Geoforensics and Geomedicine


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Geoforensics and Geomedicine

Code: 227711
ECTS: 4.0
Lecturers in charge: prof. dr. sc. Gordana Medunić
Lecturers: prof. dr. sc. Gordana Medunić - Seminar
Take exam: Studomat

1. komponenta

Lecture typeTotal
Lectures 15
Seminar 15
* Load is given in academic hour (1 academic hour = 45 minutes)
1/ Introduction to the concept of environmental geoforensics. Definition of the discipline in terms of the application of scientific methods to determine the source and age of pollution. Familiarity with the basic principles of environmental forensic science: transport and fate of chemicals in the environment considering the fact that the environmental "crime scene" (source of pollution) can be hundreds of kilometers away from a polluted locality. In addition, pollutants undergo changes in interaction with the environment. By understanding and quantifying these changes, it is possible to link pollutants to their source.
2/ Legacy of waste and chemical pollution in the environment. Management of chemicals in the context of their release (leaks, spills) into the environment and their classification and management (disposal) of geological materials (ores, waste and similar). The past of waste and pollution: the past of waste management (disposal), the need for legal regulation, the coupling of science and industry, how we got to the present situation of a polluted environment, well-kept secrets and the postponement of sustainability measures.
3/ Laws on environmental protection. A cross-section of the most important laws and regulations relevant to the polluted environment in Croatia, the EU and the USA. Discussion of practical aspects - real possibilities (practice) vs requirements towards legal participants. Liability and a brief insight into case studies in our country and around the world.
4/ Preparatory actions. Basics of the following concepts: polluted site (eng. site); accidents, i.e. spills; background values (eng. background vs baseline); knowledge of the contaminant; sampling, material, bias, number of samples, sample quantity, safety, cost, analytics, statistical data processing, presentation of results, source-pathway-sink, proving the case and expert report.
5/ Water resources. Water and the hydrological cycle (basics); water quality management; classification and assessment of environmental quality (ecologically precise metrics for water resources); underground waters (porosity and permeability of layers, water flow, adsorption, vadose zone, capillarity, water surface, basics of hydraulics, water flow) and their pollution; hydrogeology of pollutants (dissolved state, dispersion, chemical diffusion); water quality measurements (sampling of surface and underground water with an emphasis on accuracy and precision of the procedure, physical, chemical and biological components of water); water quality measurements in the field (temperature, pH, Eh, electrical conductivity, turbidity); water pollution (dissolved inorganic substances, nutrients, organic substances (oil), pathogens, radionuclides).
6/ Identification of sources of pollution. Illegal discharges (including so-called fly-tipping), reckless discharges (so-called fugitives) and disturbed geoecological processes in the environment; tracing tools (eng. source apportionment) - chemical (eng. fingerprinting) and biological methods. Geochemical fingerprint analytical methods (gas chromatography, stable and radioactive isotopes) and mineralogical ones.
7/ Examples from real life (case studies). Making decisions in practice (the so-called looking for a needle in a haystack). Discussions about what can go wrong and how to prevent it. Methods of cleaning polluted sites (eng. brownfield, site cleanup).
8/ Environmental risk assessment. Definitions and terminologies; assessment of the release of unwanted substances into the environment (toxic metals, solvents, pesticides, GMOs, EMG radiation, radioactivity); condition monitoring (eng. monitoring) - strength vs limitation; pollution exposure assessment - models (atmospheric, surface water, underground water, catchment water, food chain, routes of exposure), strength vs limitation; assessment of consequences (effects of risks to human health and monitoring methods aimed at assessing health consequences).
9/ Definition of geomedical discipline. Introductory statements about medical knowledge about how certain diseases in humans and animals are related to certain geographical areas (ie the influence of common environmental factors on the geographical distribution of health problems). It is a complex topic that requires a multidisciplinary approach to solving geomedical problems. Medical problems caused by so-called internal factors are not included here because they belong to occupational medicine. There are also numerous borderline cases that are difficult to classify.
10/ Basics of GIS (geographical information system). Maps are often suitable for geomedical calculations and presentations. However, caution is needed with premature conclusions when comparing maps showing disease distribution patterns with geological conditions (geological structure of the terrain; eg abnormally high or abnormally low concentrations of arsenic (toxic) or selenium (essential) in the environment). Cards can be similar without any causal connection.
11/ The connection between geography and human health. Effects of lack and excess of micronutrients on human health. How to improve personal health and safety and the path to better health.
12/ Geochemical maps as a basis for geomedical research. The relationship between the geological structure of underlying rocks (underground), such as potentially toxic ores (eg selenium, arsenic, mercury, coal, etc.), and human health.
13/ What the residential address says about someone's health. Toxic substances by household, toxic chemicals in local communities, security of local water supply, etc.
14/ Geomedicine of the workplace. Geographical distribution of oncological problems, cartographic patterns of respective distributions, traffic roads, air pollution and health risks.
15/ The significance of the environment's influence on our health. GIS and global health, assessment and future predictions in terms of the development of geomedicine.
1. semester
MODUL: GEOLOŠKA ZAŠTITA OKOLIŠA - Regular study - Environmental Sciences

3. semester
MODUL: GEOLOŠKA ZAŠTITA OKOLIŠA - Regular study - Environmental Sciences
Consultations schedule: