Archive for the ‘Geology’ Category

California’s Big Sur coast – ‘considered one of the finest images’ by Wikipedia


The end of the California drought hasn’t been all good news for everyone, due partly to what may be ‘the largest mudslide in the state’s history’.

A massive landslide that went into the Pacific Ocean is the latest natural disaster to hit a California community that relies heavily on an iconic coastal highway and tourism to survive, and it adds to a record $1 billion in highway damage from one of the state’s wettest winters in decades, reports SFGate.

The weekend slide in Big Sur buried a portion of Highway 1 under a 40-foot layer of rock and dirt and changed the coastline below to include what now looks like a rounded skirt hem, Susana Cruz, a spokeswoman with the California Department of Transportation, said Tuesday.

More than 1 million tons of rock and dirt tumbled down a saturated slope in an area called Mud Creek. The slide is covering up about a one-quarter-of-a-mile (0.40-kilometer) stretch of Highway 1, and authorities have no estimate on when it might re-open. The area remains unstable.

“We haven’t been able to go up there and assess. It’s still moving,” Cruz said. “We have geologists and engineers who are going to check it out this week to see how do we pick up the pieces.”

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Credit: tylertexasonline.com


Some experts call it ‘unprecedented’. But as the Tyler Morning Telegraph reports: ‘there’s a caveat. Technically recoverable doesn’t mean profitable – yet.’

As far back as 1911, geologists predicted that significant mineral wealth lay below East Texas, in what was then called the Woodbine Stratum – a formation above the Haynesville Shale.

And Columbus Marion “Dad” Joiner proved them right in 1930, when the Daisy Bradford No. 3 well struck oil just outside Henderson in western Rusk County.

It was really just a drill stem test – they weren’t expecting to hit anything. But at 3,592 feet, Joiner tapped into what was for years thought to be the largest oil and gas reserves in the world. But no-one predicted the vastness of the energy wealth available here.

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Credit: quora.com

The energy that went into making the impact crater is thought to be equivalent to 10 billion Hiroshima A-bombs, as BBC News explains. Nowhere to run/hide/escape.

Scientists who drilled into the impact crater associated with the demise of the dinosaurs summarised their findings so far in a BBC Two documentary on Monday.

The researchers recovered rocks from under the Gulf of Mexico that were hit by an asteroid 66 million years ago. The nature of this material records the details of the event.

It is becoming clear that the 15km-wide asteroid could not have hit a worse place on Earth.

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Credit: worldatlas.com


Something new for geologists to get their teeth into.

The Falkland Islands may be home to one of the world’s largest craters, reports the IB Times. A new analysis has revealed it has many characteristics of an asteroid impact and may date back to the ‘Great Dying’ extinction event.

About 200 similar large craters have been discovered so far on Earth but there are many other examples of them on other planets including on Venus, Mercury and Mars.

The Falkland Islands structure, which is described in detail in the journal Terra Nova, has a diameter measuring approximately 250 kilometres (150 miles). If it turns out to be an impact crater, this size would make it one of Earth’s largest – comparable to the famous Chicxulub crater discovered in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico nearly four decades ago.

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Renewables’ deep-sea mining conundrum 

Posted: April 14, 2017 by oldbrew in exploration, Geology
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Deep sea mining for rare earth minerals [image credit: BBC News]


To what extent do ‘renewables’ depend on finding sources of non-renewables? Mining is involved – the raw materials have to be found and extracted from the earth.

British scientists exploring an underwater mountain in the Atlantic Ocean have discovered a treasure trove of rare minerals, reports BBC News.

Their investigation of a seamount more than 500km (300 miles) from the Canary Islands has revealed a crust of “astonishingly rich” rock. Samples brought back to the surface contain the scarce substance tellurium in concentrations 50,000 times higher than in deposits on land.

Tellurium is used in a type of advanced solar panel, so the discovery raises a difficult question about whether the push for renewable energy may encourage mining of the seabed. The rocks also contain what are called rare earth elements that are used in wind turbines and electronics.
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Damage on a farm caused by the Kekerengu fault [image credit: GNS Science]


One scientist said of the Papatea fault: “You can call it bonkers; it’s certainly a real puzzle.”

