Activities
 

Activities of the WESTPAC-FluSed project during the period of May 2010 to May 2012 can be classified as: international workshop organization, fieldwork and research cooperation, bilateral scientific visits, and young scientist and graduated student training.

International workshop organization
Two international workshops, the third and fourth of international workshops of the WESTPAC-FluSed project, were successfully organized in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

(1) “Third International Workshop on the Fluvial Sediment Supply to the South China Sea” was held (hosted by Prof. Fernando Siringan) during 17‒18 November 2010 in the University of the Philippines (Quezon City). Twenty-five participants from 6 countries joined the workshop, including 3 from China, 1 from Indonesia, 1 from Malaysia, 2 from Thailand, 2 from Vietnam, and 16 from Philippines. Total 12 oral presentations were given during the two days on various topics of fluvial sediments in the South China Sea and surrounding drainage basins.

The topics mainly include: fluvial sediment discharge estimation, coastline changes, tectonic evolution, quantitative determination of clay-sized sediments, and late Quaternary paleoenvironmental study in the South China Sea. Participants gathered to show their new data and interpretations for the fluvial sediment study. Further cooperation strategies were achieved and they mainly include: more sampling fieldworks in the coming year in Philippines and Thailand, potential cooperation cruises in the South China Sea, cooperative laboratory analysis on delta and deep-sea cores, and co-authored writing for international journal articles, etc. Participants were agreed to have a special issue in Journal of Asian Earth Sciences in 2012 to publish their scientific results.

(2) “Fourth International Workshop on the Fluvial Sediment Supply to the South China Sea” was held (hosted by Dr. Penjai Sompongchaiyakul) during 14‒16 December 2011 in the Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok). Thirty-one participants from 7 countries or regions (2 from Indonesia, 3 from Malaysia, 2 from Philippines, 3 from Vietnam, 5 from China, and 16 from Thailand including IOC/WESTPAC representatives) attended the workshop to communicate their scientific results on subjects of fluvial sediment discharge to the South China Sea. Total 16 oral presentations were given in first two-days to report most recently approaches on detrital sediments in and surrounding the South China Sea. During the discussion session of this workshop, participants expressed a great pleasant to be involved such a cooperation “family”, and decided to meet at its 5th international workshop in next year (November 2012) in HoChiMinh City, Vietnam. The status of editing the special issue of Journal of Asian Earth Sciences was updated and the issue will be completed in summer of 2012. One-day field excursion was organized to visit the Sichang Island.

Fieldwork and Research Cooperation
Six fieldwork or cruise excursions with related research cooperation activities were carried out, and some cooperated scientific results were published or are currently in review process.

(1) Sampling fieldwork excursion in Philippines, 19-25 November 2010. Two scientists from the Tongji University and colleagues and graduate students from the University of Philippines joined the fieldworks. Total 22 rivers were sampled with muddy and silt sediments along all rivers in Palawan. In addition, volcanic ash deposits were also collected in two locations of Luzon: 25 tephra samples collected from two profiles at the Taal Crater (south Manila) and 15 tephra samples from the Pinatubo Crater (north Manila). The samples were then measured at the Tongji University for clay mineralogy and elemental geochemistry to understand the chemical weathering process.

(2) Sampling fieldwork excursion in SE China, March‒April 2011. Three graduate students from the Tongji University joined the fieldwork. Total 56 samples from 17 rivers were collected with muddy and silt sediments along SE China, from Shanghai southwestwards to Guangdong province (through Zhejiang and Fujian provinces). The samples have been analyzed for clay mineralogy to track the fine-grained sediment transport from the Yangtze to the South China Sea through the Taiwan Strait.

(3) Sampling fieldwork excursion in NW Taiwan, 20 April 2011. Dr. Zhifei Liu (Project Leader) from the Tongji University visited Taiwan during April, and spent one day to travel with Dr. Chih-An Huh from the Academia Sinica to collect river sediment samples in NW Taiwan. Total 8 samples were collected with muddy sediments from eight rivers in NW Taiwan, and they were used to study the fluvial sediment supply from the island to the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea by combining all other river data, which were previously obtained by the FluSed project.

(4) Cruise excursion in the Gulf of Tonkin (off the Red River mouth), 26 May‒1 June 2011. An oceanography cruise was organized by the Institute of Marine Environment and Resources (IMER), Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST). Three colleagues and graduate students from the Tongji University participated in the cruise.

The cruise is to work on hydrology and marine geology along three transects in the Gulf of Tonkin (off the Red River mouth). Total 22 stations were analyzed for CTD casts and sampled with surface sediments. Among these stations, 7 short gravity cores with length varying from 30 cm to 200 cm were collected. The sediments and cores will be used to study the fluvial sediment supply from the Red River to the Gulf of Tonkin and to evaluate the contribution from various sediment provenances.

(5) Sampling fieldwork excursion in South Thailand, 5‒11 June 2011. Three colleagues and graduate students from the Tongji University and two colleagues from the Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok) joined the fieldwork. Total 22 samples from 5 major rivers in South Thailand were collected with muddy and silt sediments. The samples have been analyzed for clay mineralogy and elemental geochemistry to track the fine-grained sediment transport from Thailand rivers to the Gulf of Thailand (the southwestern South China Sea).

