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Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Clusterfukushima from Washington's Blog by Washington's Blog

Clusterfukushima

from Washington's Blog

Polar climate change may lead to ecological change

Polar climate change may lead to ecological change

Ice and frozen ground at the North and South Poles are affected by climate change induced warming, but the consequences of thawing at each pole differ due to the geography and geology, according to a hydrologist.

'Fracking' for natural gas can be safer and more transparent, energy report says

Fracking' for natural gas can be safer and more transparent, energy report says

fracking.jpg The natural gas industry should be more transparent in disclosing information about its shale gas operations and the substances used in hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, according to a US Energy Department report released today.
Fracking is a technique which forces a high-pressure mixture of sand, water and chemicals into shale rock in order to tap deep reservoirs of natural gas. It is currently responsible for 30 percent of natural gas production in the U.S.

The flight of the bumble bee: Why are they disappearing?

The flight of the bumble bee: Why are they disappearing?

Scientists are trying to learn exactly what is causing the decline in bumble bee populations and are also searching for a species that can serve as the next generation of greenhouse pollinators.

Advisory Committee’s Report Critical of Fracking, Spurs Outpouring of Spin

Advisory Committee’s Report Critical of Fracking, Spurs Outpouring of Spin

Recent global climate report fails to capture the reality of the changing Arctic seascape, researchers say

Recent global climate report fails to capture the reality of the changing Arctic seascape, researchers say
The Arctic — a mosaic of oceans, glaciers and the northernmost projections of several countries — is a place most of us will never see. We can imagine it, though, and our mental picture is dominated by one feature: ice.
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How we know we’re causing global warming, in one handy graphic

How we know we’re causing global warming, in one handy graphic

Legal challenge to licensing of U.S. nuclear plants

Legal challenge to licensing of U.S. nuclear plants

Asia's giants highly exposed to natural disasters - survey

Asia's giants highly exposed to natural disasters - survey
Paris (AFP) Aug 10, 2011 - The United States and Japan have the highest bills to pay from natural disasters, but Asia's emerging giants - China, India and Indonesia - are proportionately at greater risk from them, a survey said on Thursday. British risk assessors Maplecroft ranked 196 countries according to their economic exposure to earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, landslides, floods, storms and wildfires. Fou ... more

Scientists find eruption at undersea volcano after forecasting the event

Scientists find eruption at undersea volcano after forecasting the event
Newport OR (SPX) Aug 11, 2011 - A team of scientists just discovered a new eruption of Axial Seamount, an undersea volcano located about 250 miles off the Oregon coast - and one of the most active and intensely studied seamounts in the world. What makes the event so intriguing is that the scientists had forecast the eruption starting five years ago - the first successful forecast of an undersea volcano. Bill Chadwi ... more

Up-And-Coming Forests Will Remain Important Carbon Sinks

Up-And-Coming Forests Will Remain Important Carbon Sinks
Columbus, OH (SPX) Aug 11, 2011 - The aging forests of the Upper Great Lakes could be considered the baby boomers of the region's ecosystem. The decline of trees in this area is a cause for concern among policymakers and ecologists who wonder whether the end of the forests' most productive years means they will no longer offer the benefits they are known for: cleansed air, fertile soil, filtered water and, most important t ... more

Forests absorb one third our fossil fuel emissions

Forests absorb one third our fossil fuel emissions

Scientists, Lawmakers Object To DoE Fracking Panel Members' Industry Ties

Scientists, Lawmakers Object To DoE Fracking Panel Members' Industry Ties

Scientists slam US DOE fracking panel make-up on eve of release of report

Scientists slam US DOE fracking panel make-up on eve of release of report

DOE issues new constraints on Fracking Rick Moran

DOE issues new constraints on Fracking

Rick Moran

Fracking measures fall short, critics say

Fracking measures fall short, critics say

Secretary of Energy advisory board subcommittee releases shale gas recommendations

Secretary of Energy advisory board subcommittee releases shale gas recommendations

Aug. 11, 2011


Washington D.C. -- A diverse group of advisors to Energy Secretary Steven Chu today released a series of consensus-based recommendations calling for increased measurement, public disclosure and a commitment to continuous improvement in the development and environmental management of shale gas, which has rapidly grown to nearly 30 percent of natural gas production in the United States.

