examined in a series of 15 transects covering approximately 180 km east of Hurricane Ike’s landfall. Nine of the 15 transects were re-surveyed a year after the initial measurement to assess preservation of the deposit. The results demonstrate that Hurricane Ike contributed between 10 to 135 years’ worth of sediment to coastal marshes along the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, and the sediment deposits have been preserved for over two years.
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Examining the Role of Latitude and Differential Insolation in Asymmetrical Valley Development

Examining the Role of Latitude and Differential Insolation in Asymmetrical Valley Development

Date: August 2013
Creator: Curran, Lorna L.
Description: Valley development through erosional processes typically tends to create symmetrical valleys. Over time, water cuts through the substrate to create valleys, gorges, and canyons for which the sides are the valley are evenly sloped. However, there are anomalies to this process. Asymmetrical valleys have been well-documented even in areas of uniform substrate or little tectonic uplift. One proposed explanation for the asymmetry of these valleys is differential insolation. This may lead to different microclimates from one slope to another which alter the rate and extent of erosion. Since the differences in received insolation vary with latitude (especially in streams that flow along an east/west axis), it follows that the degree of asymmetry should also vary with latitude if differential insolation is a primary driving factor in the development of these valleys. To evaluate if insolation plays a role in the development of asymmetrical valleys, this study examines variability in asymmetry across 447 valleys in nine study areas located at different latitudes. The degree of asymmetry for each valley was measured by using 30 meter resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) to determine the slope angle of each side of the valley. Asymmetry was measured by computing a ratio of the average ...
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Finding Terroir in Southwest Iowa

Finding Terroir in Southwest Iowa

Date: August 2013
Creator: Deines, Dory
Description: Terroir combines the physical landscape of the vineyard with the grapevines and the methods and techniques used to produce wine from the grapes. This study used a GIS to identify the characteristics of the physical landscape in Pottawattamie, Mills, Montgomery, Fremont, and Page counties in southwestern Iowa. The components were combined in the GIS using a weighted linear index to identify areas suitable for vineyard development and to identify the general characteristics of the area. Vineyard owners were interviewed to help determine the weighting system to use in the GIS and to determine their perceptions of how the physical landscape impacts their vineyards, as well as to determine what grape varieties they plant in their vineyards and their decisions on making wine from these grapes. This information was collected to identify whether the vineyard owners had developed a sense of place for their vineyards and how this sense might aid them in the development of a terroir for their wines. The resulting perceptions about the individual wineries were then considered in conjunction with the results from the GIS modeling to understand how the physical landscape influences the concepts of sense of place and terroir in southwest Iowa. The physical landscape ...
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Neural Tube Defect, Heart Defect, Oral Cleft and Their Geospatial Associations with Supermarket and Convenience Stores in the City of Dallas, Texas

Neural Tube Defect, Heart Defect, Oral Cleft and Their Geospatial Associations with Supermarket and Convenience Stores in the City of Dallas, Texas

Date: August 2013
Creator: Miyakado, Haruna
Description: Birth defects are the leading cause of infant death in the United States. Research has linked poor maternal micronutrient intake to birth defects including neural tube defects, heart defects, and oral clefts. After investigating spatial patterns of these birth defects in the City of Dallas and the neighborhood characteristics within clusters, geospatial access to supermarkets and convenience stores measured by proximity and concentrations are examined as environmental risk factors for nutrition-related birth defects. Spatial clusters of all three nutrition-related birth defects exist in the City of Dallas. Cluster for NTD occurs in vulnerable places with lower income and high minority population specifically Hispanics with no supermarkets. Cluster for heart defects mostly occurs in high income and predominantly white neighborhoods with many supermarkets. Clusters of oral clefts mostly occurs in middle-class income with relatively high minority populations with many convenience stores. For the entire study area, geographical access to supermarkets that include healthy foods are shown to be spatially reachable from most of mothers of infants with nutrition-related birth defects as well as convenience stores that typically include the majority of unhealthy processed foods with very few nutrients. Thus, not only easy geographical access to healthy food vendors but to convenience ...
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A Quantitative Assessment of Site Formation at the Dmanisi Archaeological Site, Republic of Georgia

A Quantitative Assessment of Site Formation at the Dmanisi Archaeological Site, Republic of Georgia

Date: August 2013
Creator: Crislip, Peter S.
Description: The focus of this thesis was to gather and analyze micromorphological and petrographic data on soils at the archaeological site of Dmanisi in order to better understand the extent to which the deposition and alteration of the sediments has affected the preservation of artifacts and faunal remains. A major goal of this research was to test hypothesis related to why bone material is discovered in some strata and not in others. This research focuses on the application of micromorphology (supplemented with other methods) to the soils through the use of petrographic analysis of thin sections and scanning electron microscopy. These techniques complement previous field analyses by providing a quantitative assessment of individual strata through point counting and chemical mapping. The results of this research support the hypothesis that the sediments are predominantly mafic ashes, while showing that there is very little soil development in the strata. This suggests quick episodic burial in a relatively dry climate, confirming the hypothesis for a short time sequence in the strata. Additionally, differential weathering probably did not play a significant role in the differential abundance of bone remains among the strata at Dmanisi.
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Site Formation Processes and Bone Preservation Along the Trinity River Basin, North Central Texas

