Archive for the ‘Geology’ Category

Earth’s core has a differentiated core

Posted: February 10, 2015 by tchannon in Geology, Geomagnetism


Photo by L. Brian Stauffer from press release

Earth’s surprise inside: Geologists unlock mysteries of the planet’s inner core
Thanks to a novel application of earthquake-reading technology, a research team at the University of Illinois and colleagues at Nanjing University in China have found that the Earth’s inner core has an inner core of its own, which has surprising properties that could reveal information about our planet.


This article is part II  of “A new Lunar thermal model based on Finite Element Analysis of regolith physical properties“,  written primarily by gallopingcamel (Peter Morcombe), edited and prepared for WordPress by Tim Channon.


Figure 1 (click full size)

Modeling the Moon

A few months ago an analysis of the Moon’s equatorial temperature was posted here using two different types of engineering software. Tim Channon used SPICE circuit analysis software originally developed at Berkeley while I used Quickfield, a finite element analysis program developed by Tor Cooperative, a Russian firm, marketed outside Russia by Tera Analysis. In addition, several detailed comments were received from “br” who used LTSPICE from Linear Technology Inc.

Two very different methods. The results were identical.

Both Quickfield (in Student edition) and LTSPICE are freely available for download for those interested in replication or for further investigation.



Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

“CCS is the only way we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and keep fossil fuels (coal and gas) in the UK’s electricity supply mix” (DECC), and so say many other countries around the globe. Catch the CO2 and push it back underground. Just like waste water from fracking, but on an epic scale, so where are all the protests?


Pierre L. Gosselin provides an English overview of a video presentation in German given by Dr. Sebastian Lüning, a geologist and co-author of the book “The Neglected Sun

This is a geological context that unfortunately is lost on many people like physicists who believe their formulae more than they believe the true facts.

Pierre mentions “All graphics cropped from Lüning’s presentation with permission.” so I won’t copy them here.


Speculative result based on a new toy at University of Göttingen

How Did the Moon Really Form?

Dan is a deputy news editor for Science.
Email Daniel

By Daniel Clery Thursday, June 5, 2014 – 3:45pm

Planetary scientists have long believed that our moon formed following a collision between Earth and another planet, but studies of Earth and moon rocks suggest otherwise. A new analysis of the composition of moon rocks brought back by Apollo astronauts may help finally resolve the mystery.

Science magazine article


Shale gas or snail gas for the UK?

Posted: April 25, 2014 by oldbrew in Energy, Geology, government, Politics

Shale gas geology

Shale gas geology

Dr Benny Peiser reports on the tortuous processes facing shale gas explorers in the UK.

‘In Texas, it takes seven days to get a permission for hydraulic fracturing of shale. In Britain, the wait has been going on for a whopping seven years’

While we might not want a seven day approval period on a fairly crowded island, seven years seems a bit ludicrous.
No wonder some drilling firms have given up on the idea.

Government inertia may be rattled by the Ukraine crisis, as Dr Peiser suggests.
But will anything change apart from the rhetoric?

I name that asteroid ‘Mine’

Posted: April 24, 2014 by oldbrew in Geology, humour

Gold pan

Gold pan

It sounds like an April fool’s gag, but no:
‘Details have been emerging of the plan by billionaire entrepreneurs to mine asteroids for their resources.’

They claim:
“We’re in this for decades. But it’s not a charity. And we’ll make money from the beginning.”

B-b-but what about all that CO2 from rocket fuel burning?
Tut-tut ;-)

Article by Peter Morcombe (gallopingcamel) with some assistance from Tim Channon.


While investigating Nikolov & Zeller’s “Unified Theory of Climate” it seemed odd that professional scientists could not agree what the temperature of an airless Earth should be. Given that one needs to know this in order to compute the Greenhouse Effect (GHE), I tried to settle the question by analyzing the Diviner LRE data that accurately mapped the Moon’s surface temperature. This effort failed as my spreadsheet could not handle even the “Level 3” data. The Diviner team did much better and showed that the Moon’s average temperature is 197.3 Kelvin.

While the temperature of the Moon is now known with impressive precision, would an airless Earth have the same temperature or would the different rates of rotation have an effect?