Increased transparency and a focus on best practices “benefits all parties in shale gas production: regulators will have more complete and accurate information, industry will achieve more efficient operations and the public will see continuous, measurable, improvement in shale gas activities,” the report says.

The report calls for industry leadership in improving environmental performance, underpinned by strong regulations and rigorous enforcement, evolving to meet the identified challenges.

As shale gas grows and becomes an increasingly important part of our nation’s energy supply, it is crucial to bring a better understanding of the environmental impacts—both current and potential—and ensure that they are properly addressed,” Subcommittee Chairman John Deutch said. “The current output of shale gas and its potential for future growth emphasize the need to assure that this supply is produced in an environmentally sound fashion, and in a way that meets the needs of public trust.”

Better data will help the industry focus its investments, give the public the information it needs to effectively engage, and help regulators identify and address the most important problems,” Deutch continued.  “We’re issuing a call for industry action, but we are not leaving it to industry alone.”

The report was prepared by the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Shale Gas Production Subcommittee. Chaired by Deutch, an MIT professor, it was convened by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu at the direction of President Barack Obama who observed that “recent innovations have given us the opportunity to tap large reserves—perhaps a century’s worth” of shale gas.

The subcommittee was tasked with producing a report on the immediate steps that can be taken to improve the safety and environmental performance of shale gas development. The report reflects three months of deliberations among a diverse group of industry experts, environmental advocates, academics and former state regulators.

The report includes recommendations in four key areas:

1. Making information about shale gas production operations more accessible to the public

The report calls for the full disclosure of all chemicals used in fracturing fluids. While the committee agrees with the prevailing view that the risk of leakage of fracturing fluids through fractures made in deep shale reserves is remote where there are is large separation from drinking water, the report finds that there is no economic or technical reason to prevent public disclosure of all chemicals used in fracturing fluids.

It also calls for the creation of a national database of all public information made about shale gas. Assembling the data, which are currently dispersed in perhaps a hundred different locations, in a comparable format would permit easier access by all interested parties.

The report recommends government funding support for existing, multi-stakeholder mechanisms such as the non-profit Ground Water Protection Council’s Risk Based Data Management System and the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulation. Encouraging such multi-stakeholder mechanisms will strengthen regulation and improve efficiency, the report finds.

2. Immediate and longer-term actions to reduce environmental and safety risks of shale gas operations, with a particular focus on protecting air and water quality

Air Quality:

The report says that measures should be taken to reduce emissions on air pollutants, ozone precursors and methane as quickly as practicable and supports prompt adoption of standards to reduce emissions of all air contaminants.

The subcommittee recommends the design and rapid implementation of measurement systems to collect comprehensive methane and other air emissions data from shale gas operations.

The subcommittee also recommends that a federal interagency planning effort be launched immediately to acquire data and analyze the overall greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas operations throughout the lifecycle of natural gas use in comparison to other fuels.

Water Quality:

The report urges the adoption of a systemic approach to water management based on consistent measurement and public disclosure. Companies should measure and publicly report the composition of water stocks and flow throughout the process; manifest all transfers of water among different locations; and makes recommendations about best practices in well development and construction, especially casing and cementing.  Likewise, agencies should review and modernize their rules to ensure they are fully protective of both groundwater and surface water.

The findings also recommend additional field studies on methane leakage from hydrofractured wells to water reservoirs and the adoption of requirements for background water quality measurements to record existing methane levels in nearby water wells prior to drilling.

3. Creation of a Shale Gas Industry Operation organization committed to continuous improvement of best operating practices

A more systemic approach by the shale gas industry based on best practices—recognized as improvements to techniques and methods over time based on measurement and field experience—is an important way to achieve better operational and environmental outcomes, the report finds.

The report envisions the creation of a national organization, with external stakeholders, dedicated to continuous improvement of best practice through the development and diffusion of standards and the assessment of member compliance. The organization would likely work through regional subgroups.

4. Research and development (R&D) to improve safety and environmental performance

The report finds that, while the majority of shale gas R&D will be performed by the oil and gas industry, there is a role for the federal government.

“We are mindful of the nation’s financial constraints,” Deutch said. “But we do see a key role that can be played by modest government support for R&D around environmental questions.”

The report recommends that the administration set an appropriate mission for shale gas R&D and level funding, with a particular focus on efficiency of water use and other improvements to enhance environmental objectives.

US panel recommends stricter regulations, better transparency on fracking shale gas

US panel recommends stricter regulations, better transparency on fracking shale gas

Energy Panel Wants Answers On Gas 'Fracking' by Jeff Brady

Energy Panel Wants Answers On Gas 'Fracking'

Energy Department panel to endorse shale gas exploration

Energy Department panel to endorse shale gas exploration

Reveal fracking chemicals - US

Reveal fracking chemicals - US

Panel Calls for More 'Fracking' Rules

Panel Calls for More 'Fracking' Rules

Gas Fracking Poses Serious Environmental Risks, U.S. Panel Finds

Gas Fracking Poses Serious Environmental Risks, U.S. Panel Finds

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

2012 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Session 125: Ocean acidification in coastal and estuarine environments

2012 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Session 125: Ocean acidification in coastal and estuarine environments

Deep recycling in the Earth faster than thought

Deep recycling in the Earth faster than thought
The recycling of the Earth's crust in volcanoes happens much faster than scientists have previously assumed. Rock of the oceanic crust, which sinks deep into the earth due to the movement of tectonic plates, reemerges through volcanic eruptions after around 500 million years. German researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz obtained this result using volcanic rock samples. Previously, geologists thought this process would take about two billion years.
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Up-and-coming forests will remain important carbon sinks

Up-and-coming forests will remain important carbon sinks
(PhysOrg.com) -- The aging forests of the Upper Great Lakes could be considered the baby boomers of the region's ecosystem.

Arctic Ocean to lose ice faster than predicted: MIT

Arctic Ocean to lose ice faster than predicted: MIT

Fracking Problems


Fracking Problems

Pages: 123
By most estimates, natural gas is likely to become the dominant power generation fuel in the U.S. within perhaps a decade. The rapid growth in natural gas supplies follows advanced drilling techniques that can economically tap large shale gas reserves located deep beneath Earth’s crust. Unfortunately, it only takes one outlaw drilling company to frack it up for the rest of us.
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Latest Unconventional News

Latest Unconventional News

GTI opens Pittsburgh office for Marcellus Shale region (Aug 9, 2011)
The Chicago-based Gas Technology Institute (GTI) has opened an office in Pittsburgh to show the organization’s commitment to the natural gas industry in the Marcellus Shale fairway and the surrounding region.
Magnum Hunter to buy North Dakota Williston Basin assets for $57M (Aug 5, 2011)
A subsidiary of Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. has negotiated an agreement to purchase operated working interest ownership in oil and gas leases and 191 wells on roughly 15,500 gross acres over four counties in the Williston Basin of North Dakota from a private company for $57 million.
Utica Shale acreage values trending higher (Aug 3, 2011)
Recent Utica Shale activity is trending upward and it appears valuations in the area are on the rise as well.
Targeting Marcellus, Utica Shale, Rex Energy looks to continue production growth (Aug 3, 2011)
Driven by Marcellus Shale activity, Rex Energy put up high production growth for the second quarter 2011 and plans to continue its growth with a large backlog in place, an acquisition targeting the natural gas-bearing Utica Shale, and an increased borrowing base.
Leaving Bakken for emerging shale oil, Anschutz Exploration exits Williston Basin (Aug 1, 2011)
The Anschutz Exploration Corp. closed the sale of its remaining operated and non-operated producing properties and undeveloped acreage in the Williston Basin of Montana and North Dakota to an undisclosed Canadian oil company for $115 million.
Chesapeake Energy confirms hype surrounding Ohio Utica Shale (Jul 28, 2011)
Chesapeake Energy released its second quarter 2011 financials July 28, and with the release came confirmation from the oil and natural gas producer that it believes the liquids-rich Ohio Utica Shale to be economically viable.
Ballard Spahr partner named to Maryland Marcellus Shale advisory panel (Jul 20, 2011)
Gov. Martin O’Malley has named Harry Weiss, a Ballard Spahr partner, as one of 13 members of the Governor’s advisory panel that will study natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale in Western Maryland.
CNOOC enters agreement to acquire Canadian oil sands producer OPTI (Jul 20, 2011)
CNOOC Luxembourg S.à r.l, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Ltd., has entered into an Arrangement Agreement to acquire oil sands producer OPTI Canada Inc. for roughly US$2.1 billion.

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Unconventional Resources Maps

Unconventional Resources Maps
Bakken shale infrastructure map
Looking for unconventional resource maps? Look no further than the UR Center on OGFJ.com. There you'll find location, facilities, and infrastructure maps of oil and gas plays throughout North America. Get the information you need to make informed business decisions about the Eagle Ford, Barnett, Haynesville, Marcellus, Bakken, Woodford, and more.

Taking a fresh look at the weather

Taking a fresh look at the weather
Manchester UK (SPX) Aug 10, 2011 - Instead, some of the biggest storms in the UK's history, such as the Great Storm of October 1987, did not fit this basic understanding. With groundbreaking research, Dr David Schultz, from The University of Manchester believes the way we learn about the weather is wrong and has been wrong for 90 years. Writing in the journal Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Dr Schultz ... more

The link between Montana weather and the ocean near Peru

The link between Montana weather and the ocean near Peru
Bozeman, MT (SPX) Aug 10, 2011 - A Montana State University researcher who analyzed 100 years of data has found a significant link between extreme Montana weather and the ocean temperatures near Peru. Montanans who want to know what to expect from the weather should look to the Pacific Ocean in the fall or maybe find a way to chat with some Peruvian fishermen, according to Joseph Caprio, professor emeritus in MSU's Depart ... more
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New paper examines future of seawater desalinization

New paper examines future of seawater desalinization
Notre Dame, IN (SPX) Aug 10, 2011 - A paper co-authored by William Phillip of the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Menachem Elimelech, Robert Goizueta Professor of Environmental and Chemical Engineering at Yale University, appearing in this week's edition of the journal Science offers a critical review of the state of seawater desalination technology. Elimelech and Phillip an ... more

Experts: Fukushima 'off-scale' lethal radiation level infers millions dying

Experts: Fukushima 'off-scale' lethal radiation level infers millions dying

The Hungry Planet: Global Food Scarcity in the 21st Century By: Russell Sticklor | World Politics Review

The Hungry Planet: Global Food Scarcity in the 21st Century
By: Russell Sticklor | World Politics Review

World Marine Fisheries: A Threatened Resource By: Lawrence Juda | World Politics Review

World Marine Fisheries: A Threatened Resource
By: Lawrence Juda | World Politics Review

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Magma plume report: A barometer of the planet indicates earthchanges are accelerating

Magma plume report: A barometer of the planet indicates earthchanges are accelerating