Site Formation Processes and Bone Preservation Along the Trinity River Basin, North Central Texas

Date: August 2013
Creator: Colvin, Jessica
Description: This thesis presents the results of geoarchaeological investigations of several archaeological sites along the Elm Fork of the Trinity River in north central Texas. Archaeological data recorded from mitigation excavations in Denton and Cooke counties were analyzed to understand the geologic impacts on faunal preservation resulting from site formation processes. The faunal assemblages are highly fragmented, even in settings known for good preservation. A combined approach using geoarchaeological and taphonomic techniques was implemented to examine how fragmentation, evidence of soil weathering, and differential preservation were impacted by differing geologic conditions throughout the river basin. Intrasite and intersite results of the sites show that a great deal of variability of faunal preservation is present at difference scales of analysis.
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Spatial Mismatch Between Hiv Infection and Access to Hiv Service Facilities in Texas

Spatial Mismatch Between Hiv Infection and Access to Hiv Service Facilities in Texas

Date: August 2013
Creator: Aggrey Korsah, Emmanuel
Description: Since 2004, the number of people living with HIV (PLWH) has steadily increased by about 5% and currently, the number in Texas is about 86,000. Though the National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan seeks to ensure “unfettered access to quality healthcare”, barriers to access still exist especially among minority populations. This study examines the relationship between HIV infection rates and the geographic location of HIV service centers with a focus on 4 counties: namely, Dallas, Denton, Harris and Tarrant. The goal is to show whether there is a spatial mismatch between HIV rates and service providers. Are service facilities located in zip codes where they are most needed? Using the vulnerability framework and the Inverse Care Law (ICL), we address the research question using demographic variables (race/ethnicity, sex, poverty, education attainment) and HIV data. Our results show that extreme vulnerable zip codes have high HIV rates and closest proximity to HIV service providers.
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Assessing the Role of Smaller Format Retailers on the Food Desert Landscape in Dallas, Texas

Assessing the Role of Smaller Format Retailers on the Food Desert Landscape in Dallas, Texas

Date: May 2013
Creator: Regan, Amanda D.
Description: Many policy and business decisions regarding food deserts in the U.S. are based on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) definition of a food desert. This definition only includes large/national chain grocery retailers, based on the assumption that these major retailers are the only affordable sources of food contributing to balanced diets. As alternative distribution channels, including smaller stores, start to include groceries in their product offering, the need to consider the role of other businesses in the food retailing environment should be addressed. This thesis assesses the role of smaller format grocery retailers (small local grocers, convenience stores, gas stations, dollar stores, and drug stores) in shaping the food desert landscape in Dallas, Texas. The analysis evaluates the products offered in these stores, and then identifies the difference these stores make when included in the USDA analysis. This was done by collecting in-store data to determine the variety of products offered, the affordability of those products, and the overall healthfulness of the store. In addition, the gaps in supply and demand were identified in the USDA-defined food deserts in order to identify the impact any smaller format retailer may have. The findings suggest that, overall, smaller format retailers ...
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Automated Treetop Detection and Tree Crown Identification Using Discrete-return Lidar Data

Automated Treetop Detection and Tree Crown Identification Using Discrete-return Lidar Data

Date: May 2013
Creator: Liu, Haijian
Description: Accurate estimates of tree and forest biomass are essential for a wide range of applications. Automated treetop detection and tree crown discrimination using LiDAR data can greatly facilitate forest biomass estimation. Previous work has focused on homogenous or single-species forests, while few studies have focused on mixed forests. In this study, a new method for treetop detection is proposed in which the treetop is the cluster center of selected points rather than the highest point. Based on treetop detection, tree crowns are discriminated through comparison of three-dimensional shape signatures. The methods are first tested using simulated LiDAR point clouds for trees, and then applied to real LiDAR data from the Soquel Demonstration State Forest, California, USA. Results from both simulated and real LiDAR data show that the proposed method has great potential for effective detection of treetops and discrimination of tree crowns.
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Geoarchaeological Analysis of Two New Test Pits at the Dmanisi Site, Republic of Georgia

Geoarchaeological Analysis of Two New Test Pits at the Dmanisi Site, Republic of Georgia

Date: May 2013
Creator: Zack, Winston S.
Description: This thesis presents the results of geoarchaeological investigations conducted at two new test pits, M11 and M12, at the paleoanthropological site of Dmanisi during the 2012 field season. This research is important for understanding the site formation processes occurring along the north-south axis of the Dmanisi site and how that affects the chronostratigraphic sequence and interpretation of archaeological materials here. With these excavations we can build a stronger interpretation for how broader areas of this site formed and changed both geologically and archaeologically. The geologic results of this study indicate that changes in sediment deposition and development episodes can affect interpretations of how long these sediments accumulated, how likely bones are to preserve, as well as how secondary gravel deposition can influence several archaeological interpretations. The archaeological results suggest that there could have been changes in occupation intensity between the stratum A and B phases although different rates of sediment deposition and surface stability could affect such artifact accumulations. In addition, during the stratum B phase there appears to be little change in artifact procurement behaviors and reduction characteristics by these hominins. The overall results of this research indicate that geologic factors should be addressed and cautions should be taken ...
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