Research Topic

Sedimentology and Society

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About this Research Topic

Understanding the societal impacts of, and improving resilience in response to Earth surface processes requires advancing and applying process sedimentology research in a wide range of environments. This means that these are exciting times for sedimentologists, as we have a growing range of tools, approaches ...

Understanding the societal impacts of, and improving resilience in response to Earth surface processes requires advancing and applying process sedimentology research in a wide range of environments. This means that these are exciting times for sedimentologists, as we have a growing range of tools, approaches and expertise to tackle some of the key challenges that face society; such as better understanding natural hazards, forecasting fluxes of contaminants through sediment transport pathways, and understanding the long-term transfer and storage of carbon. For instance, sedimentology has a key role in improving our understanding of both the frequency and impact of a wide range of geohazards that both directly and indirectly impact global communities, especially in more vulnerable Developing Countries. In particular, the links between cascades of hazards, and their response to anthropogenic changes are important but poorly understood.

Recent advances in monitoring and analytical methods, as well as adaption of existing approaches, provide the opportunity to fill these outstanding knowledge gaps, as well as gaps in other areas, such as the dispersal of pollutants (e.g. microplastics, pesticides) in the natural environment. Understanding pollutant, and other important particulate (e.g. organic carbon) transport pathways, and their ultimate fates, requires detailed characterisation of the sedimentary processes within and between environments, over a wide range of timescales.

We are therefore pleased to announce a new Frontiers Research Topic focusing on “Sedimentology and Society” and welcome abstract submissions that fit this wide-reaching theme. We seek contributions that involve collaboration with other disciplines, such as engineering, biological sciences, climate and ocean sciences, and social sciences. We particularly encourage submissions that illustrate the socio-economic impact of sedimentological research, in the following areas:

(i) the forecast and impact of geohazards;

(ii) the extraction, dispersal, and concentration of pollutants;

(iii) understanding of long-term carbon transfer and storage.

This list of topics was identified in a Speciality Grand Challenges Article “Grand Challenges (and Great Opportunities) in Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, and Diagenesis Research”; however, we will consider submissions that demonstrate the utility of sedimentology in identifying or tackling any societally-relevant issues.


Keywords: Natural hazards, climate change, pollutants transport, carbon storage, sedimentology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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