(6) Sampling fieldwork excursion in flooding areas of South Thailand, 15‒17 December 2011. The extremely heavy rainfall started in October 2011 and kept for two months in South Asia and Indochina. Thailand is among the heavy precipitation region. Then, areas along the Chao Phraya River in South Thailand were heavily flooded, including most part of Bangkok, the capital city. In order to understand how the rainfall and other environmental changes affect the fluvial sediments in Thailand, we collected flooded sediments. The fieldtrip was conducted just after the major flooding area was recovered, in middle December 2011. Total 21 flooded sediment samples were collected mainly along the Chao Phraya River at similar locations with previous sampling locations (done in June 2011). The samples will be analyzed for clay mineralogy and elemental geochemistry for understanding the environmental influence on fluvial sediments.

The actual multilateral cooperation on the study of the project’s objectives has produced quite large set of scientific data, and some of data were already published or under review by international journals, e.g., Marine Geology, Chemical Geology, Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, etc.

Bilateral Scientific Visits
Beside two international workshops organization and six fieldwork or cruise excursions cooperation, other bilateral scientific visits were regularly organized.

(1) Visit of delegation from the Hanoi University of Mining and Geology (HUMG) to the Tongji University during 10-15 June 2010 -Prof. Le Khanh Phon and his two team members.

(2) Visit of delegation from the Institute of Marine Environment and Resources (IMER), Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), to the Tongji University during 24-28 July 2010. Led by Deputy Director, Dr. Tran Dinh Lan, the delegation with 7 members spent a few days to discuss on issues of interest and practical cooperation between the two institutions on various topics, including field observation and analysis, Gulf of Tonkin survey proposal, training and education, and Gulf of Tonkin cruise in 2012. A review of signed MOU (done in February 2010) was also conducted.

(3) Laboratory study of Dr. Wahyoe S. Hantoro in the Tongji University during 2-30 Oct. 2010. Dr. Hantoro from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences spent one month at the State Key Laboratory of Marine Geology (Tongji University, Shanghai) for clay mineralogy and XRF core scanner analysis. The collaboration topic is the fluvial sediments in the western Borneo and the Sunda Shelf for their environmental influence. About 100 samples and two short sediment cores were analyzed, and He is going to interpret the data.

(4) Visit of delegation from the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) to the Tongji University during 2-5 November 2011. Led by Prof. Duong Ngoc Hai, Vice President of VAST, the delegation with 7 members has great interests to exchange ideas on marine geology study in the South China Sea and to discuss future potential collaborative opportunities.

(5) Visit of delegation from the Hanoi University of Mining and Geology (HUMG) to the Tongji University during 26 November–2 December 2011. Led by Dr. Le Hai An, Vice President of HUMG, the delegation with 8 members has a very successful visit in the Tongji University. The two institutions aim to develop a strategic cooperation in future for various topics, including education (i.e., joint master program in the marine geology and geophysics, joint undergraduate education, and PhD program scholarship), research collaboration, and academic exchange (i.e., scientific workshop organization, fieldtrips, and summer school). Prof. Yiyi Chen, Vice President of Tongji University, join the seminar. A MOU was signed between the two partners.

(6) Participating the International Workshop on Unlocking the Opening Processes of the South China Sea during 31 January to 1 February 2012 at Tongji University. The workshop is to develop further collaborations in marine geology study in the South China Sea by drilling through IODP program (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program) in the marginal sea. Four members of the FluSed project joined the workshop, including Prof. Le Khanh Phon from Hanoi University of Mining and Geology (HUMG), Dr. Wahyoe S. Hantoro from Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Dr. Penjai Sompongchaiyakul from Chulalongkorn University, and Dr. Zhifei Liu (Project Leader) from Tongji University attended the workshop and presented their scientific studies obtained from the FluSed cooperation.

Young Scientist and Graduated Student Training
Young scientist and graduated student training is one of important activities of the project. Seven persons from Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, and DPR Korea were trained either for long-term graduated program or for short-term laboratory analysis training.

(1) Master and PhD programs in Tongji University. Mr. Bui Van Vuong from the Institute of Marine Environment and Resources (IMER), Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), and Ms. Suratta Bunsomboonsakul from the Chulalongkorn University have registered at the Tongji University for master and PhD programs, respectively. Mr. Vuong registered in September 2009 is supported by the Chinese CSC full scholarship. Ms. Bunsomboonsakul registered in September 2011 is a supervision PhD student between Tongji University and Chulalongkorn University, and she is full-supported by a project-based grant when she stays in China. Both students aim to the scientific objectives of the FluSed project for their program thesis.

(2) Mr. Joseph Anak Bidai, a young science coordinator at the University Malaysia Terengganu, visited the Tongji University during 1-28 September 2010. He was trained for clay mineralogy (XRD) and elemental geochemistry (ICP-MS) on his own sediment samples for fluvial sediment study on transport on the Sunda Shelf. He received quite good data in the end of his visit and is going to prepare for a manuscript.

(3) Mr. PAK Nam Chol and Mr. SONG Yong Chol from the State Hydro Meteorological Administration, DPR Korea, visited the Tongji University during 2-16 November 2010. It is quite pleased to have scientists from DPR Korea for the first time joined the FluSed project activities. They were trained for the clay mineralogy (XRD) analytical method, including sample preparation, analysis using XRD machine, and data processing.

(4) Mr. Le Minh Dao, a young scientist from the Institute of Resources Geography (IRG), Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), visited the Tongji University during 1-30 April 2011. During his stay, he learned how to analysis clay mineralogy analysis. Total more than 300 samples I brought from his institution were analyzed for the environmental change study on the Mekong River delta.

(5) Mr. Ronald Lloren, a graduate student from the University of Philippines visited the Tongji University during 1-30 May 2011. He was trained for clay and elemental geochemistry analysis during this month for his own river samples, which were collected in southern Philippine islands. The clay mineralogical and geochemical data will be used to study chemical weathering process happened in Philippines. Total about 70 samples were measured.

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