August 9, 2011 The most frequent question I’m asked is how much time do we have left before something major occurs? Not long, as you’ll shortly see. I included this map in my book so everyone could know that magma plumes are the planet’s geologic thermal dissipative features and as such, they are an early-warning sign that entropic processes are accelerating and magma levels are rising uniformly across the planet. Let’s start with Indonesia’s 18 volcanoes that are now on alert and showing above-normal activity- Because of the Java and Coral Sea plumes, we can expect growing unrest from the Merapi Sundoro Dieng volcanic complex, the Taboro, the Gunung Ranakah and Sirung volcanic complex which comprises about 28 volcanic cones. The Canary Island magma plume is also igniting the El Hierro earthquake swarm which has seen more than 750 quakes over a three-week period. The recent spike in volcanic activity at Mount Etna and Stromboli can similarly be attributed to activity at the Etna plume. The rivers of lava that have flowed from the Kilauea volcano, along with the uptick in tremors, including the 3.2 earthquake in July, are indications the Hawaii plume is similarly agitated. We have also seen recent earthquakes off the coast of Oregon from Juan de Fuca, quakes in France from the potential activation of Eifel, and volcanic stirrings in Iceland. There was also a 4.9 earthquake at 10 km just south of Easter Island today. From what we see now, the time-clock that is behind many of these geologic changes appears to be accelerating. That said, Yellowstone is one of the most dangerous plumes on the planet but since its past historical eruptions are said to be linked to movement of the North American tectonic plate across the caldera; I have theorized that this could be a latter-stage event in these earth-changes since thermal forces, themselves, accelerate tectonic plate movements and increase earthquake and volcanic activity.  The Extinction Protocol

Massive undersea volcanic eruption found off Oregon Coast

Massive undersea volcanic eruption found off Oregon Coast

August 9, 2011PORTLAND –  Oregon State University scientists say they’ve discovered an eruption of an undersea volcano about 250 miles off the Oregon Coast. The April 6 eruption produced a lava flow at least 1.2 miles wide, scientists say, and there were hundreds of tiny earthquakes during the eruption. The volcano, named Axial Seamount, last erupted in 1998, and the team of OSU scientists forecasted it would erupt again before 2014. Oregon State scientists say this marks the first-ever successful forecast of an undersea volcano. The new eruption was discovered July 28 when scientists used a robot to find a new lava flow on the seafloor that was not present a year ago. Because only a handful of the earthquakes were detected from land, scientists did not initially believe there was an eruption. Bill Chadwick, an OSU geologist, says the team of scientists thought they were in the wrong place because the seafloor looked so different. “We couldn’t find our markers or monitoring instruments or other distinctive features on the bottom,” he says. “Once we figured out that an eruption had happened, we were pretty excited.” When they recovered seafloor instruments and recorders, the scientists learned the volcanic eruption took place April 6. “So far, it is hard to tell the full scope of the eruption because we discovered it near the end of the expedition,” Chadwick says. “But it looks like it might be at least three times bigger than the 1998 eruption.” –Fox 12 News
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San Andreas agitation noted in recent flurry of tremors

San Andreas agitation noted in recent flurry of tremors


August 9, 2011San Francisco – The San Andreas Fault is a continental transform fault which runs a length of roughly 810 miles (1,300 km) through California in the United States. The fault’s motion is right-lateral strike-slip (horizontal motion). The fault forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. A recent flurry of small earthquakes ranging from 2.5 magnitude to 3.4 over the last 24 hours shows agitation along the fault has increased. This is something we will continue to keep an eye on. -The Extinction Protocol

New Eruption Discovered at Undersea Volcano, After Successfully Forecasting the Event

New Eruption Discovered at Undersea Volcano, After Successfully Forecasting the Event

ScienceDaily (Aug. 9, 2011) — A team of scientists just discovered a new eruption of Axial Seamount, an undersea volcano located about 250 miles off the Oregon coast -- and one of the most active and intensely studied seamounts in the world.
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Ocean acidification. A national strategy to meet the challenges of a changing ocean

Ocean acidification. A national strategy to meet the challenges of a changing ocean

Tohoku tsunami created icebergs in Antarctica

Tohoku tsunami created icebergs in Antarctica

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Massive Japan Quake Even Rattled Upper Atmospher


Massive Japan Quake Even Rattled Upper Atmosphere

Slowing climate change by targeting gases other than carbon dioxide

Slowing climate change by targeting gases other than carbon dioxide
Washington DC (SPX) Aug 08, 2011 - Carbon dioxide remains the undisputed king of recent climate change, but other greenhouse gases measurably contribute to the problem. A new study, conducted by NOAA scientists and published online in Nature, shows that cutting emissions of those other gases could slow changes in climate that are expected in the future. Discussions with colleagues around the time of the 2009 United Nations' ... more
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Human Influence on the 21st Century Climate