The big earthquake that struck New Zealand last year may have been the most complex ever, say scientists.

November’s Magnitude 7.8 event ruptured a near-200km-long swathe of territory, shifting parts of NZ’s South Island 5m closer to North Island, reports BBC News.

Whole blocks of ground were buckled and lifted upwards, in places by up to 8m. Subsequent investigations have found that at least 12 separate faults broke during the quake, including some that had not previously been mapped.

Writing up its findings in the journal Science, an international team says the Kaikoura event, as it has become known, should prompt a rethink about how earthquakes are expected to behave in high-risk regions such as New Zealand.
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Tropical beach

Tropical beach


Can the tropics ever get too hot for life on Earth, or not? That’s the question posed by this research. As the report notes: ‘these theories are controversial’.

New research findings show that as the world warmed millions of years ago, conditions in the tropics may have made it so hot some organisms couldn’t survive, reports Phys.org.

Longstanding theories dating to the 1980s suggest that as the rest of the earth warms, the tropical temperatures would be strictly limited, or regulated by an internal ‘thermostat.’

These theories are controversial, but the debate is of great importance because the tropics and subtropics comprise half of the earth’s surface area, greater than half of the earth’s biodiversity, as well as over half the earth’s human population.

But new geological and climate-based research indicates the tropics may have reached a temperature 56 million years ago that was, indeed, too hot for living organisms to survive in parts of the tropics.
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New Zealand may be part of a submerged continent 

Posted: February 17, 2017 by oldbrew in Geology

Credit: GSA Today / Sott.net

Credit: GSA Today / Sott.net


Maybe there will be some counter-arguments but it’s a novel idea.

Scientists say they have identified a new continent, and called it Zealandia, reports Sott.net.

In a new paper, a team of 11 geologists have proposed that a region of the Pacific Ocean east of Australia and containing New Zealand and New Caledonia, be considered a continent.

Geographically speaking, six continents are recognised: Africa, Antarctica, Australia, Eurasia, North America, and South America. Eurasia is the geographical landmass that includes Europe and Asia.

At 4.9 million square kilometres, Zealandia would be Earth’s smallest continent.
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New Zealand quake ruptured 6 faults

Posted: November 19, 2016 by oldbrew in Earthquakes, Geology

Region of most recent New Zealand earthquakes [credit: BBC]

Region of most recent New Zealand earthquakes [credit: BBC]


It seems the earthquake has reduced stress in some areas, but other parts may well have more than before. One expert said “The whole coast appears to have been uplifted”. LiveScience reporting.

The magnitude-7.8 quake that rattled New Zealand, killing at least two people and stranding thousands of people, completely transformed the underlying faults in the region. Six major faults ruptured as a result of the New Zealand quake, a new map reveals.

The Kaikoura earthquake struck the South Island of New Zealand early in the morning on Nov. 14 local time, triggering landslides, tsunamis and hundreds of aftershocks. And thousands of people were stranded when earthquake detritus dammed a river. During the quake, bystanders captured images of mysterious earthquake lights painting the sky in eerie blue and green.

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Italian earthquake series continues [image credit: Fox News]

Italian earthquake series continues [image credit: Fox News]

The latest Italian earthquake fortunately seems to have killed no-one but at magnitude 6.6 was a strong one. In Rome ‘The metro was halted for hours and the Colosseum was being checked for damage.’

What next? The Daily Telegraph consults an expert.

The earthquakes that have buffeted central Italy over the last two months could continue in a devastating domino effect with one large quake leading to another along the central Apennine fault system, a leading seismologist has warned.

The latest earthquake on Sunday morning caused no known casualties but was the strongest to hit Italy, one of the world’s most seismically active countries, since 1980.

