International projects

"Development of Risk Analysis Procedure for Subsurface Management in Urban and Industrial Areas"

The joint Russian-Dutch project "Development of Risk Analysis Procedure for Subsurface Management in Urban and Industrial Areas" (SUBURBIA) was performed in the framework of bilateral research cooperation program between the RFBR (Russian Foundation for Basic Research) and NWO (the Netherlands). The research that lasted two years (since May 21, 2002 till May 21, 2004) was carried out at the Institute of Environmental Geoscience of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IEG RAS) and the State Unitary Enterprise on Karst Control and Bank Protection of Gosstroy of the Russian Federation (Dzerzhinsk, the Nizhnii Novgorod region) from the Russian part, and at the Netherlands Institute of Applied Geoscience (NITG-TNO) and the Delft Technical University (TU Delft) from the Dutch part under the general leadership of the President of International Union of Geosciences professor Ed F.J. deMulder (the Netherlands). Academician RAS V.I.Osipov was the co-leader of the project and simultaneously the leader of the Moscow research group. The Dzerzhinsk research group was head by Cand. Sci. (Geol.-Min.) V.V.Tolmachev. The following persons were the key researchers in the project: Dr.Sci. (Geol.-Min.) V.M. Kutepov, Dr.Sci. (Geol.-Min.) V.I.Makarov, Dr.Sci. (Geol.-Min.) Kataev, Cand. Sci. (Physics and Math.) O.K.Mironov, Cand. Sci. (Geol.-Min.) O.N. Eremina, Cand. Sci. (Geol.-Min.) M.V.Leonenko (from the Russian part), as well as Dr. C.Bremmer, and Drs.Brecht Wassing (from the Dutch part).

The joint Russian-Dutch research was aimed at making further progress in theoretical and practical fundamentals of natural risk assessment and management, as well as GIUS-technologies development intended for solving problems of sustainable development. Generating maps of risk of hazardous geological process development and working out practical recommendations on subsurface management in urban and industrial areas by the example of karst and suffosion development at two key sites in Moscow and Dzerzhinsk were the final aim of the project implementation.

The work was arranged in four stages.

In accordance with the work program and schedule, at the first research stage (May 21-November 21, 2002), the world experience in assessing karst and karst-suffosion hazard and risk in urban and industrial areas was reviewed; the database structure and contents were outlined on karstification and karst-suffosion manifestation at the key sites of Moscow and Dzerzhinsk; the main geological conditions and factors controlling karst and suffosion development were described; the algorithm of indirect assessment of the stress-strain state of rock massifs as applied to the inverse modeling of geological processes and the subsurface was deduced.

At the second research stage (November 22, 2002 - May 21, 2003) the GIS was generated for the subsurface at the key sites, parameters were selected, and computer maps of karst and karst-suffosion hazard were compiled. The model was elaborated for karst and suffosion development mechanism as well as sinkhole formation and earth settling.

At the third research stage ( May 22, 2003 - November 21, 2003), the legends were compiled for the maps of karst and suffosion risk development, and the karstifiaction was analyzed in urban (by the example of Moscow) and industrial (by the example of Dzerzhinsk) areas.

At the fourth research stage (November 22, 2003 - May 21, 2004), the karst and suffosion risk maps were built for the studied areas; the protection degree of buildings and engineering structures was estimated; and the model of karst and suffosion development and computer maps (GIS) were analyzed. The engineering geological data analysis performed for the key sites proved that at the Moscow site, karst hazard prediction may be based on engineering geological deterministic models; whereas at the Dzerzhinsk key site, the method based on r4evealing the stochastic regularities in surface karst manifestations appears to be most appropriate. Proceeding from the results obtained, the recommendations on risk mitigation were given with the account of computer map information and modeling data. The decision-making regulations were suggested to city authorities aimed at preventing emergencies related to karst process inurban and industrial areas. These recommendations may be applicable to other cities with the correction for the particular engineering geological conditions.

In the course of project fulfillment, five round-table meetings were held (May 2002, December 2002, March 2003, November 2003, and May 2004) both in Moscow and Utrecht (the Netherlands), during which the researchers exchanged the partial progress results and revised further research plans.

The results of the studies were discussed at five All-Russia and two international conferences (Conference on Sustainable Development and Management of the Subsurface, Utrecht, the Netherlands, November 5-7; and the International Symposium "Karstology in the XXI century: theoretical and practical importance", Perm, Russia, May 25-30, 2004), as well as at the XXXII Inernational Geological Congress ( Florence, Italy, 2004).

Nineteen publication were prepared on the research results, including in international journals.