Fossil fuels puzzle

Posted: April 12, 2014 by oldbrew in Astrophysics, Carbon cycle, Energy, Geology, Uncertainty

Do all so-called fossil fuels originate from fossils or not?
It’s a puzzle, sometimes called the abiotic (non-biological) argument.

Dinosaur fossil  [image credit: wikipedia]

Dinosaur fossil
[image credit: wikipedia]

We know there’s methane elsewhere in the solar system:

‘The presence of methane on Saturn’s moon Titan and in the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune is cited as evidence of the formation of hydrocarbons without biology, for example by Thomas Gold. (Terrestrial natural gas is composed primarily of methane). Some comets contain “massive amounts of an organic material almost identical to high grade oil shale (kerogen),” the equivalent of cubic kilometers of such mixed with other material; for instance, corresponding hydrocarbons were detected during a probe fly-by through the tail of Comet Halley in 1986.’



From Buzzfeed

LOS ANGELES — A shallow magnitude-5.1 earthquake struck the Los Angeles area Friday night, causing minor damage and injuries, scattered power outages, and gas leaks.

The earthquake occurred at 9:09 p.m. at a depth of 4.6 miles and was centered near Brea in Orange County — about 20 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. It was immediately followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 3.4 and 3.6 magnitude.


No gas here, strange tale of the crater

Posted: November 22, 2013 by tchannon in Energy, Geology, Politics

I was unaware of this until today when someone pointed to a photograph in a newspaper.


Image from

Derwese, Turkmenistan

Remarkably Microsoft have a good shot Bing



MP4 video on site

Huge half-ton chunk of Russian meteorite lifted from lakebed

The meteorite if that is what it is, has broken into fragments.

Various news outlets have the story and pictures.


From the London Evening Standard:

Energy Minister Michael Fallon: The South East must accept fracking
Joe Murphy, Political Editor

nimbyThe South East must accept shale gas exploration for the sake of Britain’s economic future, Energy Minister Michael Fallon declared today.

He stepped after Surrey-based peer Lord Howell caused outrage by saying “desolate” areas of the North East should be targeted instead.

“It cannot be right to confine it to areas of the industrial North,” he told the Evening Standard.

“Shale exists under towns, villages and countryside. Shale gas is everywhere and could well be in quantity under attractive areas of the country as well as industrial areas.”

The Tory minister was cool about the remarks made by Lord Howell of Guildford, who is George Osborne’s father in law and a former Energy Secretary.

“He has apologised and it’s probably best left there,” he said. Lord Howell has been widely condemned by northern politicians and bishops for suggesting drilling should avoid the South.


george-mitchellFrom the New York Times:


George P. Mitchell, the son of a Greek goatherd who capped a career as one of the most prominent independent oilmen in the United States by unlocking immense natural gas and petroleum resources trapped in shale rock formations, died on Friday in Galveston, Tex. He was 94.

On a hunch, Mr. Mitchell began drilling shale rock formations in the Texas dirt fields where he had long pumped oil and gas.

Mr. Mitchell’s role in championing new drilling and production techniques like hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is credited with creating an unexpected natural gas boom in the United States. In a letter to President Obama last year, Daniel Yergin, the energy scholar and author, proposed that Mr. Mitchell be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“It is because of him that we can talk seriously about ‘energy independence,’ ” he said. (Mr. Mitchell did not receive the award.)


From the Chronicle Journal:

cloudVictoria Ahearn, The Canadian PressFriday, April 5, 2013 – 06:00TORONTO – American paleoecologist Dr. Robert Dull believes he’s pretty much solved the mystery behind a catastrophic global climate change event from the sixth century.As the new History series “Perfect Storms” shows, Dull has found solid circumstantial evidence that an eruption at El Salvador’s Lake Ilopango volcano was the cause of the so-called Dust Veil of AD 356, when a thick dust and ash cloud over the Northern Hemisphere cooled parts of the Earth and led to millions of deaths.


Apart from a couple of gripes and moans about co2 from gas, this NYT article is a lot better than most of theirs concerning fossil fuels. Here’s the kicker; Susan Brantley is distinguished professor of geosciences and director of the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute – at Pennsylvania State University.

The Facts on Fracking
Susan Brantley and Anna Meyendorff

Some of the local effects of drilling and fracking have gotten a lot of press but caused few problems, while others are more serious. For example, of the tens of thousands of deep injection wells in use by the energy industry across the United States, only about eight locations have experienced injection-induced earthquakes, most too weak to feel and none causing significant damage.

