Environmental Geology and Natural Disasters

The application of combined remote sensing and mapping techniques to study the regional geology of a number of areas in Mexico around the Gulf rim resulted in my incursion in the general field of natural disasters as it became evident that the regions surrounding the Gulf of Mexico have a high degree of vulnerability to natural disasters. These natural phenomena include tropical storm, hurricanes and to less extent volcanoes and earthquakes, which in turn trigger additional geological risks and hazards such as flooding, mass movements, ocean surges and desertification which put at risk social and economic development of areas close to the Gulf of Mexico.

The geographic location of the border states (Texas, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas) within the area of greatest incidence of tropical storms in the Caribbean-Gulf of Mexico track, makes this region permanently susceptible to these violent natural phenomena which are likely to induce and accelerate related phenomena including flooding, coastal erosion, and mass movements most of which are life-threatening to local human populations.

I have focused my environmental studies to (1) surface hydrogeology of arid zones in northern Mexico (Serrania del Burro, Coahuila State), (2) geological risks and evaluation of the geological hazards produced by hurricane Gilbert (Monterrey metropolitan area in Nuevo Leon State), and (3) environmental impact of new urbanizations (Cerros Bachoco area in Hermosillo, Sonora State).

Current work on environmental geology and natural disasters includes a large-scale project in collaboration with Jose A. Gunman of the Facultad de Cienecias Biologicas, UANL, to study the phenomenon of Desertification, its causes and current status.

My research on environmental geology and natural disasters should lead to (1) an inventory of the major hazardous zones in the region to minimize loss of human life and property damage, (2) an evaluation of landscape for site selection, (3) the delimitation of land-use and planning for future urban development, and (4) an assessment of environmental impact. The aforementioned deliverables will contribute to minimize the magnitude of future natural disasters in the region.