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Hydraulic fracturing wellhead  [image credit: Joshua Doubek / Wikipedia]

Hydraulic fracturing wellhead
[image credit: Joshua Doubek / Wikipedia]


It’s enough to make celebrity anti-fracking protesters choke on their cakes. — H/T Phys.org

Potential future fracking activity in the UK is unlikely to pose a pollution danger to overlying aquifers, new research from a leading academic suggests.

One of the primary concerns of those who oppose the development of shale gas by hydraulic fracturing is that creation of new fractures in the earth could cause fracking fluids to leak into, and contaminate, underground freshwater aquifers.

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British shale oil may be ready to boom 

Posted: April 19, 2016 by oldbrew in Energy, Geology, shale oil
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Shale oil in south-east England [credit: BBC]

Shale oil in south-east England [credit: BBC]


Surely even Britain can’t mess up an economic opportunity like this?
H/T GWPF

LONDON, April 18 (UPI) — The so-called Gatwick Gusher, a shale basin in the United Kingdom, could add as much as $74 billion to the nation’s economy, a study finds.

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bbc-greenpeace-medThe idea of lending the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) conjecture an air of scientific legitimacy by defining the period since the spread of agrarianism and industrialisation as a new geological age called the ‘Anthropocene’ has been bubbling along in the background for a number of years. In fact, it’s now got it’s own grand ‘working group’ consisting of the members listed below. This list was drawn to my attention by Matt McGrath of the BBC climate-propaganda unit, the de-facto promoter of the outfit.

I don’t know how many of these people are serious working geologists, but the names Naomi Oreskes and Andy Revkin jumped out at me, and put me in mind of that other list of 28 ‘world leading climate experts’ who the BBC used as an excuse to no-platform anyone critical of their alarmist climate-schtick back in 2005. A scandal that became known as 28gate, when the 28 ‘experts’ turned out to be activists from greenpeace, WWF, Stop Climate Chaos etc.

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The Moon in front of Earth [credit: NASA]

The Moon in front of Earth [credit: NASA]


Talkshop regular Ian Wilson features this story in his own latest blog post at Astro-Climate-Connection:

Many scientists deny that factors external to the Earth can have a significant impact upon the Earth’s climate yet there is considerable evidence that this indeed the case. Their instincts tell them that they must always look for internal factors, and internal factors alone, to explain the Earth’s climate systems. Most will admit that Moon might have some influence upon the Earth’s climate through the dissipation of its tidal forces in the Earth’s oceans but beyond that they have little time for thinking outside the box.

It is now emerging that those who reject the idea that factors external to the Earth can have a significant influence upon the Earth’s climate are increasingly at odds with the evidence.

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UK shale oil - green for go? [image credit: glaconservatives]

UK shale oil – green for go? [image credit: glaconservatives]


The huge reserves at Horse Hill are in shale beds that are fractured naturally, as UPI.com reports.

At least 10 billion barrels of potential oil is thought to lie in the Horse Hill shale licence area in the south of the country, a British group said. U.K. Oil and Gas Ltd. said an independent assessment from oil services company Schlumberger found a mean 10.9 billion barrels of oil in place in a 55 square-mile area of the Horse Hill basin.

U.K. Oil and Gas Chairman Stephen Sanderson said the independent analysis predicts “significant” oil volumes and gives further support for development plans.

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Sea lions get a lift in Chile [credit: M.Moreno/GFZ]

Sea lions get a lift in Chile
[credit: Daniel Melnick/I.B.Times]


The island Isla Santa María in the south of central Chile is the document of a complete seismic cycle, reports phys.org:

Charles Darwin and his captain Robert Fitzroy witnessed the great earthquake of 1835 in south central Chile. The “Beagle”-Captain’s precise measurements showed an uplift of the island Isla Santa María of 2 to 3 meters after the earthquake. What Darwin and Fitzroy couldn’t know was the fact that 175 years later nearly at the same position such a strong earthquake would recur.

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Epicentre of the 4.3 quake was at 9.5km depth near Sandwich, Kent.

_83158800_england_kentquake

BBC report

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Earth’s core has a differentiated core

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

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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.

http://news.illinois.edu/news/15/0209innercore_XiaodongSong.html

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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.

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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.

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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?

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