Human Influence on the 21st Century Climate
College Park MD (SPX) Aug 08, 2011 - New computer modeling work shows that by 2100, if society wants to limit carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to less than 40 percent higher than it is today, the lowest cost option is to use every available means of reducing emissions. This includes more nuclear and renewable energy, choosing electricity over fossil fuels, reducing emissions through technologies that capture and store carbon dioxid ... more
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Human impact on the last great wilderness of the deep sea

Human impact on the last great wilderness of the deep sea
Washington DC (SPX) Aug 09, 2011 - The oceans cover 71% of our planet, with over half with a depth greater than 3000 m. Although our knowledge is still very limited, we know that the deep ocean contains a diversity of habitats and ecosystems, supports high biodiversity, and harbors important biological and mineral resources. Human activities are, however increasingly affecting deep-sea habitats, resulting in the potential f ... more
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Aerosols affect climate more than satellite estimates predict

Aerosols affect climate more than satellite estimates predict
Ann Arbor, MI (SPX) Aug 09, 2011 - Aerosol particles, including soot and sulfur dioxide from burning fossil fuels, essentially mask the effects of greenhouse gases and are at the heart of the biggest uncertainty in climate change prediction. New research from the University of Michigan shows that satellite-based projections of aerosols' effect on Earth's climate significantly underestimate their impacts. The findings ... more

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Large variations in Arctic sea ice

Large variations in Arctic sea ice
Copenhagen, Denmark (SPX) Aug 09, 2011 - For the last 10,000 years, summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has been far from constant. For several thousand years, there was much less sea ice in The Arctic Ocean - probably less than half of current amounts. This is indicated by new findings by the Danish National Research Foundation for Geogenetics at the University of Copenhagen. The results of the study will be published in the journal Sc ... more
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Scientists Study Effects of Rising Carbon Dioxide on Rangelands

Scientists Study Effects of Rising Carbon Dioxide on Rangelands
Washington DC (SPX) Aug 08, 2011 - Rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels can reverse the drying effects of predicted higher temperatures on semi-arid rangelands, according to a study published in the scientific journal Nature by a team of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and university scientists. Warmer temperatures increase water loss to the atmosphere, leading to drier soils. In contrast, higher CO2 levels cause leaf s ... more
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Carbon hitches a ride from field to market

Carbon hitches a ride from field to market
Richland, WA (SPX) Aug 09, 2011 - Today, farming often involves transporting crops long distances so consumers from Maine to California can enjoy Midwest corn, Northwest cherries and other produce when they are out of season locally. But it isn't just the fossil fuel needed to move food that contributes to agriculture's carbon footprint. New research published in the journal Biogeosciences provides a detailed account of ho ... more
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Crop breeding could slash CO2 levels

Crop breeding could slash CO2 levels
Manchester UK (SPX) Aug 09, 2011 - Breeding crops with roots a metre deeper in the ground could lower atmospheric CO2 levels dramatically, with significant environmental benefits, according to research by a leading University of Manchester scientist. Writing in the journal Annals of Botany, Professor Douglas Kell argues that developing crops that produce roots more deeply in the ground could harvest more carbon from the air ... more
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Statoil makes big oil discovery at Aldous Major South in the Norwegian North Sea

Statoil makes big oil discovery at Aldous Major South in the Norwegian North Sea
The massive oil potential at Aldous Major South may very well support a stand-alone development with the nearby Avaldsnes discovery in the Norwegian North Sea.
Full Article

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tohoku tsunami created icebergs in Antarctica

Tohoku tsunami created icebergs in Antarctica

Tohoku tsunami created icebergs in AntarcticaEnlarge

Before (left) and after (right) photos of the Sulzberger Ice Shelf illustrate the calving event associated with the Japan earthquake and resulting tsunami that occurred on March 11, 2011. The icebergs have just begun to separate in the left image. Credit: European Space Agency/Envisat
A NASA scientist and her colleagues were able to observe for the first time the power of an earthquake and tsunami to break off large icebergs a hemisphere away.