Fresh Research

Here, we introduce some of the interesting research projects that relate to the community being performed in the Yamaguchi University Faculty of Science.

 

“New Kind of Mineral Containing Rare Earth Materials Discovered - Vanadoallanite-(La)”

nagashima1.JPGAssociate Professor Mariko Nagashima

We announce that a team led by Associate Professor Mariko Nagashima of the Yamaguchi University Faculty of Science Department of Geosphere Sciences has found a new type of mineral that contains rare earth materials in the mountains of the Chichibu zone in Yamochi-cho, Ise City, Mie Prefecture.

 

After an investigation of the chemical composition and crystal structure, it was determined to be a new type of mineral. On March 1, 2013, the International Mineralogical Association named this new mineral Vanadoallanite-(La).

 

“Looking Within Blood Vessels Using Ultrasonic Waves - IVUS Diagnosis with Ultrasonic Waves Within Blood Vessels”

Professor Eiji Uchino

The large blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrition to the muscles of the heart is called the coronary artery. When abnormal structures called plaque form within this artery, plaque ruptures block the vessel and cause a part of the heart to die in what is called myocardial infarction. Determining the structural characteristics of plaque is necessary to know whether or not plaque is unstable and likely to rupture. Diagnosis is performed by inserting a thin tube called a catheter with an ultrasonic probe attached into the vessel.

 

Image processing using advanced information processing is useful for these diagnoses. Professor Uchino has proposed a new method for image analysis that successfully determines the structure of plaque with high precision.

 

“Academic Surveys of New “Kirigadai no Ana” Discovered at Akiyoshi Plateau”

Professor Kazuhiro Tanaka

The Akiyoshi plateau is situated roughly in the center of Yamaguchi Prefecture. Formed of limestone, it is this country’s largest karst plateau, and there are over 450 limestone caves below it. It is thought that the “Kirigadai no Ana (Holes in Akiyoshidai)” discovered in 2003 was formed during the initial stages of the plateau’s formation, and it is possible that 1,000,000 years of geomorphological, geological and biological history are stored within the cave.

 

At the Yamaguchi University Faculty of Science, researchers from different fields, working together with the Akiyoshi Plateau Museum of Science, formed an academic surveying team and performed four on-site investigations. They investigated the cave and performed sedimentation analysis, and are now analyzing the 1,000,000 year old history of the cave.

 

“Active Fault Line Discovered in Central Yamaguchi Prefecture - Aiming for Prediction of Direct Inland Earthquakes”

Professor Yuji Kanaori

A research group led by Professor Kanaori has found a number of faults within Yamaguchi Prefecture, and evidence of comparatively recent activity.

 

For example, they found the Ohara Lake fault system, which extends about 60km in length over the south-central portion of Yamaguchi Prefecture, and showed that the Kidoyama western fault constituting the north of the system was active around 3,500 years ago (during the late Jomon period). In addition, it has been shown that the Tokusa-Chifuku fault that extends northeast to southwest from Tokusa to Shinome in Ato-cho is active. It is hoped that this research will lead to data related to predicting direct inland earthquakes.