The Pennsylvania experience with water contamination is also instructive. In Pennsylvania, shale gas is accessed at depths of thousands of feet while drinking water is extracted from depths of only hundreds of feet. Nowhere in the state have fracking compounds injected at depth been shown to contaminate drinking water.


all.7z 1061565012

cc: ‘The Team’
date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 11:21:57 -0400
from: Gabi Hegerl
to: “Michael E. Mann” <>, Tom Crowley

I have seen Balliunas give a talk quite a long while ago, unfortunately, I

cannot recall what the meeting was, it was some kind of global change meeting,

more than 5 years ago.

I do recall that I was thoroughly unimpressed though. There was not much real

exchange between her and the audience. I remember that Jerry North was there

also, because we exchanged amazement in differences in style of approach between the
detection side of work he and I presented, and her – well lets say

more-qualitative style…


At 11:07 AM -0400 8/12/03, Michael E. Mann wrote:

Thanks Tom,
The impact ratings you provided seem to be on a different scale from the ones I’ve seen,
but the relative magnitudes and ordering appear about right (in the ratings I’ve seen,
CR comes in at 0.4!).


From the Guardian:

fracking-toonThe chancellor, George Osborne, announced last week that the coalition would offer tax breaks to fracking firms, and intended to set up a new regulator for “unconventional gas”.

The energy secretary, Ed Davey, is shortly expected to lift restrictions on fracking at a site in Lancashire.

But Leinan, a member of the German SPD, spoke of the European parliament‘s growing concern over large-scale fracking, adding that it would pass new regulations to “manage, to discipline” the sector. He said: “There are basically only two countries where the government is behind using it. It is Poland and it is Great Britain, and Poland has not gone very fast. Then in Great Britain they give green light for industrial exploitation but they have to know what they are doing.

I don’t know if they can be so sure and clear about what they are doing.

He said.


My thanks to Hans Jelbring, who has sent me a copy of a paper by Nils Axel Morner. The paper introduces the concept of ‘Neotectonics’ and defines the epoch as beginning around 3M years ago, when we entered the current run of glacial interglacial cycles. Nils proposes the hypothesis that movements of the tectonic plates, especially in the uplift of mountainous plateaux and the closing of the strait between South america and Antarctica, amplified the effects of Milankovitch orbital cycles and resulted in a fall in Earth’s average surface temperature. I’ve provided a few excerpts here, but be sure to download and read the whole paper, it reads easily and isn’t too long.

Neotectonics, the new global tectonic regime during the last 3 ma and the initiation of ice ages

Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden

It recently became evident that the globe experienced a significantly changed tectonic
regiment from about 3.0 Ma onwards. This puts the term “neotectonics” in quite a new
perspective. We are now able to identify the last 3 Ma as characterized by generally
intensified tectonic activity. This period may hence be looked upon as a special
“neotectonic period”. Large areas were rapidly uplifted between 3.0 and 2.5 Ma. This led
to a seemingly more general lowering of the ocean floor due to an adjustment of the
geoid-oceanoid level. The tectonic reorganization 3.0-2.5 Ma ago led to the initiation of
global ice ages, the first one of which occurred at about 2.3 Ma.



From the Times, via GWPF:

Tim Webb, The Times
Date: 08/12/12

frackingThe shale gas deposit around Blackpool is 50 per cent bigger than previously estimated, The Times has learnt. The news will put more pressure on ministers who are due to lift the ban on extraction as early as next week, to support what could prove to be a gas bonanza for Britain.

Cuadrilla Resources, the exploration company backed by Lord Browne of Madingley, the former boss of BP, hit the headlines after it set off dozens of small earth tremors around Blackpool, resulting in fracking being suspended.

Fracking involves blasting water and sand at high pressure into rock to release gas, a process that environmentalists fear could pollute aquifers used to supply drinking water.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) is carrying out an independent analysis of shale gas reserves which it plans to publish in the new year. It is understood that the BGS will estimate that the 1,000 square kilometres covered by the Bowland Basin to the east of Blackpool contains 300 trillion cubic feet of gas, equivalent to 17 times the remaining known reserves in the North Sea.