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Capacity Building

MSc Candidates

14 2 Mr Mafuza Maya will be completing a project focussing on the development of hyperspectral remote sensingtechniques to map contamination associated with mining in the Witwatersrand basin, where gold mining activities led to the concentration of potentially harmful elements inmine residue areas. These contaminants have the ability to contaminate wetlands, streams and dams. His project title is: “Mineral and vegetation indicators of mining contamination using hyperspectral remote sensing in the Witwatersrand Basin”. The specific areas that will be focussed on include the Welkom area, the Orkney/Vaal area, the Carletonville area and a small transit from the Johannesburg CBD to Klerksdorp. The main aim of the project is to map minerals associated with gold mining and to identify specific plant spectral responses. Additionally, contaminant signatures will be identified within water bodies surrounding mine residue areas. Mr Maya has been accepted for studies at the University of Johannesburg.
14 3 Ms Nondumiso Dlamini will focus on developing remote sensing techniques for the assessment of shrink/swell clay concentrations in the Barberton region, where such clays are known to have caused infrastructure damage as a result of volume change related to changes in moisture. Her project will involve the collection of field spectrometer data as well as samples for laboratory analysis. The resulting field data will be used to develop techniques to identify shrink/swell clay potential using remote sensing data. The proposed study will investigate the spectral properties of swelling soils with multispectral imagery then correlate the data to the published mineralogical map of the study area (North-West, Pretoria). In support of the general aim of the proposed study, the following specific objectives will guide the research: 1) Detect and analyze distinct spectral signatures over the North-West, Pretoria by use of spectroscopic techniques, 2) Classify expansive soils according to dominant clay mineralogy and link the data with engineering parameters and reflectance spectra, 3) Derive empirical models for predicting specific parameters such as free swell and cation exchange of expansive soils from their reflectance spectra. Ms Dlamini has been accepted for studies at the University of Pretoria under supervision of Mr Joel Botai.
kerry Ms Kerry Lee Callaghan completed her BSc in Geology at the University of Pretoria where she gained valuable remote sensing training in her first, second and third years of study. She consequently completed her BSc honours in Geology at the University of Stellenbosch. Ms Callaghan is passionate about remote sensing, GIS and 3D modelling for geological and geomorphological investigations. As such, her research project for her MSc will focus on developing remote sensing techniques for the assessment of coastal and beach erosion. This will include the analysis of various sources of data to map sediment dynamics and the assessment of cliff retreat. She is registered at the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Stellenbosch and is expected to graduate in December 2013


PhD Candidates

 rebecca Ms Rebekah Singh has embarked on a PhD research project. Her research will focus on the use of satellite remote sensing through time-series analysis to analyse erosion causative factors including factors such as vegetation, land-use change, road developments, housing densification and crop-patterns. Additionally, erosional feature development and the social impacts of the onset of erosion will be mapped sequentially. Spatial analysis techniques will be used to compare the results and identify causal factors and the relationship between erosion and its causal factors. Ms Singh is registered for PhD studies at the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Stellenbosch and is expected to graduate at the end of 2015.
  A PhD research project that will be completed through the course of the project is that of Ms Jeanine Engelbrecht, currently employed at the Council for Geoscience. Ms Engelbrecht’s research project focuses on the development of advanced differential radar interferometry techniques for the detection and monitoring of surface subsidence due to mining activities. Her study area, situated in the Witbank Coalfields of the Mpumalanga Province, was selected on the basis that surface subsidence was known to occur, resulting in the sterilisation of areas for surface development. Ms. Engelbrecht is currently registered for PhD studies at the University of Cape Town’s Department of Electrical Engineering. She hopes to complete her studies by the end of 2012.